October Newsletter

Dear All,

The QueenI write on a bright autumn day in a week that has shaken the world. We are reeling from the death of our beloved Queen; yes she was 96 but her death when it came felt sudden and utterly shocking. She was without doubt a unique figure, an inspiration to us all in her embodiment of duty and love of neighbour; an extraordinary example of faithful Christian service lived out with grace and humility.

On Sunday 11th September churches throughout the land said special prayers for the late Queen, giving thanks for her many years of dedicated service to our country and the Commonwealth. We gathered together to pray and comfort one another as we mourned the person whose presence symbolised stability and order in our increasingly chaotic and bewildering world. We ended our services by singing the National Anthem, how strange it seemed to sing ‘God save our gracious King’.

Our hearts go out to the royal family whose grief is being played out under the watchful gaze of the word’s media. Yes, we mourn our Queen, and even though most of us had never met her, her death seems personal, she was woven into the fabric of our lives. But this most famous of monarchs was also a wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother whose family is broken hearted and sad at her death. As we remember the Queen, let us pray for her family in their grief, particularly the King and Queen Consort, whose lives will now be very different.

The end of October heralds a season of remembrance as we mark All Saints and All Souls Day on 30th October. All Souls is an opportunity to remember and give thanks for the lives of those we have loved and lost. All the churches will be open over the weekend of the 29th to enable people to come and sit quietly or write a prayer to hang on a prayer tree. On Sunday the 30th at 10.00 am at Chapmanslade we have a Eucharist for All Souls, and Evensong for All Souls at Longbridge Deverill at 4.00 pm.

Of course it is perfectly possible to remember on our own, but there is something very comforting and moving about being with others and finding solace in shared experience. The church buildings themselves have seen centuries of both joy and sorrow; walking into a church I am always struck by the thought that the walls are soaked in years of prayer and remembrance. By the time you read this the late Queen’s funeral will be over and the condolence books closed. But we will never forget her, we will talk of her with love, respect, and gratitude in the years to come. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.

With love and prayers,