Sunday, 5 February 2012

60 Years of Faithful Service

Today and tomorrow, we mark the 60th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth to the throne. Like the majority of her subjects, I cannot remember a time when she was not our Queen. Her reign began five years before I was born; I recall stories my parents told about how they heard of her unexpected accession on the BBC while living and working in Koforidua in Ghana and then followed the preparations for her coronation through BBC radio broadcasts and magazines sent to them by relatives and friends in the UK. It felt like the dawn of a new era with so much promise. Today, we give thanks for Her Majesty's example of faithfulness in carrying out the role to which she is called both as monarch and as Governor of the Church of England. In a speech during the millennium year, she said,

'To many of us, our beliefs are of fundamental importance. For me the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life. I, like so many of you, have drawn great comfort in difficult times from Christ's words and example.'

God of time and eternity,
whose Son reigns as servant, not master;
we give you thanks and praise
 that you have blessed this nation, the realms and territories
with Elizabeth our beloved and glorious Queen.
In this year of Jubilee,
grant her your gifts of love and peace
as she continues in faithful obedience to you, her Lord and God,
and in devoted service to her lands and peoples and those of the Commonwealth
 now and all the days of her life,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

This prayer was written at The Queen's Direction by the Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral for Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee. It will be used in the Jubilee Thanksgiving Service in St Paul's Cathedral on Tuesday, June 5th. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have commended it for use throughout the Church of England and other Churches are also welcome to use it.

Published alongside other new prayers for adults and children, and liturgical resources for use in the Church of England during Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee year, the new prayer is available online on the Church of England's Diamond Jubilee web pages where you can find more information about how the Church of England is encouraging parishes and communities to join in with the celebrations through the Big Lunch and Big Thank You initiatives.

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