As you may have now heard Christchurch suffered another damaging earthquake this afternoon. Let us join together urgently in prayer for the people of Christchurch and think about the practical help we can offer.
At this stage news is only slowly beginning to filter through but no doubt like you I am feeling shocked. I want to express our love for all the people of Christchurch and our deep concern for their safety and wellbeing.
To those in Christchurch and surrounding affected areas, we know you have lived with uncertainty for months and have desperately wanted the after-shocks to stop. Now you face the trauma of reported fatalities and more collapsed buildings. Some of you will be feeling that life is perhaps just too unpredictable and unfair. To any who have faced personal injury or lost loved ones (although I pray that that is not the case) or suffered yet more damage to your homes, work places and businesses and face further dislocation, I can only express my love and concern on behalf of all the Church. It is perhaps less important but some will also be grieving the loss of their church buildings.
We want you to know that we are praying for you and that we want to mobilise the Church nationwide to respond to your situation, and to stand alongside you and to help you.
Can I ask those of you in other locations, or even those close at hand but relatively unaffected, to consider what help you can now give? This is one of those moments when the Church needs to pull together and demonstrate the love of God for people in distress. Please pray urgently for those affected and those now trying to help. Pray for the rescue of any who are trapped, and for those who have not yet had contact from loved ones and don't know what their situation is.
Despite everything, let us hold onto the conviction that God is trustworthy. It is when we are most in need that we most need to know that God is our strength and shield, and when our faith is most tested that we need to hold onto it most firmly.
Let us pull together in prayer and action and be there for the whole suffering community of Christchurch.
May God bless you,