We add the people of Haiti to our prayers this night.
They experienced the horrors of an earthquake today. It occurred approximately 10 miles from Port-au-Prince early this afternoon. Strong shaking with was recorded in Port-au-Prince. It was also felt in Cuba, Jamaica, Venezuela and the bordering country of the Domincan Republic.
The US Geological Survey recorded at least six aftershocks in the two hours after the main earthquake. All measured over 4.5.
According to a member of the US Geological Survey, based on the strength and location of the quake, about three million people would have been affected. Additionally, since the quake occurred under land rather than water, structures and people on the surface were directly exposed to the tremors, particularly since the fault was quite shallow.
According to news reports, the last time an earthquake of this magnitude hit Haiti was in 1751.
According to a journalist on Haitian television, the buildings of the National Palace, the finance ministry, ministry of public works, the ministry of communication and culture, the Palace of Justice, the Superior Normal School, the Parliament, and the cathedral of Port-au-Prince have collapsed. Additionally, a hospital was reported to have collapsed. Communications are disrupted, with a Haitian diplomat saying, "Communication is absolutely impossible ... I've been trying to call my ministry and I cannot get through.
Members of St. Margaret's Church may remember The Rev. Laura Stanley who worshiped with us regularly several years ago. She was recently in Haiti, serving in local parishes and writing her thesis for doctors degree in ministry. Like many family and friends of the residents of Haiti, she waits tonight for more news.
+ O merciful Father, you have taught us in your holy Word that you do not willingly afflict or grieve the children of this world; Look with pity on the sorrow of your servants in Haiti for who our prayers are offered. Remember them, O Lord, in mercy, comfort them with a sense of your presence and goodness, grant them your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.