Churches respond with prayer and thanksgiving to remember HRH Prince Philip
CHURCHES across south-east Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are helping those who would like to spend time in prayer and reflection following the death of HRH Prince Philip.
Worshippers will hold special services to give thanks to God for the life of the Duke of Edinburgh, and include specific prayers within their regular Sunday services tomorrow (April 11). Churches with bells – including Portsmouth Cathedral – tolled a single bell 99 times at 12noon today (April 10), and those with flags lowered them to half-mast as a mark of respect.
The Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Christopher Foster, will preach at a Service of Prayer and Thanksgiving at Newport Minster on the Isle of Wight from 4pm tomorrow (April 11). Attendance is limited because of Covid restrictions to those specifically invited by the Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight, but anyone can participate via the minster’s Youtube and Facebook channels.
Bishop Christopher will also preach at a Choral Evensong in Commemoration and Thanksgiving for the life of HRH Prince Philip at Portsmouth Cathedral at 7pm tomorrow (April 11). The service will be attended by the Lord Mayor, and by other invited civic, naval, and religious leaders. Again, attendance will be limited, but people can book places via the cathedral website, or watch the livestream via the cathedral’s Youtube channel.
Holy Trinity Church in Cowes has a special association with HRH Prince Philip because of his role as Admiral of the nearby Royal Yacht Squadron – he has participated in services at the church during Cowes Week. It will invite island members of the squadron to a special Service of Remembrance and Condolence at 9.30am tomorrow (April 11).
And the Mayor of Cowes will be invited to a civic service at St Mary’s Church, Cowes, at 11am tomorrow (April 11). As attendance at both the Holy Trinity and St Mary’s services is limited, both will be live-streamed on their Facebook channel and available to view later on the parish website.
Many churches opened their doors yesterday (April 9) for longer than usual, after hearing the sad news about the death of Prince Philip. They invited visitors to pray, light a candle or remember the Royal Family in their thoughts. Many will also open their doors for longer hours between now and the funeral, while abiding by current Covid restrictions.
The government yesterday asked churches not to offer physical books of condolence that visitors could sign, because of Covid guidelines. The Church of England instead gave people the chance to sign a digital book of condolence on their website.
And the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Christopher Foster, paid his own tribute on hearing the news. He said: “The Duke of Edinburgh has lived as an exemplar of public service and devotion to duty. His commitment to HM the Queen and to the nation has been steadfast, and his down-to-earth persona has been coupled with deep loyalty and service. I pray today with gratitude for his life, for Her Majesty and the Royal Family in their loss, and with compassion for all who mourn.”
Details of appropriate prayers have been circulated to all churches in the Diocese of Portsmouth, and will be included in all services tomorrow and throughout next week before the funeral. Full details can be found here: portsmouth.anglican.org/prince-philip.