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Remembrance During A Time Of Change

Anglican Diocese Of Christchurch

Media Release

Remembrance During A Time Of Change

The Anglican Bishop of Christchurch says the second anniversary of the February 2011 earthquake is at a time of enormous change for the city, and at a crucial turning point for a community that faces physical, mental and spiritual exhaustion on a daily basis.

The Rt. Reverend Victoria Matthews says February 22nd is a time for remembrance but also a time for hope and healing. Bishop Victoria says hope is what keeps us going but it is hard when the grief is also so present.

“What makes it hard is that the aftershocks continue both literally and metaphorically. We are surrounded by the visual reminders of February 22nd and that brings back the memories of the day and its aftermath. Then of course we also are interacting with tourists who are seeing it all for the first time. That can be an interesting juxtaposition,” says Bishop Victoria

With the civic agenda dominated by the city rebuild often the question of what will replace a building is asked before the former structure has come down. Bishop Victoria says such rapid change brings emotions and exhaustion as well as excitement. “But let’s be honest, community is about people more than buildings and so ‘fun days’ in the various neighbourhoods have done much to build relationships and sustain a sense of community,” says Bishop Victoria.

Bishop Victoria suggests families and individuals take the opportunity on the anniversary to pause and remember what they have lost, question how they are different because of the past two years, and to know what they are thankful for. “Gratitude strengthens us, just as grief and sorrow tend to deplete our energy and will. In a spirit of thankfulness, 22 February may be a good day to resolve to volunteer to assist those who are still hugely disadvantaged by the destruction,” says Bishop Victoria.

While there is a great deal of change in the central business district Bishop Victoria says it is important to call for an equal focus on the Eastern suburbs. People who had homes two years ago are still waiting and they are just one example of the humanity that can be overlooked when the city becomes focused on re-building the centre.


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