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Death of Queen Elizabeth II: Anglican leaders around the world respond to the death of Queen Elizabeth II

Posted on: September 9, 2022 9:58 AM
Photo Credit: Joe Giddens
Related Categories: Global, obituary, Queen Elizabeth II, USA

Anglican leaders around the world have been paying tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II, who died yesterday (Thursday 8 September).

This article contains a summary of their statements with links to the full texts. It will be updated over the next couple of days if further tributes are received.

In addition to being Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Queen was also head of state of Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.

Tributes were paid by Church leaders in some of the Queen’s overseas territories.

The Acting Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia and Archbishop of Melbourne, the Most Revd Philip Freier, said: “We remember with gratitude the grace with which she performed her duties, a steadfast and reassuring figure through decades of tremendous change and times of both hardship and joy.

“As frequent visitor to Australia the Queen had a special place in the hearts of Australians and she leaves behind a truly extraordinary legacy, having touched the lives of so many.”

The Archbishop of Canada, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Linda Nicholls, said: “earlier this year, the Queen celebrated the Jubilee anniversary of her reign as monarch, having served with unstinting faithfulness in her responsibilities since 1952. She presided through those years with grace and dignity, rooted in her Christian faith and with love for all the people she served.”

Leaders of the four Anglican Churches in the British Isles also paid tribute.

The Queen was in Balmoral Castle, her Scottish home near the village of Crathie, which she had described as her “paradise in the Highlands” when she died. The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Bishop Mark Strange, said:

“The Queen came to the throne at a moment of great hope. A time of rebirth following the difficulties of war. She dedicated herself to the service of this country and she has honoured that pledge, especially so when things were difficult. She never wavered from her service.

“Queen Elizabeth was steadfast in her faith, in her prayers and worship. She spoke openly and often of her devotion to God, and to the Christian message of respect and the value of people, of all faiths and none.

“Here in Scotland we know that the Queen found space to relax and to be amongst family and friends, we cherish the knowledge that she loved this place as much as we do. That knowledge brought a shared connection that many of us felt deeply.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of the Church of England, Archbishop Justin Welby, said: “as we grieve together, we know that, in losing our beloved Queen, we have lost the person whose steadfast loyalty, service and humility has helped us make sense of who we are through decades of extraordinary change in our world, nation and society.

“As deep as our grief runs, even deeper is our gratitude for Her Late Majesty’s extraordinary dedication to the United Kingdom, her Realms and the Commonwealth. Through times of war and hardship, through seasons of upheaval and change, and through moments of joy and celebration, we have been sustained by Her Late Majesty’s faith in what and who we are called to be.

“In the darkest days of the Coronavirus pandemic, The Late Queen spoke powerfully of the light that no darkness can overcome. As she had done before, she reminded us of a deep truth about ourselves – we are a people of hope who care for one another. Even as The Late Queen mourned the loss of her beloved husband, Prince Philip, we saw once again evidence of her courage, resilience and instinct for putting the needs of others first – all signs of a deeply rooted Christian faith.”

The Primate of the Church of Ireland, Archbishop of Armagh John McDowell, paid tribute to the Queen’s work in reconciliation. He said: “I was privileged to be there when, on her Diamond Jubilee visit to Enniskillen, she walked the 20 yards from the Church of Ireland Cathedral of St Macartin and into St Michael’s Roman Catholic church. Barely a hundred paces, but a walk which covered countless miles in the long and unfinished journey of peace on these islands.

“Her affection for Ireland as a whole was clear for all to see during the memorable State Visit to the Republic of Ireland in 2011, and her speech at the State Banquet ranks in political foresight and Christian conviction with the Golden Speech which Queen Elizabeth I made to the House of Commons in 1601. That in the past ‘we would have done things differently or not done them at all’ and that ‘we should bow to the past but not be bound by it’ have been little gems of hope to many peacemakers in the following years. That they came from someone who had felt the tragedy of Ireland so close to hand and who had lived through the uncertainties of a World War, when the outcome was often far from clear, gave her words an unchallengeable authority.”

The Governing Body, or synod, of the Church in Wales was meeting when Buckingham Palace issued statement regarding the Queen’s health. Members of the Governing Body prayed for the Queen and Royal Family and sang the national anthem, God Save The Queen, before adjourning their meeting early.

In the evening, after the announcement of the Queen’s death, the six Bishops of the Church in Wales issued a joint statement, saying that the news of the Queen’s death was received “with great sadness”

The Archbishop of Wales and Bishop of Bangor, Andrew John, along with Bishop Gregory Cameron (St Asaph), Bishop Joanna Penberthy (St Davids), June Osborne (Llandaff), Cherry Vann (Monmouth), John Lomas (Swansea and Brecon) and Mary Stallard (Assistant Bishop in Bangor), said:

“She endured through good times and bad, through celebrations and setbacks in the life of the nation. Whenever she was called upon to speak to the nation and the Commonwealth, she spoke in a way which reminded us of who we were, and called us to a greater response and more hopeful future. Born into privilege, she quietly transformed the monarchy so that it adapted itself in time. As a person, she typified an aspect important to national life, service for the greater good of all.

“We are particularly thankful to God for Her Majesty’s Christian witness. At Christmas, her broadcasts to the nation never failed to speak of her personal faith in Christ as Saviour. She commended love for God and one’s neighbour, and her life was lived in a way which quietly prioritised a commitment to Christian worship on a Sunday, and a regime of daily prayer. Like so much of her life, this was performed without display, but sincerely and with great devotion. This is an example of faith which we will hold dear.”

Other Anglican leaders also paid tribute.

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa and Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, said: “on behalf of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, I send our heartfelt condolences to the British people and to all those in the Commonwealth for whom she was Head of State.

“May Queen Elizabeth II rest in peace and rise in glory. We send our greetings to the new King and his Consort, and pray that God will sustain him and his people in the days to come.”

The US-based Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church, Bishop Michael Curry, said:

“Today we mourn the passing and celebrate the life and legacy of Queen Elizabeth II. My prayers for peace go out for her, for her loved ones, and for all those who knew and loved her throughout the world.

“Her resilience, her dignity, and her model of quiet faith and piety have been – and will continue to be – an example for so many.”

The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Bishop Anthony Poggo, said: “The late Queen Elizabeth II had a deep personal faith in Jesus Christ which she was never afraid to share and talk about. She used her annual Christmas messages, televised around the world, as an opportunity to talk about the hope, peace and joy of the Gospel – a hope, peace and joy grounded in the realities of whatever difficulties people were facing at that particular time.

“She was Supreme Governor of the Church of England, but held the whole Anglican Communion of Churches in great esteem. Over the years, she looked forward to welcoming the bishops of the Communion to Buckingham Palace for a reception during Lambeth Conferences…

“I join with Anglican leaders around the world in thanking God for the Queen’s unstinting lifetime of service and faithfulness to Christ; and in offering my condolences and an assurance of prayers to King Charles III and the rest of the Royal Family.”

The Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, the former Bishop of Mauritius and Primate of the Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean, Archbishop Iain Ernest, said: “The Anglican Centre in Rome wishes to express to members of the Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom our heartfelt condolences as we mourn the loss of Queen Elizabeth II whose life has been totally dedicated to serve God and the people entrusted to her care with a steadfast faith. May her soul Rest In Peace and Rise in glory!”

Private messages of condolences have been sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion by other Primates and Bishops.