14.09.2022 – the four bishops have written to to all licensed clergy, LLMs and church officers in the diocese to thank them for responding so well in the days following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Dear friends,

Thanks to all who have responded so well to the remarkable and moving events of the last seven days. Parish churches, chaplaincies and schools have offered comfort and consolation, practical support, spaces to grieve in, and opportunities to come together and reflect.

This has meant a great deal of additional work for headteachers, clergy, wardens, lay ministers and many volunteers. We know that this is service gladly offered to God and to communities at this key moment in the life of the nation, but we also want to express thanks and appreciation for your faithfulness in this demanding ministry.

The period of mourning will of course continue with our late Queen lying in state in Westminster Hall and the state funeral on Monday. So far there has been an extraordinary outpouring of public affection and grief. There will be major civic services in each of our three counties over the coming weekend and, of course, in many other places. Seven days are not enough to begin to take in the significances of the Queen’s death and the accession of King Charles in the life of our nation.

One thread which is emerging is the profound importance of Christian faith, both to the late Queen and also to our new King. There is a sense of the nation leaning into the resources of the Christian faith as we grieve together and learn to look forward in hope

This will awaken for some people in every community a new search for faith and meaning or a desire to return as adults to a church they may have known as children. The coming weeks and months will be a time to offer both a warm welcome to seekers and strangers in our worship and opportunities to learn and re-learn what it means to be a Christian.

There will also be many people in our communities for whom the national mourning stirs afresh their own grief for loved ones who have died and who will therefore need pastoral care and draw strength from the Church.

Please pray for us in the opportunities we have to bear witness to the love of God in Christ, and we will pray for you. In the words of 1 Peter:

“Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ.” – 1 Peter 4.11

May God bless you in your service in these times,