After a three-year hiatus, the Bishop’s Company Dinner is back in person.
The dinner, which raises funds for clergy in need and other important causes in the Diocese of Toronto, will be held Oct. 20 at the Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre hotel in Toronto. Tickets go on sale Sept. 20 at bishopscompanytoronto.ca.
Peter Misiaszek, the diocese’s director of Stewardship Development, hopes the event will be sold out. “I think we owe it to ourselves to put as much effort into this as possible. We know the need is great. Our clergy need our support. And this is one of the best ways to demonstrate that we are there for them.”
He says the time is right to hold the dinner in person again. “I think there’s a desire to get back together as one, in the same way as we’re doing with Synod this year. We’re social creatures, after all, and I think a lot of us want to be in each other’s company again.”
The Rev. Roshni Jayawardena, incumbent of St. Peter, Erindale, will be the MC for the dinner, which is celebrating its 62nd year. Blake Goldring, ODT, executive chairman of AGF, will be the keynote speaker. Nathan Hiltz, a jazz guitarist based in Toronto, will perform with his ensemble. The evening will include a reception.
New this year will be a “visionary sponsorship level.” Sponsors who participate at this level will receive two tables of seating, one for their guests and the other donated back to the diocese, which will invite young people to attend the dinner for free. Four visionary sponsors are participating.
“It’s an exciting initiative that will bring youth from across our diocese to the dinner,” says Mr. Misiaszek.
He adds, “It’s going to be a wonderful occasion. You’re going to leave with a good feeling that you’ve helped support important ministry in the diocese.” In addition to helping clergy with unforeseen expenses, the dinner provides funds for scholarships and bursaries for seminary students.
The Bishop’s Company Cabaret, which was held online during the pandemic in place of the dinner, will be back again this year but in a different format. Highlights from the dinner, plus five other musical acts, will be compiled in a video that will be sent out to parishes in November for their viewing.
Mr. Misiaszek says it’s too soon to tell whether this will be the last year for the cabaret. “It will depend on how many people view it.”
He says the cabaret, which has been held each year since 2020, has been important for bringing the diocese together and raising funds in place of the dinner. “It’s something we should be very proud of. The acts have been great, and it has showed us how resilient the Church has been in a very challenging time.”