Faith and Service of Queen Elizabeth Remembered at Devon Church Services
The lifelong faith and service of Queen Elizabeth was commemorated at church services across Devon on the eve of her funeral.
Exeter Cathedral was packed for a service attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Devon, David Fursden, the King’s representative in the county.
The sermon was given by the Bishop of Exeter, the Rt Rev’d Robert Atwell, who shared his memories of the Queen:
“The Queen was someone whom everyone felt they knew. She was local to everyone. She was a person of extraordinary stamina, unpretentious and surprisingly frugal. She hated obsequiousness and, in spite of the pomp and circumstance that surrounded her, disliked fuss.
“Queen Elizabeth had a quiet, unfussy faith which always made room for others. Her trust in Jesus Christ was central to her life, but she wore her faith on her heart, not on her sleeve.”
Bishop Robert recounted one occasion when he was invited to stay at Sandringham for the weekend and the Queen asked him to help her complete a jigsaw puzzle:
“For the next 35 minutes, the Queen of England and I sat next to each other, chatting about this and that, trying to sort out the sky in the top right-hand corner of what turned out to be a fiendishly difficult jigsaw,” he said.
At St Paul’s church in Paignton, the Rev’d Nathan Kiyaga, Torbay Area Dean, led a service attended by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Sir Andrew Ridgway, Torbay Council’s Chief Executive Anne-Marie Bond, Cllr Mandy Darling, the Mayor of Torbay and Torbay’s MP Kevin Foster.
The Rt Rev’d Mark Rylands, an assistant bishop in the Diocese of Exeter, said in his sermon “Elizabeth’s faith shaped her service and duty to others, it was not narrow, it was broad and inclusive.
“Her faith informed who she was. She knew all along that she was governed by, and subject to, a greater kingdom.”
In Plymouth, the city-wide service at St Andrew’s church included representatives from the three armed forces as well as local charities and organisations.
At some services, seven candles were lit to mark each decade of the Queen’s reign.
The Bishop of Crediton, the Rt Rev’d Jackie Searle, led two district council commemorative services in Crediton and Bideford.
Speaking beforehand she said “These services will be a lovely opportunity for us to come together. They will be beautiful and thoughtful, with hymns, readings, prayers and reflections.”
The Queen’s life was also commemorated in services throughout the day at parish churches across Devon.