Rescuers help an earthquake survivor in Amatrice, central Italy.
Adapted from Gavin Drake/ACNS
The chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council has asked Anglicans to pray for the people of Italy and Myanmar after earthquakes struck on Aug. 24.
Officials place the death toll in Italy at 247, a figure expected to rise as the search operation continues in central Italy around the town of Amatrice. The death toll in Myanmar is much smaller, at 4.
The Most Rev. Paul Kwong of Hong Kong, chairman of the ACC, has written letters of condolence to the Rt. Rev. Robert Innes, Bishop of the Church of England’s Diocese in Europe, and to the Most Rev. Stephen Than Myint Oo, Primate of the Church of the Province of Myanmar. He asked that the bishops “assure the victims of the Anglican Communion’s solicitude.”
Archbishop Kwong has called on Anglicans around the world to “grieve with the people of the two countries and to pray earnestly for the victims, the injured, and the deceased” and to “ask the Lord to grant peace and consolation to the residents in the afflicted areas as they step out of the shadow and rebuild their homes.”
The Rev. Canon Jonathan Boardman, a Church of England priest based in Rome, said that congregations in Assisi and Macerata are close to the quake’s epicenter. A visiting choir from St. Mary’s Church in Maldon, Essex, was closer to the area of devastation, but all are reported to be safe.
The choir “sang Choral Evensong at the Sanctuary of Santa Rita in Cascia and remembered the casualties and injured in prayer,” he said. “Our own congregations have checked in and individuals all seem safe and sound.
“Everyone has suffered from real shock and sadness at the scale of the tragedy, however, and those with long memories and long associations here think back to the devastation at Assisi in 1997.
“Italians are remarkably resilient in the face of these circumstances, and their highly developed structures from Civil Protection over and above the emergency services swing rapidly and effectively into action. There will be time in the future for our churches to make financial contributions to the disaster fund as we have done in the past. But for now we are all praying for the survivors and those who are still desperately seeking them.”
Pope Francis cancelled his usual address at the weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square Aug. 24. He instead led the congregation in prayer, and expressed his sorrow about a report that the quake had destroyed Amatrice and that children were among the dead.