Faith leaders praise Queen who found ‘great joy in the service of her people’

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The Queen has been a “blessing to us all”, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

Justin Welby paid tribute to the Queen, remarking on her “clarity of thinking, capacity for careful listening, inquiring mind, humour, remarkable memory and extraordinary kindness”.

The Queen “helped us make sense of who we are” through “extraordinary change in our world”, he said.

Meanwhile Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, paid tribute to the Queen as a “shining light in our history”.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said the Queen “conducted herself with grace, dignity and humidity” as he remarked on the “warm relationship” the late monarch had with the Jewish community.

Mr Welby said: “As we grieve together, we know that, in losing our beloved Queen, we have lost the person whose steadfast loyalty, service and humility has helped us make sense of who we are through decades of extraordinary change in our world, nation and society.

“Through times of war and hardship, through seasons of upheaval and change, and through moments of joy and celebration, we have been sustained by Her Late Majesty’s faith in what and who we are called to be.

“In the darkest days of the Coronavirus pandemic, The Late Queen spoke powerfully of the light that no darkness can overcome.

“As she had done before, she reminded us of a deep truth about ourselves, we are a people of hope who care for one another.

“Even as The Late Queen mourned the loss of her beloved husband, Prince Philip, we saw once again evidence of her courage, resilience and instinct for putting the needs of others first, all signs of a deeply rooted Christian faith.

“As a faithful Christian disciple, and also Supreme Governor of the Church of England, she lived out her faith every day of her life.

“Her trust in God and profound love for God was foundational in how she led her life, hour by hour, day by day.

“In The Late Queen’s life, we saw what it means to receive the gift of life we have been given by God and, through patient, humble, selfless service, share it as a gift to others.

“The Late Queen leaves behind a truly extraordinary legacy: one that is found in almost every corner of our national life, as well as the lives of so many nations around the world, and especially in the Commonwealth.

“It was my great privilege to meet Her Late Majesty on many occasions. Her clarity of thinking, capacity for careful listening, inquiring mind, humour, remarkable memory and extraordinary kindness invariably left me conscious of the blessing that she has been to us all.

“May Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II rest in peace and rise in glory.”

The cardinal paid tribute to the Queen as a “shining light in our history”.

He said: “On April 21 1947, on her 21st birthday, Princess Elizabeth said, ‘I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service’.

“Now, 75 years later, we are heartbroken in our loss at her death, and so full of admiration for the unfailing way in which she fulfilled that declaration.

“Even in my sorrow, shared with so many around the world, I am filled with an immense sense of gratitude for the gift to the world that has been the life of Queen Elizabeth II.

“At this time, we pray for the repose of the soul of Her Majesty. We do so with confidence, because the Christian faith marked every day of her life and activity.

“In her Millennium Christmas message, she said, ‘To many of us, our beliefs are of fundamental importance.

“For me the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life.

“I, like so many of you, have drawn great comfort in difficult times from Christ’s words and example.

“This faith, so often and so eloquently proclaimed in her public messages, has been an inspiration to me, and I am sure to many.

“The wisdom, stability and service which she consistently embodied, often in circumstances of extreme difficulty, are a shining legacy and testament to her faith.

“Our prayer is that she is now received into the merciful presence of God, there to be reunited with her beloved Prince Philip.

“This is the promise of our faith, and our deep consolation.

“Queen Elizabeth II will remain, always, a shining light in our history.

“May she now rest in peace.

“We pray for His Majesty the King, as he assumes his new office even as he mourns his mother.

“God save the King.”

The Chief Rabbi posted a video on Twitter.

He said: “On behalf of the Jewish communities of the Commonwealth, I convey our most profound condolences on the passing of Her Majesty the Queen.

“The Queen embodied the most noble values of British society.

“Throughout her extraordinary reign, she conducted herself with grace, dignity and humility and was a global role model for Distinguished Leadership and selfless devotion to society.

“In an ever-changing world, she was a rock of stability and a champion of timeless values.

“Every week in synagogue we have prayed for her welfare, well being and wisdom and she never let us down.

“We recall with much appreciation the warm relationship she had with the Jewish community with a particular commitment to interfaith relations and Holocaust Memorial.

“I recall how on one occasion, she showed me and my wife items of Jewish interest and value in her private collection in Windsor Castle, including a Torah Scroll rescued from Czechoslovakia during the Holocaust.

“Her affection for the Jewish people ran deep, and her respect for our values was palpable.

“In life she was rightly admired and loved the world over, in death may her memory and legacy be for an everlasting blessing.”