Worshippers pay homage to queen at UK church services
A man writes condolences in St. Albans, the English Church in Copenhagen, Denmark, on September 9, 2022, a day after Queen Elizabeth II died at the age of 96. — Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP pic
Sunday, 11 Sep 2022 11:45 PM MYT
LONDON, Sept 11 — Churchgoers gave thanks for the 70-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II at services around Britain today as the country comes to terms with the death of the deeply religious monarch.
At the 800-year-old Anglican Southwark Cathedral in central London, the pews were busy for a mass in her honour as worshippers paid homage to the queen.
“Today is a time of national sorrow,” said Bishop Christopher Chessun at the start of the service.
“It was possible not to have met the Queen and to feel that we knew the Queen.” Pious Elizabeth, who took her role as head of the Church of England profoundly seriously, had come to the cathedral on numerous occasions.
A statue marks her visit for her diamond jubilee in 2012.
“We are experiencing a great sadness, but she is now at rest,” the bishop told AFP.
“She was 96 and she deserves her rest.” Priest Andrew Nunn remembered in his sermon how the queen came in secret in 2006 to record her annual Christmas Day broadcast there.
He compared the monarch—who ascended to the throne at just 25 in 1952 — to the Virgin Mary who was “not completely ready” when the Bible says she was told she would become the mother of Jesus.
But the queen took on the mantle of sovereign and remained true to her duties for the next seven decades.
“She didn’t change. She was a constant in our lives,” Nunn said.
A portrait of the Queen is displayed outside a church in Melbourne on September 10, 2022, following the passing of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II. — AFP pic
The Church of England has issued special material for churches to supplement their usual services and a prayer for worshippers giving thanks for the queen’s “faith and dedication to duty”.
“Bless our nation as we mourn her death, and may her example continue to inspire us,” it reads.
British monarchs have been the “supreme” head of the Church of England since Henry VIII split from the Catholic Church during the Reformation in the 16th century.
After the service in Southwark, several worshippers left messages in a book of condolence placed in the nave.
“Forever Queen! Thank you for everything you’ve done for UK and the rest of the world,” read one entry.
Londoner Tim Butler admitted that he did not think the queen’s passing “would affect me that much”.
“But she has always been part of our lives,” said the 66-year-old.
Regular worshipper Sherry from south London said she admired how the Queen “always referenced to her faith”.
“She was such a good example in so many aspects of her life,” the pensioner said.
Financial adviser Philip, 68, had travelled 75 kilometres from Brighton to attend the service.
“It is a very sad time. But because it was a life well lived and full of service, it is also a time of rejoicing,” he said.
“Nobody can seriously doubt that she is in heaven, and we are left behind to mourn, and to be sad, but we have a new king.” — AFP