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  • Chris Williams

A Pastoral Letter on the Passing of Her Majesty

My dear friends,

Yesterday, 8th September, an era of our nation’s life came to an end, with the death of Elizabeth the Second. But as surely as day follows night, a new era now begins, with Charles our new and undoubted King. We will have time for grieving and for giving thanks in the days and weeks ahead and I hope that, as part of that, you will come to St Mary’s, which will be a focal point for our remembrances.

As a community centred on Jesus Christ, we can draw strength and inspiration from the knowledge that Elizabeth was a woman of deep personal faith, someone who read the scriptures and took heart from the teaching of Christ and the promise of eternal life. So we will pray for her, that she may be open to, that she may now experience, what she anticipated in prayerful wonder in this life.

Like you, I am aware that some of our youngest children enjoyed celebrating Her Majesty’s Jubilee, only a few months ago. This may be the first time some of them have experienced the death of someone they know and relate to: we must pray for them especially and give them a lead through our response to this event, that God is now allowing her to rest from the long years of her reign.

As I write this letter to you, we have not heard as yet when the public Proclamation will take place at York House, following the Proclamation at St James’. We are also yet to finalise what events and services will take place at St Mary’s over the coming days. This I am sure you will understand.

Despite Her Majesty’s age and increasing frailty, her death has still taken us by surprise. I will write to you again if I may, with an update on what will be happening at St Mary’s, when I as Mayor’s Chaplain, with the Mayor and other representatives of the community, will meet on the steps of York House for the Proclamation, when special services will take place at St Mary’s and how you can sign the Book of Remembrance in our church.

In the meantime, let us pray for Charles our new King, that he may have the gifts and strength he will need in the coming days and for his family and those who support him; let us pray for our new Prime Minister and all those with new responsibilities in our land; for the people of the Commonwealth and for those in other lands also grieving for their monarch; let us pray for the children for whom this may be the first experience of death, that we would present it to them in a positive way and speak of the promise Christ gives us of the gift of eternal life; but mainly, let us pray for a woman we all felt we knew and are moved now with love for. Let us give thanks for the years she shared with us, the kindness she engendered, the ability to forgive and move on from past hurts which she exemplified, the continuity she offered, the service she gave. As we remember her faith and trust in God, let us all pray for her soul as she now experiences the fuller life of another Kingdom.

In Jesus’s name. AMEN.


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