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Diocesan bishops express their thanks for the Queen’s life and faith

09 September 2022


BISHOPS have paid tribute to the late Queen, describing her as a source of strength to the nation, and giving thanks for the Christian faith that sustained her during her 70-year reign.

The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, said in a video message that the Queen had been “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 had not hid her faith, Bishop Mullally said. “On 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 Jesus had been for her in her life and left others to decide if they were interested in being inspired themselves.”

The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, said that Queen Elizabeth’s “devotion to her duties and responsibilities” had been “firmly rooted in her deep personal faith in Jesus Christ as her Lord and Saviour”.

He continued: “We give thanks to God for her, knowing that she rests in peace and will rise in glory. Our prayers are with our new monarch, King Charles, all the Royal Family and our nation in this time of sadness and grief.”

The Bishop of Dover, the Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, who was a chaplain to the Queen, described the late Queen as “the Mother of our Nation”, and the “longest serving, most hard-working monarch in British history”.

She continued: “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.”

The Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge, said: “She has been on the throne since before most of us were born and has been a constant source of strength, stability, and inspiration throughout her long reign. She has been the glue which has held this country and the Commonwealth together, and I give heartfelt thanks for her life of selfless service.

“That service was undergirded and enabled by a deep Christian faith, and we now commend her to the God in whom she believed, whose love is stronger than death, as we also pray for members of the Royal Family, particularly our new King.”

The Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, described Queen Elizabeth’s death as “a moment of bereavement for the whole nation, and for the Commonwealth”. He continued: “She will remain in our hearts and minds as an exceptional example of public duty and commitment to her high calling, carried out with unswerving faith in God. Let us come together as a nation to mark her death with dignity and pride.”

The Bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft, said that her “devoted service” had given “stability to the nation throughout this Elizabethan age”. Her “deep, personal Christian faith”, had inspired him and many, he said.

“The whole nation will be united in mourning for our beloved Queen in the coming days. We will need time to grieve and to share our grief with others. . . This will be a season for deep reflection in the life of our nation as we look back in thanksgiving and forward in hope.”

Dr Croft drew attention to the UK’s “deep foundations in Christian faith”, a key part of which was “the distinctive hope of resurrection from the dead. . . As we grieve and pray, we also look forward together in hope to that new and eternal life with God.”

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, said: “Her Majesty has served our nation and Commonwealth with distinction and devotion. As Supreme Governor of the Church of England she has spoken movingly about her own faith, and it is clear that she reigned out of a deep sense of God’s calling upon her life, a life of anointed service.

“Her Majesty’s visits to Norfolk, to her beloved Sandringham, meant that she has been held in special esteem and fondness in the county of Norfolk and diocese of Norwich. I have very fond memories of being her guest at Sandringham and experiencing her kindness.”

Churches in the Norwich diocese would be open for people to pray and reflect, and to sign books of condolences, he said. “As we begin to mourn the death of a great Sovereign, so we pray also for the new King and his family, and for our nation and Commonwealth.”

The Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Revd James Newcome, said that Queen Elizabeth had “never faltered” in serving the nation, as she had committed to do when she first became Queen “at a very young age and very unexpectedly”.

Her strong Christian faith had been evident in the way in which she conducted herself in “thousands and thousands of public engagements”, and also in her “remarkable Christmas broadcasts that have brought encouragement and hope to so many people over the years”.

The nation would miss enormously her “sense of rock-like dependency”, he said.

The Bishop of Leicester, Rt Revd Martyn Snow, described Queen Elizabeth as “a faithful, courageous, and inspirational monarch” who had ruled “with complete dedication to her people and to her vocation”.

He continued: “Having had the privilege of meeting her personally, I found Her Majesty to be warm and approachable, intensely interested in others, and always keen to remind us that it is our common efforts that forge and maintain our community life. Her Christian faith provided an inspiration and encouragement to many, and was the motivation to her life-long desire to serve her country and the Commonwealth, and their people. We owe her a deep debt of gratitude.”

The Bishop of Chelmsford, Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, said that, during the Queen’s reign, society had experienced “unprecedented change”, and yet “throughout, Her Majesty’s faith in God and extraordinary sense of duty helped to guide her”.

The Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen, also drew attention to “fundamental shifts” in society that had occurred during her reign — “among them seismic changes to the way we, as a society, view both the monarchy and religion.

“And yet throughout that time she bridged different worlds and epochs in a remarkable manner and in way that provided a rare thread of stability and consistency. That speaks volumes about the faith which was the sure foundation of her life. She was not merely a titular figurehead in her role as Supreme Governor of the Church of England, but someone with a strong, firm, foundational and personal faith.

“As Queen, she was the very embodiment of the virtue of duty: a sense of duty founded firmly on her faith. Her commitment, stamina, and wisdom were rare, unquestionable and deeply admirable. She has shaped all our lives in incalculable ways.

“We mourn her passing, and give our God great thanks for her.”

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