Church responds to cries for help from Japan

The Methodist Church's World Mission Fund has launched an appealon behalf of its partner church in Japan following the catastrophicearthquake and tsunami that struck on Friday (March 11).

Reports from the United Church of Christ in Japan (UCCJ) revealthat the 8.9 magnitude earthquake, which has left more than 10,000people missing, has damaged at least 36 churches in the affectedSendai region.

Teruki Takada, a representative for the UCCJ, reported that theUCCJ established a relief planning team on March 12. The teamarrived in Sendai on March 13 and visited the sites of the localchurches in the area.

Steve Pearce, Partnership Coordinator for Asia and the Pacific,said: "It is not possible to comprehend the scale of this disaster.Our hearts go out to our brothers and sisters there. Our MissionPartners in Japan are safe and well, but they are worried aboutpeople they know in the north and on the coast. I have assured mycolleagues at UCCJ that Methodists in Britain and Ireland arepraying for them and that we will respond to their financialappeal."

Revd Makoto Kato, the Executive Secretary for Ecumenical Ministriesat UCCJ, said: "We truly appreciate your deep concern andencouraging prayer following the gigantic earthquake which we havenever ever experienced before. Churches in Tokyo are okay, but weare still not able to get contact with people in Sendai where theearthquake hit most severely. Please keep on praying for us".

People can donate to the World Mission Fund appeal via theMethodist Church Just Giving page or by sending a cheque payable tothe World Mission Fund to Steve Pearce, World Church Relationships,at Methodist Church House, 25 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5JR.Postal donations should be labelled 'Japan Appeal'. If you are a UKtaxpayer, you can Gift Aid your donation, which allows us toreclaim the tax you have already paid. Just include a completedGift Aid form with your donation.