Prayers, unity sought after N.Z. attacks
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described it as “one of New…
As the world launches efforts to aid victims of a devastating earthquake in New Zealand, Christians wait for word from Church of Christ members there.
The 6.3-magnitude quake struck Feb. 21 near the city of Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island. At least 65 people died, according to news reports.
“We have some Christians down there but cannot make contact so we will wait and see,” Chris Miller told The Christian Chronicle. Miller is minister for the Otumoetai Church of Christ in Tauranga, New Zealand, on the North Island.
The quake “is going to have a big effect on our nation,” Miller said, “and we pray that Christ will be brought back to Christchurch and through this people will discover God once again. Pray that we as a church can shine in this dark time for our nation.”
I remember looking at a map of New Zealand years ago and thinking, “If there’s a Christchurch Church of Christ then they have one of the most amusing names in our fellowship.”
In 2005 we reported that a team of church members from Toowoomba, Australia, planed to move to Christchurch and plant a new congregation (presumably named the Christchurch Church of Christ). Unfortunately, I never got an update on that work.
In 2008 we reported on Nan Raine, a Church of Christ member who was baptized in Christchurch in 1969. At age 78, she became the oldest graduate of South Pacific Bible College in Tauranga, New Zealand. Her son, Steve Raine, is principal of the college.
We will post information as we get it. Please leave a comment if you have an update.
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Here are a few excerpts from her message:
“Last night I was here in Tauranga watching news and checking Facebook when a graduate of South Pacific Bible College, Sharon, messaged me from Uganda asking me to call her mother in Auckland to see if her brother, a police officer in Christchurch, was OK. Sharon couldn’t get an international line out of Uganda to New Zealand.
“Here I was talking on the phone to a woman I did not know and using my keyboard to type live Facebook messages from her to her daughter in Uganda.
“She said her son was on full rescue duty and her son’s friend had to jump from her own office building to another to get out of the rubble in the main business district. Sharon answered that she felt her brother must have been on duty and she thought she had seen him on TV. What an interchange of information!”