Queen to attend 150th anniversary of Scripture Union church service

The Queen will attend a special church service tomorrow in honour of the Scripture Union, to mark the Christian charity's 150<sup>th anniversary.

Her Majesty will be present at the service at St Mary's Church in Islington, north London on Wednesday, close to where the organisation's first meeting was held in December 1867.

ReutersHer Majesty the Queen

Queen Elizabeth's attendance at the event highlights the lasting impact that Scripture Union (SU) has had in the lives of countless children over the years. Active in 120 countries around the world, SU aims to help children and young people from all backgrounds to explore the Bible with a range of activities and initiatives.

The 150th anniversary service will feature the popular classical singer Katherine Jenkins and be recorded by BBC's Songs of Praise for future transmission.

It will be led by the national director of SU, the Rev Tim Hastie-Smith and Rev Simon Harvey, the vicar of St Mary's Church, and will be attended by SU supporters, volunteers and others connected to the charity's work. Music will be provided by a choir of local school children as well as the All Souls Orchestra. Baroness Floella Benjamin and the Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler will also be involved in the service.

A new SU Jubilee hymn entitled 'God of Unchanging Grace', composed by Bishop Timothy Dudley-Smith, will be revealed and guests will enjoy an engaging hour of song, drama and presentations highlighting the work of SU.

Hastie-Smith said: 'We are thrilled that Her Majesty The Queen has chosen to join us as we celebrate 150 years of sharing the good news and love of Jesus Christ with the children and young people of this nation. For so many young people, it is the faithful and gently inspiring witness of parents, grandparents and great-grandparents that testifies most powerfully to God's enduring love. Her Majesty embodies this witness, and just as she seeks to serve all people of this nation regardless of race or religion, so SU seeks to testify to the abiding presence of a life transforming loving God, whose love is for all, and is found freely in His world.'

This year, in light of statistics that suggesting that some 95 per cent of children and young people in England and Wales are not in a church, the charity launched The 95 Campaign, which aims to help raise awareness of this issue and asks others with the same heart to join SU as they explore what it means to be a Christian.

Specific ministries of SU include schools work, sports ministry, residential holidays and camps and resources such as Guardians of Ancora, SU's digital Bible game.