Magazine letter June 2022 from Ken Smith, Benefice Church Lay Elder

Dear Friends & Neighbours

When I was a young teacher I got to know our local Ixworth policeman quite well. My occasional visits to the police station tended to be to plead with him to give some lad or another a second chance after committing a minor offence. Often something had started out as a prank and the teenager didn’t know when to stop or didn’t foresee the possible dangers of his actions.

One evening after such a visit the policeman told me he was a member of Toastmasters International and asked me if I would like to accompany him to a meeting. Somewhat reluctantly I agreed and one evening we set off for USAF Mildenhall for the event. After a good meal and listening to one or two well-prepared speeches a piece of paper was handed to me which read: “Talk about the monarchy in the UK and tell us why the British love it!”

I was shocked! I had not been warned that I would have to take part so there was no time to prepare. I had to think on my feet – fast. All I can remember about my ‘speech’ is that I said that the Queen was a very unifying figurehead and it was reassuring to us British to know that whatever happened in the world, or in our country, she would always be there. It gave us a certain feeling of security and stability. The Queen was above the political shenanigans. She put her country and its people first and as a fine Christian woman she set us an example to follow. I remember saying that her strength was in her weakness – which led to a many questions from our American friends.

The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee reminded me of that occasion because I still believe that what I said in the early 1970’s is still true today. Here we are marking 70 years of her reign and she has kept the promise she made on her twenty-first birthday in her speech on Radio:

“I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service.”

This month we will be giving thanks her and that her life was a long one.

In her Christmas message in 2016 the Queen said:

“Jesus Christ lived obscurely for most of his life and never travelled far. He was maligned and rejected by many, though he had done no wrong. And yet, billions of people now follow his teaching and find in him the guiding light for their lives. I am one of them because Christ’s example helps me see the value of doing small things with great love, whoever does them and whatever they themselves believe.”

May we all celebrate the Queen’s anniversary with joy and give thanks for her faith and all she has achieved during her reign.

God Bless