Dear Friends,

Warm and sincere greetings in the name of Jesus.

I write to you just a few days after the death of Queen Elizabeth II. It is a very sad time for her family and for the whole of the UK. It is Sunday evening, and I am actually sitting inside Christchurch with a small number of other people reflecting quietly and prayerfully upon the Queen’s contribution to all our lives, and to the life of our nation and the wider world. It is a very emotional time. It has been some time since I last felt tears trickling down my cheeks. The sense of loss is much greater than I would ever have anticipated or imagined.

As I reflect upon our late Queens life of service – lots of words come into my mind which describe the Queen’s character and faith. Here are some of them;

Hardworking; diligent; resilient; faithful; dutiful; hopeful; caring; compassionate; thoughtful; steady; dependable; trustworthy; gentle; knowledgeable; intelligent; wise; warm-hearted; there are many other words that describe Her Majesty. You can add to my list. I think about her faith in Jesus Christ and more words immediately come flowing into my mind. These are words of the apostle Paul who describes the fruit of a life filled with the Holy Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22) This is why we know that the Queen possessed a vital and living faith in Jesus Christ. It has been on public view for 70 + years.

I am sure that the nation will truly honour the Queen at her funeral service. I suspect that the crowds in London that day will be the largest in living memory. There were masses of people celebrating her 70th Jubilee earlier this year. I think there may well be more people in London on the 19th September. We must now pray for King Charles III, our Queen’s eldest son and rightful heir. May God give him great wisdom and strength in the days that lie ahead. May God be with him and all his family.

Other things which I wish to share pale into insignificance compared with the above, but permit me to share a few other thoughts with you. It is almost time to celebrate Harvest again. I can promise you a very special and happy time of worship and thanksgiving on October 2nd as our BB join us for their Service of Enrolment. Please make this service a priority. Our God deserves great thanks and praise for all His faithful provision. It will also be our annual Gift Day. Later in the month (Sat 22nd Oct 10.30-12.00) Sheila Appleton will be here to lead a teaching session of how to improve our listening skills. All are welcome to attend this – especially our Pastoral Links. The START course also begins this month and I would appreciate your prayers for this.

Autumn is my favourite time of year. The changing scenes and colours are such an amazing visual blessing. God is good. God is faithful. The tides and seasons roll on year by year. We give thanks. I hope to visit Westonbirt this autumn. I am told it is a remarkable place to enjoy at this time of year. I look forward to all that we will share together throughout the next few months.

May the grace and peace of Christ our Lord be with us all.

In His Name,