The Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand estimates it has sustained close to $8 million in damage to its Christchurch church properties. 28 of the Presbyterian Church’s Canterbury church properties were damaged in the 4 September earthquake and insurers are working with brokers and the churches to process claims.
The historic St Paul's Trinity Pacific Presbyterian Church in Christchurch, damaged by fire in August last year, suffered further damage in the earthquake. The church received a Christchurch City Council Heritage Incentive Grant in June 2009, and celebrated the commencement of its conservation and maintenance programme in April 2010. St Paul's church building restoration is still planned to go ahead.
The new Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand the Right Rev Peter Cheyne says that while the Church is concerned to see so many of its places of worship damaged, these can be rebuilt or replaced and the Church’s main concern is for the people of Christchurch.
"Churches with damaged property are coping by being innovative and holding meetings and services in their halls or joining with churches that have not been damaged. Our concern at this time is for those made homeless, suffering the disruption and stress from the ongoing effects of the earthquake and aftershocks."
Peter says that during the Sunday 3 October service of the Presbyterian Church’s General Assembly, currently being held in Christchurch, an offering will be taken up to go to the Canterbury Earthquake Appeal (Mayoral Relief Fund). One of the international guests at General Assembly, the Rev Tae-jin Bae from the Presbyterian Church of the Republic of Korea, has brought a US$5000 donation from his Church for the appeal.