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Queen Elizabeth wrote a letter to the fifteenth Lambeth Conference this past week, stating that the conference was “taking place at a time of great need for the love of God – both in word and deed.” The conference, which had been delayed two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is an international meeting of Anglican bishops discussing the pressing issues of the day. The conference ran from July 26th though August 8th and had bishops from over 165 countries attending. In her letter, the Queen stated she was pleased to have the conference back after the delay and was glad that there was a focus on issues of the environment. She also noted the growing sense of turmoil that has come since the onset of the pandemic, writing, “Now, as so often in the past, you have convened during a period of immense challenge for bishops, clergy and lay people around the world, with many of you serving in places of suffering, conflict and trauma.”

The Queen then referred to her own faith, saying, “Throughout my life, the message and teachings of Christ have been my guide and in them I find hope. It is my heartfelt prayer that you will continue to be sustained by your faith in times of trial and encouraged by hope at times of despair.” The Queen has often cited her faith in public, with one notable remark going as far back as 2000. In a Christmas message to the nation, she said, “Christmas is the traditional, if not the actual, birthday of a man who was destined to change the course of our history. And today we are celebrating the fact that Jesus Christ was born 2,000 years ago; this is the true millennium anniversary.” Ian Bradley, author of God Save the Queen: The Spiritual Heart of the Monarchy stated that the Queen received 25 times more letters than usual in response to her address. He also credited the Queen’s deceased husband, Prince Philip, with encouraging her to speak more about her faith in an interview with “Premier.” “He was the person really who encouraged the queen to talk about her own faith in her Christmas broadcasts,” Bradley said, “…in the old days, they really used to be more like travelogues, and they would just say where the royal family had been.” During the interview, Bradley also spoke of Prince Philip’s own faith, saying, “He would note down all the details of the sermon. He was extremely interested in, in theology, he had a wonderful knowledge of the Bible, and then he would sort of quiz you at lunchtime, ask you about your sermon and really put you on your mettle.”

In an ever-increasing secular age, the 96-year-old monarch has been labeled “the last Christian monarch” by the papacy. The Queen’s annual Christmas message has become a traditional source of the monarch’s candid references to her faith. She has been delivering her Christmas messages since Christmas 1952. In her first broadcast, she asked the public to “Pray for me … that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making, and that I may faithfully serve Him and you, all the days of my life.” During the start of the 2020 pandemic, the Queen conducted her very first Easter service, saying, “May the living flame of the Easter hope be a steady guide as we face the future.” As the world continues in turmoil with global inflation, Russia/ Ukraine casualties, and tense China/ Taiwan relations, it can be believed that the Queen will continue to refer others to faith because, as she noted in her 2018 Christmas address, the Gospel message is never “out of date.”

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