By now, many of you will have seen the sad news that Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, died this morning.
His life was one of service, bravery, and enthusiastic support – for the development through outdoor education of young people; for the care of the environment; for civic institutions; and of course, for the personal and public life of Queen Elizabeth, our parish’s patroness. His passing will be mourned by many, and it hints at the end of a period of great stability in our national life following the Second World War.
St Mary’s will fly the Union Flag from our tower at half mast until the day after Prince Philip’s funeral as a mark of respect and condolence. We are preparing to toll the church bell 99 times for his 99 years tomorrow at noon; and again on the day of Prince Philip’s funeral.
St Mary’s will also be open for personal prayer tomorrow from 2-4pm, and there will be the opportunity to light a candle in memory of Prince Philip for anyone who wishes to do so.
At our Parish Eucharist on Sunday at 10am, our intercessions will include prayers for those who mourn, including Queen Elizabeth and her family. This will continue throughout the national period of mourning.
In more normal circumstances, we would also compile a book of condolence locally, for Queen Elizabeth. The procedures associated with our Covid-19 risk assessment will not make this possible, but the Church of England is curating an online book of condolence for this reason. Anyone who wishes to do so may express their condolences to Queen Elizabeth and her family here.
I will also be writing to Prince Philip’s Private Secretary to offer the condolences of the congregational community, and assure Queen Elizabeth and her family of our prayers in their bereavement.
God grant to the living, grace;
To the departed, rest;
To the Church, the Queen, the Commonwealth and all humankind, peace and concord;
And to us and all his servants, life everlasting.
The Revd Dr A S Corio
Rector of East Barnet