We all know only too well the pain and loss in our region, and the situation we now have to live in and work our way through.
I am glad to be able to tell you that some important things have happened over this week. What will prove to be a very strategic decision has come out of a meeting of pastors, leaders and almost all our National Leaders on February 28. We have appointed a Regional Earthquake Response Co-ordinator. His name is William Drury-Turnbull; he and Suzanne are part of the St Albans Church and Suzanne is the supervisor at one of our Kaiapoi Baptists childcare centres. William brings the perfect mix of experience, skills and passion to this role.
It's marvelous that William is willing and available to take on this role, especially at such short notice. His employers have released him and endorsed him as an ideal person to fill this position, which is very generous of them.
We are extremely grateful to the Baptist Union; Rodney, Kelvyn and the rest of the team for making this appointment possible, and in such a short time frame. The Union have been game breakers by providing the funding, before we even asked!
William started on March 7. His first engagement was to soak up wisdom and biblical insights from John Lennox at the La Vida Center. I think it's the ideal way to kick start his work. He is setting up a base at CYS, 472 Cranford St. We thank Mike Dodge and CYS for making this space available.
His role is as a co-ordinator, link person, encourager, ideas conduit and so on; but he can't do the work each church community needs to do, and is doing from what I see and hear. He will build links with the appropriate government agencies, council agencies, NGOs and faith-based organizations like Tear Fund, Christian World Service, World Vision, and the Salvation Army; and with churches. He will also help us make useful links as we move forward.
We need each and every church to carefully appoint an earthquake response co-ordinator (not the pastor). We are suggesting calling them the “strengthening community coordinator”, with whom William can liaise.
If you haven't already done this, please do so as soon as you can. Whether you need lots of help, or are in a position to give help, these co-ordinators in each church are going to play a vital role. As soon as we have an email address and phone numbers for William, we will let you know. He will be busy visiting churches and getting to know us all as quickly as he can.
Obviously these are very early days, and there are hard days ahead. Many of us are going to be attending too many funerals, and that is just the beginning.
God bless us all this weekend, especially as our communities gather on Sunday to share together, hear from the Lord, cry, pray, and grow in hope and strength.
Pastor, Kaiapoi Baptist Church