11 August, 2017

Memorial Service – Disaster Remembrance

This service was used for a Christchurch Earthquake Memorial on the 1st March 2011

Introduction, naming and purpose

Welcome to this place of peace. My name is Reverend Dion Blundell,
I am the Vicar of Papakura Anglican Parish.

At the end of this short service, I would ask that you leave in silence, there is no hurry to leave, and you may leave when it feels right.

We are here today for a variety of reasons, but mainly we are here because of the earthquake in Christchurch which has touched us in some way. We realise that in these moments when we struggle to make sense of things, that it is better to be together than alone.

At moments like these we take as our strength the words of Jesus, and we remember Jesus’ final moments with the disciples before he withdrew, he said:

Matthew 28:28 “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

As we face the uncertainty of life, as we realise that life is fragile, precious and to be valued, we ask why does this happen? Is there another way? And of course we come up with no good answers. We instead turn to scripture and of remember Jesus’ time in the garden of Gethsamene before he died, where Luke remembers this of Jesus:

Luke 22:39-44 Jesus went out to the Mount of Olives, as he often did, and his disciples went with him. When they got there, he told them, “Pray that you won’t be tested.” Jesus walked on a little way before he knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you will, please don’t make me suffer by having me drink from this cup. But do what you want, and not what I want.” Then an angel from heaven came to help him. Jesus was in great pain and prayed so sincerely that his sweat fell to the ground like drops of blood.

As we struggle in life, we know that God was prepared to die in love for all of us, that Jesus did this willingly, and that God in Jesus has experienced all of the highs and lows in life. We know we are not alone as God has experienced what we are experiencing. We know that the love and grace of God are sufficient to carry us.

We now reach out to God, to ask for help to carry us onwards. As a way of doing this, we will sing together a song.

HYMN: Be still and know that I am God

Be still and know that I am God. (x3)
I am the God that healeth thee. (x3)
In thee, O God, I put my trust. (x3)


Hear the words of Jesus Christ our Saviour: – Jn 11:25
I am the resurrection and the life;
even in death, anyone who believes in me, will live.
-so- – Jn 14:1
Set your troubled hearts at rest.
Trust in God always; trust also in me.

Let us pray:
God our Comforter,
you are a refuge and a strength for us,
a helper close at hand in times of distress.

Help us so to hear the words of our faith that our fear is dispelled,
our loneliness eased and our hope reawakened.

May your Holy Spirit lift us above our natural sorrow,
to the peace and light of your constant love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber. He who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time on and for evermore

Candle lighting

There is an opportunity to light a tea light now in remembrance of those who died in Christchurch, and those who have yet to be found.

Use the Lord’s Prayer as a way of drawing the time to a close…

The Lord’s prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.


At times like these we look for a strength and a power beyond ourselves, and Psalm 121 has much to say to us about this desire. We come to a time now where we will pray to God to support us in our grief for those who have died. And we pray for strength for those working to rescue and recover people.

There will be a short silence between each prayer for reflection.

So let us pray…

God of love, draw near to all who mourn today,
especially to those who have lost friends and family in Christchurch,
may they know the comfort of your love.

We pray that you will use us as bearers of your love,
and where possible to help and support each other in our grief.

We also remember before you all who mourn and all who suffer.


Lord, hear our prayer
And let our cry come unto you.

Give us patience and faith in this time of our loss,
so that we may come to understand the wonder of your mercy,
and the mystery of your love.


Lord, hear our prayer
And let our cry come unto you.

We pray for the Search and Rescue Teams,
we pray that they will be kept safe,
we pray for the strength and resolve that it takes to look for survivors,
and we pray for strength and courage as bodies are recovered.


Lord, hear our prayer
And let our cry come unto you.

We pray for the people who are now trying to rebuild their lives again,
we pray for resolve, strength and sensible boundaries,
and we pray that your love and compassion will flow through people
as they work together;
may the community be strengthened.


Lord, hear our prayer
And let our cry come unto you.

Give us such a vision of your purpose,
and such an assurance of your love and power,
that we may ever hold fast the hope which is in Jesus Christ, our Lord.


Lord, hear our prayer
And let our cry come unto you.

We pray in silence for our own needs,
and others needs known to us.


Lord, hear our prayer
And let our cry come unto you.

Let us pray:
God of peace, let us your people know, that at the heart of turbulence there is an inner calm that comes from faith in you.

Keep us from being content with things as they are, that from this central peace there may come a creative compassion, a thirst for justice, and a willingness to give of ourselves in the spirit of Christ.


2 minutes silence is observed

The Blessing of Peace

Go forth into the world in peace, be strong and of good courage,
hold fast to that which is good.

Love and serve the Lord with singleness of heart,
rejoicing in the power of the Spirit;
and the peace of the Lord be always with you. Amen.