Bishops from across the Diocese of Oxford reflect on the life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in this time of mourning.
The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft offered words of wisdom in this time of nationwide mourning, commending the importance of 'gathering together, sharing memories and having conversations.'
"We have lost somebody very special in the life of the nation, and we need to be able to talk about that to ourselves and to each other and to acknowledge that, and then to look for, in what is a very challenging time, our source of deepest strength."
"For me that is that my faith in God and my faith in Christ; those are the resources from which I will be drawing, but each will have their own at place that they go to."
Bishop Steven was also in attendance at a service in Oxford for the proclamation of King Charles III, during which the National Anthem was sung. Encouraging those present to really consider the words, Bishop Steven said,
"Our National Anthem is a prayer of blessing on our sovereign; God save our gracious King."
Speaking to BBC Radio Oxford, the Bishop of Dorchester, the Rt Revd Gavin Collins, shared what the Queen has meant to him personally.
"What did the queen mean as my queen? She was an inspiration, she was servant hearted, she was so confident and so faithful, and I have a mixture of yes, sadness and grief, but deep, deep thanksgiving."
"We've been privileged to have her as our monarch for these years, and so the first thing that I want to do is to say thank you for her and thank you to God for her and for that faithfulness."
Bishop Gavin went on to admire the depth of grief and thanksgiving shown across the country to 'a woman of great faith'.
Speaking on BBC Radio Oxford over the weekend following Her Majesty's death, Bishop Olivia recalled where she was when she first heard the news - mere minutes away from conducting a licensing service in which the Revd Julia Myles, the new rector of St Mark's in Englefield, would have to take an oath of allegiance to the sovereign.
The Revd Julia said:
"One minute I was waiting to greet the bishop to begin a peaceful part-time ministry in tranquil Englefield. The next moment everything had changed."
Having quickly re-written the prayers and revised the liturgy, Bishop Olivia describes Julia's oath of allegiance to the new monarch as the 'moment it really hit me', and states how hard it was to balance the shock and grief of that moment within what is a joyous and celebratory service for the Revd Julia and the congregation of Englefield.
Going on to reflect on the life and discipleship of Her Majesty the Queen, Bishop Olivia says:
"Let's look to the example of the Queen. She was firm in her faith. She was a woman of enormous courage and hope, and she always pointed us to the things which held her firm; to have deep, deep faith in Jesus Christ... And I think we need to recognise that in ourselves there is that capacity for something deeper and look to the resources of the faiths to be able to support us through this time."
Hear the bishops in full
Listen to a collection of radio interviews from throughout the mourning period.
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