Anglicans report in from post-quake Christchurch

Following a 7.0 earthquake centered in New Zealand, this morning we have word from NZ-based blogger Bosco Peters:

More than 500 buildings are damaged, more than 90 of those are in the central city area. Water tankers are in place. There is a state of emergency. The central city of Christchurch is closed and there is a curfew in place for those who live there.

Thank you to all for thoughts and prayers for all affected here. It was certainly a very frightening experience – the strongest earthquake in a city here since 1931. The remarkable thing is that an earthquake of 7.1 on the Richter Scale has resulted in no deaths as far as can be ascertained. There have been over 30 aftershocks – some up to magnitude 5.4. These could continue for weeks.

The bishop writes, ““My prayers go out to all those in the diocese who have been impacted by the earthquake. We praise God that there were no deaths or severe injuries and my thoughts are with those parishes that have received significant damage. I am aware that many in our diocese are feeling anxious with the ongoing after shocks but I pray that the peace of God be with you and all those involved in the clean up operation at this time.”

St John’s Church, Hororata, near the epicentre of the earthquake, is perhaps the worst-damaged church building (see video clip following). In the central city, St John the Baptist, Latimer Square, has had damage to its bell tower. St Luke’s in the City has lost brick from a number of its window peaks. Other churches further out have also been affected. The Anglican and Catholic Cathedrals appear to have survived extremely well. Christ’s College has come through very well – past work strengthening the buildings has been remarkably successful. The chapel appears unscathed.

On the same page as the bishop’s letter, we find:

Peter Beck, Dean of Christchurch, said the Cathedral had fared remarkably well. ”My thanks go to council for all that earthquake strengthening work. Without that we would have had major damage.” The nave was undamaged but the cathedral’s tower would need more investigation and the bells would not ring on Sunday, he said.

Some worship services in the parishes worst struck have been relocated for today, or cancelled due to concerns about a predicted larger aftershock. Services at the Cathedral for Sunday are cancelled. St Barnabas Fendalton relocated this mornings service to the church hall until the main church building could be checked out.

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