New Zealand: Churches holding up well in quakes

By Jayson Rhodes
Posted Jul 22, 2013

[Anglican Taonga] Church buildings in Wellington and Nelson show no significant damage from the earthquakes that are continuing across the centre of the country.

However, parishes are being asked to ensure buildings are safe and to check them again if there are further earthquakes.

The Archbishop of the New Zealand dioceses, the Most Rev’d Philip Richardson, says people are builders of community and this is a time when the church across the province can respond by supporting the communities of Marlborough and Wellington in prayer.

“With the ongoing earthquakes there can be feelings of uncertainty and tired nerves, so the message is one of love, support and prayer, as communities face possible further earthquakes in their day-to-day living.”

The Bishop of Wellington, the Rt Rev’d Justin Duckworth, says clergy are being urged to take on two responsibilities: people and property.

“I am asking those who are pastors to ensure that families and staff are taken care of as well as those in the community who may welcome a friendly face at this time,” says Bishop Justin.

The Bishop of Christchurch, the Rt Rev Victoria Matthews, has also sent a message of support from a city that has lived with major earthquakes for over two years.

She has asked for prayer across the country in support of those experiencing the quakes.

“Earthquakes destroy the illusion we are in control of our environment,” she says. “The earthquakes make us realize that life is more fragile than we want to admit as more than physical objects get smashed.

“But in the midst of it all it is possible to reach out and create community, so look for those who are frightened and vulnerable so people know they are neither forgotten nor alone.

“Also remember the emergency response teams and caregivers as their jobs became much more difficult and they need support and encouragement.”

A 6.5 magnitude earthquake on Sunday occurred as Choral Evensong began in Wellington’s Cathedral of St Paul. The service was stopped and the Cathedral emptied immediately.