The Servant Queen. (Weekly email w/b 5th September)
Our screens and our papers have been filled with some amazing words this last twenty-four hours after the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. We’ve seen eulogies from family and friends, former Prime Ministers religious leaders, and from media correspondents, celebrities and staff. There’s a remarkable coming-together of the words and themes which emerge from the Queen’s life: service, duty, love, generosity, and wisdom all spring out of a life so well lived.
But it is to her faith that many of us will turn as we remember her life and mourn her death these next days. Mark Greene from LICC puts it characteristically well:
“She was a remarkable woman, and a remarkable monarch… but first and foremost she was a remarkable disciple of Christ. She offered us an extraordinary example of consistent godliness in one of the longest and most public global ministries in the history of the world.”
There was a remarkable winsomeness to her life and to her faith. As Vincent Nicholls, the Archbishop of Westminster, put it last night “the way she talked about her faith offended no one but attracted all.” I can think of times in my own life, and of others I know, where the opposite might be said. She told the world the inspiration that knowing and following Jesus had been to her, and left others around to ponder and decide if they too were interested in being inspired themselves.
There will be many more words to be spoken and memories to be shared these next days. Do please come and join us, either as part of the “open church” during the week or at one of our Sunday gatherings. You’ll find below initial details of what the next few days look like, and we’ll be updating that as soon as further details emerge. We’re wondering about showing the Queen’s funeral ‘live’ in church for those who would like to join in with others, though recognise some may prefer to watch at home with family and neighbours.
And so we are deeply grateful to God for every good gift that we have seen in the life of his servant Elizabeth. And may God grace our King in his reign as he graced his mother’s in hers.
Grace and peace
PS Looking ahead there are various other things coming up over the next few weeks, including the Big Sunday Lunch on 11th September, Womens Brunch on Saturday 17th September, and Apple Day on 1st October. More details on other occasions, or via our website.
Meole Brace Church has already been open the day after the death of Queen Elizabeth. It’s been good to welcome people on their way to and from school or work, Trinity Centre users, and those from across the local community. As above, we’ll be open for some time on Saturday and Sunday, then 9am to 3pm on Monday to Friday of next week. You can also come to Cafe Connect where there are some prayer cards and opportunities to write prayers and memories of the Queen.
The bell ringers rang today at 12pm, and will be ringing at various times over these next days in line with national protocol. Thank you to them for all that they bring to the life of this church at these important times.
Our services this Sunday will be opportunity to be thankful for the life of Her Majesty the Queen. We will be keeping our usual pattern of 9am, 11am (all ages this week) and 6.30pmat Meole Brace, 10.30amat Christ the King Radbrook Green, and 10.30am at Belle Vue Church. Our gatherings will obviously have a slightly quieter tone to them, and opportunities to bring both our gratitude and our grief as we remember the Queen together.
Our online provision returns more fully this coming Sunday. Once a month we have decided to record the 9am service and for that to be livestreamed “as live” at 11am. That then means that the 11am all-age gathering this Sunday will not be livestreamed, which opens up greater possibilities for inclusion and interaction of all ages.
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