Easter

Queen Elizabeth II

Gracious God, we give thanks for the life of your servant Queen Elizabeth, for her faith and her dedication to duty.
Bless our nation as we mourn her death and may her example continue to inspire us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

PRAYER & WORSHIP
  • We shall be remembering our late Queen in our regular services on Sunday and praying for the whole family.  We shall also take the opportunity to sing ‘God save the King’ together at the start of our services.
  • We shall offer special prayers at Morning Prayer each day (apart from Tuesday) at 0830 in Holy Trinity starting from Friday, 9 September.
  • All our churches are open every day for silent prayer and reflection, and there is the opportunity to light a candle at Holy Trinity as well.
  • Prayers will be said at Holy Trinity as the bell tolls on Friday, 9 September at 1200.
  • On Saturday, 10 September at Holy Trinity there will no longer be the ‘Come and Sing’ event at 1030, but Martin will instead play some quiet and reflective organ music and there will be the opportunity to gather in prayer.

FLAG
This is already flying at half-mast at Holy Trinity, and will remain so until after the funeral.

BELLS
  • These will be tolled half-muffled at Holy Trinity and Westwood on Friday,9 September at 1200.
  • There will be open ringing to celebrate the Accession of King Charles III at Holy Trinity on Saturday, 10 September at 1400.
  • They will then be rung (half-)muffled at both churches until after the funeral.
 BOOKS OF CONDOLENCE
  • There is a Book of Condolence to sign at Holy Trinity on the Welcome desk.
  • There is an online Church of England Book here.
  • There is an online Wiltshire Book here.
So many have talked this evening about Her Majesty’s Christian faith and how it sustained her.  And this is what Archbishop Justin had to say:
It is with profound sadness that I join the nation, the Commonwealth and the world in mourning the death of Her Late Majesty The Queen. My prayers are with The King and the Royal Family. May God draw near them and comfort them in the days, weeks and months ahead.
“As we grieve together, we know that, in losing our beloved Queen, we have lost the person whose steadfast loyalty, service and humility has helped us make sense of who we are through decades of extraordinary change in our world, nation and society.
“As deep as our grief runs, even deeper is our gratitude for Her Late Majesty’s extraordinary dedication to the United Kingdom, her Realms and the Commonwealth. Through times of war and hardship, through seasons of upheaval and change, and through moments of joy and celebration, we have been sustained by Her Late Majesty’s faith in what and who we are called to be.
“In the darkest days of the Coronavirus pandemic, The Late Queen spoke powerfully of the light that no darkness can overcome. As she had done before, she reminded us of a deep truth about ourselves – we are a people of hope who care for one another. Even as The Late Queen mourned the loss of her beloved husband, Prince Philip, we saw once again evidence of her courage, resilience and instinct for putting the needs of others first – all signs of a deeply rooted Christian faith.
“As we sustain one another in the face of this challenge, our shared grieving will also be a work of shared reimagining. I pray that we commence this journey with a sense of Her Late Majesty’s faith and confidence in the future.
“As a faithful Christian disciple, and also Supreme Governor of the Church of England, she lived out her faith every day of her life. Her trust in God and profound love for God was foundational in how she led her life – hour by hour, day by day.
“In The Late Queen’s life, we saw what it means to receive the gift of life we have been given by God and – through patient, humble, selfless service – share it as a gift to others.
“Her Late Majesty found great joy and fulfilment in the service of her people and her God, “whose service is perfect freedom” (BCP). For giving her whole life to us, and allowing her life of service to be an instrument of God’s peace among us, we owe her a debt of gratitude beyond measure.
“The Late Queen leaves behind a truly extraordinary legacy: one that is found in almost every corner of our national life, as well as the lives of so many nations around the world, and especially in the Commonwealth.
“It was my great privilege to meet Her Late Majesty on many occasions. Her clarity of thinking, capacity for careful listening, inquiring mind, humour, remarkable memory and extraordinary kindness invariably left me conscious of the blessing that she has been to us all.
“In my prayers at this time I also give thanks for the marriage of The Late Queen and His Late Royal Highness Prince Philip. Theirs was an inspirational example of Christian marriage – rooted in friendship, nourished by shared faith, and turned outwards in service to others.
“May Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II rest in peace and rise in glory.”
 
And the Bishop of London:
To live in the service of others is not a popular thought in our society today. However, to serve others is one of the greatest things in life. It is precious and almost as rare. And like all precious things, it is costly. Service requires not so much physical strength as a strength of character. Her Majesty The Queen is an extraordinary example of a life lived in the service of others.
“Under the intense and relentless scrutiny of ever vigilant media, she has demonstrated a consistency of character, a commitment to service, a concern for others, and a clear deep Christian faith. She is after all known for many other things, for being head of state, mother, grandmother, formidable rider, wife of the Prince Philip, and a senior citizen who still worked over 40 hours a week.
“Even on her 21st birthday, she spoke to the Commonwealth and said, “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be short or long, shall be devoted to the service and the service of our great family, to which we all belong.” Her Majesty The Queen has exemplified this life of service in the dedication with which she has served this country over the whole of her lifetime. And she has served this country as a queen longer than any other monarch in history and has done so with utter dedication.
“Her Majesty was a truly remarkable person, with a remarkable Christian faith, about which she had increasingly been able to speak in recent years. In 1952, in her first Christian broadcast, looking forward to the coronation, she said this, “I want to ask you all, whatever your religion may be, to pray for me that on that day- to pray that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making and that I may faithfully serve Him and you all the days of my life.”
“She was a woman of faith. In her 2014 Christian broadcast, the queen described Jesus Christ as ‘an anchor in my life and a role model’. In a nation where faith is often contended and sometimes despised, she made no excuse for her own faith. And she did not hide it. On the contrary, it was the engine of her devotion to service.
“In an age that is, on one hand, increasingly secular, and on the other, fraught by religious conflicts, her approach was winsomely inclusive. She was the head of the Church yet in her speeches, she never tells anyone to go to church. Rather, she pointed to Jesus and how he expanded her capacity to love people with different beliefs. Overall, her approach has been testimonial, not argumentative. She told the world about the inspiration that Jesus had been for her in her own life and left others to decide if they were interested in being inspired themselves.
“And maybe her Majesty’s other rock was the Prince Philip, whom she described as her constant strength and guide. The two enjoyed the longest marriage in the history of the Commonwealth. The queen avowed her love and gratitude for Philip in 1997, in her golden wedding speech, saying, “He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliments. He has quite simply been my strength and my stay all these years. And I and his whole family, and this and many other countries owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know.”
“Wonderfully, Her Majesty The Queen’s example to the world has not been a dour, dutiful drudge, but of a woman who seemed to enjoy life – riding and horses and dogs and family. She didn’t have to invite a different Christian minister every weekend of her six-week Balmoral holiday to spend time with her family, but she did. She didn’t have to drive herself to the Sunday service in church on the Sandringham Estate when she was there, but she often did. She didn’t have to find out the names of the Sunday school prize winners and choose and present their prizes, but she did.
“A life lived in the service of others is a rare jewel. It is a jewel that she wore as a crown. We owe her much and Her Majesty will be greatly missed. My prayers are with the royal family at this time, and I pray that they may know God’s comfort and peace.
 
And finally, the Bishop of Salisbury:
It is with the most profound sadness that we mourn the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Almost all of us alive today have known only this great monarch as our Queen. Her life of service, of constancy and faithfulness, underpinned by her own very personal faith, has been an inspiration to people across the world. Seventy years ago, the Queen asked us to pray that God would grant her wisdom and strength: these prayers that were answered in abundance.
Now we continue to pray: for her family and all who grieve, and for all of us as we come to terms with the loss of our Queen. On behalf of all our worshipping communities and schools in the diocese as we commend Her Majesty in prayer into the loving arms of Jesus Christ her Saviour.
May she rest in peace and rise in glory.   
 
You can read other heartfelt tributes from our bishops here.     
 
Please do be in touch if you feel there is anything else which you would like to contribute.          
May God in his infinite love and mercy bring the whole Church, living and departed, to a joyful resurrection and the fulfilment of his eternal kingdom, and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always.   Amen.