On 4th of September 2010 and 22nd February 2011 our beautiful city was struck by devastating earthquakes.
Churches across the city sprang into action to support those in need, offering comfort, hospitality and a place to pray. A meeting was quickly organised where stories were told and two hundred church leaders agreed to co-operate.
Since then, earthquake coordinators from a wide spectrum of churches have met regularly for support and to explore collaborative projects. It’s become known as the Canterbury Post Earthquake Churches Forum. Many key initiatives such as winter heating, Red-Zone door knocking, Government/NGO liaison and inter-church partnership have grown from the Forum.
New groups of church leaders began to meet. After one such occasion Steve Graham, Murray Robertson and Mike Dodge were approached to help provide a structure for deeper collaboration. It was apparent that rather than new central projects it would be better to discover grass-root schemes.
Collaboration would bring the many strands of activities together as organic movement rather than an organisation.
The concept of raranga (meaning weave) became a guiding metaphor. Leadership (rangatira) is he ability to weave the people together.
Te Raranga now exists as a space for support, collaboration and dreaming together for the future. Churches are discovering a new unity through working together in Christ-centred mission. This Maori proverb has become a key for us:
E hara taku toa, I te toa takitaho engari he toa taku tini
– My strength is not myself alone, but from the strength of the group.
This story appears in the City by City e-book. City by City aims to help connect, encourage and resource prayerful, relationally based, networking and mission in towns, cities and regions across the nation.