Damage to the Bryndwr Presbyterian Church-amazing how the ground moved!

Congregations of all denominations in Christchurch and throughout New Zealand are gathering regularly to remember the tragedy that has hit Christchurch and New Zealand.   First Church in Dunedin for example has a prayer garland where prayers and thoughts in a number of languages have been attached.  They meet daily in the church for prayer.  Leaders of worship have found helpful reflections to capture the grief that we are all experiencingand to offer hope .    The Rev. Ann Thomson, of First Church, noted on her Facebook

As I read around Matt.6:24-34 for this Sunday, I came across this from Barbara Evans: “In God’s community people look out for each other and share what they have; people take what they need and leave some for others. In God’s community, people think about their neighbours, even as they think about themselves. This is where the miracle of God’s care for God’s people is discovered”. That for me is the answer to “where is God in all this?”. God is with people who search, people who wait, people who bake, people who dig, people who mourn, people who share what they have, people who are just there with others.

The Rev. Martin Stewart and the Congregation of the Bryndwr Presbyterian Church in Christchurch  worshipped in their local church hall last Sunday.  

Martin writes:

It was good to gather in worship today and catch up with people face to face.

The scale of all of this is still dawning on us – we are facing massive issues in the short term – worship provision, making effective responses to the city as a church family, the unlikelihood of medium term repairs on houses, businesses and churches, effective long term care of our more disadvantaged neighbours out on the east side, and the care of grieving families and friends.  They say that the liquefaction is 4-5 times worse than in September, but so is everything else 4-5 times worse.  I am aware of colleagues already under considerable pressure and us all realising that this is going to need to be sustained for much longer this time.

There are many fine offers of support being expressed, thanks for these, but please be patient with us as we work out which offers are the least burdensome and most helpful to run with.

In the meantime, thank you again for the aroha.

God is good.

Martin Stewart

He also notes that with his wife Ann,  used  Bruce Springsteen’s My City of Ruins as they led worship.  The song was written after 9/11 – Springsteen’s farm once had the World Trade Centre Towers poking above the horizon.  His song is a fantastic modern hymn says Martin.  For those unfamiliar, hear on Youtube:  The words are extremely poignant and the first couple of verses are below.

 There’s a blood red circle                                                                            

On the cold dark ground                                                                

And the rain is falling down

The church door’s thrown open

I can hear the organ’s song

But the congregation’s gone

My city of ruins

My city of ruins

 Now the sweet bells of mercy

Drift through the evening trees

Young men on the corner

Like scattered leaves,

The boarded up windows,

The empty streets

While my brother’s down on his knees

My city of ruins

My city of ruins

 Come on, rise up!

Come on, rise up!

Come on, rise up!

Come on, rise up!

Come on, rise up!

Come on, rise up!

Come on, rise up!

Come on, rise up! 


Student Volunteer Army off to assist in clearing the sand

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