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In Pictures: Worshippers come to pay their respects to Queen at Oxford’s Christ Church cathedral

In Pictures: Worshippers come to pay their respects to Queen at Oxford’s Christ Church cathedral

PRAYERS were said for Queen Elizabeth as mourners came together for a special service at Oxford’s cathedral.

With the service live-streamed on the internet, a congregation at Christ Church took communion, heard readings from the Bible and sang William Monk’s setting of the hymn Abide with me fast falls the eventide.

The cathedral’s precentor, Rev Philippa White, said they had been ‘busy’ making arrangements for the various services since news of the monarch’s death was announced last night.

The diocesan church is open all day for private worship, while well-wishers can sign a book of condolence or light a candle in front of a framed portrait of the late Queen.

Oxford Mail: Ed Nix, Oxford MailEd Nix, Oxford Mail

Oxford Mail: Ed Nix, Oxford MailEd Nix, Oxford Mail

Speaking ahead of a special requiem Eucharist service held in the cathedral this lunchtime, Rev White said: “I think at times of shock and grief, people want to look for meaning, they want to look for transcendence, they want to think about more than everyday life.

“It’s a moment that takes you out of what your normal Friday would look like and where you are faced with those questions of life and death and mortality.

“Perhaps when a public figure dies it brings back the experience of when a family member or someone you were close to dies and you get a flood of renewed grief for the person you loved.

“At times like that, when the question is ‘is there more to life?’ a place like this is a visible testament to how many people over many centuries have believed there is more to life than what we touch, see and experience now.

“People are able to come here and, even if they are not sure – perhaps especially if they are not sure – they are able to come here and be in touch with the faith of previous generations and the way people in this country have always sought that meaning, have always experienced grief, have always wanted to gather together and go to places of meaning and express that grief.”

Oxford Mail: Ed Nix, Oxford MailEd Nix, Oxford Mail

Oxford Mail: Ed Nix, Oxford MailEd Nix, Oxford Mail

Oxford Mail: Ed Nix, Oxford MailEd Nix, Oxford Mail

Oxford Mail: Ed Nix, Oxford MailEd Nix, Oxford Mail

She added: “When I take funerals in this place, I will often say this is a place where for eight centuries people have come to bring their sorrow, to bring their joy at times of tears. It is a place that witnesses the hope we have in God, but also to the ways we come together and, when we come together, our faith and hope in God and our shared faith and hope can carry each of us.

“I think that is what is going on when we come here. People are looking to be carried not in a negative sense, but in a really positive way. Here is something that can hold your doubt, can hold your questions, can hold your grief and give you space to explore.”

Rev White led the congregation in a prayer for the Queen. “We thank you for the life of Her Majesty Elizabeth our Queen, for the love she received from you and showed among us,” she said during the service.

Rocio Ramirez, 49, visiting England from the antipodes, was among those paying their respects at the cathedral.

“We’re from New Zealand, so the queen is really important. She is like, in Spanish, la figura major [the greatest figure], the representative. We have had the privilege to be here in England for the last three days. It’s very sad,” she said.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire’s court and crime reporter.  

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward

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