A year ago today our city, Christchurch, was changed for ever. Beginning last evening a series of services are being held through today to commemorate the deaths and devastation wrought by the 12.51 pm earthquake. For many Christians the remembrances will continue into Ash Wednesday services being held this evening. For the people of Christchurch the aftermath of the destructive forces of an earthquake whose vertical forces were nearly as strong as any ever recorded continues. Yesterday yet another set of shops were red-stickered and cordoned off. In the last few days several schools have had to set up marquees as temporary classrooms while buildings are brought up to 67% strength measured against the new building code.
In some ways for the Diocese of Christchurch the hardest work of the post-quakes era is just beginning. We know most of what is damaged, including finding out at the weekend that our largest stone church apart from the cathedral has to close, St Mary's Timaru, a city 160km south of Christchurch. What we do not yet know are all the financial implications of the damage, the changes we need to make to the way we are organised, and the best ways forward to respond to changing communities, especially those communities who are losing their most able people as they shift districts, and those communities just being developed as new housing springs up.
I know many readers here have been praying for our city, our bishop and our diocese. Don't stop!