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Letter to churches in Aotearoa New Zealand

Pastoral letter to the churches in Aotearoa New Zealand following the devastating earthquake of February 2011.

23 February 2011

Geneva, February 23, 2011

To :   Te Runanga Whakawhanaunga I nga Hahi o Aotearoa  (Maori Council of Churches) and the World Council of Churches member churches of Aotearoa New Zealand

Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord,

Grace, peace and the gift of healing be with you through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

I write to you from the 2011 Central Committee meeting of the World Council of Churches. Christians from many traditions and all regions of the globe are gathered here in Geneva, and we are praying for the nation and people of Aotearoa New Zealand. We join in prayer for you, for your church and all churches, for your ministries and for the service you are undertaking. In the aftermath of earthquake and related calamities, concern for you occupies our hearts, minds and spirits.

We are praying for your people: for those who are suffering, for those who mourn, for those who are disoriented by the horror of events, for those whose faith is threatened. We remember the dead and dying, even as we pray that all may find comfort as sure as our hope in the promise of resurrection to eternal life.

May you find strength to join again in the great proclamation of Psalm 46:1-3.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

We in the World Council of Churches and partner ecumenical organizations are eager for word of what we may do to be of practical aid as Aotearoa New Zealand deals with this tragedy, continues its recovery and begins to rebuild.

Please do not hesitate to be in contact with me, and to let us know how we may help.

In Christian love,

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
General secretary
World Council of Churches