Parish letter from Chris

Dear Friends

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.