The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church today (5 July) contributed to a National Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication for Their Majesties the King and Queen on the occasion of the Presentation of the Royal Honours of Scotland.
The service, which took place at 2.15pm at St Giles’ in Edinburgh, followed on from the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla, and included the presentation of the Honours of Scotland, the historic regalia and symbols of Scottish royalty: the Crown, the Sceptre and the Sword of State.
Speaking after the service the Primus, who had offered prayer for the King using words attributed to St Columba, said: “It was an honour to offer prayer on this occasion using the ancient words of Saint Columba. Words which look back to an even more distant past, to the anointing of Solomon. In a service that so confidently looked to the future, it was deeply moving to be able to connect our long and storied history with that vision of hope for our future, knowing that the King and Queen share that hope through the promises made today: to uphold the trust of the people of Scotland.”
The prayer that Bishop Mark read is as follows:
Lord Jesus Christ, who from everlasting rules over all earthly governors; we beseech you to strengthen our gracious Sovereign, King Charles, for the duties of the high estate to which you have called him. Exalt him that he may hold the Sceptre of salvation; enrich him with such gifts of your mercy as shall bring him holiness; and grant to him by your inspiration even so to rule his people in meekness and humility, as you did cause Solomon to obtain a kingdom of peace. May he be ever subject to you in fear, and fight for you in quietness; may he be protected by your shield, and remain ever victorious without warfare. And grant that the nations may keep faith with him, and that his counsellors in all his dominions may have peace and love charity. Establish his government in strength and righteousness; and in your mercy bestow upon him a kingdom without end, that he may rejoice to glorify you, who lives and reigns with the Eternal Father, together with the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Ahead of the service the Primus was interviewed by STV news saying: “This is our history. This goes right back. This is something which – important as Westminster was for the UK – as I’m the leader of a Scottish Church to be doing this here on the Royal Mile, that’s really special.”
Scottish Episcopal musicians were well represented during the service, with Michael Bawtree, Director of Music at St Margaret’s, Newlands conducting the Honours of Scotland Ensemble, and an arrangement of Ye Banks and Braes, by Robert Burns, arranged by Dr John Kitchen, Director of Music of Old Saint Paul’s, Edinburgh, sung by the National Youth Choir of Scotland Chamber Choir.
Ahead of the service the Honours of Scotland were paraded from Edinburgh Castle to St Giles in a People’s Procession, featuring participants from across Scotland and escorted by The Royal Regiment of Scotland.
First Minister Humza Yousaf, who read from Psalm 19 during the service, said in advance of the service: “Scotland will welcome the new King and Queen in July with a series of events to mark the Coronation. A People’s Procession, a Royal Procession, a National Service of Thanksgiving and a Gun Salute will take place in Edinburgh.
“Representatives from many different communities and organisations in Scotland will take part in these historic events.”
The sermon was given by the Rt Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, who spoke about Scotland’s cultural diversity and commitment to the common good, emphasising the need for diverse perspectives, unity, and collaboration. She told the congregation: “Blessed are we, on the right track are we when we understand that our children do not inherit this earth from us – we have borrowed it from them. And it is our duty to return it still singing and surging and bathing, not baking to a crisp.
“Your Majesties, you have made it part of your mission to speak alongside creation; advocating for it. As we present the honours of Scotland to you, we commit ourselves to walking that journey with you. We are all a small part of something so much bigger – this beautiful, sacred creation and everyone and everything in it.”
Prayers of intercession were led by The Most Reverend Leo Cushley; Roman Catholic Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Professor Liz Grant, member of the Church of Scotland; The Reverend Dr Amos Chewachong, minister of Newport-on-Tay Parish Church; and the Dean of His Majesty’s Chapel Royal. Blessings and Greetings from Representatives of Faith and Belief Communities across Scotland were offered by Chief Imam Dr Sayed Razawi, Director General, Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society, Dr Srihari Vallabhajousula, Honorary Priest, Hindu Temple of Scotland, Glasgow, Rabbi Moshe Rubin, Senior Rabbi in Scotland, Getsulma – Ani Rinchen Khandro, Director of Kagyu Samye Dzong Edinburgh, and Fraser Sutherland, Chief Executive of Humanist Society Scotland.