New Zealand Bishops ask for prayers
Anglican Communion News Service
February 22, 2011 - In the aftermath of a 6.3 earthquake that has devastated the New Zealand city of Christchurch and seriously damaged the Anglican Cathedral, the Archbishops and Standing Committee of the General Synod/te Hinota Whanui of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has issued the following statement:
We are receiving reports of multiple fatalities, many casualties, extensive damage, evacuation and major trauma to thousands of people. We are aware that the spire of the Anglican Cathedral has collapsed.
We, along with so many other people in this country, immediately turned to prayer for all those who are so seriously affected. We have also contacted our wider Anglican Communion around the world and asked them to pray with us. We reach out in this prayer to the people of the city of Christchurch and the wider Canterbury region, asking the God of all the earth to give everyone the strength and endurance that they need to survive and to recover. We pray also for all those who are involved now so dramatically in civil defence activities, hospital services and community organization as people begin to try and process what has happened and to work out the way ahead. We pray for our Prime Minister, our Government, the Mayor and City Council of Christchurch as they respond to this tragedy.
We also, along with New Zealanders throughout the land, pledge ourselves, in whatever way is useful to come to the assistance of this stricken city.
May God guide and guard us all.
Archbishops David Moxon, Brown Turei and Winston Halapua, and the Standing Committee of General Synod/te Hinota Whanui.
From ANGLICAN COMMUNION NEWS SERVICE:
The Dean of Christchurch Cathedral, the Very Revd Peter Beck, has said he is fearful that people may have been in the Cathedral's tower when it collapsed after an earthquake struck the city.
Speaking to the BBC's 5 Live Radio programme he said that he had himself been in the cathedral office when the quake struck, but was able to escape and get others out of the Cathedral. However, he warned that others could still be trapped inside.
"We were in the cathedral when this happened," he said, "in the office and fortunately that wasn't too badly damaged, but the tower has collapsed and some of the walls have collapsed and we're pretty fearful there may be some people underneath that."
He said that, while there was no service taking place at the time, the cathedral is one of the biggest visitor attractions in the country so there would still have been visitors inside. "There will have been people in the Cathedral, as well as our own staff of course, when this happened. There's a huge amount of dust, it's like a fog inside there.
"We got all the people out that we could, but there are piles of rubble, especially where the tower has collapsed. We don't know whether there were people in the tower at the time, but I'm fairly fearful of that."
The Dean praised the citizens of Christchurch who he said have been looking out for one another in the midst of this tragedy, but called on the people of England--where BBC Radio 5 Live airs--to pray .
"This is a major, major event here of course and we like to reach out to one another. Those of you in England who will, please pray for us."
He added that the cathedral--designed 150 years ago by British architect Sir George Gilbert Scott--said its part-destruction was unimportant in the light of the earthquake's human cost. "A building's a building. The really awful thing is that we've lost lives this time," he said.