Reverend Paddy Benson explains role of Leeds Minster following death of Queen Elizabeth II
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The doors of Leeds Minster were open today between 10am and 4pm, allowing mourners to visit and sign a book of condolence or pray.
Having come to the throne in 1952, her reign spanned 15 prime ministers and she is the UK’s longest-serving monarch.
Reverend Benson said: “The minster has a very important and valuable role as the civic church for the city of Leeds.
"Many churches of course are very active in engaging with the community but I think at great times of national importance, a lot of people tend to come to the minster as a place to which they can resort where we’re going to try and express something a lot of people are feeling in their hearts, so that’s our role now.
Reverend Benson said: “As for the whole nation and indeed the whole of the commonwealth, she’s a person of immense importance.
"We used to work in Africa and the president of the country we lived was often referred to as the father of the nation. I think in many ways, the Queen has been the mother of the nation and the mother of the commonwealth.
"Losing her, obviously means something deeply personal for the royal family but I think every person in the country feels that same connection with her.”
The church will remain open between 10am and 4pom in the coming days as people continue to mourn.
Reverend Benson explained: “There are people around to talk and spend time with if they wish to do that.
"We’ve got various important services coming up, we’re especially looking forward to a service on Tuesday evening when we hope that we’ll have the bishop of Kirkstall with us.
"The following Sunday, the day before Her Majesty’s funeral, we’re going to have a special service.”