Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ever since the earthquake happened on September 4th, many have been saying that our first heart felt response is naturally one of thanksgiving and praise. We give thanks that no one lost their life in the massive earthquake. We are thankful for the response of the emergency teams, civic response and Civil Defence. We give thanks that in those first few days of fear and uncertainty, we drew closer to one another in community instead of turning on one another in anger and distrust.
But how shall we offer this thanks and praise?
As you are aware the Christchurch Canterbury earthquake was equal in strength to the devastating earthquake that killed and tore asunder Haiti in January 2010. Relatively little recovery work has been done in response. There are many reasons for the difference in the destruction wrought by the two earthquakes, and the difference in the level of response, but those reasons are not the point. What matters is that we respond in love. Hence with this letter I invite the people of the Diocese of Christchurch, and beyond, to raise at least one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00) for the earthquake recovery and relief efforts in Haiti, by the time we gather at Synod on October 30th this year.
Does this sound like a large amount in a short period of time? Not really. If one hundred people write a cheque for one thousand dollars, we will have one hundred thousand dollars. If every parish in the diocese gives a thousand dollars, we will have seventy-one thousand dollars, which is an excellent start. If every grateful Anglican writes a cheque out of the abundance of their love for God and neighbour, we will have a most generous gift indeed. I invite you to recall the collection for the poor in Jerusalem that the apostle Paul invited and encouraged (Galatians 2.10; 1Corinthians 16.1-2)
This is what I am asking:
Those who are are financially able, please write a cheque for one thousand dollars.
Those who can give five hundred dollars, find a friend who will write another cheque for the same amount, and together give a thousand dollars.
If one hundred dollars is what you can give, find nine others who can do the same and together make a gift of one thousand dollars.
Please help make it happen. We can do this together.
Give out of the generosity of your heart and thankfulness for our lives.
Give because the God of Love loves you, and you choose to love your neighbour in Haiti. Give because, whatever your circumstances, you have an abundant life here in New Zealand, and it is out of the abundance of what you have, even after the earthquake, that you wish to share with others.
Please do not hold fundraising events for this. Simply reach deep into your pocket and heart and give. It will bring joy beyond all telling. I have written my cheque, made out to the Diocese of Christchurch (Haiti Appeal)
All over the country, and beyond, others will raise money for Canterbury. That is truly wonderful and many of us will join in such fundraising efforts. However, let our first act be to think of others suffering from another quake in very different circumstances.
Let us give thanks and give generously.
The Rt Rev Victoria Matthews
Bishop of Christchurch