Almost every year since the first Festival Service of the Sons of the Clergy at St Paul's Cathedral on 8 November 1655, it has been the tradition for attendees at the Service, including the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Aldermen and Bishops, to proceed afterwards to the Merchant Taylors' Hall in Threadneedle Street for a dinner in aid of the charity.
At the bicentenary event, on 10 May 1854, a sum of £11,384 was raised at the Festival Service and Dinner, which sum would be worth over £1.2 million today. While the Dinner is no longer a primary source of funds for the charity, it is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the historic links between charity, City and Church.
Clergy Support Trust continues to be grateful to the Merchant Taylors' Company for kindly hosting and supporting the Festival Dinner today.
The Festival Dinner is open to all and is attended by members of the Civic Party, Masters, Prime Wardens and representatives of Livery Companies, Bishops, Governors, Stewards of the Festival, clergy and many others.
Each year there is an after-dinner speaker with a significant connection to the clergy. Recent speakers have included the Revd Richard Coles (2017), Timmy Mallett (2018, pictured) and John Sergeant (2019). In 2022, there will be two speakers Lord Lisvane and The Revd Lady Lisvane.
In 2020 the entire Festival had to be cancelled, while 2021 was a filmed service. The dinner will return in 2022, and the cost of a ticket will be £100 per person which does not include a donation.