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Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair - Moderator of the General Assembly

Updated: 10 Apr 2021


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The Church of Scotland

The Church of Scotland

A message from the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair

“The death of the Duke of Edinburgh marks the end of an era in the life of our nation. Prince Philip’s naval service to our country in time of war, and his enormous service to the nation afterwards, and his support of many organisations and charities in industry, education, conservation and sport have been an example to many.

“Throughout his long life, Prince Philip has shown how privilege ought to be marked by service. In his dedicated and distinctive way, he has shown our nation what this looks like, and what kind of difference it can make.

“The inception of the Duke of Edinburgh Award to recognise significant leadership and community service in the lives of young people has inspired generations to look to ways to make a difference in communities and the wider world. The award has transformed the lives of many young people, giving a sense of confidence and self-worth through achievement and hard work.

“The Duke’s constant support for Her Majesty the Queen as her consort throughout their marriage has been unswerving. He was, in the Queen’s own words, “her constant strength and guide”.

“The Church of Scotland shares in the nation’s sense of loss at this time, and gives thanks for the Duke’s life. We offer our prayers and sincere condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and the members of the Royal Family.”

Prayer following the death of HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh

Almighty and everlasting God, ‘the life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.’

But You are forever, from everlasting to everlasting, and we put our trust in You for You have promised never to leave us nor forsake us.

Loving Lord, in this last year, through the worst of a global pandemic, we’ve been face to face with our fragility and vulnerability, perhaps for some of us as never before.

Against that backdrop of hurt and loss, we give you thanks for the life and service of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. Some are called to the front of the stage, others to supporting roles and we rejoice in the way he supported Her Majesty the Queen through all of the years of her reign.

We remember, too, his work supporting charities and, perhaps most memorably for young people for over sixty years, his patronage of The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

In this hour of loss, we offer our heartfelt prayers for Her Majesty and her family. Comfort them in their loss, bind up their wounds and grant them the consolation of a store of treasured memories. Grant Her Majesty the peace that comes from knowing you and which passes all understanding.

These and all our prayers we ask in the name of Jesus, who through his life, death and resurrection offers us hope instead of despair, life instead of death.

Comment from the Moderator

A message from Very Rev Professor David Fergusson on the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh: April 2021

A message from Very Rev Professor David Fergusson, Dean of the Chapel Royal in Scotland and Dean of the Order of the Thistle, on the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

We are deeply saddened to hear of the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. He was a remarkable man who played a hugely significant role in supporting Her Majesty to fulfil the obligations and duties of the Monarch; prayers will be said throughout the Church of Scotland for Her Majesty and for all of the close family and friends for whom his loss will be deeply felt at this time.

Much will be written about Prince Philip and much will be made of his candour and even of his occasionally outspoken views, but the lasting impression must be of the longest-serving and most faithful consort that any British monarch could ever have hoped to have by her side.

Before his marriage to the Princess Elizabeth he relinquished his Greek and Danish royal titles and became a naturalised British subject, adopting the surname Mountbatten from his maternal grandparents. As a young married couple, they might have expected to spend the early years of their marriage beyond the public gaze, but the premature death of King George VI meant that Philip, husband and father, had to adapt in short order to the life of being the Queen’s consort. It is a tribute to his character and commitment that he found creative and fulfilling ways of supporting Her Majesty throughout the highs and lows of the longest reign in British history.

Prince Philip’s ties to Scotland were no small part of his life. Part of his education was spent at Gordonstoun School. In 1956, he gave his name to the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme which has enhanced the life and experience of countless young people over more than sixty years. As Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh (1953–2011), he took a lively interest in its work, becoming a regular visitor to its several campuses, including New College, the home of the School of Divinity, and providing vital support for new initiatives.

He truly loved the Scottish Highlands and shared with Her Majesty a passion for Balmoral together with a concern for its parish community. The royal couple were generous hosts to a succession of Church of Scotland ministers who were weekend house guests and visiting preachers at Crathie Kirk. Over the years he must have heard hundreds of sermons delivered by ministers and Moderators; he listened keenly and many will remember their theme being picked over at the lunch table or in a late-night conversation where the meaning of life and the state of the world were widely reviewed.

No one who enjoyed Prince Philip’s company could deny that they were in the presence of a keen and agile mind, but they also knew how much he was able to subdue his natural gifts in order to play his part as ‘liege man of life and limb’. These may be old fashioned terms, but they describe the loyalty of one who played a significant part in holding the monarchy together through years of significant and even turbulent change.

While we in the Church of Scotland acknowledge the contribution that Prince Philip has made to the fabric of our public life we know, however, that he will particularly be mourned as a husband, a father, a grandfather and a great-grandfather. Our prayers will be offered for those whose loss is more personal and profound, especially Her Majesty the Queen.

Prayers of Hope

Prayers of Hope

We have received a Try Praying 2021 letter from Rt Revd Dr Martin Fair.

In England, Churches Together will also be praying each Sunday at 7pm and will be using the #prayersofhope to share the message on social media.

Click for Facebook Prayers of Hope on Facebook
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