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Monday, 14 March 2011

Bishop of tsunami-hit diocese is safe, but uncontactable.

The Anglican Communion Office has released a message that the bishop of the diocese in the northern part of Japan devastated by last Friday's earthquake and tsunami, is said to be safe but uncontactable. Bishop Hiromichi Kato managed to get a message out to say that he is OK, but according Rikkyo University professor Revd Prof. Renta Nishihara no one has managed to contact him directly.  Prof. Nishihara added that Bishop Kato had revealed that many churches of Tohoku , including the cathedral suffered heavy damage.

Messages for support and offers of help for the Anglican Church in Japan have come in from around the world. Archbishop Rowan Williams sent a message of condolence to Archbishop Nathaniel Uematsu of the Nippon Sei Ko Kei, the Anglican Church in Japan, expressing support and prayers for the Japanese people. The Archbishop said:
"The news of the horrific earthquake in Japan has shocked us all. We await further and more detailed news with apprehension, but I want to say immediately that our hearts and our prayers go out to all who have been affected and that we as a church will do what we can to offer practical as well as spiritual support at this time of great suffering and great anxiety for so many. A message of sympathy and support has already gone to the Anglican Archbishop of Japan, and we intend to keep in contact about the crisis."
In our own diocese, the Revd Ken Dimmick, priest-in-charge of St Catherine's, Stuttgart, has many friends and contacts in the Japanese diocese most severely affected by this disaster. He has been trying to reach them. Finally on Sunday he received a reassuring message saying that most of his friends in the church are safe, although but some have not been reached as yet. "We know that you and God are very much by our side", said Fr Ken's correspondent.

This prayer has been prepared by the Church of England:
O loving Creator, bring healing and hope to those who, at this time, grieve, suffer pain, or who have been affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
We remember those who have died and we pray for those who mourn for them.
We pray for those who may be affected as the tsunami spreads across the Pacific.
May we all be aware of Your compassion, O God, which calms our troubled hearts and shelters our anxious souls.
May we pray with humility with our troubled and struggling brothers and sisters on earth.
May we dare to hope that through the generosity of the privileged, the destitute might glimpse hope, warmth and life again.
Through our Saviour Christ who lives with us, comforts us and soothes us. Amen.

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