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Service of Thanksgiving and Commemoration at Norwich Cathedral

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The Service of Thanksgiving and Commemoration for the Life and Reign of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second took place on Thursday 15 September.

Led by Norwich Cathedral Choir, the 1,000-strong congregation paid homage to Her Majesty by filling the 900-year-old Cathedral with heartfelt singing of well-known hymns such as Love Divine, All Loves Excelling and I Vow to Thee, My Country, and The Lord Mayor of Norwich and His Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk were among those to give readings.

In his introduction, Norwich Cathedral’s Acting Dean, The Revd Dr Peter Doll, said:

“For seventy years, the simple knowledge of her presence as monarch has given a sense of security, calm and peace to this nation, to the world and in our own lives as citizens. In a life well lived, in times of great joy, and in moments of profound sorrow, the late Queen gave an example of godly life, inextinguishable faith, profound hope and real humility as she served the Commonwealth, this nation and her own family.”

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, said it “has been the utter privilege of my life” to serve The Queen as Bishop of Norwich in these last few years, continuing a promise he first made as a Cub Scout aged eight.

Paying tribute to Her Majesty in his sermon, he said:

“The Late Queen brought hope in her messages to those affected by disaster; reconciliation through small symbolic acts where there had been division; comfort where there were many tears; an attentive ear to those who spent time with her; an ability to adapt and evolve, yet maintain a mystery; and a keen eye for the going at the three forty at Epsom!”

To conclude his sermon, the Bishop poignantly turned to the simple words famously spoken by Paddington Bear at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Celebrations in June.

He said:

“Another who lived life as a joyous adventure was an evacuee, a refugee, a one-time prisoner, who liked marmalade sandwiches, and tried to have the very best manners at tea. He said, just three months ago and really on behalf of us all, “Thank you Ma’am, for everything.”

A recording of Thursday’s service is available to watch in the Norwich Cathedral Services YouTube Channel.

On Monday 19 September, all are welcome to gather in Norwich Cathedral’s Nave to watch a livestream of the State Funeral of Her late Majesty The Queen, which will take place at Westminster Abbey at 11am after a procession from the Palace of Westminster.

The Cathedral will broadcast the BBC’s live coverage from 9am and no ticket is required.

The Revd Canon Aidan Platten, the Cathedral’s Canon Precentor, said:

“Grief can be a lonely place and that has been made worse during the pandemic. We are showing the BBC’s feed of the late Queen’s funeral so that people are able to gather together and share in this moment, rather than be on their own. The constant stream of people coming in to light candles and sign the books of condolence signifies a desire to be with other people in a space that is safe and holds us together in joy and sorrow.”

Norwich Cathedral continues to be open from 7am until 8pm daily for people to pay their respects, to sign books of condolence, to lay flowers, light candles and to attend worship. Please check the Cathedral website for the latest information.

Flowers (without plastic wrapping) can be laid outside the entrance to the Cathedral’s Hostry in the Upper Close and Books of Condolence are open for people to sign in the Cathedral’s Nave.