Diocese of Portsmouth

    Churches gear up for Coronation weekend

    25 April 2023

    WORSHIPPERS across south-east Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are gearing up to celebrate the Coronation with church services, street parties and community activities.

    They have organised music concerts, civic services, big lunches and events to help others in the local community over the Bank Holiday weekend of May 5-8. And you can also watch the historic moment when King Charles III is anointed and crowned in Westminster Abbey on big screens in certain churches.

    There are some events the evening before the Coronation. On May 5, Holy Trinity Church, Blendworth, will host a concert in honour of the Coronation, with the Blendworth Brass Band and the Langstone Big Brass Band. Doors open at 6.45pm at Blendworth Church Centre and tickets cost £10.

    Portsmouth Cathedral will also host an evening of music and reflections entitled ‘Fit for a King’ from 7pm-9pm on May 5.

    Some churches, including Portsmouth Cathedral, will screen the whole Coronation service from Westminster Abbey on May 6. The cathedral will be open from 9am-4pm and visitors are encouraged to bring picnic lunches or to buy fish and chips from the van outside to eat as they watch. There’s also a Coronation activity book available for children.

    The cathedral’s bells will be rung from 10.15am until the Coronation service starts at 11am, as part of the national ‘Ring for the King’ bell ringing initiative. Three generations of one family will ring the bells at St Mary’s, Liss, that morning, with grandad Graham Gard joining his daughter Kathy Bray and grandchildren Darcey, aged 13, and Fia, 11 in the bell tower.

    You can also watch the Coronation service at St Matthew’s Church, Bridgemary, from 10am on May 6, and enjoy afternoon tea in the church later.

    Churches will host civic services of thanksgiving on May 7 with Lord Lieutenants, Mayors, councillors and other dignitaries. Among the churches hosting such services are St Mary’s Church, Portchester, which will welcome Mark Thistlethwayte, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire and the Mayor of Fareham, Councillor Mike Ford to a Civic Coronation Service from 9.30am.

    The Civic Communion Service at St Faith’s Church, Havant, also starts at 9.30am on May 7. Havant MP Alan Mak and the Mayor of Havant will attend.

    There’s a different style of service at St Nicholas Church, Bedhampton, that morning. Families will be invited to celebrate the Coronation with a Royal Messy Church from 10.30am on May 7. There will be messy art and craft activities with a royal theme, plus songs and snacks.

    The Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Jonathan Frost, will be at Portsmouth Cathedral for a Civic Eucharist to celebrate the Coronation from 11am. All are welcome to join worshippers outside the cathedral for a picnic lunch from 12.30pm-4.30pm. And there’s a Come and Sing Evensong at 5.45pm, with the choirs of St James’ Emsworth; All Saints, Ryde; St Mark’s, North End; and St Mary’s, Hayling Island.

    Holy Trinity Church, Gosport will be having its Civic Coronation Service at 11am on May 7. The Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, the Mayor of Gosport, local councillors and dignitaries will be in attendance. The guest organist is the Very Rev Nicholas Frayling, former Dean of Chichester. He'll be playing the church's notable Handel organ. And the sermon will be given by the Rev Bernard Clarke MBE, retired Royal Navy chaplain.

    At St Mary’s Church, Fratton, local residents will join forces for a Coronation Big Lunch in the grounds from 12noon, with entertainment from the Pompey Pluckers and Black Hat Theatricals. That’s followed by a service of thanksgiving inside St Mary’s from 3pm on May 7.

    Bishop Jonathan will head to the Isle of Wight for a Civic Coronation Service at St Mary’s Church, Cowes, from 6pm on May 7. He’ll be joined by the Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight and worshippers from across the island.

    And St Peter’s Church, Petersfield, will host its Civic Evensong at 6pm on that day, with worshippers and dignitaries giving thanks for the Coronation.

    The Bank Holiday, May 8, has been designed as a day to draw local communities together in acts of service. Worshippers from St Michael’s Church, Paulsgrove, will host a free cream tea in their garden for the Big Help Out day, from 2pm-4pm, with ‘tri-shaw’ carriage rides and arts and crafts to enjoy.

    Thousands of people are expected to join the Coronation Street Party in the village of Denmead from 1pm-5pm that day. It has been organised by All Saints Church, the parish council, and local community groups. Hambledon Road will be closed, and the church will be decorated by red, white and blue bunting, with floral red, white and blue flowers inside. The church grounds will host archery, kids’ crafts, games and a bouncy helter skelter, and there is a competition to design a crown.

    And St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Wymering, will host a Coronation Craft-ernoon from 2pm-4pm on May 8. Afternoon tea and craft activities will be on offer.

    And all are welcome to help tidy up the churchyard at St Mary’s Church, Rowner, between 10am-4pm on May 8. Locals will be invited to help look after the resting places of loved ones. 

    Our churches are being decorated to mark the Coronation

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