Thank you to readers, including commenters who have actually commented about this, for your prayers and support for people in Christchurch and surrounds following a massive earthquake here this morning at 4.40 am. It was the biggest earthquake I have ever experienced, and I have never experienced repetitive aftershocks such as we have felt throughout today. The day has seemed surreal in various ways: damage here there and everywhere, yet the sun has been shining pleasantly; I thought I was going to be locked into our annual Synod from 7.30 am - 9 pm, but instead have had a kind of unexpected holiday as we have postponed the Synod; seeing many buildings undamaged (What disaster?) and then coming upon devastation (Wow!). If there is one theme to emerge from the day re the devastation it has been "old brick buildings, including chimneys and walls". All built before our building regulations toughened up re earthquakes. Modern brick constructions seem to have been fine.
Unfortunately one building to suffer is the church hall of St Mary's Merivale, where Theology House's offices, classroom and library are located. While our rooms are fine - just a few books on the floor and cracks in the ceilings, the building itself has lost lots of ... you guessed it, bricks. Not sure what the engineers will say about that.
Some of our vicars and vestries will have more on their plate going forward than others. One such will be in the Parish of St John's Latimer Square. Picture below. Other pictures of devastation round Christchurch are here.