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Victoria Jones/PA Wire
UK News

Queen Elizabeth II: Tributes from Church of England bishops and deans

by Premier Journalist

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “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.” 

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell said: “I join with many throughout our country and beyond as we mourn the death of Her Majesty The Queen.  Throughout her long reign, and in all the confusions and challenges of a changing world, Her Majesty has been a constant, faithful presence. 

“In 2014, Her Majesty remarked, “Christ’s example has taught me to seek, to respect and value all people of whatever faith or none.” The Queen’s gift to engage with everyone whom she met and the ability to make them feel at ease was a remarkable skill and one which showed a deep connection to the people she served and a desire to live out Jesus’ teaching. On the occasions I had the pleasure of meeting Her Majesty, I can testify to the warmth and joy she brought to every occasion. But most of all, it was the resolute reality of her faith that struck me powerfully. 

“In Her Majesty’s first Christmas broadcast, ahead of her Coronation she asked the nation, whatever their religion, to pray that God would give her wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promise she would be making and to faithfully serve God and us all the days of her life. 

“That is most definitely a prayer that has been answered. Her service to our nation and Commonwealth has been exemplified by her devotion to her duty, which has always been offered with joy. Underpinning this has been her deep faith in God and in her we have witnessed God’s faithfulness at work. 

“Her Majesty leaves a remarkable legacy which not only lives on in this country, but stretches across the Commonwealth and the rest of the world. Her desire to bring people together and use her role to build up communities and wider society has been a cornerstone of her reign. 

“Do join me in praying for members of the Royal Family over the coming weeks as the God who sustained Her Majesty throughout her life, guides them and brings them comfort. Above all, we pray also for our new King in the responsibilities that now rest upon him. 

“The Queen was not shy in speaking of her faith and the hope and strength she found in Jesus Christ. At the heart of the good news of God is that through the death and resurrection of his son Jesus, the promise of new and eternal life is offered to us all. This belief, this hope, sustained our Queen and as she rejoices in that promise fulfilled so we too can draw comfort and hope from it. 

“Many of us will struggle to imagine the life of our nation without the Queen. Her constancy and faithfulness has been deeply reassuring in a world that has changed so much. We give thanks for the Queen’s example, devotion and huge achievements. She found stability, perseverance and confidence in Jesus Christ who was the source of her hope and peace. May that also be true for each of us and for our nation; and may our dearly departed Queen rest in peace and rise in glory.” 

The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, said: “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.” 

The Bishop of Dover, Rose Hudson-Wilkin, said: “It is with enormous sadness that we have received the news of the passing of our beloved Queen. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.  

“In paying tribute to Her Majesty, I want to begin with the words of the poem she gave to her father when she was only 13 years of age and which he used. The poem was quoted, by her father, King George VI in his Christmas Day broadcast in 1939 - the year the country went to war for the second time. It goes like this: 

'I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, 
"Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown." 
And he replied; 
"Go out into the darkness, put your hand into the hand of God. 
"That shall be, to you, better than light and safer than a known way.’ 

“It is with some sadness that I address you because we have lost the Mother of our Nation. The longest serving, most hard-working monarch in British history. 
“She has been a confidant and advisor to over a dozen British prime ministers and many other heads of state. 
“She has been the supreme head of the Church of England - and this is not just another title that she held. She believed in God – worshipped weekly, prayed daily. She cared about the life of the Church and the nation, and she also respected those of other faiths too. 
“When I was invited to Windsor Castle for a meal and an overnight stay, as we were being shown around, we lingered in the chapel as she explained the damage through the fire and the restoration work that was done. 
“In the library, she showed me the paperwork relating to the details of the disestablishment of the Church in Jamaica - which at one stage was known as 'the Church of England in Jamaica'. 
“When I learned of my appointment as one of her chaplains, and enquired about how this came about, I was told that when my name was mentioned she smiled and said: “Oh, I know her!” That placed a smile on my face. 
“Her ability to put one at ease was paramount. 
“That was all that we saw of her but - like so many - she was also a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother. Beloved by her nearest and dearest. 
“Our national family mourns with her family, for she is irreplaceable. And in the grief of her passing may we comfort one another and trust in God’s peace that surpasses all understanding. Let us, like her, put our hands into the hand of God.” 

The Bishop of Gloucester, Rachel Treweek, said: “It is with deep sadness that we hear the news of the Queen’s death. As our sense of loss ripples out across the nation, commonwealth and world, we give thanks for a life well lived. Whether we met her in person, saw her from a distance, or simply encountered her in our homes in newspapers, on the radio or on screen, we knew her as our Queen. We also knew that her leadership and dedication to her people was rooted in her Christian faith. 

“As a follower of Jesus Christ the Queen embodied the call to love God and neighbour. And so in these days of sadness and sorrow may we reflect this same commitment in our homes, communities and nation as the Queen said in her Christmas Day speech of 1957 (the first one to be televised): 

“Today we need a special kind of courage, not the kind needed in battle but a kind which makes us stand up for everything that we know is right, everything that is true and honest. We need the kind of courage that can withstand the subtle corruption of the cynics so that we can show the world that we are not afraid of the future.’’ 

The Bishop of Bath & Wells, Michael Beasley, and the Bishop of Taunton, Ruth Worsley, said in a joint tribute: “On behalf of the Diocese of Bath and Wells and the people of Somerset, Bishop Ruth and we would like to express our sorrow at the news of the death of Her Majesty The Queen. 

“When she was just 21, the future Queen Elizabeth said: ‘I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service’. Today, her long life has come to an end.  

“We give thanks for her life. A life of service and daily steadfastness in which the light of Jesus Christ has shone throughout the years. We now commend her to His care and keeping. 

“For almost all of us, we cannot recall life before The Queen’s steady, consistent presence among us, and we are reeling at her loss.

“Our churches are open for you. To light a candle, say a prayer, sign a book of condolence, lay some flowers, talk to someone about your feelings and thoughts. We are here for you. 

“Her loss will be felt most heavily by her family, and we remember them in our prayers in the coming days and weeks. 

“Let us all give thanks for Queen Elizabeth II. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.” 

The Bishop of Birmingham, David Urquhart said: “It is with great sadness we hear the announcement of the death of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. 

“I join with the many tributes that give thanks for her life and service, adding my condolences and prayers for The King and the whole Royal Family and as the Nation, Commonwealth and people across the world mourn with them.  

“The Late Queen’s extraordinary life of service has been an inspiration and example for many generations. Her Christian faith was lived personally and publicly everyday of her life and was expressed most clearly in her compassionate and unifying Messages to the nation. 

“Churches, other Places of Worship and communities throughout Birmingham will be offering prayers of thanksgiving and condolence over the coming days.” 

The Bishop of Peterborough, Donald Allister, said: “I am so sad to hear of the death of our much-loved Queen. 

“She was an outstanding example of self-giving leadership, of Christian faith and values affirmed and lived out, of deep wisdom and great encouragement. 

“Those who were privileged to meet her (and in my case to stay with her and Prince Philip at Sandringham for a weekend) can testify that she made us feel comfortable and valued. 

“In September 2015 I had the joy of speaking for the Bishops in the House of Lords, paying tribute to Queen Elizabeth on the day she became our longest-serving monarch. She has of course passed a number of milestones since then. 

“On behalf of Peterborough Diocese, I offer our deep sympathies, and the assurance of our prayers, to our new King, and to all the royal family. We mourn and grieve too. 

“God save the King.” 
Tributes from Deans

The Dean of St Albans, the Very Revd Jo Kelly-Moore, who is the Chair of the Association of English Cathedrals, said: “It is with great sadness that we have received the news of the death of Her Majesty The Queen. 

The Queen has been a beacon of hope, faith and unity in our country and throughout the world; a constant in the midst of so much change. 

“Our Queen has also been a great support to the cathedrals of this land and the Commonwealth.  Here in the United Kingdom every cathedral is part of her rich story as she has travelled the length and breadth of this nation during her long and happy reign.  So too, we have been strengthened and supported by her prayers.  

“Now the cathedrals will join our prayers as, together, we give thanks to God for Her Majesty The Queen’s extraordinary life, founded on her faith and seen in her gracious leadership and selfless service to us all.   

“As in the cathedrals of this land we have prayed God’s blessing upon The Queen every day of her reign, we do so again now, and we pray for her family at this sad time. 

“And we invite you, her people, to join us. All our cathedrals are open so please come and add your voices, and prayers, in remembrance and thanks. " 

The Dean of Wells, John Davies, said: “Wells Cathedral has received the news of the death of Her Late Majesty The Queen with huge sadness. Hers was a life of faith, duty and loyalty that brought such reassurance and a sense of unity to so many. She has been a source of constancy and strength to many throughout her reign and has provided stability in a world that has changed so much. Our prayers are for the King, the Royal Family, and loved ones. The doors of this Cathedral stand open for all who wish to offer prayers and condolences, light candles and find solace as this nation mourns the passing of someone so very special. May our late and beloved Queen rest in peace and rise in glory.” 

The Dean of Southwark, Andrew Nunn said: “It is with huge sorrow that we received the news of the death of Her Majesty The Queen. Her long reign and careful and loving leadership of our nations within this United Kingdom and across the Commonwealth has helped to create the people that we are. Our prayers, and the prayers of the community at Southwark Cathedral, are with His Majesty The King and the other members of the Royal Family and around the world all who will grieve her loss. 

“The Platinum Jubilee celebrations, so fresh in our memories, were an opportunity to show The Queen just how much we loved and respected her and how thankful we are for her 70 years on the throne as our gracious Sovereign Lady.   

“We are consoled that she died full of faith in her Risen Lord, Jesus Christ. Not only has she been a great monarch but an outstanding Christian, who has testified in word and deed to the one she served. May she receive her reward and rest in peace and rise in glory.” 

***Compiled by The Church of England

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