Christchurch Cathedral before and after earthquake.

Maynard MacDonald, Chairperson of Subud Christchurch, sends this touching and informative letter. He includes financial information on donations and expenditures. We are extremely grateful for Maynard’s excellent reporting and for the outpouring of donations to assist our sisters and brothers in this devastated city, home to our not-so-distant World Congress.  Here is an excerpt from Maynard’s letter; you may read the complete text, write to wsa@subud.org.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This letter is to thank you for your generous support and indicate how we are now. Many of you who came to the World Congress will remember the wonderful testing and latihans in the Convention Centre with Ibu Rahayu. We heard this week that the building will have to be demolished, as well as the Crowne Plaza Hotel where Ibu and party stayed. This loss is emblematic of our situation. It occurs again and again throughout the city as the familiar, the useful, and the beautiful, are reduced to rubble.

Looking back, the first big earthquake in September caused terrible damage and changed the cityscape forever. There was a sense that, yes, we had been through something awful, but actually since the damage was so huge, and the loss of life so small, there was a sense that we were lucky… The 3rd big quake in June was a vicious jolt that brought down more buildings and wrecked big areas of the Port Hills suburbs. City wide, much that was repaired had to be repaired again. From this point, for many of us, the new normal became a state of bottomless fatigue, if not actual depression.

We have to fight this. And it is becoming clear to our Committee that our best weapon is to encourage the members to take breaks. With the money you have sent us we support respite intervals for families to get out of town and escape the constant aftershocks, to escape the fear that the next one will be another big one, to get a good night’s sleep, to see a another landscape with its own sweetness untainted by destruction. We sincerely thank you for this practical blessing.

So how is the group?… I have a secret list of active members. To make my list, one has to do any of the following things: come to latihan regularly, contribute money to the group, or come to working bees. Before the quakes – by my admittedly ruthless reckoning – we had 59 active members. By the time everyone leaves who is leaving, we will lose 13 members and be down to 46 active members. In other words the quakes have cost us almost a quarter of our membership. So to be blunt, it is very hard to live here. It is scary, expensive, and depressing. But however uncomfortable it may be, we are witnesses to God’s Power and would rather be here than anywhere else in the world. So thank you for helping us stick it out.