The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has sent a message of condolence to the Anglican Archbishop of Japan, the Most Revd Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu, expressing support and prayers for the Japanese people following the recent 8.9 earthquake and tsunami.
Dr Williams wrote: "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."
He added: "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."
The Methodist Church said yesterday: "Inevitably the numbers of dead and injured are increasing hour by hour. Our Mission Partners in Japan are safe and well, though worried about people they know in the north and on the coast. Many areas are without power and the government is asking people not to use the phone network so contact cannot be made with family members."
The development agencies of the British churches are responding with practical support.
Christian Aid said on 11 March 2011: "Our partners in the Philippines are already helping to evacuate the most vulnerable coastal communities as they brace themselves for a tsunami wave at least one metre high along the east coast.
"We are also watching the tsunami as it heads towards central and south America where partners are on alert and ready to respond if needed."
The Methodists have issued a prayer for the situation, which reads, in part, as follows:
God of love,
Be with the people of Japan as they cope with this earthquake,
God of peace
Be with those in fear of aftershocks and tsunami,
God of hope
Be with those who grieve and those waiting for news
God of all
Be with the island nations at the mercy of the sea,
God of the Church
Be with your people as they show your love and care.
We pray especially for our brothers and sisters in the United Church of Christ in Japan.