Cathedrals the focal point for a Nation in Mourning

09th September 2022

Muffled bells rang out at noon today from our cathedrals.

Flags have been lowered to half-mast, areas set aside for the laying of flowers and books of commemoration are open as our cathedrals prepare to be the focal points for a nation in mourning.

Our cathedrals are ready to be focal points for a nation in mourning.

People are invited to come, to reflect, light a candle, offer a prayer, join in special services or simply just to be in the days to come.

Full details of special opening times and services of reflection and thanksgiving can be found on each cathedral’s individual website.

Most of our cathedrals will hold a special Evensong today (Friday) in memory of Her Majesty The Queen.

A special service of reflection and thanks will be held at St Paul’s today, Coventry Cathedral has announced a special service of reflection and thanksgiving at 6pm today, Exeter Cathedral has a specially adapted Evening Prayer service at 5.30pm, Lincoln too will hold a special Evensong at 5.30pm in memory of Her Majesty The Queen and Chester will hold Evensong at 5.30pm tonight to mark her death, St Edmundsbury Cathedral will hold a special choral evensong this evening and a Requiem Mass on Sunday.

Dean Jo Kelly-Moore, who chairs the Association of English Cathedrals, said:

“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.”

Tributes have been flooding in since the announcement of her death yesterday from our Deans.

The Acting Dean of Canterbury, the Very Revd Jane Hedges said:

“At this sad time for our nation, we at Canterbury Cathedral join the rest of the people of this Diocese and throughout the Communion in expressing our affection and gratitude as we mourn the death of our Sovereign.

“Her Majesty the Queen has not only served this nation and the whole commonwealth with distinction throughout an outstandingly long reign, she has been a particular inspiration to people of faith through her personal commitment to God and to the service of her people.

“Through seven decades on the throne, the Queen has lived through a period of enormous change, and together with her family has provided a sense of security, continuity and unity within our nation.

As we honour the memory of Her Majesty and give thanks for her reign, we extend our condolences to our new Sovereign and to all members of the Royal family and assure them of our prayers.”

The Dean of Exeter, the Very Revd Jonathan Greener, said:

“Like people across the nation, I am deeply sorry to hear of the death of the Queen. Having broken all records in terms of the length of her reign, for most of us, she has been the mother of the nation our whole life long. So, as well as wanting to express our condolences to the Royal Family, for many of us this loss feels very personal.

“Exeter Cathedral will be open throughout the coming days, and will, we hope, be a place where people can come to reflect, to light a candle and offer a prayer, to sign a condolence book, to share memories of this extraordinary human being, who has served all of us, the Church, the nation, the Commonwealth, with huge commitment her whole life long. We give thanks to God for the remarkable life and reign of Elizabeth II and commend her now to his loving care.”

The Very Revd Christine Wilson, Dean of Lincoln:

“We extend our heartfelt condolences to the royal family on the news of the death of our much beloved Queen Elizabeth.

Since the day of her coronation in 1953, her life has been one of loyal and unstinting service to our nation and the Commonwealth. She has brought great wisdom and stability and provided a shining example of Christian discipleship and witness as Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

We give thanks for her life and deeply mourn her passing.

We pray at this moment of great sorrow for the Royal family and all who mourn.

May they know the consolation that the Lord is in our midst and turns the darkness of death into the dawn of new life, and the sorrow of parting into the joy of heaven.”

Canon Dr Andrew Braddock, Interim Dean of Gloucester said:

“This is a huge loss to both the nation and the Commonwealth and one which we will all feel deeply for a long time to come. In difficult and uncertain moments such as this, the Cathedral is open and available to all as a safe and peaceful place. We invite everyone to visit to say a prayer, join us for a service or sign a formal book of condolence.”

News of the death of Her Majesty the Queen.

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