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Encouragement to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with the whole community

The Church of England is encouraging its 13,000 parishes to engage with communities to celebrate The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, as it announces its participation in two national initiatives - The Big Jubilee Lunch and The Big Thank You - via a helpful website section and online video at www.diamondjubilee.churchofengland.org, produced by Mission and Public Affairs Division and the Communications Office of the Archbishops' Council. 

The brainchild of the Eden Project and championed ecumenically by HOPEThe Big Jubilee Lunch will see millions across the country joining together to have lunch on the afternoon of Sunday, June 3rd; the Church of England is encouraging parishes to register their own Big Jubilee Lunch at www.thebiglunch.com, or join in with one already registered locally to make it even bigger and better.  

To give people an opportunity to say a personal thank you to The Queen for 60 years of service, many cathedrals and churches are taking part in The Big Thank You; the public will be invited to add their signature and well wishes to a letter to Her Majesty The Queen signed by the diocesan bishop and made available for personal thank-yous in the participating cathedrals and churches. These letters will be compiled into one national Big Thank You and delivered to Buckingham Palace.

The Revd Richard Frank of All Souls Church, St Margarets, Twickenham, encourages churches to get involved with The Big Jubilee Lunch on the new website section at www.diamondjubilee.churchofengland.org, writing: "All Souls Church first got involved with the Big Lunch launch event in 2009, since when we've helped host the street party alongside our local residents' association each year. The roads that meet at the corner of our church building are closed and we fill the space with tables and chairs, set up a 'bandstand' on the corner - for live, locally 'sourced' music - and provide a bouncy castle, free face-painting and hot drinks in the church garden. It helps, of course, that the Big Lunch date is always a Sunday, so the congregation spilling out of the morning service join with other local residents, young and old, each bringing food to eat and share. Our experience has been that it's a fantastic way to engage with our neighbours, bless the community and open up the doors of church to those who'd never usually make it, even into church the garden. In 2012 the Big Lunch is one of the official events helping celebrate the Queen's Jubilee. We'd enthusiastically recommend it for any local church in a residential area."