Canterbury Anglicans are being asked to give at least $100,000 for quake relief in Haiti.
In a pastoral letter read in all parishes on Sunday, Bishop Victoria Matthews calls on her diocese to find the money – as an expression of thanks and praise – by the time it gathers in synod on October 30.
“The Canterbury earthquake (on Sept 4) was equal in strength to the devastating earthquake that killed and tore asunder Haiti in January 2010,” she says. “Relatively little recovery work has been done in response.”
The Haiti quake was centered 15 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince and killed an estimated 200,000 to 250,000 people. Eight months after the quake, only two percent of the resulting rubble has been cleared away.
Recalling St Paul’s collection for the poor in Jerusalem (Gal 2:10 and 1Cor 16:1-2), Bishop Victoria says her appeal target is not unrealistic.
“If 100 people write a cheque for $1000, we will have $100,000. If every parish in the diocese gives $1000, we will have $71,000, 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.”
Bishop Victoria adds that she has already written her own cheque.
“Ever since the (Canterbury) earthquake, many have been saying that our first heartfelt response is naturally one of thanksgiving and praise,” she says at the beginning of her letter.
“We give thanks that no one lost their life in the massive earthquake. We are thankful for the response of emergency teams, civic response and Civil Defence.
“We give thanks that in those first few days or fear and uncertainty, we drew closer to one another in community instead of turning on one another in anger and distrust.
“Give out of the generosity of your heart and thankfulness for our lives.”
Bishop Victoria adds, however, that the appeal is not meant to spur fundraising events.
“Simply reach deep into your pocket and heart and give,” she says. It will bring joy beyond all telling.”
• Cheques should be written out to: The Diocese of Christchurch (Haiti Appeal). Bishop Victoria plans to work through Tear Fund and Oxfam.