THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: ‘God himself must have some great purpose for the Empire’, says preacher

From the News Letter, May 17, 1937

Monday, 17th May 2021, 6:00 am
St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast

The special preacher at an Empire Day service which was held in St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast the previous had been the Reverend Canon Moeran, MA, Rector of Armagh, reported the News Letter on this day in 1937.

Canon Moeran told the congregation that it was his firm belief that “God Himself must have some great purpose for the Empire”.

He declared: “Today 56 state, every one of them infinitely greater than Northern Ireland, are bound together to make up that vast Empire, we see today the most successful political experiment ever made in the world, that the British family was a great family of nations under one bond of unity – the King.”

He remarked that the recent Coronation of King George VI had occupied much of their thoughts, he referred to the Coronation itself as “a great family gathering”.

He remarked: “We have forgotten everything else, have forgotten European politics, and even the great tragedy being enacted in Spain, and all our thoughts have been centred in that ancient Abbey at Westminster and in our young King, who, with his Queen, had been crowned there.”

Canon Moeran continued: “Every newspaper in the land has referred to the Coronation as a great religious service, a service in which our King was dedicated to the service of God and his people. It seems to that the most dramatic time in that wonderful scene was when the King stood for a moment, after he had been crowned and anointed and robed, holding in his hand a sceptre with a cross on it telling that all kings were subject to Him Who had borne the cross.”

The Reverend Moeran told those attending the service: “Today we pray God to give our King the spiritual grace and strength to face the problems that lie ahead of him and we pray that God will grant that King George may make our land a realm of brethren working together for the good of the Empire and the kingdom of God.”