"... For the Knox Presbyterian Church on Bealey Avenue, the temporary loss of all ability to function onsite meant that even the simplest of administrative tasks required a creative solution. Initially, the weekly orders of service were emailed from the minister's computer to a congregation member in Amberley, who photocopied them at the local Library, and drove back into town with them on Sundays! Most other aspects of church life were also distinctly abnormal at this point. The congregation was supporting the family of church elder, Brian Coker, who had been seriously injured in the collapse of the PGC building. The church sanctuary, located on the corner of a busy intersection, was now a transparent ruin, with the brick walls fallen away, leaving the vaulted wooden ceiling and columns exposed. Congregational worship was relocated to the auditorium at Elmwood Normal School, an arrangement which lasted for two months. The church was keen to get their facilities up and running again quickly, in particular to allow Lifeline Christchurch to resume operating from the Knox Centre. Fortunately, this was possible by the end of May, when clearance was given to use the Hall and Chapel, allowing Knox to hold worship services onsite once more and to lend meeting rooms to other community groups. The sanctuary however, was partially demolished for safety's sake, and the church had to wait until late 2013 before gaining consent to begin the extensive restoration required.
The relocations and adjustments described in the preceding chapters were accepted by church folk as 'just what you do' but it hasn't always been easy. Nothing shakes up routines more than a crisis, as Anglican Priest and Counsellor Revd Debbie Smith observed. "When things happen which we have never experienced before, that we can't make sense of, [...] it threatens what we understand of the world. We lose our dignity as people, [and] our sense of being in control. I think the reality is that we are not in control at all, anyway. But we like to think we are." Therefore, functioning in 'the new normal' involves accepting a degree of change and uncertainty, and the fact that things are going to be out of kilter for a while..."
Extract from Section 2, Chapter 4, Functioning in the New Normal
"Melissa Parsons has given us a dramatic account of the Canterbury earthquakes, with a number of inspirational snapshots of the response of the churches to these overwhelming events. It is a real gift to have this record, and I trust this book will be an inspiration and encouragement to everyone who reads it."