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Rebuilding ChristChurch   
Uploaded by Fundraising Team Last updated on 15/09/2016

On 4 September 2010, a major earthquake hit the city of Christchurch in New Zealand. A second one hit nearly six months later. Between them, the earthquakes left 185 people dead.

“In those early days of shock and grief the messages and prayers of the Methodist family from around the world brought comfort and strength,” recalls the Revd David Bush, General Secretary of the Methodist Church of New Zealand. “To know others were praying for us was incredibly uplifting.”

Over the 18 months following the earthquakes, individuals, congregations and National Churches generously gave almost £200,000 to the earthquake fund.

Looking back it is amazing how much the gifts enabled,” Revd Bush says. “Individuals and families with special needs were the first recipients. Congregations were assisted to engage with their local communities, and counsellors were employed to work in schools to address fears and stress.”

Five years on, the city is being rebuilt and congregations are doing well, though there is still much to be done.
“Initially we expected the major impact of the earthquakes would be fixed in two to three years,” says Revd Bush. “While all the minor repairs have been completed, major rebuilds and replacement buildings are only getting started. This has caused a great deal of frustration.”

Some congregations have moved numerous times. The Revd Andrew Doubleday’s congregation has been worshipping in the local bowling club.

“We have discovered something of the grace of God and that the human spirit is far more resilient than we might have imagined,” he says.