- (Photo: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett)
The head of the global Anglican Communion released a statement expressing sadness over the death of Great Britain's first female prime minister.
"It was with sadness that I heard the news of the death of Baroness Thatcher and my prayers are with her son and daughter, her grandchildren, family and friends," said Archbishop of Canterbury the Rt. Rev. Justin Welby. "It is right that today we give thanks for a life devoted to public service, acknowledging also the faith that inspired and sustained her."
Baroness Margaret Thatcher died earlier this week at age 87 after a series of strokes. She served as prime minister from 1979 to 1990 and was known for her hard-hitting conservative politics, being dubbed "the Iron Lady" by a Soviet paper. After leaving office, Thatcher would become a baroness.
According to the BBC, Thatcher's funeral will take place on April 17 at London's historic Saint Paul's Cathedral following a procession from Westminster Abbey. While not an official state funeral, the ceremony will nevertheless receive the same status as the funeral of Princess Diana.
Brought up by a grocer shop owner who was a strict Methodist lay preacher, Thatcher told the Catholic Herald in 1978 about her spiritual upbringing.
"Methodism isn't just a religion for Sundays – no faith is only a faith for Sundays. There were a lot of things during the week which one attended," said Thatcher, who eventually became an Anglican.
"John Wesley would of course say that he was a member of the Church of England, and the service he believed in was the Church of England service … I went for something a little more formal. I suppose it's first one's belief and then one's background."
Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion & Democracy and author of a book on Methodist history, argued in an American Speculator column that Thatcher's worldview was influenced by that upbringing.
"But her world outlook was shaped by post-Victorian Methodism … when it still emphasized personal faith, unceasing diligence, exacting self-discipline, and perpetual exertions for social improvement based on rectitude," wrote Tooley.
"Secular elites despised Thatcher, no less than Reagan. And she cared no more than did he, always confident in the Christian faith learned in childhood and matured by triumphant global struggles of which we are all beneficiaries."