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Two Bishops praised the Queen’s dedication to duty at Jubilee services held in the North East over the Jubilee weekend.
During his Sermon address at the ‘Service of Thanksgiving’ at Durham Cathedral, The Right Reverend Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham, on Saturday June 2 said: “The essence of love is service and the reign of the Queen has been the essence of service. Service is what shows that love is a reality. We do not understand the love of another by their words alone, but by their actions. That is how the Israelites understood that God loved the people of Israel. He saved them, an act of love. And that is why the heart of good, even great, monarchy is now not seen in victory in war, and by leading armies, but in the service to the nation that lives out the profoundly religious nature of coronation.
“Let us be clear. The service of coronation was both deeply religious in form and in many ways a sort of ordination. In other words it was not mere symbol and flim flam with fun music and a good occasion to dress up, but something that claimed by its outward form an inner truth, that the Monarch is called and ordained by God. Hands are anointed with oil, a Bible is presented, the sword is from God for justice and so on. At each stage the monarch is also reminded that what they are is a reflection of who God is, and that their duty is to imitate Him.”
He added: “Whatever some people may say or think about monarchy as a principle, the Queen as a person has been the best possible example of what monarchy can and should be.”
At the the ‘Service of Thanksgiving for the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’ at St Cuthbert’s, in Darlington, on Sunday June 3, the Right Reverend Mark Bryant, Bishop of Jarrow, will say: “Many of us believe that what the Queen’s Jubilee needs to be about above all else is a real sense of thanksgiving to God for 60 years of extraordinary public service. And it does not hurt to remind ourselves that The Queen does not need to do this. Even a rudimentary knowledge of English history will tell us that comparatively few monarchs have given themselves to be about and with their people in the way that our present Queen has done.
“And at a time when life is quite clearly getting more and more difficult for more and more people we perhaps need that sense of public service in our communities more than ever before.”
Bishop Mark adds: “So as we look ahead to difficult times, what might that idea of ‘public service’ look like? It seems to me that first of all public service is about putting ourselves out. Public service is about a willingness to put ourselves out for other people. Public service has a rare ability to raise people up, to give them a sense of value, a sense of new self-confidence. It gives people sense that in a world that often seems really quite chaotic, they do indeed matter, and they do indeed have meaning. Public service is going to be about putting ourselves out. It is about being there for the long haul, but we may indeed start to wonder if it is perhaps really worth it, if what it does is to raise people up to more than they can be.
“Her Majesty has done much throughout her reign to raise people up to help them realise that what they are doing is important and that they matter. Her countless walkabouts, her visits to schools, to projects great and small have often meant more than it may well be that she can imagine. She has given to the whole nation a remarkable example of public service.”
Both of the services were attended by the Lord-Lieutenant of County Durham, Sir Paul Nicholson along with other civic and public dignitaries.