Monday, April 16, 2012

In the news this week…

New Cardboard Cathedral announced

A “temporary” Anglican cathedral will be constructed on the St John’s site on Latimer Square, overlooking the CTV site.  (In Christchurch “temporary” means about 20 years or so).

Actually I quite like the look of this design.  It’s not the same as what’s been lost, but it’s uplifting.

There’s been a bit of debate going around about the de-construction of our Anglican Cathedral.  The Bishop has come under a lot of criticism – and some of it seems to be getting quite venomous and personal.  One of the most vocal opponents is the Christchurch Wizard, who claims to have spoken curses against the Bishop and Church leadership.

I was always taught that in intelligent debate, when one side resorts to personal attack, it’s often a sign of lacking rational argument.

I was pleased to hear about this:

An open letter of support from 70 churches and Christian organisations was presented to the Anglican Bishop of Christchurch.  The photo shows ministers from Pentecostal, Baptist and Brethren churches, as representative of the many denominations. 

As a city we need to work together, with unity, as we rebuild.  I found it encouraging to see the unity of Christian Churches working together.  A lot of this is “below the radar” and “behind the scenes”, but in my own opinion, if it wasn’t for the Christian Churches in this city working together in the aftermath of the earthquakes, we’d have been in a lot worse state city wide.

Yet these feeling of hope are clashing with a more sobering news issue:

The “New Homelessness”

There have been stories emerging of lower income tenants being pushed out of the rental market, as a shortage of available rental homes, an influx of tradespeople working on the rebuild, and displaced homeowners moving out of “red-zoned” houses.  Rents are becoming more than many people can afford.  When houses become available, 20 or 30 prospective tenants will apply, and often begin trying to outbid each other.

Here are three stories that have been in the press this week.

I am also personally aware of others that haven’t been reported, but are in similar circumstances.  My concern is that the reported stories are just the tip of the iceberg.  My fear is that it will only get worse.  While there is political debate about this, politics can’t magically make houses appear, and winter is only a month or so away.

And just announced today:
Temporary closure of the Museum

When I put it into the perspective of everything else happening in my City, the closure of the museum may not seem to be such a big deal, but it’s the cumulative effect that’s upset me.  Just when it feels like life is starting to come back to some kind of normal, it’s a reminder that there is no more “normal” here.

I am powerless to do anything about all of this, but pray for my City.  And to ask all of you to pray for Christchurch.  There is still a marathon ahead of us.


  1. I agree whole heartedly. Gutted about the museum I had intended to go see the earthquake display. I guess I should have known to go earlier as any building in Christchurch can be open one day and closed the next! It was great to see other church leaders supporting the Bishop. Whatever decision they made she was going to be in the firing line. I'm gutted about the cathedral too, but although it is a city icon it is not owned by the city council. I am glad to see the new cathedral will be on the St Johns site, as that was our family church when I was young & i was also married there.
    As for the rent rises making it very difficult for those on smaller incomes, I suggest they bring back those camper vans in the A&P site (because that would be better than nothing)and come up with other temporary accommodation quickly. There is a group organising accommodation around Christchurch. I am not sure what their prices are like though. Surely there are homes which are not too damaged which could be used over the winter, even if they are in the red zone, and what about relocating homes which are in good condition, but in the red zone? If Gerry Brownlee tries to do something, rather than denying it is a problem, then maybe it won't reach whatever he thinks crisis point is.

  2. Great ideas Helen, now if only we can get the people responsible for making the decisions to listen to them!
    The problem with the camper-van park that was set up last year is that it was almost too early, and the demand hadn't hit then, so it flopped. The temporary accommodation villages are good, but not enough, and only available for those having to leave their homes for repairs etc, not tenants who find their landlords suddenly pushing their rent up beyond what they can afford, just because they know that they'll be able to get tenants who will pay that.
    I'm praying for wisdom for the Gerry Brownlee, Roger Sutton and Bob Parker as they lead us through this mess.

  3. This post made me sad, even though it wasn't supposed to. I do think it's important that folks in Chch be able to disagree in a way that doesn't get personal. There are enough sources of stress already.

  4. but you are not powerless...I have learned to never underestimate the power of prayer.

  5. So sad to hear of the struggles many are facing and I too join in hope that solutions will come fast and energy will be focused on uniting and restoring Christchurch x

  6. Thank you all for your prayers. I'm reminded this is a marathon not a sprint, and we'll continue needing your prayers for a while yet.

  7. Hello Claudia,
    I've just found your blog after you joined my followers and I can't imagine what it must be like to be having to reconstruct your city and your lives. Obviously I followed the news after the dreadful earthquake, but being halfway across the world from you news from elsewhere soon drops out of sight. I'm sorry your bishop has come under such attack, but he is right. Sometimes things are too badly damaged and we must move on and build new, as was done in Coventry after the cathedral was bombed in the war. Prayers of course.

    1. Welcome to my blog Perpetua.
      I think we can draw a lot of inspiration from examples like Coventry. Sadly, I suspect some people can't see past their own grief.

      Your prayers are appreciated.