Queen shares Kirk’s concern for ‘care of God’s earth’ as General Assembly begins

Her Majesty The Queen has written to the Church of Scotland sharing concerns for the planet in our role as stewards of Creation, ahead of next week's General Assembly business.

Rev Dr George Whyte reading the Queen's letter to the General Assembly 2021
The letter was read aloud during the opening ceremony of the General Assembly by Rev Dr George Whyte, Chaplain-in-Ordinary and Principal Clerk of the Church of Scotland.

Her Majesty The Queen is being represented this year by Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge and Earl of Strathearn, as the Lord High Commissioner to the 2021 General Assembly.

The letter was read aloud during the opening ceremony of the General Assembly by Rev Dr George Whyte, Chaplain-in-Ordinary and Principal Clerk of the Church of Scotland.

"We gladly renew on this occasion our pledge to preserve and uphold the rights and privileges of the Church of Scotland," Her Majesty said.

"In doing so, we acknowledge, with gratitude to Almighty God, the Church's steadfast witness to the Christian faith and its services to our people in Scotland and in many lands overseas.

"We are aware that the impact of Covid-19 is still being felt by the people across the country.

"Many have suffered illness and bereavement whilst others have lost their businesses or employment. The Church, which is so often a pillar of strength within the community, has not been immune.

"We pray for the whole Church of Scotland as in General Assembly, Presbytery and Kirk Session she seeks to discern God's will in challenging times.

"We have been pleased to learn how the Church has developed deeper relationships within the Christian family, with neighbours of other faiths and with those who hold responsibility in government and parliament.

"These new bonds have been forged in times of emergency but they will serve us all well in the future as the United Kingdom seeks to rebuild and reshape community life.

"Knowing that the Church has long had a concern for the care of God's earth we are heartened to know that she is engaging in many ways with the discussions and events which will be brought to Glasgow for COP26.

"As stewards of Creation, Christians have much to offer to the shared task of ensuring that we bequeath to our children a planet which will continue to be a good place to live.

"May your faith and courage be strengthened in your deliberations during the week ahead and through the times to come.

"As we are unable in our own person to be present at your Assembly this year, we have chosen Our Right Trusty and Right Entirely Beloved Grandson, His Royal Highness, Prince William Arthur Philip Louis, Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, KG, KT, PC to be our representative, being assured that our choice will meet with your approval.

"And so, praying that the blessing of Almighty God may attend your deliberations, we bid you heartily farewell."

Read the full signed letter here.

Rev Dr George Whyte was formally installed as Chaplain-in-Ordinary within Her Majesty's Household in October 2019.

The role of Chaplain-in-Ordinary dates back to the 15th century and is a largely a ceremonial honour with chaplains taking part in formal state occasions and conducting services at significant national events.

There are a total of 10 chaplains to the Queen in Scotland and Dr Whyte will hold this post for 10 years.

The chaplains, along with a physician, a surgeon, an apothecary, a sculptor, an astronomer, an historiographer and others form part of Her Majesty's Household in Scotland.

They are all personally known to the Queen and are people in whom she has placed her trust.