National mourning for the death of the Monarch lasts from the day of death until the day of the funeral. Our Bishops and Cathedral will fulfil certain public duties and the Cathedral and Church of England websites will provide considerable information and resources.

 Clergy, Churchwardens and Parochial Church Councils however may find the following notes helpful in thinking about what to do in the parish that is dignified, practicable and reflects the local community.

 They should at all times take into account complying with Public Health Guidelines and government guidance re Covid, together with local safeguarding and risk assessments.

Local Communication

Whatever is planned locally, good communication is important, which includes outdoor signage at the church (indicating services and opening times) and in the wider community, on website and social media posts. Bear in mind the needs of those less familiar with coming to the church.

Liaison between church officers, ecumenical and faith partners and other neighbourhood and community groups will ensure complementarity of responses. The needs of older people, care homes and armed forces groups are important to recognise.

Public Commemoration

As soon as possible after the news is officially released, consider opening the church building for public prayer and commemoration. It is likely that many people will be looking for a place to go to express their feelings and say a prayer for our long-serving Monarch and her family.

If your church is only infrequently used or open, maybe a quick tidy, vacuuming and dusting and fresh flowers would indicate our welcome.

Think about having clergy, lay ministers or church members present and available for visitors and to watch over the church during open times, having regard to safeguarding protocols.


Consider setting up a memorial space in the church building, suitably accessible, as far as is possible, for different mobilities.

Prepare a table showing a framed official picture of the Queen; for example:

Place on the table a Book of Condolence – dignified loose-leaf versions may prove practical and less expensive as we cannot predict uptake. Ensure a supply of good quality pens.

Ensure the table is wheelchair user-friendly and have a suitable chair beside for those who may prefer to sit at the table to sign.

The Book of Condolence is opened on the day after the official announcement and is closed the day after the funeral.

Light the Paschal Candle or a large votive candle, adjacent to the table, and offer the opportunity for people to (safely) light votive candles (ensure your supply).


Consider designating a suitable place for flowers and cards to be left should people bring them. Bear in mind that dead flowers will eventually need discreet removal and disposal, but cards and messages can be detached and kept as a commemoration.


Regular church services should be adjusted to reflect the national period of mourning. Prayers for the Sovereign and Royal Family can be found in Common Worship. Authorised prayers and worship suggestions will be released soon after the death of the monarch is official, on the Church of England and diocesan websites. Music choices can also help reflect the mood. Following the death of the monarch, the National Anthem follows the “God save the King” revision:


A single tolling bell or muffled bells may be rung for periods as locally determined by the local church authorities from the announcement of death until the Palace proclaims the new monarch. At that point bells may be rung open in celebration of the accession as a practicable time. Bells should then revert to being tolled or rung muffled until the day of the state funeral, 10 days after the announcement of death. Further details are available from the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers: london-bridge/


Church of England parish church towers may fly the St George Flag; some in this diocese have the See of Lincoln Arms in the top left-hand corner, as at Edward King House. Free standing flagpoles may fly the Union Flag. Flags should be raised at half-mast (two-thirds of the way up the flagpole) from the day of the death of the monarch until the day following the funeral.

Working with Schools

The death of the sovereign provides a special opportunity for the Church and local schools. Initial contact and an offer of support could be timely. The Church of England and diocesan websites will have available suggestions for assemblies and collective worship. Schools and families may wish to visit their local church to express their condolences or set up prayer and remembering activities within the school.

Sunday and Other Services

The Sunday between the Announcement of Death and the Day of the Funeral should include worship material of a Requiem and Mourning character from Church of England resources. No special service should be held on the day of the funeral in Westminster Abbey. Other services are as determined by local opportunities and limitations – good quality less may be better than simply more.

In Conclusion

The death of the monarch is a unique moment for the nation and as the Established Church in England our vocation as ‘a Christian presence in every community’ is to enable mourning, gratitude and commemoration. Our numerous parishes across greater Lincolnshire have a particular opportunity to articulate faith, hope and resurrection within their local community.