On Friday, September 8, we mark one year since Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second passed away.
In the days following her death, we collectively mourned a woman who had been the 'rock' at the heart of national life for seven decades. Most of us had never known another monarch.
The nation was in shock. We grieved the loss of someone who was a powerful sign of unity and stability; our continuity in the good times and the bad.
Her Late Majesty was also a woman of profound Christian faith. She died knowing the hope of new life that Jesus offers to us all.
That faith and hope in the resurrection was also witnessed by countless millions across the globe 10 days later as, collectively, we experienced the unique moment in history that was Her Late Majesty's State Funeral.
Between her death and the funeral, we also witnessed a nation coming together - to mourn, to remember and reflect on what we had lost; while at the same time there was continuity again; as His Majesty King Charles III assumed the solemn mantle of responsibility as our new Monarch.
In the midst of our grief, as we prayed for the whole Royal Family and for our nation, we still had hope for the future in the shape of our new King.
And it is in prayer we can also be reassured of the comfort and hope of new life that Jesus gives us all.
As we look back on that remarkable 10 days in 2022 following the death of Her Late Majesty, we can also give thanks for a life well-lived.
A life given in service to you, to me and to the whole nation; to all who lived during her record-breaking reign of more than 70 years.
In my remarks immediately following the death of Her Late Majesty in 2022 I said: 'Our Queen had 'made of her life a gift to the world. How can we do the same?'
That sentiment is true still today.
Sustained by her deep Christian faith Her Late Majesty didn't falter. She was constantly giving herself to service.
As we give thanks for the life of Her Late Majesty on this first anniversary, let's allow the memory of her service to sustain and inspire us now to ask afresh each day: 'what can I do to make a difference and to serve'?
Ronnie Semley, September 2023