That important milestone has finally been reached by the Sure and Stedfast Chapter of Temperance and Felicity No 9326, it has celebrated its centenary. The first question that may come to mind is: “How does a chapter with so late a number as 9326 come to be celebrating a centenary?” A short history soon explains all:
In 1919 the brethren of Temperance Lodge of Felicity No 3632, which was consecrated in 1913, decided they would like a Royal Arch chapter to be associated with the lodge. To this end they successfully petitioned for a chapter, with a charter being granted.
The name given to it by Supreme Grand Chapter was to be Felicity Temperance Chapter No 3632 and the date it was founded being 27 September 1919. In 2000 Temperance Lodge of Felicity surrendered its warrant and the chapter was instructed that it had to associate itself with another lodge.
The companions approached the Sure and Stedfast Lodge No 9326 who were delighted to take on the chapter. When this was relayed to Supreme Grand Chapter they accepted this and renamed it as the Sure and Stedfast Chapter of Temperance and Felicity No 9326.
Following on from this, a change of rule was instigated which meant it was no longer necessary for a Royal Arch chapter to be associated with a Craft lodge and it might well be that the chapter was the last that ever had to go through the procedure just described and, with the closure of Sure and Stedfast Lodge in 2014, the chapter remained as an individual unit with no affiliation as such to any lodge.
The centenary meeting took place with only members and invited Royal Arch friends of the chapter in attendance and was opened in due form by the three principals, Chris Bruffell, Grahame Edwards and Joe Edwards.
Following the usual chapter business the invited friends were warmly welcomed into the room. The chapter is also fortunate in having two extremely accomplished organists as members, Grahame Edwards and Mark Rawsthorn, with Mark holding the chapter office at this time.
This being the meeting prior to the installation ceremony a number of elections took place during the general business of the chapter. As a result of these, Graham Edwards was voted as first principal elect, his father Joe Edwards as second principal elect, with John Bruffell as third principal elect. Syd Needham was elected as treasurer and Geoffrey Cuthill as janitor.
During the evening the longest serving companion Ray Parkins gave his reminiscences of his time in the chapter, then Felicity Temperance Chapter, and some of the memorable characters throughout his years. However the first thing he mentioned was his attainment of the first principal’s chair in 1992, the year that its present occupant Chris Bruffell entered this world. Ray attained the chair again 20 years later in 2015.
A founder’s jewel and past principal’s jewel circulated amongst the companions and when all had seen them the founder’s jewel was pinned to the jacket of first principal Chris Bruffell, the first time this had happened within the last 100 years.
Past Deputy Grand Superintendent Brian Jackson gave his memories of the chapter and how much he had enjoyed it over the years. Following this, the business continued with correspondence before the visitors retired in procession.
At the festive board the companions enjoyed a fantastic dinner starting with fishcakes and sweet chilli sauce, a main course of roast lamb and seasonal vegetables, crème brûlée and, being a total abstinence chapter, a delightful array of cold liquid refreshment, with either tea or coffee.
It was at the festive board that the three principals presented a framed picture to hall director Roy Ashley on behalf of the late Peter Guy; a very touching moment.