The Queen has told the Church of England's General Synod that "the Gospel has brought hope" during the Covid pandemic in a message read out by her youngest son, the Earl of Wessex.
The Queen, who is Supreme Governor of the established Church, missed the inaugural meeting of the newly-elected Synod for the first time in her 69-year reign due to medical advice that she should rest.
Members of the Church of England's legislative body gathered at Church House, Westminster, for their new five-year term on Tuesday.
The Queen, a committed Christian, used her message to reflect on the impact of the pandemic.
"For people of faith, the last few years have been particularly hard, with unprecedented restrictions in accessing the comfort and reassurance of public worship," she said.
"For many, it has been a time of anxiety, of grief, and of weariness.
"Yet the Gospel has brought hope, as it has done throughout the ages; and the Church has adapted and continued its ministry, often in new ways, such as digital forms of worship."
She added: "St. Paul reminds us that all Christians are entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation, and the deepening of relations across the great Christian traditions has been a continuing priority since the first General Synod in 1970."
Synod members are meeting this week for the first time in person since the start of the pandemic.
In a poignant moment, the Queen also mentioned her late husband, Prince Philip, and remarked on the passage of time.
"It is hard to believe that it is over 50 years since Prince Philip and I attended the very first meeting of the General Synod.
"None of us can slow the passage of time; and while we often focus on all that has changed in the intervening years, much remains unchanged, including the Gospel of Christ and his teachings."