Rev Chris Weekly Update 11/09
QUEEN ELIZABETH II 1926-2022
It was with great sadness that we received the news yesterday of the death of Her Majesty after 70 years as Queen of Commonwealth and Country. This is a huge collective loss that will impact us at a time when there is such uncertainty sweeping our nation, and, indeed, the world. The Queen has been a stabilizing influence across many decades and is engrained in every aspect of our lives, not just in the ceremony but also in the day to day such as on our currency and our postage stamps.
In her stabilizing influence she has managed to find a balance between the formal and informal. I am sure we all remember the part she played in the 2012 Olympics and the James Bond sequence with Daniel Craig, and then more recently at the Platinum Jubilee celebrations and the appearance with Paddington Bear. She has also been very clear about the importance of her Christian faith and the strength that that has given her to carry out her God ordained duties.
It was not that many weeks ago that myself, Fiona and Jackie took some of the youth group to Westminster Abbey. We saw the chair in which Her Majesty was crowned, and the spot in the Abbey where that took place, the Cosmati Pavement – we were all struck by the poignant painting in the gallery, by the artist Ralph Heimans, which depicts the Queen wearing her State dress and robe, alone in the Abbey, and standing at that spot where this all began so many years ago.
As we give thanks for her long reign, and longer life, I have no doubt that many will want to pay their respects in one way or another. Some may travel to London others may seek out their local church. Here at St Nicholas Church the building will be open, as usual, for private prayer and reflection and all are welcome to light a candle, at the candle stand, in memory of Her Majesty. Flowers and tributes may be left outside, under the cross on the front wall – these will be removed prayerfully, a few days after the funeral.
A Book of Condolence is available in the church porch for those wishing to leave a personal tribute. This will close at 5pm on the day following the funeral. There is also the availability of an online National Book of Condolence which can be accessed here;
With regard to our services these will continue as usual but will reflect the current situation as we go into this period of mourning before the State Funeral. These services are as follows;
SUNDAY 11th SEPTEMBER
8am Holy Communion
10am Oasis Café
SUNDAY 18th SEPTEMBER
10am Oasis Communion
6pm Service of Thanksgiving for the Life of Queen Elizabeth II
As you see from that list, we have a mix of the formal and informal this Sunday with communion at 8am and Café style service at 10am. Both services will give due reverence but in a different way, and I believe that that accords with the balance that the Queen herself maintained in her monarchy.
You will also see that there is an extra service on the evening of next Sunday as we prepare for the events of the following day. Whilst, at the time of writing, it has not been officially announced that Monday 19th September will be the State Funeral we can be reasonably confident that that will be the case.
Whether you can attend any of these services, or none, I do hope that you find a way that is right for you to remember the life and work of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Please also take time to remember in your prayers all of the Royal Family mourning their loss and, of course, as he is now, King Charles III.
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.
- I shall be away for the next couple of weeks and therefore Katie, in the office will send out the weekly email with details of services and events, but without my usual editorial and we will not be delivering any paper copies for that period – if you are one of those that receives the update this way please do not panic as this update will have sufficient advance information of all that is going on.
Sunday 9th October, 10am, is our Harvest Oasis Parade Service and you are invited to bring non perishable gifts for our Foodbank supplies that go to various good causes. The previous Sunday, 3rd October, at our 10am Holy Communion service, we will also have a Harvest theme and you are also welcome to bring gifts along to that service for distribution.
There will be a COMMEMORATION SERVICE, in St Nicholas Church on Sunday 6th November at 2.30pm. At that service the names will be read out of those that have died in the past year and for whom funerals have been conducted by me or Rev Anthea. All are welcome to attend and if you would like the name of a loved one commemorated then please let me know.
Just in case some of you have not heard, it was announced in church last Sunday that I will be taking early retirement in February next year (You can read the full text below). My last service at St Paul’s will be on Sunday 12th February and then my last service at St Nicholas will be the following Sunday, the 19th February. There will, of course, be conversations about next steps and I will do my best to keep you updated with any news.
It has been a joy over the last 9 years being in this place and spending time developing ministry here, even in challenges circumstances such as pandemics, but the time has now come for me to think about the future direction of my own ministry.
After much thought, and prayer, I feel that my time here has reached a natural conclusion and therefore have taken the decision that on reaching my 62nd birthday in February 2023 I am to be taking early retirement.
This is not an end to my ministry just a new direction as I will continue to carry out duties in one way or another. It is also a new direction for St Nicholas Church and the next few months offer a great opportunity to prepare for whatever lays ahead, and I certainly intend to help in those preparations.