Services of reflection to commemorate Queen Elizabeth

Over the next few days and weeks, people will want to find spaces for quiet reflection but where can they go to? 

With the announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the country has entered a period of mourning. 

Over the next few days and weeks, people will seek solace and comfort. Naturally, many will turn to religious and spiritual spaces as an outlet for their grief, and our area’s many churches, temples, and centres are responding to this need. Some are varying their opening times and holding extended, or extra, services in tribute to the Queen, while others are encouraging people to come and just sit in quiet contemplation. Whatever or however you feel, there will be a place for you to have the space to reflect.

St Paul Old Ford 

Led by The Reverend Darius Weithers and Reverend April Keech, St Paul Old Ford is hosting special prayer times on Friday 9 September. The first is at 8.30 am, the second at midday and the last at 6.30 pm.

The church is open at the weekend and is encouraging people to come at any time during the day on Saturday 10 September to light a candle and say a prayer. On Wednesday 14 September at midday, people can go to the prayer chapel and light candles. Closer to the funeral, the church will hold another service, details of which are to be confirmed. 

Address: St Pauls Church, St Stephen’s Road E3 5JL

Bow Church

Sitting in the heart of Bow since the early 14th century, Bow Church has seen countless members of the community mourn the passing of loved ones, neighbours and monarchs. Reverend Tim May and his team are varying the church’s opening hours. On Friday 9 September, it will open from 11am until 7pm with evening prayer at 6pm. And on Saturday 10 September, it will open at 10am until 4pm with prayer at midday. From Monday 12 September, the church will be open for prayer, contemplation and signing the condolence from 8am to 10am and from 5pm to 7pm. There will also be a prayer each day at 8am and 6:30pm.

Address: Bow Church, 230 Bow Road, E3 3AH

St John on Bethnal Green 

The church will be open every day from 9am to 7pm and its friendly Reverend, Alan Green, is encouraging people to light a candle and sign a book of condolences. Reverend Green, who is on the Tower Hamlets Interfaith Forum Committee, is also organising a Civic Memorial Service for Tower Hamlets at All Saints Church, Popular on Thursday 15 September. The event will start at 5:30pm outside the Idea Store on Chrisp Street with a procession to the church.

Address: St John on Bethnal Green, 200 Cambridge Heath Road E2 9PA

London Buddhist Centre 

This Roman Road institution has been welcoming Londoners to its expert-led meditation, yoga and mindfulness classes since it was founded nearly 50 years ago. The Centre is maintaining its regular schedule of lunchtime meditation sessions, which take every Monday to Saturday from 1pm to 2pm, and its Tuesday and Wednesday evening sessions. Alongside its sessions, it is encouraging people to use its peaceful space to reflect, contemplate and process their grief.  

Address: The London Buddhist Centre, 51 Roman Road, E2 0HU

Green spaces and surrounding canals

If going to a church or centre and spending time indoors isn’t how you want to reflect, Green Park and Hyde Park have Floral Tribute Gardens where you can lay flowers. If that is too far, then head somewhere closer to home such as Victoria Park for a peaceful walk, or take a stroll along the canal. While we all know that green space and spending time by water can have a positive impact on our physical and mental health, research has shown that spending time in nature can also teach people to grieve due to parks’ and natural spaces’ cyclical nature of birth, growth, death and loss.

If you read this article, then read our piece on Victoria Park.

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