Christchurch is again in a declared state of emergency due to the fire (now one fire as the two have become one) on the Port Hills. We know there has been one death, a few houses lost and many more evacuated. Our parishes have been wonderful checking up on parishioners but like the earthquakes we must remember that the responsibility we have as the church goes beyond who attends and has membership and involves every person in the community at large. So I write again to ask that clergy, with evacuation centres in their parishes, reach out to those at the evacuation centres in the evenings. We need as with the earthquakes to remember there are folks who are seriously frightened by the emergency and the uncertainty that comes with them. If your parish is close to the fire range please consider putting together the essentials (documents for example) you don’t want to lose, and the medications needed by those in your household, so you are ready should you need to move fast. It is wise to think ahead and not wait for the call to evacuate.
Most important are the elderly and vulnerable who are either alone or with little support. This is the right time to reach out, invite someone for a meal and make a few phone calls. Single parents may also find this sort of emergency terrifying. Remember you are called to be the hands and feet; the heart and voice of Christ.
Thank you for your response to this our most recent disaster.