News from All Saints Parish Church
Her Majesty the Queen is the first monarch in British history to have a platinum Jubilee and from 2nd June to 5th June we celebrate the event. The celebrations begin at All Saints Church on Thursday 2nd June when, starting at 6pm, there will be a hog roast and other refreshments with entertainment from the Temperance Quartet (part of the famous Temperance Seven). This will culminate in the lighting of the beacon on top of the church tower at 9.45pm with the piper playing a piece especially written for the occasion. It will be a wonderful way to start the weekend celebrations. More than 1,500 beacons will be lit at 9.45pm throughout the UK, all with pipers playing the same piece of music.
In her seven-decade reign the Queen has seen 15 Prime Ministers come and go and met 13 US Presidents, all whilst acting as a steady figurehead during countless national crises. A recent study showed that for 85% of the population, she is the only monarch they have ever known.
It is hard to believe that it is seventy years since Princess Elizabeth was called back from Kenya on the sudden death of her father, King George VI. The sight of the young woman descending the steps of the royal plane, having exchanged a summer frock of African sun for black winter mourning, will be forever etched into the national mind. A few years before her accession to the throne the young Princess Elizabeth gave her first radio broadcast, solemnly saying to her future people: “I declare before you that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great Commonwealth to which we all belong”.
A record-breaking seven decades later the world has changed massively. So much of life is different, it is almost easier to list what customs and traditions and values might still be the same than to list what has changed. We have more freedoms to enjoy, yet more rules and regulations surround us. The roles of work, of leisure, of family and faith have all altered beyond recognition. Rights seem to have replaced duties. Life looks very different at every level.
Throughout these constant changes, the Queen has remained steadfast, yet not entirely unchanging and her own alteration and adaption has been achieved discreetly and slowly yet surely. This must be in part due to her profound faith, personal yet public. She has increasingly mentioned this in a quiet but definite way over recent years. In her Millennium Christmas message she said: “The teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provides a framework in which I try to live my life”.
Accountability has become a fashionable word in recent times – but it often tends to mean being answerable to the media spotlight. Her Majesty’s example points us to a more profound way of life and one that is answerable to God our Creator and Redeemer. As the Supreme Governor of the Church of England she has inherited the title Defender of the Faith. Again she has made clear the importance of this role and how she sees it as integral to the life of a changed and multi-cultural society.
What has sustained the Queen throughout her long life and kept her sacrifice of service for love of God, country and commonwealth so vibrant? I will not speculate on her personal life, on the love that she received from her parents and from her beloved husband of 73 years and continues to receive from her family. I will simply mention Her Majesty’s own personal faith. In her 2016 Christmas message she said, “For me, the life of Jesus Christ, is an inspiration and an anchor in my life. A role model of reconciliation and forgiveness, he stretches out his hands in love, acceptance and healing. Christ’s example has taught me to seek to respect and value all people, of whatever faith or none.”
May that which has sustained Her Majesty through her long and hardworking life also be a foundation on which we can build our lives and on which we build up our common life.