Carrying on the series of great Christmas video clips is the Bethlehemiam Rhapsody – old school but great:
The Church of England has published prayers to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday. Two prayers, available in traditional and modern forms, have been written ahead of the monarch’s milestone.
They are intended to be used at events later this year marking the Queen’s birthday on April 21st. In addition two graces have been published for use as thanksgivings at the start of other celebrations such as street parties.
One of the graces reflects the words used in The Queen’s first Christmas broadcast in 1952, a year in which her father, George VI died and at the end of which she was looking forward to her Coronation, the following year.
Churches are being encouraged to share their plans to mark Her Majesty’s birthday through the Church Care website, which also offers tips and advice on planning events and services and will promote initiatives on a dedicated celebration map and on Twitter through @CofE_ChurchCare using #HMQ90
Collect – Traditional
Heavenly Father, who hast brought our gracious sovereign Queen Elizabeth to the completion of her ninetieth year, and dost gather her people in celebration of the same: grant that we, rejoicing before thee with thankful hearts, may ever be united in love and service to one another, and her kingdom flourish in prosperity and peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Collect – Modern
as we celebrate the ninetieth birthday of Her Majesty the Queen,
receive our heartfelt thanks
for all that you have given her in these ninety years
and for all that she has given to her people.
Continue, we pray, your loving purposes in her,
and as you gather us together in celebration,
unite us also in love and service to one another;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Bountiful God, giver of all good gifts,
we give thanks for the many years and long reign of our Queen;
Bless our food, our neighbourhood,
and our enjoyment of each other’s company.
Help us to learn from Queen Elizabeth’s commitment to her people,
so that our community may be strengthened
and all may flourish.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, the King of love.
Gracious God, give our Queen continued wisdom and strength
to carry out the promises she has made;
and bless (this food, and) those who are gathered here,
that, sustained by service for others,
we may faithfully serve you, all the days of our life.
‘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.’
It is the most recent of many public references the Queen has made to her Christian faith.
In 2016 people around the county and throughout the Commonwealth will gather in their communities to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday. Her actual birthday on 21 April will be celebrated with
- four days of celebrations in Windsor 12-15 May;
- a service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday 10 June;
- the traditional trooping the colour ceremony – the Queen’s birthday parade – on Saturday 11 June in Horse Guards Parade, and
- a massive street party for 10,000 people on The Mall on Sunday 12 June.
The whole country is invited to join the celebrations in our own villages, towns or cities. HOPE is working in partnership with Bible Society and the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity to publish a very special book focusing on the Queen’s Christian faith.
The Servant Queen – and the King she serves: This beautifully illustrated short book uses the Queen’s own words to draw out the central role of her trust in Jesus Christ, offering us all an inspiring, multi-faceted insight into a life well-lived for others.
Some more funny and random headlines from around the world:
- Uzbek TV urges respect for parents: Uzbek state-run TV calls on people to be polite to their parents after the president’s daughter took to social media to criticise her mother.
- US psalm book sells for $14.2m: A tiny book of psalms from 1640 becomes the world’s most expensive printed book as it sells at auction in New York for $14.2m (£8.8m).
- Liverpool bid to take Santa title: Thousands of people dressed as Father Christmas join Liverpool’s annual charity Santa Dash in a bid to take a world record.
- ‘Amazing’ Queen panto photos on sale: Photographs of the Queen on stage in pantomime are among “the most amazing royal archive”, an auctioneer says.
- US football fans ’caused earthquake’: A celebration by football fans in the US city of Seattle grew so loud on Monday evening it registered as a minor earthquake, a research group says.
- Mountie told ‘no pot-smoking in uniform’: A Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer has been told he can’t smoke marijuana while wearing the famous red serge uniform, it’s reported.
- Australia police lose swallowed ring: Police in Australia lose a ring swallowed by a suspect in a jewellery shop theft, amid “gaps” in search procedures.
- Swimmer shaves off ‘jellyfish’ beard: The first man to swim the length of Britain shaves off the beard he grew to protect his face from jellyfish.
- Obama takes selfie at Mandela event: US President Barack Obama, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, and Denmark’s PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt take an impromptu “selfie” at the memorial for Nelson Mandela
- French cafe ‘rude tax’ causes a stir: A French Riviera cafe has created a stir on social media by rewarding their customers with cheaper coffee in return for good manners.
- No armoured car for mafia prosecutor: A leading anti-mafia prosecutor turns down the offer of an armoured car during a major trial in Italy as his bodyguards are issued with bomb-jamming equipment.
- Facebook tourist walks off pier: A Taiwanese tourist is rescued after walking off a pier in the Australian city of Melbourne while checking her Facebook page, police say.
- Google Glass takes photos by winking: Google introduces a new feature to its Google Glass, which allows users to take a photo with a “wink of the eye”.
- Plastic banknotes to start in 2016: Plastic banknotes that can survive a spin in the washing machine are to be brought into circulation by the Bank of England in 2016.
- Man handed £400,000 piracy fine: A 28-year-old man is fined 4.3 million Swedish krona – just over £400,000 – for uploading one film to a torrent-sharing website.
- US man wins raffle for $1m Picasso: A $1m painting by Pablo Picasso has been won by a US man who paid just 100 euros for a ticket in an online charity raffle.
Some more funny and random headlines from around the world: Rowling unmasked as crime novelist:
Norway PM works as secret cab driver: Norway’s PM Jens Stoltenberg spent a day working undercover as a taxi driver in Oslo, he reveals, saying he wanted to hear voters’ real views.
Venezuela gets tough on hair thieves: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro calls on the police to act against gangs who are stealing women’s hair.
Forty pythons found in Canada motel: Canadian animal welfare officers in Brantford, Ontario, rescue 40 distressed pythons from plastic storage bins in a motel room.
Isolated Peru tribe ‘asks for food’: Members of one of the most isolated tribes on Earth have briefly emerged from the Peruvian jungle to ask for food, activists say.
Wayward China toilet users face fine: Public toilet users in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen are to be fined if they cannot urinate accurately in city facilities.
‘Alien’ gargoyle on ancient abbey: A gargoyle on a historic 13th Century abbey causes a social media sensation with its resemblance to the monster from the Alien films.
Woman settles $105,000 parking fine: A Chicago woman settles $105,000 (£67,540) in parking fines assessed after her car was abandoned at an airport in 2009, local media report.
Widower’s love song makes top 10: A 96-year-old who wrote a touching love song to his late wife enters the top 10 on the US iTunes chart.
Queen’s limousine auctioned for £40k: A car that was once owned and driven by the Queen sells for £40,500 at auction.
Men’s height ‘up 11cm since 1870s’: The average height of European men has risen by almost 11cm since the mid-19th century, experts have found.
NZ man escapes ‘stalking’ crocodile: A New Zealand tourist has returned to safety after being menaced by a large crocodile off Western Australia for two weeks, a report says.
Man buys tweet to complain about BA: A disgruntled customer has used the same social media ad tools as BA to complain about lost luggage.
Bob Geldof set to travel into space: Bob Geldof has announced he will travel into space as a passenger on a commercial flight.
Pope Francis gifted 20-year-old car: An Italian priest gives Pope Francis a 20-year-old white Renault 4 to drive himself around Vatican city.
Bulgarian man swims lake tied in bag: A Bulgarian man has swum more than 2km (1.25 miles) tied up in a bag in a bid to set a Guinness World record, event organisers say.
Some more funny and random headlines from around the world:
- German flea circus hit by freeze: A flea circus in Germany has been scrambling to replace its performers after the entire troupe was wiped out by the freezing weather.
- Motown piano returns to Detroit: A grand piano used in the Motown Records studios is restored and put on display at a museum dedicated to the legendary record label.
- Tolkien ‘curse ring’ goes on display: An ancient gold ring thought to have inspired JRR Tolkien to write The Hobbit goes on display at a Tudor house in Hampshire.
- Exhaled breath is unique fingerprint: Scientists report that compounds present in breath are unique to individuals – a “breathprint” – and could be exploited in a range of medical applications.
- Male baldness ‘indicates heart risk’: Men going thin on top may be more likely to have heart problems than their friends with a full head of hair, according to researchers in Japan.
- Libraries to store UK web content: Six major libraries are to collect and preserve the UK’s increasing cultural and intellectual output that appears in digital form, including tweets and blogs.
- Queen honoured with Bafta award: The Queen receives an honorary Bafta for her support for British film at a glittering ceremony – and is described as “the most memorable Bond girl yet”.
- Bulgaria prays to end suicides: Bulgaria begins three days of special prayers requested by the country’s president because of national pessimism and a spate of suicides.
- Chinese tourists top spending league: The Chinese have become the single biggest source of global tourism income after spending $102bn (£67bn; 79bn euros) while travelling abroad in 2012.
- Mali ‘to replace eaten French camel’: An official says Mali is to send the French president a replacement camel after the first, given to him as a gift, was eaten.
- US ‘hermit’ held in food burglaries: A man who lived as a hermit in the Maine woods for nearly three decades committed more than 1,000 burglaries for food and supplies, police say.
- Bank ‘error’ on James Joyce coin: The Central Bank of Ireland has said it regrets an error on a new commemorative coin which misquotes James Joyce.
- Team reconstructs ‘human ancestor’: The most complete view yet of a possible human ancestor uncovered in South Africa has revealed an intriguing mix of human and ape traits.
- Airport tech reveals hidden artwork: Researchers reveal a fresco hidden beneath the surface of a known forgery at the Louvre museum – using technology similar to that of airport scanners.
- Actress claim against IMDb rejected: An actress who sued Amazon.com after her age was posted on its Internet Movie Database has her claim rejected by a federal jury in Seattle.