I note your comment (ND October) that Her Late Majesty was a ‘somewhat low-church Prayer Book Anglican,’ and that that is ‘a position and integrity we respect’.

I should hope so, especially considering that some of these low, or middle, church Anglicans are members of Forward in Faith. It would be nice to be thought of as ‘us’ rather than ‘them,’ even if we are in such good company as the late Queen’s.

You must also be aware that there are such things as high church, or Anglo-Catholic, Prayer Book Anglicans. This is not surprising. Using the Prayer Book leaves us in no doubt that the Church of England, in its entirety, is a Catholic church, and all its members. It used to be a key function of the Anglo-Catholic movement to remind its fellow Anglicans of this fact. I think some Anglo-Catholics now need reminding of it themselves.

Juliet Hole

Bayton, Worcs. DY14 9NA


The death of Queen Elizabeth II resulted in a great outpouring of grief in this country and further afield, accompanied by a great feeling of gratitude for all that she did for this country. She was the personification of duty when she pledged herself to a lifelong service of duty. Sadly, the Church of England does not have a system of canonisation but, if we did, the Queen would surely be a strong candidate. She always made it clear that she lived her life according to Christian beliefs. I was impressed by the seemingly endless queues to file past the coffin and the large number of people who crossed themselves when reaching the coffin. A huge number watched the funeral, although we cannot say how many. In these days of so-called simple funerals and humanist ceremonies to celebrate the life of the departed without any religious content there is still a place for a properly conducted religious funeral.

I was ordained in 1983 when we had many funerals of those who described themselves as members of the Church of England, often ‘believer, but not churchgoer’. This still applies to a certain extent, judging by the huge numbers who watched the Queen’s funeral. Perhaps we underestimate what I would describe as the innate religiosity of the population of this country. There is a Russian proverb which reads ‘in times of crisis man turns to God’. That seems to be the surprising situation in which we find ourselves. Many people, particularly at the end of life, still turn to the church.

One of the reasons why Charles I was at odds with parliament was his clinging to the doctrine of the divine right of kings, that God had put him on the throne and so his powers were unrestricted. A residue of that doctrine still exists today in that we invest the sovereign with quasi-godliness. As we look back on the long reign of Her Late majesty it could be said that she was an ambassador for Christianity in the way she conducted herself, a sort of missionary. It is to be hoped that some people will at least try church, having seen its services in operation, and that our new king may be inspired by his mother and give service to the nation in the way in which she did. As for the Queen, at long last she may take her rest. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.

Fr David Sherwood


Your extensive coverage (October 2022) of the life of Her Late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, her death, and the subsequent ten days of mourning, including the lying-in-state prior to her state funeral at Westminster Abbey on 19 September and committal at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, was impressive, and a record of this ‘momentous’ period in our nation’s history is one that will survive long after Liz Truss is a mere footnote.

However, with all the justified praise for the liturgical excellence of the services, I regret that none of your contributors highlighted the Archbishop of Canterbury’s sermon at the Abbey. This was a hugely significant moment, when the eyes of millions around the world watching on TV—whether or not Christians—were on our Archbishop.

In a few short minutes, in a sermon the length of which Prince Philip would have approved, Archbishop Justin managed not only to record the Queen’s personal Christian faith and her ‘hope which in life and death inspired her servant leadership’ but also to proclaim the gospel message, ‘Christ rose from the dead and offers life to all, abundant life now and life with God in eternity.’ And, echoing the Queen’s own Christmas Day message in 2011, ‘where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in’.

In these turbulent times for our nation and the world, may that be our prayer too.

David Lamming

Boxford, Suffolk CO10 5HU

(General Synod, 2015-2021)


It was unfortunate perhaps for a monthly magazine such as New Directions that the death of HM Queen Elizabeth occurred at about the same time as the publication of the September number and a full four weeks before the October edition could appear.

It is understandable, therefore, that most of the press coverage and tributes to the late Queen could see the light of day before New Directions could make its contribution. Even so, I found the royal coverage – some nineteen articles out of twenty-three – faintly ridiculous.

I am sure most readers of ND throughout the UK honoured the late Queen as the anointed Head of State and for her deep personal faith and devoted service to her people, but many of us (believe it or not) do not live in London and some of us (sadly, a very small and decreasing minority) are not formally members of the established Church of England. We may or may not have been impressed by all the military and liturgical trappings attending the Royal Funeral or in the personal reminiscences of those ecclesiastical personages who have met the late Queen. We don’t need to read about it all over again after four weeks.

It might have been more useful to hear of what the Society’s bishops and other leaders have to say about the appalling state of the country at large and its chaotic government.

The Ven Martin Williams SSC

Cardiff CF24 2EN, Wales

May I complement all those responsible for the excellence of the latest edition of New Directions which I have just received? The tributes to our Late Sovereign are most worthy indeed.

I shall be sending an additional copy to friends overseas. 

Colin F Black

Isleworth TW7 6XH


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