Tena Koutou, Malo elelei, Talofa lava, Namas’te, Ni Sa Bula Vinaka, Greetings to you…
Many worship sites have been destroyed in Tikanga Pakeha parishes of Christchurch, but the Church of God is strong in faith and service in the Diocese of Christchurch and the Hui Amorangi o Te Waipounamu. The people of God are responding with courage and resolve to the present state of emergency caused by the recent earthquake and aftershocks. Although debris and wreckage are in evidence on every street and both the army and emergency services are a constant presence, courtesy and consideration prevail. A very significant number of people have lost their home, business and/or church building, yet there is a sense of aroha, community care and outreach. This is not new as the same sense of community outreach and Christian witness was evidenced on September 4th and again on December 26th 2010, but we know that nerves are getting a bit frayed now.
Many clergy and lay people have needed to relocate their family out of the city to safe and standing homes elsewhere but the only words we hear are gratitude and being able to help others. The response to those who have lost loved ones is happening primarily on a parish/pariha level but a list has been comprised of clergy and churches ready to assist with funerals as many of the church buildings are considered unsafe due to serious structural damage. One heritage parish church near the inner city now resembles a gazebo more than the beautiful church building it once was.
To the bereaved and those who are still awaiting news of missing friends and family, the Hui Amorangi, the Diocese and the Province offer prayer in the power of the Holy Spirit, knowing that suffering has always been part of Christian experience. We also ask prayer for all those involved in the cleanup, the search and rescue operations and pastoral care at this difficult time. While we have been reminded in no uncertain terms that we are not in control, we hold fast to our faith in the Sovereign God and pray for the strength and grace to minister Christ’s presence.
Kia tau kia tatou katoa,
te atawhai o tou tatou Ariki Ko Ihu Karaiti,
me te aroha o te Atua,
me te whiwhinga tahitanga ki Te Wairua Tapu
Ake , ake, ake, amine
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
And the love of God,
And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
Be with us now and for evermore
AmenBishop John Gray, Te Pihopa o Te Hui Amorangi o Te Waipounamu
Bishop Victoria Matthews, Bishop of Christchurch
Archbishop David Moxon