26 September 2022

Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Day

At 2pm today, a minute of silence will be kept across Aotearoa New Zealand, to remember the life and reign of Her Late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

Amidst all the pageantry, amidst the private grief of a family who have lost a loved one, and the public mourning for a sovereign – a simple but profound reality has been on display. It would be very easy to say that this is only the juxtaposition of Queen Elizabeth’s humanity against the pomp of her royalty. But there is more going on. As she frequently did in life, so in the carefully planned symbolism of mourning and funeral, Elizabeth II has focused our gaze upwards – to transcendence; to Jesus Christ.

Only God truly knows the heart of a person, but we can say with confidence that we are marking the death of a Christian Queen.

Her Late Majesty modelled Christian leadership and public virtue. Faithfulness and service to others have been hallmarks of her reign – echoing Christ’s call to be a “servant of all”. Though she held immense power, wealth and influence, she consistently modelled restraint. If we ask ourselves – why did Elizabeth II choose to live and lead as she did on behalf of others – we have the answer in her own repeated testimony: because Christ, her Lord, taught her so.

As we pause to remember Queen Elizabeth II, we at Laidlaw College are grateful to God for her faithfulness, and that she followed a greater Servant King who has now welcomed her into his saving arms.  

It is with high respect and honour that we acknowledge the passing of Queen Elizabeth. As the head of the British Crown with which the Treaty of Waitangi has sealed us in long term partnership and relationship, we recognise her reign and understand we have come to the end of an era. We honour your faith O Queen and say peace be with you as you dwell in the presence of your God. 

Bradford Haami, Tiamana o Te Rūnanga o Te Wānanga Amorangi, Laidlaw College.

On behalf of the Pasifika Council we acknowledge and pay tribute to the legacy and leadership of Queen Elizabeth II.  She will be remembered for visits to our Pacific islands and for her life of service and loyalty to the people.  We trust and bless King Charles III will continue to carry and honour the memory and beautiful legacy of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

Lilomaiava Yvonne Timaloa, Chair, Pasifika Council, Laidlaw College.

Elizabeth II gained her understanding of what Christian leadership meant to be and perform from the example of her father, King George VI, and her mother, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. From the age of ten, when her father was unexpectedly crowned King and she became heir apparent to the throne, Elizabeth was closely involved in their day to day response to the emotional needs of their people. In her turn Queen Elizabeth became an emotional anchorage for the people and embodied many Christian values in her leadership. Compassion for those in need, encouragement, generosity, strength of character and integrity. She also used the opportunity to share her faith in her Christmas messages. Her experience of the Christian faith in action peaked at her coronation when she was anointed with oil in the centuries-old tradition of dedicating a monarch to God’s calling and service. In later years she expressed her lifelong commitment to the role, with the explanation that, unlike a career, she was dedicated for life. And how did she live this out?

"For me, the life of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, whose birth we celebrate today, is an inspiration and an anchor in my life. A role model of reconciliation and forgiveness, he stretched out his hands in love, acceptance and healing. Christ's example has taught me to seek to respect and value all people of whatever faith or none." (Queen's Christmas Message, 2014)

Judith Malcolm, Deputy Chair, National Governing Council, Laidlaw College.