Dear Friends in Christ

As many around the world are experiencing, the news of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s death has come as a shock, despite her advanced years and increasing signs recently of frailty. I felt that shock myself when waking this morning to the news of her death. Our shock is a reaction to the sudden end of the seeming permanence of her reign as our Sovereign and of her presence as a distinguished leader in a world of troubles—loving, kind, faithful, calm and, above all, godly.

Most readers of e-Life will never have known another Sovereign in our lifetimes. Queen Elizabeth has been a permanent fixture in our lives but now she has gone to be with her Lord and Saviour. We will miss her. We thank God for her service to the people for whom she was their Queen, and we thank God for her witness to the whole world of the centrality of Christ in her life.

Some of our ministry units have already begun offering responses to the news of Queen Elizabeth’s death: 96 bells have been rung at 12 noon today in churches; a service has been held for all citizens in All Saints, Hokitika, also at midday today (and have already sent photos).

Other services are planned such as the Amuri Cooperating Parish which will hold a Service of Reflection and Remembrance of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth at 7:00pm, this Saturday September 10th, at St Mary’s, Rotherham. Further down this Special e-Life, details and a splendid photo are provided for a service at 5 pm this Sunday in St Mary’s, Timaru.

All parishes are encouraged to offer opportunity through the coming days for communities around them to mourn, to give thanks to God for the Queen’s life and service, to pray for her family, and to pray for our new Sovereign, King Charles, and his family. Where possible let’s open the doors to our churches and this Sunday (at least) ensure our services have a special memorial and thanksgiving character.

A link to a comprehensive Church of England website for resources for services is provided below, and below that are some prayers which could be used directly from this letter.

The Transitional Cathedral is providing the following through the today and the days following:

  •  Every day: an opportunity to pray and to sign a book of condolence
  • Special memorial character to services: 4.30 pm Evensong tonight, 10 am Holy Communion and 5 pm Evensong Sunday 11 September.
  • On Sunday, Mayor Lianne Dalziel will be present for the morning service; I will be present for the evening service.

With respect to a formal memorial service of thanksgiving for the life of the Queen, in Christchurch, we are bound to follow this timetable:

Please pray for Dean Lawrence and Acting Dean Hugh Bowron as arrangements are being made for the services noted above and for the eventual Christchurch memorial service. *

I have just been informed that it is likely our Cathedral Choristers will be filmed this afternoon for one of the evening news bulletins.


* Dean Lawrence begins a period of study leave on Monday.

All Saints, Hokitika rang the bells 96 times at noon today.

Church of England Resource and Liturgy Webpage for the Death of Her Majesty the Queen:

The following may be a useful set of resources for our prayers at this time as we focus on Her Majesty (at the foot of these resources is a collect for our new Sovereign, King Charles):

Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
1 Corinthians 15. 51-53

Give rest, O Christ, to your servant with the saints:
where sorrow and pain are no more,
neither sighing, but life everlasting.
You only are immortal, the creator and maker of all:
and we are mortal, formed from the dust of the earth,
and unto earth shall we return.
For so you ordained when you created me, saying:
‘Dust you are and to dust you shall return.’
All of us go down to the dust,
yet weeping at the grave we make our song:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Give rest, O Christ, to your servant with the saints:
where sorrow and pain are no more,
neither sighing, but life everlasting.
The Kontakion

Let us pray,

Gracious God,
nothing in death or life,
in the world as it is or the world as it shall be,
nothing in all creation can separate us from your love.
We commend your servant Elizabeth into your loving care.
Enfold her in the arms of your mercy.
Bless her in her dying and in her rising again in you.
Bless those whose hearts are filled with sadness,
that they too may know the hope of resurrection;
for the sake of our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Then follows this prayer for the family and those who mourn.

God of all consolation,
grant to those who sorrow
the spirit of faith and courage,
that they may have the strength to meet the days to come
with steadfastness and patience;
not sorrowing without hope,
but trusting in your goodness;
through him who is the resurrection and the life,
Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

As Christ teaches, let us pray together,
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and for ever.    Amen.

Further possible prayers

God of mercy, Lord of life,
you have made us in your image
to reflect your truth and light:
we give you thanks for your servant Elizabeth,
for the grace and mercy she received from you,
for all that was good in her life,
for the memories we treasure today.


You promised eternal life to those who believe.
Remember for good this your servant Elizabeth
as we also remember her.
Bring all who rest in Christ
into the fullness of your kingdom
where sins have been forgiven
and death is no more.


Your mighty power brings joy out of grief
and life out of death.
Look in mercy on all who mourn.
Give them patient faith in times of darkness.
Strengthen them with the knowledge of your love.


Father in heaven,
we thank you because you made us in your own image
and gave us gifts in mind, body, and spirit.
We thank you now for Elizabeth our Queen.
As we honour her memory,
make us more aware that you are the one
from whom comes every perfect gift,
including the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. Amen.

A PRAYER FOR THE KING’S MAJESTY (per the traditional form for Evensong)

O Lord our heavenly Father, high and mighty, King of kings, Lord of lords, the only ruler of princes, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth; Most heartily we beseech thee with thy favour to behold our most gracious Sovereign Lord, King CHARLES; and so replenish him with the grace of thy Holy Spirit, that he may always incline to thy will, and walk in thy way: Endue him plenteously with heavenly gifts; grant him in health and wealth long to live; strengthen him that he may vanquish and overcome all his enemies; and finally, after this life, he may attain everlasting joy and felicity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.