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The 364-year old clergy support charity Sons & Friends has re-launched and re-branded itself as Clergy Support Trust. The new working name and branding are being revealed at the Christian Resources Exhibition in Manchester (CRE North) on 13 March 2019. The aim of the re-brand is to make the charity’s name more inclusive and its work more accessible to Anglican clergy, almost a third of whom are now women.

At the same time the charity has set itself a goal, as part of a new multi-annual strategy, of doubling the number of Anglican clergy families it helps by 2022.

The change in name has come in response to overwhelming feedback from the charity’s beneficiaries, many of whom said they were confused by the old name, which suggested that we only supported clergy sons, or serving male clergy.

The re-launch and re-branding are accompanied by a refreshed website which the charity hopes will be much more user-friendly and enable more clergy families to seek help. A new online ‘eligibility checker’ will allow potential applicants to see quickly whether and how the charity might be able to support them.

Commenting on the re-branding, Jeremy Moodey, the charity’s Chief Executive, said:

‘We are really excited to be responding to beneficiary feedback with this bold re-launch as Clergy Support Trust. Most Anglican clergy families do well and thrive in their lives and ministries. But a small minority struggles, whether with financial problems or other challenges such as stress or mental health. We hope that this re-branding, and further changes to our grant-making to be introduced later this year, will help us reach many more clergy families in need.’

The charity’s chair of trustees, the Revd Canon Simon Butler, who also chairs the General Synod working group considering a possible ‘Covenant for Clergy Care and Wellbeing’, added:

‘Any change of a charity’s name involves risk. But, in this case, our new name only highlights the true work we do, at a time when clergy wellbeing is an important element of the agenda of the wider Church. We are confident that this new name will enable us to increase our visibility, especially where our work is less well-known’

Background to the re-brand and re-launch

It is commonly thought that the old name Sons & Friends of the Clergy goes back to the charity’s founding in 1655, when some ‘sons of clergy’ gathered to raise funds in support of priests who had been made destitute during the rule of Oliver Cromwell. In fact, the working name of the charity only dates from 2012, when the Corporation of the Sons of the Clergy merged with another charity, the Friends of the Clergy Corporation.

In September 2018 we consulted over 1,200 stakeholders, many of them beneficiaries of the charity, on whether we should change our name, and on possible alternatives which would better communicate our charitable purpose. Our key goal was to see if we could find a name that made us more relevant and accessible to today’s serving and retired Anglican clergy.  

The key results of the survey:

  • Only 27% of respondents rated our existing name as good or excellent.
  • Almost two-thirds of respondents (and 79% of women) thought the idea of changing our name was good or excellent.
  • There was a very positive reaction to options including ‘Clergy Support’ in the name.

Birmingham-based consultancy IE Brand supported the charity on the re-branding.

At the same time as the re-brand, Clergy Support Trust will be announcing for the first time a multi-annual strategy setting out how it hopes to do much more in the area of clergy wellbeing. The new strategy envisages grants and other charitable support totalling over £12 million over the next four years, and sets the target of doubling the number of Anglican clergy families helped by the charity. In 2018 the charity gave grants to 549 clergy households, in addition to supporting over 900 Anglican ordinands.