The Church and City came together for the 363rd Festival of the Sons & Friends of the Clergy at St. Paul’s Cathedral on Tuesday 9th May 2017, and the Middle Warden was on duty, representing the Guild of Entrepreneurs in the procession of Livery Company Masters, Prime Wardens and Upper Bailiff.
The Festival not only brings together the Livery and City with Clergy, but also brings together choristers from three cathedral churches (St Paul’s, Chichester and Chester this year) to provide some exquisite musical offerings over the course of a lengthy but moving service of prayer, praise and thanksgiving. The choirs jointly offered a deft rendition of Finzi’s epic setting of Crashaw’s Lo, the Full, Final Sacrifice, as well as shorter pieces of a range of styles individually.
Appropriately, the last were first and the first last (at least on the way in), as the colourful procession of the Livery Companies was in reverse order, giving precedence to the Masters of the newer Companies of Art Scholars, Educators, Security Professionals, Tax Advisers and International Bankers.
The Archbishop of York was in fine form, at first speaking seriously on the contrasting fortunes of the Clergy in 1655 and 2017, on the impactful and practical charity that the Sons & Friends of the Clergy delivers, and the importance of living out Jesus’s message to ‘ask’, ‘seek’ and ‘knock on the door’. Dr Sentamu then, with his characteristic enthusiasm, exhorted the sons, daughters and the clergy themselves to stand to applaud the work of the charity. His Lordship concluded by reciting George Herbert’s poem Love (III), which speaks so movingly of charity, and urging the congregation to dig deeply for the Sons & Friends.
The 364th Festival will be on Tuesday 15th May, 2018