Ps Ken Harrison’s Update from Christchurch TOGETHER WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCEFor three days this week, I (Ps Ken Harrison, NZ A/G Superintendent), was in Christchurch withExecutive members Ps La’u Faletutulu and Ps Pat Lamborn. Ps Iliafi Esera was present of theTuesday evening meeting.Our purpose was to encourage the Christchurch A/G Pastors, to see what our A/G churches andpastors are already doing, and to coordinate with them how we as the NZ A/G movement canfurther assist in aid and recovery in the Canterbury area through our local churches there.On Tuesday evening I conducted a meeting with most of our Christchurch A/G Pastors, as well aspastors from Kaiapoi and Rangiora. There we were able to hear their stories, pray together, andencourage one another. All our pastors and people in their churches are safe with no deaths butmany have varying degrees of injury, shock. They are facing tough times as many homes aredamaged, along with personal possessions broken. All of our churches are damaged and manycongregational members have left the city with most choosing to leave altogether asaftershocks continue.While in Christchurch I had the opportunity to talk with the Civil Defence, Police and the peoplegoing door to door in the Eastern suburbs. This is where most of the home damage has takenplace. The three of us attended a meeting, with all the Ministers of Christchurch (acrossdenominations), to hear what all churches are doing and to coordinate together. At the end Ispoke on the need to get photos and information out to churches and people around thecountry. A PowerPoint of photos can be downloaded from Harvest Christian Church webpagewww.harvestchristianchurch.net.nz and it will also be available on the AGNZ web pagewww.agnz.org by the end of the weekend.The most significant effect of the earthquake is the severe impact it has had on people. Peopleare traumatised, and many have damaged homes and businesses. The CBD is cordoned off andit is estimated that over 800 buildings may have to be demolished including thousands of homes.There are many homes that are still without water, power or sewage. The local authorities areworking 24hours around the clock to rectify this however it is a huge task.Two Samoan A/G churches and one Korean church have been severely damaged. Most of thechurches have been damaged through liquefaction, cracks forming in walls, and furniture, andfixtures broken. In the last earthquake Kaiapoi lost their church building but it hadn’t beendemolished as yet and it was further damaged. Two churches have had over half thecongregation move and who say they are relocating elsewhere.
NZA/G’s Current Response • Food & Aid Centre • Ps Stephen Hira along with Ps’ Peter & Vera Hira at A/G Christchurch Worship Centre, Candice, and team are doing a phenomenal job running a food and aid distribution centre in Aranui. This area has extensive liquefaction everywhere including in their church building. They have set up a food centre at the School where drinking water has been made available. So far they have given out lots of tinned food, personal items, baby material, fruit and veggies, water, etc. All this was sourced and significant donations have come from places like Palmerston North as well as from many other churches. A number of businesses have contributed but they urgently require more. Fisher and Paykel gave the food centre two fridge freezers and two washing machines and dryers and outside using power from a generator. Money donated by our NZ A/G churches will be used to purchase more cases of tinned food, wipes, and hand sanitizer, etc for them to distribute. • Aid from local churches: Other A/G churches and pastors are working in very difficult conditions to help people and families in their communities and we thank them. • Chaplains We have had seven NZ A/G Chaplains involved since the week of the quake. On Wednesday the 2nd seven Australian A/G Chaplains arrived in Christchurch. They are helping counsel people in shock through being traumatised. They are working with our A/G churches as well as with all the other Chaplains under the umbrella of Presbyterian Social Services and just today the civil Defence has asked us to help. Ps Dennis & Caro Isaacs (Kaiapoi) are doing an amazing job organising accommodation outside Christchurch for the Chaplains and are helping in many ways to coordinate relief. Their church office is our command centre. As the NZ A/G movement we are financially underwriting these New Zealand Chaplains travel and costs as we send in teams of six for the next two months. This will cost approximately $21,000. Australia will also be sending two more teams to help in this
vital work and they have already raised the $17500 AUD that is required over and above the NZ A/G amount. Thank you Australia! The Chaplains will be needed for months to come in Christchurch for post-traumatic shock care, so we ask that you consider giving financially to help underwrite this cost. THANK YOU • To all of our Pastors in Christchurch who continue to lead and minister and help people in extremely difficult conditions – you are heroes. • To all those in Christchurch who are reaching out to help in many ways; in the Food Distribution centre, in taking away the liquefaction, visiting, and reaching out to their community. • To our A/G Chaplains who are on the ground with counselling for those with post- traumatic stress. • To our churches that have already given money. We have already received $10,000 and this has already been used and more is urgently required. • A special thank you to Australian A/G who have generously given AUD $17,500 to Chaplaincy Australia to release some Australian A/G Chaplains to come. It is wonderful to see our Australian A/G family stand with us at this time.THE NEED • PRAY - Please pray for everyone in Christchurch and our pastors and churches. (I am attaching a PowerPoint for Pastors which contains prayer points which you may choose to use if you want to). • GIVE - Please highlight the need to give in your churches so we can supply food and resources, as well as continue to financially help our pastors and their congregations, and chaplains, who are so vital at this time and for those involved in the ongoing relief work in Christchurch. The Bank Account no is 03 0196 0120003 000 with the reference 080120/62 • SEND - contact details to Pastor Shona Sorensen, National Secretary of any accommodation available to people from Christchurch outside of the city. This information will be passed on to ‘Ps Pat Lamborn our “Earthquake Coordinator”.In conclusion, I want to say how awesome it is to be part of the NZ A/G movement. We havepastors and churches at grass roots level right where the people and the needs are, who arereaching out all over Christchurch, to various ethnic groups and doing a phenomenal job helpingand supporting people. Our churches in the rest of New Zealand are working together andcoordinating our support and response through prayer and finances. Our A/G Chaplains(trained in NZ at Alphacrucis) along with our Australian Chaplains are counselling and supporting
people and who have been requested by authorities to stay for 3 months (we will rotate themon and off.)I believe in these dark days in Christchurch, Christians and our churches are bright lights offeringlove, hope and help to people. Thank you to all of you as you play your part. Isaiah 58: 11-12 The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun- scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.God bless you.Ps Ken HarrisonGeneral Superintendent,Assemblies of God in New Zealand