Something very special was happening on the night of 2nd June 2022.  Locally, nationally and internationally, beacons were being lit to celebrate HM the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and parties were being held up and down the land. There was an excited buzz in the air…none more so than at St. James’ Church in Stalmine.

The Church itself looked glorious inside and out, decorated in ‘Platinum Purple’.  Bunting, balloons and abundant flowers in Union Flag colours made eye-catching displays wherever you looked.  Pupils from Stalmine County Primary School had kindly donated beautiful drawings and paintings of the queen to grace our walls.  They looked spectacular!  Even the church mice had been given a regal makeover and looked resplendent in their Coronation robes!

As the clock struck 19:00, our plush Platinum Prom began.  It was a playful promenade through the seventy prestigious years of Queen Elizabeth II’s prosperous and phenomenal reign.

By lighting the Paschal candle, and singing the newly written Commonwealth song, ‘A Life Lived with Grace’, the community of St. James’ joined other communities across the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, who were lighting 3,500 beacons and singing the same song.

A mini Royal Coronation Party with two Queens and a retinue processed gracefully down the aisle, re-enacting the historic ceremony.  The words used at the moment of crowning were a modern interpretation of the original ones used for Queen Elizabeth:

“God crown you with a crown of glory and goodness. Because you have faith and do many good deeds, may god crown you with the gift of His Kingdom which will last for ever.”

After the singing of the National Anthem, the presentation swung into action, beginning with the moment of the Queen’s accession.  Images, audio and video clips were all used to tell the story of the decades, interspersed with shared personal memories from the congregation, some singing and even a bit of dancing.  A highlight was seeing everybody standing up and joining in with Village People’s 1978 hit YMCA!  Guests ‘walked the catwalk’, showing off their vintage inspired outfits, much to the delight of those gathered.  Memories were stirred from decades gone by and whispers of, “I remember that…” could be heard amongst the guests.

The evening closed with everyone dancing in the aisles to ABBA’s ‘Dancing Queen’.  It brought a happy event to a happy conclusion.

“A life lived with grace, a life lived with love,

Peace on earth and harmony in the heavens above”

A Life Lived with Grace: The Commonwealth Song for the

Queen’s Platinum Jubilee 2022