Dear sisters and brothers,
We all knew this day would come, and great preparations have been made, but the sense of loss we now feel is heartfelt and genuine. We are in mourning. This is because we love, and true love comes from God.
There will be many words used in these days. One of them is passing – the passing of The Queen in death, and the passing of the crown to our new King. That sense of handing on is true not just for our new Monarch, but also the handing on of this great life of service in humility to our creator and redeemer, in whom Queen Elizabeth so wonderfully trusted. Hers was a life driven by duty and sustained by faith. Our duty in these days is to sustain our communities through prayer, witness, hospitality and hope in the resurrection.
You will have seen information on how to minister appropriately in the coming days on the diocesan website and especially on the Church of England website. We are officially advised that, for the purpose of calculating the timings in the table in the CofE’s Guidance for parish churches, D-Day is today, Friday the 9 September. The national church will ensure the guidance is kept up to date for each day of this period. Please keep an eye on this guidance and interpret it locally as you know best. The liturgical materials for use are good. It would be a blessing if our church buildings could be open for as long as is possible but again, you will know best what is possible and practical.
Sunday main worship clearly needs adapting to need. Silence is as powerful as many words. At this stage arrangements are still being made for representative services for the two main counties of the diocese, at the Cathedral and at Sherborne Abbey. Further details of these and other services will continue to be shared. The BBC will be broadcasting a Service of Prayer and Reflection from St Paul’s Cathedral that begins at 6.00pm this evening.
The statement by Archbishop Justin can be found here.
If you have a question or a concern, please do contact your Archdeacon, bishops or me and we will do our very best to respond swiftly. Do though follow the guidance and use local initiative in which we will support you.
We now have the opportunity to serve a fellow Christian in our faithful response. In so doing, we are rejoicing in the promises of God in Jesus Christ.
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.
May Elizabeth rest in peace and rise in glory.
Statement from The Bishop of Salisbury, The Rt Rev Stephen Lake on the death of Her Majesty The Queen
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 we commend Her Majesty in prayer into the loving arms of Jesus Christ her Saviour.
May she rest in peace and rise in glory.
Statement from The Rt Rev Karen Gorham, Bishop of Sherborne, on the death of Her Majesty The Queen
As a nation and as a church we stand in sorrow, alongside the royal family, to mourn the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Not only do we give thanks for a long life, but for an extra-ordinary devotion and dedication to our country and the commonwealth. The Queen has been a steady and secure presence in the life of our nation for as long as many of us can remember, and it will be hard to imagine life without her. She has demonstrated enormous fortitude, grace and courage through decades of change and challenge, and will continue to be an example for all of us of a life lived in generous service and devotion to God. It is indeed a sad time and our condolences go especially to those who knew her best, as a loving mother, kind relation and friend.
Statement from The Rt Rev Dr Andrew Rumsey, Bishop of Ramsbury, on the death of Her Majesty The Queen
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has been our paragon of faith and service: the anchor of our national soul. As we grieve her death, cherish her memory, and pause at the passing of this long Elizabethan age, let us pray for the peace of Christ to dwell in our land, and steady us in irreplaceable loss. God save the King.