Wednesday, 15 May 2013
The 359th Festival of the Sons of the Clergy Tuesday 14th May
A charity founded in the middle of the seventeenth century by a group of sons of clergymen recognised that there was a need for charitable help for the families of many members of the clergy. Having largely remained loyal to the monarchy during the Commonwealth, many had been deprived of their livings and left destitute. The first Festival was held in 1655 as the charity’s founding event and there has been a festival every year since then – making this probably the oldest service of its kind in the Anglican Communion.
Famous for its fine music, the service was provided by the choirs of St Paul's Cathedral, Norwich Cathedral and Tewkesbury Abbey. A further tradition is a distinguished preacher – this year the Bishop of Norwich, the Right Reverend Graham James.
The Masters, Prime Wardens and Upper Bailiff of the Livery Companies processed in, all fully robed, joined by the attending Aldermen and the Lord Mayor accompanied by the Bishop of London. A superb programme of music, hymns and anthems ensued. In his address, it transpired that the father of the Bishop of Norwich had been considerably assisted by the charity in the course of his own Christian journey.
Services at St Paul’s Cathedral are always very special, particularly when so widely supported by the livery companies and it was good to hear the congregation in as fine a voice as the choristers in the singing of the hymns.