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CORRECTION: Ad clerum, 10 September 2022
Dear friends,
The Regional proclamations of the accession of the new king are scheduled to take place at 1pm on Sunday 11 September (for South Yorkshire this will be at Barker’s Pool in Sheffield). The mailing sent this morning stated it would be 2pm (which has been confirmed as incorrect and adjusted in the text below).

This brief letter is simply to assure you that as your bishops we are praying for you this weekend, and will continue to pray for you over the next 10 days, as you seek to respond effectively to the needs of your neighbours and neighbourhoods, and the communities you serve, following the news of the death of Her Late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
Few of us are unmoved by her death. For 70 years she has been a constant presence, a mother figure not only to our nation but to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.  She has been a devoted servant of her people and of her Saviour, and we will feel her absence keenly. But as well as sadness, our hearts are filled with gratitude for all that she has given us over the course of the past seven decades and more. 
Her Late Majesty had a profound Christian faith. Her deep trust in Jesus Christ was the well from which she drew strength for her long life of service, and the compass which determined her sense of direction. So we do not grieve as those who have no hope.  Rather, as the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Thessalonica, ‘since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died’.  (1 Thess 4.14)
You are the ones rooted in local communities, best placed to determine what provision and arrangements will be most appropriate where you are. But we wanted to ensure you are aware of some key events during this period of national mourning, and of some helpful resources. If you have not already done so, please do read the material which is available on the Church of England website – this includes liturgical resources and resources for use in schools.

There are four key dates for you to be aware of.
Saturday 10th September
At around 11am, there will be a formal proclamation of the accession of King Charles III.  Part of the sensitivity of this period will be the need to achieve a proper balance between grief at the death of Her Late Majesty, and the celebration of the accession of our new sovereign. The height of flags reflects this tension: they fly at full height from 11am on Saturday until 1pm on Sunday, but then revert to half mast.
We recognise that in some places capacity is an issue and where that is the case, we wish to assure you of our understanding – please do not put yourselves under pressure at this time. But where possible, we encourage you to open up church buildings so that local people can light candles and/or sign Books of Condolence, perhaps also marking out an area of churchyard or garden for the placing of floral tributes. 
Sunday 11th September
Sunday worship continues as usual. Parishes are welcome to use either the orders of service they had already prepared (ie, for Trinity 13) or eg the material prepared for ‘Holy Communion during the period of mourning’ available on the website. Should you choose to offer the service you have already prepared, it would be fitting to hold a formal silence for remembrance and thanksgiving at an appropriate point in that service.
Regional proclamations of the accession of the new king are scheduled to take place at 1pm (for South Yorkshire this will be at Barker’s Pool in Sheffield). At their discretion, parish councils may arrange local proclamations at 4pm. 
Sunday 18th September
On the eve of Her Late Majesty’s funeral, parishes may wish to arrange a service of commemoration. There are strict protocols surrounding the format of such services and template orders of service are available on the website. 
At 6pm there will be a Memorial Service for South Yorkshire and the wider Diocese at Sheffield Cathedral.  Because of the number in attendance, this service will be by invitation only; but it will be livestreamed so that all who wish to are able to participate in it. 
A nationally produced service will be streamed on the Church of England’s Facebook and YouTube channels and via the website. 
Monday 19th September
It is likely, but not yet confirmed, that the Funeral Service for Her Late Majesty will take place at Westminster Abbey on this date at around 11am.  It is also likely that the day will be declared a Bank Holiday.  Local commemorations should not be arranged to conflict with this service.
              Weddings, funerals and baptisms may continue as planned through the whole period of national mourning, but particular sensitivity should be shown in relation to any which are planned to take place on the day of the funeral.
We expect to remain in contact with you during this period with further information as and when it is available.  Meanwhile, do please review the Church of England website reasonably often, and look out for digital communications by email, and via the Cathedral and Diocesan social media channels.
We are especially grateful to our communications team both local and national, for their guidance and support for us all at this sensitive time.
Thank you for all that you are doing to bring comfort and hope to those we seek to serve in the name of Jesus Christ.
With every blessing,
The Rt Revd Dr Pete Wilcox
Bishop of Sheffield
The Rt Revd Sophie Jelley
Bishop of Doncaster
Copyright © 2022 Diocese of Sheffield, All rights reserved.

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