The charity now known as the Sons & Friends of the Clergy is in fact an amalgamation over time of six organisations. The first of these, the Corporation of Clergymen’s Sons, was founded in 1655 by a group of sons of clergy to support destitute clergy during the time of Oliver Cromwell. In 1678, the organisation received a Royal Charter from Charles II. A fuller history of the organisation can be found here.
Today, Sons & Friends continues this long tradition of supporting clergy households. We see our purpose as promoting, sustaining and renewing the wellbeing of clergy and their dependents so that clergy flourish and thus are able to serve God’s people. Throughout our history we have done this by providing financial Grants to eligible households in times of hardship. More recently we have begun to explore a wider ‘wellbeing’ agenda and are developing a range of Programmes to support serving clergy.
The current objects of the Sons & Friends of the Clergy were established in 2012 through Charity Commission Schemes and an Order in Council as part of the amalgamation, effective 1 January 2013, of the Corporation of the Sons of the Clergy and the Friends of the Clergy Corporation. These objects in effect supersede the original Royal Charter granted by Charles II in 1678.
“Sons & Friends of the Clergy shall apply the clear yearly income and at its discretion the whole or part of the property of Sons & Friends of the Clergy for the public benefit in providing assistance to beneficiaries, whether directly or indirectly, in such manner as and by such means as the Court of Assistants from time to time in their absolute discretion think fit for the relief or prevention of poverty or hardship or for the relief of illness, whether physical or mental. “Beneficiaries” means members of the clergy, ordinands and the spouses, former spouses, children and dependants of living or deceased members or former members of the clergy or ordinands.
a) “children” includes adopted children, step-children and persons treated as the children of a marriage or civil partnership.
b) “civil partners” means the members of a civil partnership within the meaning of Section 1 (1) of the Civil Partnership Act 2004.
c) “clergy” and “members of the clergy” means bishops, priests and deacons of the Anglican Communion.
d) “ordinands” means persons who are preparing for ordination as members of the clergy.
e) the “spouse” of a person means his or her wife, husband, civil partner, widow, widower or surviving civil partner.”
In 2013 the Court of Assistants, as Trustees of Sons & Friends of the Clergy, adopted the following principles to guide, develop and shape the work and operation of the Charity: