This year, the Queen celebrates her 90th Birthday, with official celebrations taking place in London over the weekend of 10 – 12 June. Many churches and cathedrals have already started planning their own celebrations starting to populate our celebration map. St James in Ashreigney, Devon, has organised an ecumenical Service of Thanksgiving and Praise, followed by a village hog roast. All Hallows in Harthill, South Yorkshire, will be hosting a flower festival and a brass band concert in the church. Many of England’s cathedrals including Ely, Oxford, Hereford, Liverpool and Chelmsford will also be celebrating with special services of Thanksgiving and Evensong.
It is clear from what Her Majesty has said on many occasions, including at Lambeth Palace at the start of her Diamond Jubilee year, and last year’s Christmas broadcast, that her faith has always been a very important part of her life. The Queen is much loved and much respected throughout the Church of England, and we are fortunate to have her as our Supreme Governor.
So to celebrate this very special 90th Birthday I hope that every parish and as many schools as possible will hold a festival. For some it may be a festival of hymns, or of music, or choral singing. It may be a flower festival, or it may be a festival relating very specifically to either the church or the locality.
Following a Church schools competition we now have a logo for all churches to use to help publicise their celebrations. It can be downloaded from www.churchcare.co.uk along with other resources.
And because the Church of England and parish churches seek to be a focus for the whole community, I hope that people of all faiths and none will join in these festival celebrations across the country.
To help parishes plan festivals, a lot of work has been done, making available prayers and other materials, and nationally everyone from bell ringers to flower arrangers to organists are working hard to ensure that throughout England on the weekend of the 10th-12th June, bells will ring out, choirs will sing, organs with thunder and as many people as possible will have the opportunity of joining in to celebrate the Queen’s 90th Birthday.
News of planned events can be shared on Twitter: @CofE_ChurchCare using #HMQ90
Sir Tony Baldry, Chair, Church Buildings Council