One of the most popular London tourist attractions is watching the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. The royal palace guard has been protecting the monarch’s residency since King Henry VII, who ruled for twenty-four years until he died in 1509. In the aftermath of the War of the Roses, when wealthy noblemen had private armies, the King made the royal bodyguard a permanent institution.
Today, the military unit’s ceremonial changing of the guard in front of the monarch’s official residence brings much delight to spectators. They don their signature scarlet uniforms and black bearskin hats, accompanied by a full military band, and display an iconic part of the British heritage as the New Guard replaces the Old Guard. Generally, you may observe the ceremony on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays at the official 11:00 AM start time.
Back across the pond, here in the U.S.A., we also celebrate an elaborate changing of the guard ceremony. At the Arlington National Cemetery, in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment stand guard twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year. This distinguished detail has been in place since 1948.
The solemn guard change ceremony at the Unknown Soldier’s tomb happens every hour from October 1 through March 31, and every half hour from April 1 through September 30.
Though not as attention-grabbing as the guard changes in Arlington and London, our congregation has set a changing of the guard ceremony during the worship liturgy on Sunday, January 30 at 10:00 AM. Our observance installs the 2022 congregation council members, replacing the Old Guard. There will also be a pastoral “Farewell & Godspeed” message. Please join us at the 10:00 AM worship liturgy (or, if preferable, our 9:00 AM spoken half-hour liturgy).