2017 A Service of Celebration for Commonwealth Day


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 2017. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Good afternoon and welcome to Westminster Abbey for a special


service to celebrate the 52 nations of the Commonwealth


This service is held every year at Westminster Abbey and today


Our relationship with the Commonwealth stretches


back decades, but it could be that it is about to assume


Soon, with our upcoming exit from the European Union,


Britain's place in the world will change forever.


We'll be looking for new partners and new relationships


as well as endeavouring to renew and refresh some of our traditional


alliances and representatives from those old alliances will be


The Commonwealth has been the most enduring achievement


of The Queen's reign and today, here at Westminster Abbey,


it will be celebrated as it is every year.


But this year of all years it may be with renewed vigour


with an eye on Britain's future as much as our past.


Well, as Head of the Commonwealth the Queen will lead the congregation


With her will be the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales


and the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry.


The Commonwealth has always been hugely important to the Queen


in a very personal way, and she has passed that


commitment down to the younger members of her Family.


Last year Prince Harry visited seven Commonwealth countries


The Royal Family's attendance here today, and every year,


reflects their continued support of the Commonwealth.


The Commonwealth has an exceptionally young population.


Of the its two and a half billion people, 60% are under 30-years-old.


So gathered here in the congregation are over 600 school children,


reflecting the Commonwealth's commitment to youth.


They recognise that the continued success of the Commonwealth


rests with the young promoting its principles and values.


As you would expect from an association that spans


almost every corner of the globe today's service has


There will be music and readings from across the Commonwealth.


Baroness Scotland is playing a significant role in today's


proceedings. Patricia Scotland made history by becoming the sixth


Secretary-General and I know Secretary-General you have referred


to yourself as a classic child of the Caribbean. How does that


background prepare you for this role? Well, of course, because I've


always been a child of the Commonwealth. I've got an Antiguan


father. I was born in Dominic ka, but I grew up in the United Kingdom.


Classic Commonwealth territory. And it makes me so proud now to be here


as Secretary-General, head of the secretariat and sefring all 52


countries in our Celt and 2.4 billion people. You've been serving


that many people for almost a year now and in those 12 months so much


has changed. How do you think the Commonwealth has to adapt to the


challenges? I think one of the great things about the Commonwealth is 60%


of our citizens are beneath the age of 30. So young, vibrant, forward


looking, their future is all there before them and now the people say


if the Commonwealth didn't exist we'd to make it up. We've got six


regions, all races, all colours, all nationalities within our


Commonwealth, but just as importantly, we share common


language, common institutions and common values and that's binding us


together and that friendship has been absolutely phenomenal. Is that


where the Commonwealth draws it's main strength from? I think it is


because we have so much in common and we have been together for so


many years that that nexus is really tight and binds us and this year we


are doing a peace building Commonwealth. We are starting with


peace in our home. One in three women will suffer from domestic


violence at some stage. We would like to reverse that and we want the


Commonwealth to be right up there in front, planning, and working


together, trying to decide what works and what doesn't work and then


doing that which works to make us a safer, better, more peaceful


Commonwealth. Secretary-General, thank you very much. We look forward


to hearing your affirmation later. Thank you.


Watching this service with me, sitting Inside Westminster Abbey is


Dr Sue Onslow, we heard from Baroness Scotland. She is the


Secretary-General, but if we take a step back, how important do you


think the Commonwealth really is? Well, in these days of conflict


politics, more than ever. The Commonwealth is an extraordinary


people organisation. It's an association that relies on multiple


connections across the world and it's an opportunity for people to


work together. It works by consensus and by peer encouragement rather


than coercion and compulsion and its DNA is everyone has an equal voice


and I think right now, we need the politics and activities that foster


co-operation. It is interesting you say that because it is a pivotal


time, isn't it, with the Prime Minister intending to notify the


European Union of Britain's intention to withdraw from the EU


very shortly. This is a rapidly changing world. Given the context,


what role do you think the Commonwealth can play? The modern


Commonwealth is, it is not a nostalgic organisation. It grew out


of Britain's relations with its former colonies, but it is a


different entity now. It is a political organisation as well as a


developal association and it works in multiple ways, strengthening,


democracy in its member states and on the big themes that touch


people's lives every day. The Secretary-General made reference to


women's rights and issues. Issues of climate change to support youth, so


much of the Commonwealth's work goes on below the surface. It is like an


iceberg. Its professional associations of which there are over


80 form a Matrix of networks across the world, covering professions,


judges, lawyers, Local Government, Parliament. Sharing knowledge and


expertise. So, a lot of people might think of the Commonwealth as quite a


quaint organisation, something with its roots in the past. But with not


very much of a presence in the present. Is that fair? I don't think


it is. I understand why you might think that, but I go back to my


point about it being an iceberg. It has hard-headed practical value as


well as important spiritual and political value in terms of its


support for the values within the Commonwealth Charter. So, it has, as


I said, a relevance in today's world, more than ever before. Well,


one of the most established and well-known institutions of the


Commonwealth must be the Commonwealth Games and this morning,


we saw the start of the Queen's Baton Relay from Buckingham Palace.


The 288 day journey began when Anna Mears had the privilege of accepting


the baton from Her Majesty the Queen.


APPLAUSE Anna is joined by fellow


international cycling great and nine times world champion, Great


Britain's Victoria Pendleton. Its third baton bearer is Cody


Simpson. A van arrives outside the gates of


Buckingham Palace to take the baton on the next stage of its journey.


And we can see the combi van on the last part of its journey coming up


to Westminster Abbey. Bringing that baton containing the message from


the Queen and Sue, it is interesting, isn't it, I suspect


that most people, when they think about the Commonwealth will think


about the Games? Commonwealth Games? Sport is a visual fun part of the


Commonwealth. We saw that in Glasgow in 2014 when Usain Bolt came and


sprinkle his stardust on the Commonwealth Games. I'm looking at


the surf board on the back of the combi van. In the Commonwealth small


countries are able to compete at respected credible international


level. There are 23 small states in the Commonwealth and may have


limited training and coaching resources so competing at


Commonwealth level really is an important afamation. We see Dame


Jessica Ennis-Hill arriving with the Queen's baton. The global superstar,


of course, world heptathlon champion and herself a participant in the


Commonwealth Games and the Youth Games from 2004. The Commonwealth


has an exceptionally young population, doesn't it, Sue, in a


way it is not surprising that sport would be central to its identity?


Well, sport helps young people connect with the Commonwealth in a


unique way and wise Commonwealth heads have long realised this. As I


said, it offers the point of team building. It supports peace


building. All part of that bigger jigsaw of the Commonwealth's work


and of course, there is also cricket which is such an enjoyable sport


across the Commonwealth. And inpenetrable who anyone that's not a


member of it. We can see the baton being held by Dame Jessica


Ennis-Hill. The two of them are followed by a procession of


Commonwealth athletes. Included in the group is the Australian track


cyclist Anna Mears who shared a friendly rivalry with Victoria


Pendleton and also is Kurt Fearnley who will be reading later on in the


service. Cody Simpson is singing, who was at the age of 12 a gold


medal swimmer. # I think to myself what a wonderful


world. # We see the baton being placed on the


High Altar by the Dean of Westminster. It will remain there


for the duration of the service before it journeys across 70 nations


on its way to the Gold Coast Games in Australia.


# Saying how do you do. # But they're really saying I love


you. # I hear babies cry.


# They'll learn much more than I'll ever know.


# And I think to myself what a wonderful day."


There are many different facets of the Commonwealth reflected


Geri Horner is in the congregation. Geri brought along her ten-year-old


daughter, Bluebell. Geri tell us about your experiences of travelling


to Commonwealth countries? Well, first of all, it's such a pleasure


to be here and really celebrate each other and I think by having the


opportunity to travel, which is a gift, you suddenly see the beauty in


our differences, but we are alike as well. It is a wonderful thing to do.


There is such a focus on the Commonwealth on gender parity as


well and it's now more than two decades since the Spice Girls came


to the mainstream and really brought feminism back into popularity. Does


it surprise you that the fight for women's rights is so central at the


moment, on centre stage geopolitically? If we look back to


the suffragettes they had to really speak up and it is one of those


things you have to keep reminding. Of course, we want to live in a


society where everybody is equal, whatever gender you are, whatever


colour you are, whatever sex you are and that's a beautiful place to live


and I think, you know, it's about education really, isn't it?


Sometimes we need reminding and educating and I think that comes


with kindness and just encouragement, some people just need


catching up, that's the way it is. There are more than 600 kids in the


congregation today. What would your message be to them? If any young


kids are watching now, you have the power to change the world. It starts


with you, your imagination and wonder and you have the power to do


it, just through reading and positivity. It can happen. I think


so. Geri Horner and Bluebell thank you. Thank you, it's lovely to be


here. Sonali, thank you. We are looking now at the 52 flags from the


52 nations of the Commonwealth as they process through the Abbey,


accompanied by music from the Commonwealth Resounds. The flags are


carried in the order that the countries joined the Commonwealth,


so the two you see at the back, Mozambique Andhra Wanda, the most


recent countries -- Rwanda. They have no historical connection to the


British Empire, interestingly. Dr Sue Onslow, that's fascinating. How


is it that they come to be in the Commonwealth? It may seem strange


but there is a logic. The Commonwealth supported Mozambique


after its independence, it was a frontline state in the struggle


against apartheid South Africa and it was thanks to Nelson Mandela that


Mozambique came to join in the 1990s. Rwanda was encouraged by


Uganda to join to support the progress Rwanda made since the


catastrophe of the genocide in 1994. And how unusual is that for


countries to join? Is it the case that there are countries leaving as


well? Yes, but it's not a revolving door. The Commonwealth does have


standards to which member countries are held. Those who transgress are


monitored by a Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group. And


countries like Fiji and Pakistan have left and then joined again. The


Gambia is going to be encouraged to join again. And we can see before us


the procession of the faith leaders. Faith Leaders Procession


largest annual inter-faith Leading the Zoroastrian Community


is Malcolm M Deboo. Representing the Baha'i Community


is Patrick O'Mara. Representing Orthodox Judaism


is Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis Representing the Jain Community


is Dr Natubhai Shah. Representing the Sunni Islam


Community is Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra. Representing Liberal Judaism


is Rabbi Rebeccas Birk Representing the Buddhist Community


is the Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala. Representing the Jewish


Reform Synagogues is Representing the Shia Muslim


Community is Moulana Razawi. Representing the Hindu


Community is Trupti Patel. Representing the Sikh Community


is Lord Singh of Wimbledon CBE. Then general comment


on representatives of We heard earlier from Baroness


Scotland. She's a truss tie of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee


Trust. It was established in 2012 to support those in need across the


Commonwealth. Once of its principal aims is to eliminate avoidable


blindness. We spoke to the Countess of Wessex to hear about the impact


this has had across the Commonwealth.


80% of the world's blind populations are living in Commonwealth


countries. The work of the Trust is profound. The goal is to eliminate


avoidable blindness. The dracoma initiative in Malawi has been having


unbelievable success rates. Dracoma is a bacteria which gets into the


eye, it's a horrible condition. It affects people of all ages. You


normally find it in rural areas. When it's not treated, the eye lid


is infected, which in the process turns the eye inside and the eye


lashes start to touch the eye ball leading to blindness. Maria's lived


with this condition for ten years which is quite a long time of pain,


a long time of not being able to provide for her household. She can't


even go and fetch water. The good thing is that she'll be able to get


surgery. Maria has been using a razor blade to cut the eye lashes


that have been disturbing her eyes. There were moments when she said,


I'd rather die than live with this pain. The surgery that can be


performed is very simple because they cut the eye lid and turn the


eye lid back out again so that it cannot turn inwards. It's very


effective, very low-cost treatment. There have been more surgeons


trained into how to do the basic surgery. Many millions have received


antibiotics and there's been a huge awareness campaign. My fellow


students, ladies and gentlemen, we...


By teaching the young ones how to prevent Trachoma, this is one of the


better ways of preventing it. We have been working with a number of


people guided by the Minister of Health. We are on the brink of


eliminating Trachoma which is a major milestone for the country. I'm


thrilled to be able to be travelling to Malawi very soon to be able to


see first hand the work that thief been carrying out and I'm looking


forward to saying thank you to the people that have been involved with


it because they worked extremely hard.


And Maria's surgery went well, the sutures are looking good and they


expect her to make a full recovery. She's very happy and relieved to no


longer be in pain. The Earl of Wessex, Prince Andrew


and Prince Harry all coming in and shaking hands with people in the


receiving line. All of them are active participants in the life of


the Commonwealth. Prince Harry, of course, visited seven Commonwealth


countries of the Caribbean in November last year, representing the


Queen, his grandmother. The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, who you can


see, a little behind him, behind the Dean of Westminster. He's the grand


President of the Royal Commonwealth ex-services league and the Earl of


Wessex, Prince Edward, behind him, is the vice patron of the


Commonwealth Games federation. Of course, his wife, the Countess of


Wessex is not here because she's on her way to Malawi as patron of the


Avoidable Blindness Association. Prince Harry there shaking hands


with the Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat. He is the chair in


office, with Malta having hosted the Commonwealth heads of Government


meeting in Malta. Lord Howell of Guildford and


Achaleke Christian Lek. Going back to Prince Harry's tour


last year of the Caribbean, he went to several countries, including


Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia and Barbados. He unveiled four


dedications to the Queen's Commonwealth canopy, which is a


global forestry project to preserve forest land for future generations.


He visited social projects like the nature fun ranch which allows people


to speak freely about important topics, including HIV AIDS. In


Barbados, he took an HIV test with the international star Rihanna,


encouraging others to get themselves tested.


Sue Onslow, watching these younger members of the Royal Family here


today, it shows how important the Commonwealth is to them? It does


indeed. The Queen has imBewled her love and devotion to the


Commonwealth among the younger mens of her family. -- members of her


family. She regards the Commonwealth as her life's work, she's exited


herself to it since 1952 and she really has been the invisible blue.


It's her version of identity politics which is inclusive rather


than exclusive. She takes it seriously and has passed this on.


Here is the Prince of Wales, accompanied by the Duchess of


Cornwall. The Prince of Wales has been a proud


supporter. The Duchess has accompanied him on every trip.


Sue, as we await the imminent arrival of the Queen, let's take a


moment to talk about the importance of her role as head of the


Commonwealth. The Queen has given the Commonwealth visibility, wisdom,


practical advice and support to help it smooth through the inevitable


rifts and political fights that have gone on within the family, such as


over apartheid South Africa, and she's conI believe the yewed


enormously to -- contributed to its cohesion and modernity. She's been a


unique, much-loved head. It's worth mentioning that, although the role


passed to Her Majesty the Queen from her father, the role of head of the


Commonwealth, it's not a role that will necessarily pass to Charles


when he becomes King? You are right, it's not a given that


Prince Charles will automatically take over as head of the


Commonwealth, although much of his life's work chimes in very much with


the modern Commonwealth's values and areas of activities. His work as


part of the Prince's Trust, his work on the environment and climate


change, all of these chime in with the Commonwealth's forward-looking


approach to the aspects of this which touch so many people's lives.


There's Prince Charles speaking to the wife of Joseph Muscat, the Prime


Minister of Malta. And it's obvious isn't it Sue that


the Royal Family have a real affection for the Commonwealth? They


do. It's added great pleasure, great interest, the opportunity to travel


and to meet so many different communities and nations across the


globe. It's really helped to balance the constraints of being


constitutional-month-old -- constitutional Monarch. We can


see people in the congregation as we await the arrival of the Queen.


There is the Prime Minister, Theresa May. She will host the next


Commonwealth heads of Government meeting or CHOGM as it's known next


year in the UK. She'll take over as chair in office in the Commonwealth.


Another famous face in the audience, that of the singer Annie Lennox who


addressed the congregation at the service in 2011. She's a spokeswoman


and advocate for HIV related causes. Sir John Major, the former British


Prime Minister who had a key role to play in the Commonwealth under


Margaret Thatcher during the period of apartheid in South Africa during


the late 1980s. And Sue, he is somebody who retains a great


affection for the Commonwealth isn't he? Very much so. John Major was


himself a consensus politician when he took over as British Prime


Minister. There was a collective breathing out among some


Commonwealth heads that Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was no


longer there because she was a divisive and controversial figure.


But Sir John Major's worked towards building Commonwealth activities.


He's of course himself a passionate follower of cricket. But he


supported helping debt forgiveness which was of serious practical value


to Commonwealth countries. We can see others. And now we see


the arrival of the car with Her Majesty the Queen. She is


accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh arriving in the sanctuary of


Westminster Abbey. The Queen is being introduced to


members of the clergy here at Westminster Abbey. The Dean of


Westminster Abbey, John Hall is at her side.


Dr Sue Onslow it is a fact, isn't it, that the life of the


Commonwealth almost exactly mirrors that of the reign of Queen


Elizabeth, so maybe it is no great surprise that it means so much to


her? The modern Commonwealth came into existence in 1949, but the


Queen had already made her vow to dedicate her life to it in 1947, but


yes, the Commonwealth has changed and grown with Her Majesty the


Queen. She, of course, is separate in her ceremonial role as Head of


the Commonwealth. # Meet for him whose


love espoused thee # All thy streets


and all thy bulwarks # Bright thy gates


of pearl are shining # Who for Christ's dear


Name in this world On behalf of the Dean and Chapter I


warmly welcome you to Westminster Abbey for our annual celebration of


the Commonwealth in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen whose role as


Head of the Commonwealth binds us together in peace. We celebrate this


year, the Commonwealth as a builder of peace. As we give thanks for the


diversity of faiths, of resources and circumstances in our countries,


we must pray that we maybe united in peace and friendship and together


promote peace in our divided world. So let us pray in the words of Jesus


for the coming of God's Kingdom of justice, and peace.


ALL: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name,


thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.


And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those


And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.


For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.


And now an a capella performance from Canadian Soprano


# I looked over Jordan, what do I see


# We shall overcome. # We shall overcome.


# Deep in my heart I do believe we shall overcome one day. . .


# If you get there before I do, coming for to carry me home.


# Tell all my friends I'm coming home too.


# Come for to carry me home. # We'll walk hand-in-hand.


We'll walk hand-in-hand. # We'll walk hand-in-hand one day.


# One day in my heart I do believe we'll walk hand-in-hand one day.


And now a reflection from an extraordinary


young peace advocate, Achaleke Christian Leke.


This reading is personal to me. I've been a victim of radicalisation.


Growing up in a community, in the Republic of Cameroon, which was


plagued by real violence, insecurity. I told myself that my


future would never be shared by these atrocities. My journey for


peace began in Cameroon, a youth-led civil society organisation there.


Since then I've become an ambassador of change, a peace hero that's


determined to risk his life for peace if that is what it takes. I


believe that peace is not the absence of war, but something that


we need in our hearts. Diversity is in the DNA of the Commonwealth.


Peace runs in its veins. Despite our religion, cultural, age, colour,


class or gender - there are many of us risking our lives to bring about


peace and make a change. Looking back to Gandhi, Mandela and Bob


Marley, we remain inspired by those people and stand strong against any


form of violence. It takes each of us and the tools we have at our


disposal, using our voice, sports, arts, story-telling and music. We


can promote peace. Investing in young people and ensuring the role


of our youth is just as important. To achieve peace, we must educate


our peers to understand that, despite our race, religion or


culture, we are equal. Be you a man or woman, young or old, poor or


rich, we are all equal. We are one people. Together, let us stand for


love, tolerance, justice and peace. Today, I am using my experience to


provide innovative solutions to violence, using my transformation to


connect and transform young people. My team and I work with young people


on the streets, correction centres, prisons, schools and communities,


building their skills and asking them to open their eyes against


violence and calling upon our Government to provide solutions.


Using violence to fight violence as a means of peace-building is not the


best practice. I am glad to see the civil part to peace gaining grounds.


Across the Commonwealth, we have evidence of young people, many


unpraised and unheard of, working daily and tirelessly to promote


peace. Today, I see a new generation of young change-makers, united on


the one front. We preach Gandhi's philosophy. He said, nonviolence is


the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It's mightier than the


mitiest weapon of destruction, devised by the ingenuity of man.


Young people cannot do this alone. We must partner with our Governments


to uphold human rights, democracy and good governance. I stand here to


call on our Governments to support and take new partnerships seriously,


Fortis the only solution to end the cycle of violence. I am excited by


the presence of young people here today. -- for It is. Young people


who have their futures before them. I have this message for you - I have


seen the violence even in the UK and I have tasted the honey of peace. I


am convinced peace is the only way to achieve sustainable development.


Peace is possible. I have made peace my personal business. Will you?


Together, we can make a difference. Join me on this juernny of change --


journey of change. The path may be difficult and dangerous, but


together we'll make the world a better and more peaceful place.


Thank you very much. APPLAUSE.


The Choir will now sing O Hearken, a piece composed by Roxanna Panufnik


whose son is singing in the choir today.


ANTHEM: O Hearken composed by Roxanna Panufnik.


The Maltese poet Immanuel Mifsud will now


read his own poem entitled 'The Book.'


Tomorrow open the old book your mother gave you.


Mind, open it carefully; from between pages a dawn


will emerge, unlike any you've ever seen.


Once the sun's risen, get up, walk about that


You'll find between pages hills to climb, rivers to forge.


And gather a fistful of red, red soil.


Halfway through the book you'll meet the sea.


There is land still; look, there on the page you'll be turning


And I will be there on the edge of the rocks, waiting with bread


and water; waiting to welcome you, embrace, hold your hand.


We shall walk; tell each other stories, stories collected


The next page on, when we get to my home, we spread out that


precious red fistful of soil; place within it a seed, gently water it.


Turn the page: we look at the moon and wait.


And just as we are closing the book, a tree springs to life,


firm and verdant from the seed, from the soil, flourishing


between pages, pages of the old book that our mother gave us.


Kurt Fearnley will now read verses 4-9 of the Philippians.


Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.


Let your gentleness be known to everyone.


Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer


and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be


And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,


will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable,


whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing,


whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence


and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.


Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received


and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace


We'll hear now from Courtenay Cleary of Australia who'll play Bach.


Prime Minister Muscat, Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth,


will now give his reflection, read by the The Honourable Dr Joseph


Muscat, Prime Minister of Malta at theGreat Pulpit.


It is imperative that we remember that peace and reconciliation are


objectively possible. They can be achieved. Of course, they must not


be understood as goals that can be achieved once and for all.


Everywhere and at the same time. The long way to peace and reconciliation


is tortuous and difficult and is never over. The world today is


characterised by a number of fault lines between and within States.


Tensions along some of these fault lines have reached critical levels.


Instability has become the norm and uncertainty is the rule of the game.


More over, two factors are contributing to making this a very


dangerous world indeed. On one hand, terrorism embedded in religious


belief. On the other hand, the emergence of an intolerant populism


that feeds on the lack of knowledge and on racism. Both of them shun


reason, promote fanaticism and actively commit or indirectly


inincite violence. Both of these are models that have patently failed


inasmuch as they are insufficiently inconclusive and inclusive. Both of


them subscribe to a vision of history as an inevitable clash of at


least two incompatible civilisations. Both of them feed on


fear, of hate, of diversity. What can and what should the Commonwealth


realistically do in these difficult circumstances? One answer lies in


the uniqueness of the enduring bond that brought us here today.


Uniqueness that is not easy to explain. Although we can boast the


combined population of 2.4 billion. Although we represent 52 nation


States, our real stint lies elsewhere. It lies in the intensity


of our relationship throughout our modern history. A relationship that


has been by no means - indeed, the history of this relationship has


known joy, pride and communion. But also blood, sweat and tears.


Whilst we have all emerged with the keener sense of our historical


national identities, and the greater respect of each other's national


identity, we have also grown more wary of cynical attempts to appeal


to history to justify aggressive. It is an attempt to troll through the


past for moral justification. It is a case when the past is but the


sinners of the present. This relationship has taught us that


beyond the national interests and in spite of the pain and sometimes


bitterness that some experienced, there is a value in our peace and


reconciliation. Has it gone all the way? No, it has not. . It will only


have gone all the way when in each of our countries the value of the


individual dignity regardless of nationality ethnicity, social class


and opinion will truly be upheld and guaranteed. I want to single out the


respect for LGBT persons. The lack of it. The remarkable number of our


countries is arguably a considerable blot. I have had conversations and I


am aware there are leaders who know that things must change, but are


wary of how society would react to their first move. To them, I said


and I say, that the Commonwealth will be with them to help them make


the first bold steps. History, I am sure, will judge them positively


when they do so. A powerful contribution to peace and


reconciliation begins from the microdimension of the world. Global


and international relations are of course important and so are burning


national political issues, but the individuals immediate social


habitat, the home, is fundamental. There is a view delusional in my


opinion, amongst many throughout the world to imagine that social


progress is essentially a top down process in which politician and


technocrats engineer microchange and the positive outcome for this change


at the top simply percolates down by some sort of social force of


gravity. This is the sort of view that generates social exclusion. It


is the sort of view that justifies perception of the world, that are


effectively captured by well-known verses. Things fall apart. The


centre cannot hold. It is significant that the great


Commonwealth author chose to borrow a phrase from these verses as a


title for his classic 1958 novel Things Fall Apart. There can be no


solid and lasting international and national peace and reconciliation


unless it is built on the consciousness of millions of


individuals who value their own individual dignity, whose homes


enjoy the domestic peace based on equality and mutual respect of


genders and is free of domestic violence where women and children


are most of the time the main victims. Individuals who do not


value their own individual dignity, do not value the dignity of others.


Those who do not uphold these values tend to fuse into multitudes that


make up the base of extremist movements. These short reflections


would be incomplete without observing that in the treasure


throve of the wealth of our common experience together we also find


such noble qualities, a strength in the face of adversity and indeed,


great generosity. Certainly, the enthusism with which our mother


lands came together to resist the barbaric threat to civilisation


during the Second World War is a magnificent example of the ultimate


generosity and solidarity. Allow me to seize this opportunity to express


Malta's great pride in people's contribution to this effort. A


contribution we paid for dearly with blood and suffering, as many others


did. There is no scarcity of opportunity today for the world to


concretely show its appreciation of those who strive to survive in the


face of great adversity and to show concrete solidarity with them.


Conflict and economic failure are generating migration flows of


biblical proportions, with untold suffering for thousands. Many of


whom lose their lives in the process. We are in times of trouble.


Hours of darkness may confront us at any time. But lest we misunderstand


the words of wisdom of a song most of us can at least hum, our response


cannot simply be whispered as let it be. Our modders and fathers didn't.


Thank you. -- mothers and fathers didn't. Thank


you. British Ugandan George


the Poet performs a cover SONG: My Love Is Your Love


by George The Poet. # A waste is something


I was never sent to be # The future holds days that


I was never meant to see # What I'm trying to say


is I'll be dead eventually # And memories will be


the only evidence of me # That makes you everyone


else's best attempt to see # Exactly who I was,


that means you're testament to me # You might not have the same


features or complexion as me # But you are by far


the best reflection of me # Funny how we are joking


when everyone else is stuck up # You're behind every ounce


of courage I can pluck up # You know me when I'm "that guy",


love me when I'm bruck up # Help me when I'm racking my brains


trying to get my luck up # I need you, I could never


decide to go and move # And if you feel the same then it's


time to show and prove, cos # Your love is my love


and my love is your love # It would take an


eternity to break us # And the chains of Amos


Yas couldn't hold us # Your love is my love


and my love is your love # It would take an


eternity to break us # And the chains of Amos Yas


couldn't hold us # Whether it's making money


or spitting fire in the booth # My number one goal


is inspiring the youth # Please don't let this


world make you cold # I didn't make it but


I can make it better # How does a legacy last


after they forget us? # Just make sure your love


is the greatest ever # The rain germinates the seed


then the sun comes out # And in turn it


makes the leaves grow # But it's the gardener's job


to terminate the weeds though # Everything will be


fine just breathe slow # You give me the strength


to reject the things # Put me on such a high


it's close to divine # So whenever I'm with


you I find myself smiling # For no particular


reason most of the time # Cos whenever I'm with


you I find myself smiling # For no particular


reason most of the time # You put me on such a high


it's close to divine # Your love is my love


and my love is your love # It would take an


eternity to break us # And the chains of Amos


Yas couldn't hold us # Your love is my love


and my love is your love # It would take an


eternity to break us # Your everyone else's best attempt


to see. # You might not have the same


features or complexion of me. # But you are the best reflection of


me. # Thank you.


And now the congregation will sing Dear Lord and Father of Mankind.


HYMN: "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind".


# In simple trust like theirs who heard


He who devotes himself to this practice of meditation upon peace


sleeps happily, wakes happily, is calm in the senses, calm in the


mind, has a strong faith, is noble in intention. He is reveered by his


fellow beings. If he fails to have enlightenment in the present life,


he's bound for happiness in the future.


God of all creation, we stand in awe before you, impelled


We are children of many traditions-inheritors of shared


In that which we share, let us see the common prayer


of humanity; where we differ, let us wonder at human freedom;


in our unity and our differences, let us know the uniqueness


May our courage match our convictions and our


Om, let us both protect each other together.


May both of us put our energies together.


May our studies be radiantly glorious.


May peace radiate there in the whole sky, as well as in the vast


O Lord, save our world on fire with conflict and strife.


Let the healing kindness of your blessings save us,


Says Nanak, the path of peace lies in living true


Lord most high, we turn to you, beseeching you through your mercy


which encompasses all of creation, your light which revives


all hearts, and your love which provides us hope.


Make firm our unity as we stand together and amend our shortcomings


that we may be steadfast in what is to come.O


he who is tranquil, place in our hearts tranquility,


and in our actions, wisdom.O sustainer of the heavens


and of the earth, strengthen through your grace our common wealth


and clothe us in your virtues that we may be an example


of benevolence to one another, in your name, most glorified.


O almighty God, you have called us to faith and life,


and encourage us with such a great cloud of witnesses.


Grant that we, strengthened by the example of your saints,


may persevere in running the race that is set before us,


until at length we may receive with them the fullness


of your everlasting kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


The next Anthem will be familiar to many of us as it was played


at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge,


# We will go into the house of the Lord


# For thither the tribes go up, even the tribes of the Lord


# To give thanks unto the Name of the Lord


# Even the seat of the house of David


# And plenteousness within thy palaces


# And plenteousness within thy palaces


# For my brethren and companions' sakes


Eus now stand to pledge ourselves afresh to uphold and serve the


values and fellowship of the Commonwealth.


We affirm our respect for nature, and that we will be stewards


of the earth by caring for every part of it, and for it as a whole.


We affirm our belief in justice for everyone, and peace


Joining together in kinship and affinity we celebrate


all that we receive and are able to share with one another


as members of the worldwide Commonwealth family,


delivering social progress, advancing democracy,


and building economic resilience with prosperity in


We cherish the spirit of respect and understanding that inspires us


as 'A Peacebuilding Commonwealth' to work for the eradication


of all forms of violence from homes and communities,


and with goodwill and cordiality for the comity of nations.


We stand in solidarity alongside the vulnerable and marginalised,


and all who live in fear of discrimination or oppression,


pledging to uphold their rights to justice and dignity.


ALL: We affirm our belief in the Commonwealth as a force


for good in the world, and pledge ourselves to its service,


And now for the final hymn, Crown Him With Many Crowns.


# Crown him with many crowns, the Lamb upon his throne


# Hark, how the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own


# Awake, my soul, and sing of him who died for thee


# And hail him as thy matchless King through all eternity #.


# Rich wounds yet visible above in beauty glorified


# No angel in the sky can fully bear that sight


# But downward bends his burning eye at mysteries so bright #.


# Crown him the Lord of peace, whose power a sceptre sways


# From pole to pole, that wars may cease


# And round his pierced feet fair flowers of paradise


# Extend their fragrance ever sweet #.


# Crown him the Lord of years, the Potentate of time,


# Creator of the rolling spheres, ineffably sublime


# Glassed in a sea of light, where everlasting waves


Into God's gracious mercy and protection we commit you.


The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine


The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you,


and give you peace; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father,


the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain


And that marks the end of the service.


We are starting to see the young members of the choir and members of


the clergy process towards the exit of the Great West Door. The young


members of the choir attend the Abbey's residential choir school,


although they are involved in many of the Abbey's services, there were


eight boys singing for the Queen in the contest of the Commonwealth


service for the first time today. Sue Onslow, your reflections? That


service was a unique combination. It acknowledged other faiths, the


emphasis on shared spiritual values. For that, we have to thank Her


Majesty the Queen as head of the Commonwealth. It's been held in this


sacred space at Westminster Abbey since 1973 and it's highly unusual


and even more valid today if days of division and conflict. There was


such a variety of faiths of course, but also of performance? I was very


struck by the multiple themes and motives of peace coming through this


service, the unity of the colours of the Commonwealth flags, the flowers,


the flags themselves, Measha Brueggergosman's triumphant singing


of old songs of the oppressed in that vibrant sea of today and


freedom. Joseph Muscat's message that peace-building in all forms


needs commitment and hard work, it's a work in progress. I was watching


particularly the faces of the young people the way that they reacted to


Achaleke Christian Lek and George the Poet. They really did engage


with that fusion of personal experience, as well as poetry and


music. The Queen, we shouldn't forget is


not just of course our Queen, she's also Queen to 15 other Commonwealth


nations. That's important to her and important to them. Yes. We Brits


have to remember that we share our Queen. She's indeed Queen of 16


Commonwealth realms, as well as that separate role that she has add head


of the Modern Commonwealth. In travelling, as she has done across


the modern Commonwealth, since 1952 and the pleasure she's drawn from


meeting so many people, the diversity of experience that she's


been able to enjoy, and I have to say, it's the pleasure of meeting


the Queen that's been very evidently mutual, that part of the Queen's


role is to endorse and encourage the work of those who don't normally get


noticed, and she does it with great skill, great charisma and great


grace. She has visited 50 of the 52


Commonwealth countries, and Prince Philip has accompanied the Queen on


tours and state visits. The first of her visits was the Coronation tour


of the Commonwealth from November 1953 to May 1954. The couple


visited, amongst other countries, Bermuda, Jamaica, Panama, Fiji,


Uganda, Libya, Malta and Gibraltar. And Sue, the Queen does view her


role as Head of the Commonwealth, as being very distinct from her role as


Monarch of the UK? She does indeed. It is a separate originally symbolic


but now ceremonial role that she brings to it. She now opens the


Commonwealth heads of Government meeting. We saw the Mace in the


service which is there when the Queen performs ceremonial roles. The


Queen also holds audiences during Commonwealth heads of Government


meeting where she individually meets leaders. She has a private lunch for


new leaders and they value very much their chance to talk to her. And


there we see the Queen greeting performers whose performances she


clearly so enjoyed. Kohli Simpson there, the Australian singer, and


therefore that, Achaleke Christian Lek who we heard from earlier --


Cody Simpson. What an amazing young man Achaleke Christian Lek is.


And here we see the Queen with the Maltese writer, Immanuel misif you


had born in a post-independent Malta. He's given voice to the


country's growing identity. There speaking to Kurt Fearnley who we


heard giving a reading earlier. Kurt won Commonwealth silver in 2014 and


Commonwealth gold in 2010. There shaking hands with Courtenay Cleary,


the violinist. And with George the Poet. The British Ugandan singer,


poet. He gave a captive ating performance of Your Love can


Subpoena my Love -- captive ating. Sue, there is been a great emphasis


on young people and youth in today's service, but we should remember that


the Commonwealth charter includes a statement about a commitment to


gender equality. What does the Commonwealth do for women? It does a


range of activities, raising awareness, providing training and


support to promote political leadership, economic realm,


education access for girls, also working against violence in the


family, child marriage, forced marriage and FGM.


The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will be returning now to Buckingham


Palace while Prince Harry, the Duke of York and Earl of Wessex will be


making their way to a post-service reception while Prince Charles will


later travel to the Commonwealth secretariat for the


Secretary-General's reception. So further events going on on this


Commonwealth Day. And the Queen there having a word


with James O'Donnell who directed the choir today. She's just moved on


from him and speaking of course to some of the young choristers to whom


they must have given her such pleasure today.


So, we come to the end of this year's Commonwealth service which


has been, as it is every year, an event like no other in the


Westminster Abbey calendar, an eclectic mix of traditions, beliefs


and cultures. It's a bond that will be on display again next year at the


Commonwealth heads of Government meeting. But for the time being,


from all of us, it's goodbye.


Download Subtitles