Excerpted from an email from Chris:
A small group had to make a decision today to “close” the church, following receipt of the PCANZ’s Policy on Earthquake Prone Church Buildings.
Sunday’s service will be held at Beckenham Methodist Church at 10.00 am. For more information please ring or e-mail Anna. She will work in the office until Friday and Parish activities will continue in the lounge until Friday.
By Sunday we hope to be able to give more information regarding venues for Sunday worship and weekday activities.
Depending on the final report from the engineers, it may be necessary to call a special meeting of the Board and Session on Wednesday evening 15th August.
At present it is day by day. Hopefully we can reassure people that our shared life will go on regardless of buildings.
First and foremost my warmest greetings to you all, as you and your families support one another and, where possible, continue the clean-up. Our thoughts and prayers are with our people who have badly damaged or destroyed homes, and with those who know people who died in the earthquake. In such circumstances it is hard to achieve any sense of normality when one is grieving and displaced from home and normal routines.
A small group of us have endeavoured to make contact with everyone in the parish. If we haven’t managed to reach you, please let us know you are safe, and where you are. Please don’t hesitate to make contact if you need any assistance.
Today our church buildings have been inspected. The engineer advises that we may use the church and hall. There will be a Sunday service on 6th March at 10.30am, rather than 10.00am – allowing people extra time for travel. However the service will not include Communion.
It is our intention to have the church and lounge open on week days from 10am – 2.00pm over the next fortnight (beginning Monday 7th March) to enable people to drop in to talk and have a cup of tea or coffee. Offers of help to staff this will be gratefully received. The office will not be back to normal until Wednesday 16th March. At present the church telephone is also out of order.
At the combined open air service last Sunday we were reminded that God is with us in all circumstances of life, wherever we are. With faith may we hold fast to that belief and to the hope of a new day in Christchurch.
The final verse of a poem I used last Sunday reads:
To meet the challenge
the human spirit
has risen phoenix-like from the rubble.
We still weep through this dark night,
but we also know
in a believing-against-all-the-odds kind of knowing
in an Easter-Day-after-Friday’s-darkness kind of knowing
that some morning,
the joy of life will return.
May God’s peace be with you and with your loved ones.
Excerpted from Chris Elliot’s email of 26th February:
“Good morning to you all and warmest greetings.
By now most of you will have heard from someone in the parish. Telephones have remained fickle at times, and in some areas, so if you receive this and have not been talking with us would you please let us know you are OK, and also if you need any assistance. It is a time when people need the support of one another and to not feel alone.
[…] A group of us have had a preliminary inspection but the buildings need to be checked by a professional before church or hall can be used. There are no entry notices on all doors. Some subsidence at the rear around the prefab and old Bible Class building are also a hazard.
A combined service with Beckenham Methodist was held this morning on the lawn of Christchurch South Library. This was reported on in part of an article New Zealanders pay respects to quake victims.