The Clergy Support Trust Festival will take place for the 368th time on 9 May 2023 at 5pm at St Paul’s Cathedral, and is a unique event that is free to attend.
The Festival is renowned for bringing together choirs from different cathedrals across the UK. This year, singers from St Paul’s Cathedral will be joined by those from Leicester and Llandaff. Neither cathedral choir has appeared at the Festival for over thirty years.
Andrew Carwood MBE, Director of Music at St Paul’s, never grows tired of the Festival experience:
“It is a rare and wonderful joy to work with such incredible choirs each year, and even more so when you are part of an almost unbroken line of choirs singing together under the dome of St Paul’s stretching back over nearly 370 years.”
The service, which first took place in 1655, is organised by Clergy Support Trust, the largest charity dedicated expressly to helping clergy and their families. In 2022, the Trust supported almost one in five of all Church of England ministers.
The colourful and vibrant Festival Service starts with a stunning procession of the choirs, cathedral clergy, Masters of City Livery Companies and Stewards of the Festival.
The music promises to be exceptional in line with its historic choral legacy, which has seen celebrated English composers like Parry and Elgar receive commissions to write new anthems for it.
Past preachers include Rowan Williams, Justin Welby and John Sentamu. This year, the sermon will be given by the Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, who made history when she became the first female diocesan Bishop in England and in the House of Lords.
Serving those who serve others
The Reverend Ben Cahill-Nicholls, CEO of Clergy Support Trust, says:
“Ministry is an enormous blessing and a humbling privilege, but it can also be hard. The role of Clergy Support Trust is to serve those who spend their lives serving others. In 2022, the Trust supported more than 2,300 clergy households in a variety of ways ranging from financial help, counselling, and health grants, to providing nearly 1,300 clergy households with a much-needed post-pandemic break to recharge their batteries.”
Bishop Rachel praises the Trust’s crucial role:
“Clergy Support Trust provides an amazing lifeline and offers support in a way which emphasises the value and appreciation of clergy and ensures there is no stigma attached to seeking assistance. An especially moving part of the Festival is hearing the testimonies of recipients of such grants.”
“The Festival is an extraordinary event, but it’s also a moment to reflect on the equally extraordinary ministry of so many people. This is our way of saying, ‘Thank you.’”
Notes to editors
- The Clergy Support Trust Festival Service will take place on Tuesday 9 May 2023, 5pm at St Paul’s Cathedral, London, EC4M 8AD. Tickets are free.
- The event is free, but tickets need to be booked in advance. A collection towards the vital work of Clergy Support Trust will be taken during the service.
- Clergy Support Trust is the oldest and largest charity focused on the wellbeing of clergy and their families. The independent charity, originally founded in 1655, helps Anglican clergy and their families across the UK, Ireland and Diocese in Europe.
- Designed by Sir Christopher Wren in the late 17th century, St Paul’s Cathedral is a vibrant church, a national treasure and one of the most sought-after music venues in the UK with superb acoustics. This London icon stands as an enduring symbol of hope – for those of all faiths and none.