We were all bowled over as we heard the news last Thursday. We should have been prepared, but for some reason we were not! I was with my father in Cheshire preparing to go on a course with the diocese. I returned the following day and the pastoral team organised a rota to keep the church open, so that people could come and sign a book of remembrance. A number of people rang the bell between 12 and 1pm, which felt very fitting.
In the service at St John’s on Sunday we had a lovely slide show set to music and in both churches we had prayers of thanks for the Queen and for the royal family. At the end we sang God save the King and people went up to sign the book of remembrance.
Next Sunday we will continue our services with a baptism in St John’s and Morning Prayer at St Paul’s and the services will still include memories of our beloved Queen. On Monday many of us will be watching the funeral with our families, we may still open one our churches and watch together.
So what have been the memories of this extraordinary lady; dedication, hard work, service, yes. But also a wry humour, an ability to listen with empathy and for those of us from the church, her genuine faith expressed so often in her Christmas messages.
God save our gracious Queen!