A Festival Evensong

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On April 21, Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 90th birthday and becomes the oldest as well as the longest serving Head of State of the United Kingdom and 15 other Commonwealth realms including Australia and Canada. The following comes from the official website of the Commonwealth Network:

“The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of independent sovereign states…consulting and cooperating in the common interests of their peoples and in the promotion of international understanding and world peace.” (From ‘The Declaration of Commonwealth Principles, 1971’). It is also a ‘family’ of peoples. With their common heritage in language, culture, law, education and democratic traditions, among other things, Commonwealth countries are able to work together in an atmosphere of greater trust and understanding than generally prevails among nations. There are 53 member countries in the Commonwealth. Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of the Commonwealth; her role carries no formal functions, but has great symbolic significance and has helped to underline the sense of the Commonwealth as a family of nations. The Queen has laid considerable stress on her role as Head of the Commonwealth; in her Christmas broadcast from New Zealand in 1953, shortly after her accession to the throne, she said, ‘The Commonwealth bears no resemblance to the empires of the past. It is an entirely new conception built on the highest qualities of the spirit of man: friendship, loyalty, and the desire for freedom and peace’.

Saint Thomas Church has long been seen as a spiritual home for members of the Commonwealth living and working in New York and was one of the parishes recognized by the British Government as making a significant contribution to the families of UK and Commonwealth members following the terrorist attacks on 9/11. In recognition of this the XII Rector, Father Mead, was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2002.

At the top righthand corner of this page you’ll see the winner of a Church school competition to design a logo for the Church of England’s celebrations in honour of Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday. The logo, designed by Lucas Salinger, aged 10, from Potten End C of E Primary School in Hertfordshire, was picked from over 1000 entries.