Rochester Cathedral to hold commemorative service in Queen's honour as religious leaders pay tribute

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh on arrival at Rochester Cathedral to attend the Maundy Service on March 30, 1961. It was the first time the Maundy service had been held in Rochester. Credit: PA/PA Archive/PA Images

A commemorative service of evensong is to be held at Rochester Cathedral on Friday, September 9, in memory of Her Majesty The Queen who has died aged 96.

The special service will take place at 5.30pm.

Flags around the diocese will be flown at half-mast during the period of mourning, except for the national and local proclamation of the new monarch.

Following the announcement of The Queen's death, the Rt Rev Dr Jonathan Gibbs, the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Simon Burton-Jones, the Bishop of Tonbridge, and the Dean of Rochester, the Very Reverend Dr Philip Hesketh, said: "It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of Her Majesty The Queen.

Rt Rev Dr Jonathan Gibbs, the Bishop of Rochester, paid tribute to The Queen. Credit: Church of England

"Our most sincere condolences, on behalf of the Diocese of Rochester, have been expressed to the Royal Family."The Queen’s long reign has offered stability and reassurance to the United Kingdom and beyond, and Her Majesty’s commitment and service both to the nation and the commonwealth have been a source of constant encouragement."Her Majesty’s death will be deeply felt by many."

Prayers were said at Rochester Cathedral last night as well as at Winchester, Salisbury and Canterbury Cathedrals.

Books of condolence have opened across the South East for the public to pay their respects.

Church bells will be tolled across the region on Friday following the announcement.

The Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford, said: "Her Majesty the Queen has been a cherished presence in all of our lives and for the whole of our lives.

"She has been our example and a rock for the nation and commonwealth.

"Her devoted service has given stability to the nation throughout this Elizabethan age.

"Her deep, personal Christian faith has been an inspiration to many, including me.

"The whole nation will be united in mourning for our beloved Queen in the coming days.

"We will need time to grieve and to share our grief with others.

"We pray at this time for the Queen's family and especially for Charles as he prepares to become King.

Queen Elizabeth II with other members of the Royal Family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, to view the Platinum Jubilee flypast. Credit: Aaron Chown/PA Wire/PA Images

"This will be a season for deep reflection in the life of our nation as we look back in thanksgiving and forward in hope.

"This United Kingdom has deep foundations in Christian faith.

"A key part of our faith is the distinctive hope of resurrection from the dead: that our life in Christ endures beyond death and for eternity.

"As we grieve and pray, we also look forward together in hope to that new and eternal life with God.

"We have prayed through all of our lives: God save the Queen.

"We now entrust Her Majesty to her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and commit ourselves afresh to his service and to God's eternal kingdom."

The Bishop of Dover, The Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, said the Queen is "irreplaceable". Credit: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Archive/PA Images

The Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Bishop of Dover, described the Queen as "the mother of our nation" and "the longest serving, most hard-working monarch in British history".She said: "Our national family mourns with her family, for she is irreplaceable.

"And in the grief of her passing may we comfort one another and trust in God’s peace that surpasses all understanding.

"Let us, like her, put our hands into the hand of God."

The Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, said the Queen will remain in "our hearts and minds". Credit: PA

The Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, said: "Thanks be to God for the life of his servant, Queen Elizabeth II.

"Her death is a moment of bereavement for the whole nation, and for the Commonwealth.

"She will remain in our hearts and minds as an exceptional example of public duty and commitment to her high calling, carried out with unswerving faith in God.

"Let us come together as a nation to mark her death with dignity and pride. 

"Our prayers are with those who have been close to her in the service of the crown over many years, together with all the members of the Royal Family as we pray for the new Sovereign, King Charles." 

The Bishop of Portsmouth, The Rt Rev Jonathan Frost, sent his thoughts to the Royal Family. Credit: Diocese of Portsmouth

The Bishop of Portsmouth, The Rt Rev Jonathan Frost said: "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II served our nation with integrity, devotion and wisdom.

"Living faith in Jesus Christ gave her a spiritual compass in daily life and provided a source of steady inspiration for many within the Church, Nation and Commonwealth.

"On this day in which sadness and thanksgiving join hands, I pray with heartfelt gratitude for her life and faithful service.

"Her Majesty’s death will be deeply felt by very many and perhaps especially by her family.

"Conscious of the widespread public attention they will receive, we pray today that the Royal Family may know the consolation of Christ’s love in their loss."