Earl of Wessex delivers Queen’s speech at Church of England Synod

The Earl of Wessex delivered The Queen’s address to the General Synod on Tuesday as he represented his mother at the Church of England’s national assembly. Edward also attended a service at Westminster Abbey before the address.

The Queen was forced to miss the event after Buckingham Palace announced she sprained her back and was unable to attend. She also had to pull out of attending the Remembrance Sunday service.

Prince Edward told the General Synod at Church House, next to Westminster Abbey, ‘you probably understand why’ The Queen was not present to deliver her address and sends her ‘sincere and deep apologies that she cannot be here today’. He added: “I think you probably understand why, and she regrets that deeply.”

The Earl delivered the address, which read: “Your Graces, the Convocations of Canterbury and York, duly called together in obedience to Our Royal Writs, are on this day joined together in accordance with the Synodical Government Measure 1969 and the House of Laity is added to them in accordance with the Measure, so as to constitute the Eleventh General Synod of the Church of England.

“Archbishops and members, the opening of a new Synod provides an opportunity for us all to give thanks for the witness of those who have gone before, and pray for wisdom as you seek to balance change and continuity in the decisions that lie ahead.”

As Head of the Church of England, and a devout Christian, Her Majesty takes a personal interest in the proceedings. The Synod takes place every five years to decide on church rules and protocols, passing legislation.

The Queen’s address looked at the history she and her late husband have with the Synod, and noted ‘none of us can slow the passage of time; and while we often focus on all that has changed in the intervening years, much remains unchanged, including the Gospel of Christ and his teachings.’

The Earl of Wessex delivered The Queen’s speech at the Synod after she had to cancel (@RoyalFamily/Twitter)

The Monarch noted ‘the list of tasks facing that first General Synod may sound familiar to many of you: Christian education; Christian unity; the better distribution of the ordained ministry to the needs of the population. But one stands out supreme: “to bring the people of this country to the knowledge and the love of God”.’

“Of course, in our richly diverse modern society, the well-being of the nation depends on the contribution of people of all faiths, and of none. But for people of faith, the last few years have been particularly hard, with unprecedented restrictions in accessing the comfort and reassurance of public worship.

“For many, it has been a time of anxiety, of grief, and of weariness.”

The Queen continued to highlight the pandemic in her address. “Yet the Gospel has brought hope, as it has done throughout the ages; and the Church has adapted and continued its ministry, often in new ways – such as digital forms of worship.

The Earl of Wessex attended a service at Westminster Abbey. (Westminster Abbey/Twitter)

“St. Paul reminds us that all Christians are entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation, and the deepening of relations across the great Christian traditions has been a continuing priority since the first General Synod in 1970. And so I am pleased to note the enhanced cooperation between the Church of England and the Church of Scotland, as well as the sustained ecumenical links between many churches, in the pursuit of Christian unity.”

The Queen’s youngest son continued to deliver her address stating: “Your Graces and members of the Synod, the next five years will not always be straightforward. Like every new Synod, you have inherited weighty responsibilities with many issues to address, reports to debate, and difficult decisions to make. You may have to consider proposals on governance, on conduct, on the use of resources, and on other issues; and on a vision for the future of the Church.

“In some areas, there will, of course, be differing views and my hope is that you will be strengthened with the certainty of the love of God, as you work together and draw on the Church’s tradition of unity in fellowship for the tasks ahead.

“At the beginning of this new Synod, my prayer is that the Lord’s blessing may be upon you as you embark on your deliberations; and that you will find inspiration in the joyous words of the hymn you sang this morning: O Comforter, draw near, within my heart appear, and kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.”

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