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The Dean of Blackburn, Very Rev Peter Howell-Jones, has issued a message reflecting on the life of Her Late Majesty and highlighting the upcoming Civic Services across Lancashire being officially announced today.  

The County Service of Thanksgiving is at Blackburn Cathedral on Sunday, September 18 at 2pm. Other Civic Services are planned in Burnley, Preston, Lancaster and Blackpool.  

The Dean’s message is available in full below and view here on our YouTube channel.

It follows the issuing of other statements from Acting Diocesan Bishop and Bishop of Burnley, Rt Rev Philip North and the Bishop of Lancaster, Rt Rev Dr Jill Duff in recent days.  

Dean Peter spoke today in Blackburn Cathedral in front of the Lancashire Jubilee Tapestry, an art installation by Jamie Holman placed there earlier this year to celebrate Her Late Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee which is still on display.  

Services to remember Her Late Majesty will also take place in our many parishes scattered across the County. To find your nearest one visit www.achurchnearyou.com  

The County Service of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral will begin at 2pm on Sunday afternoon and, due to the large number of attendees expected at this service, there will be ticketing. Keep an eye on the Cathedral website for further updates later in the week. The service will be livestreamed and this will be available here. The other services are as follows:  

Friday:

  • St John’s, Blackpool (11am): Open to public; first come, first served.
  • Lancaster Priory (6.30pm): Livestreamed here. Open to public; first come, first served.

Saturday:

  • St Peter’s Burnley (11am): Livestreamed here. Some ticketed invitations but also open to the public on first come, first served basis. Also being relayed on screen in school hall as an ‘overspill option’.
  • Preston Minster (2pm): Open to public; first come, first served.

The full message from the Dean of Blackburn follows:  

Welcome to Blackburn Cathedral. I am standing at the centre of the Lancashire Tapestry produced by Jamie Holman as part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

This wonderful tapestry records many moments when The Queen came to Lancashire and people have been flooding into the Cathedral since the Jubilee to see and recall memories for themselves.

At this time of national mourning, much has been said about the dedication and service of Our Late Queen Elizabeth II. But what has also been a focus for discussion and comment has been the hope and faith that she had in the person of Jesus Christ.

Just over a month ago she wrote to the Lambeth Conference, the gathering of Anglican Bishops from across the whole world, and in that letter she said these words: “Throughout my life, the message and teachings of Christ have been my guide and in them I find hope.”

That hope is at the heart of the Christian faith, made known through God in the person of Jesus Christ. And it was this hope that Our Late Queen embraced for herself, which gave her such strength in her own life, and now in the face of death, she can confidently rest in peace and rise in glory. It’s often in times of crisis, uncertainty and indeed grief we begin to think again about what life is all about and how we can make sense of all that’s going on around us.

In her Christmas Message in 2014, she said these words, “For me the life of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, is an inspiration and an anchor in my life.”

Today you may be struggling with your own grief; or stressed about making ends meet; or facing challenges in your own family or community situation.

Finding that anchor in life can provide a real sense of hope and security as it did for our Queen and indeed, for millions of people the world over, as they come to a living faith in Jesus Christ.

Can I encourage you today, to take time to stop, to be still, to pray and to reconnect with that anchor that Elizabeth II spoke so personally about.

Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, who offers hope and forgiveness and love to all.

Here at Blackburn Cathedral, our doors are open and a warm welcome awaits all who want to come and find space and peace, to be still, to ponder and to reconnect with what really matters in life.

There are Books of Condolence available for you to come and write your thoughts and memories, to light a candle or say a prayer.

The Cathedral is also open for worship each day of the week, except Mondays, and we would love to welcome you to join with us. Details can be found on the Cathedral website.

As we journey towards the funeral service of our Late Queen Elizabeth II, there are also numerous services taking place across this Diocese.

You can find your local church on the website www.achurchnearyou.com. Civic services will be taking place in Preston, in Lancaster, in Blackpool and in Burnley alongside the County service here at the Cathedral.

Details of all of these can be found via the link in the description at the bottom of this video. May God bless you, watch over you and fill you with his hope and peace, now and always. 

  • The picture of Her Late Majesty at the top of this page was taken at the reception held at Ewood Park following the Royal Maundy Service at Blackburn Cathedral in 2014. Picture by Sara Cuff

  • As well as the national Church of England online Book of Condolence, Lancashire’s Anglican Cathedral in Blackburn has also opened an online Book, alongside books currently available in the Cathedral to sign in person. Many of our parish churches also have books of condolence and are also open for quiet reflection and private prayer.
  • Meanwhile the recently-retired Bishop of Blackburn, Rt Rev Julian Henderson (who met Her Late Majesty on a number of occasions) has also written a special prayer which has been added to our Diocesan website alongside other resources in relation to the death of Her Late Majesty. The prayer is now being used daily in parishes across the Diocese and is included in our ‘Daily Prayers’ email.  

 

 

 

 

Ronnie Semley, September 2022