When the 6.3 magnitude earthquake shook the city of Christchurch in New Zealand last Tuesday, some of the worst damaged structures were the town’s churches. Among those hit the hardest was the city’s iconic Christchurch Cathedral in the deep heart of the town, which suffered huge damage, the loss of its bell tower, and even worse, the fear that 22 people may have been killed inside.
Sunday in New Zealand was a day of open-air prayers for the confirmed 147 dead, and additional prayers for the estimated and unaccounted for 200 still missing. As search teams continue their gruesome task it is feared that the final death toll will make this earthquake the worst disaster in New Zealand’s history.
"As our citizens make their way to church this Sunday they will be joined in prayer by millions around the world," said Mayor Bob Parker of the devastated city of Christchurch. "For now we are truly comforted by the thoughts and prayers of so many."
In 1931 a severe earthquake in New Zealand killed 256 people. The sad record has been held for 40 years, until today. Hopefully the record will not be superseded, despite the predictions to the contrary.