Slideshow image

Dear friends in Christ,
This morning we have all received the news of the passing of Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.  Her death brings to an end a more-than-70-year reign, the longest of any head of state for our country or any other of her realms.  Moreover, the passing of Elizabeth Alexandra Mary of the House of Windsor ends an earthly journey of more than 96 years of a sister-in-Christ who strove to lead a life of faithfulness, charity, service, and dedication.
Of course, we know that Elizabeth and the institution of the Canadian monarchy represent many things among the peoples of Canada, citizens and non-citizen residents alike.  For some of us, her office connects us to a history that is uniquely Canadian, something to be cherished.  For some of us, her office reminds us of a legacy of empire, colonialism, and cultural genocide, something to be lamented and actively challenged.  For some of us, her office links us to the heritage of lands from which ancestors came, an important cultural touchpoint.  For some of us, her office exists only as a symbol that seems of limited relevance at best.  For some of us, her office represents constitutional and legal realities that lend stability and a non-partisan unifying force to our body politic.  For some of us, her office stands at the titular command of military or civic forces for which we were willing to give our lives.  
And for most of us, the office of the Canadian monarch—and Elizabeth herself as the personification and embodiment of that office—have represented some mixture of many of these things, and more.
Regardless of our views on the Canadian monarchy as an institution, it nearly goes without saying that, for all of us, Elizabeth’s passing marks the significant end of an era.  For most of us, she is the only Queen of Canada and her other realms that we have ever known; for the rest of us, the reign of any other monarch is but a distant childhood memory.  During her reign, so much has changed about the world; about the role therein of Canada, the United Kingdom, and her other realms; and about the role of the monarch within those realms.
Beyond whatever we might say about Elizabeth’s reign as Queen, as Christian people we acknowledge and celebrate the life of a fellow child of God and sister-in-Christ.  As a Christian church, we hold that death is not the final reality and that all people will find fullness of life in God’s eternal realm. We honour and respect Elizabeth as a person, and acknowledge her death with sorrow.  As former moderator of The United Church of Canada, the Very Reverend Richard Bott, wrote this morning, we “give thanks for her calm presence in times when the world has been filled with chaos, … In this world where the shape of change is ever a constant, her face was one of touchstones, her image, though changing, showed eyes that looked at a world through grace and strength.”  And so, indeed, we give thanks to God for the gift of Elizabeth’s life, for all in her that was good and kind and faithful, and for the joy of the promises-of-God made complete for her now as she rests into the embrace of our Creator.  
Likewise, we lift up into God’s comfort and light the other members of the Royal Family, and especially her son, King Charles III, in this time of mourning.
In the early portions of this coming Sunday’s worship service, we will take time to mark in prayer and reflection this passing of one of God’s beloveds and this momentous moment in the life of our country and world, before continuing on with the other aspects of our church’s life-and-worship which had already been planned for our “Connection Sunday” festivities, including the “Blessing of the Backpacks” near the end of our service.
Yours in the journey,
The Rev. Matthew Emery, lead minister

For more, link to...

A Statement from The United Church of Canada
Prayer on the Death of Queen Elizabeth, from The United Church of Canada  
Statement and prayer from the Moderator of the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian)