Queen Elizabeth II: Old North Church hosts occasions for remembrance and prayer

British Consulate's condolence book open at Old North through Wednesday, Sept. 14;
Service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance on Sunday, Sept. 18 at 10 a.m.

Invitation graphic for Old North service of remembrance for Queen Elizabeth II

As the life and legacy of Queen Elizabeth II and her 70-year reign are being remembered around the world in the days following her death on Sept. 8 at age 96, tributes and services are being offered in numerous dioceses and congregations around The Episcopal Church.

"Her resilience, her dignity and her model of quiet faith and piety have been—and will continue to be—an example for so many," Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry said in a statement on the day of her death.

In the Diocese of Massachusetts, memorial activities at Old North Church in Boston are the focus for public expressions of remembrance and worship, and Bishop Alan M. Gates and Bishop Gayle E. Harris join Old North Vicar-in-Charge Matthew P. Cadwell in raising prayers and offering condolences on behalf of the diocese.

"While the Old North Church’s role at the start of the American Revolution is well known, we were established over 50 years earlier in 1723 as the second Church of England parish in Boston. Once the wounds of war healed, we reestablished our close relationship with the British community in Boston and beyond. These bonds of affection have grown ever deeper and stronger throughout the reign of Queen Elizabeth II," Cadwell noted in a statement issued on Sept. 8. 

Archbishop of Canterbury Geoffrey Fisher offered a prayer he had written for the new queen during a visit to Old North on Sept. 7, 1952, and Old North later hosted the queen herself during a bicentennial visit with Prince Philip to Boston on July 11, 1976. In the years since, Old North has regularly celebrated the queen's milestone jubilees and has served as a gathering place for Boston's British community.

"At this time of significant loss, the people of the Old North Church offer our prayers and sincere condolences to the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms, to our friends in the British community in Boston and all those across the world who found the greatest inspiration in Her Majesty’s life and example. We hold most closely in prayer her beloved family, especially His Majesty King Charles III who now takes upon himself a singularly heavy duty. May His Majesty be guided and strengthened by the same steadfast faith as his mother," Cadwell said in his statement. "May Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II rest in peace and rise in glory."

For those wishing to share remembrances and messages of sympathy, the British Consulate in Boston has opened its condolence book in the Old North Church sanctuary through Wednesday, Sept. 14. The church will be open for signing each day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All are welcome. For those unable to come in person, virtual condolence books are open at www.churchofengland.org and www.royal.uk.

Old North Church will offer a Service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance this Sunday, Sept. 18 at 10 a.m., with tolling of bells to follow. All are welcome, with advance registration requested here. (Validated parking is available at the North End Garage, 600 Commercial Street, Sundays until 1 p.m.)

A livestream of the service will be broadcast via YouTube, here.

Old North Church (www.oldnorth.com) is located at 193 Salem Street in Boston.