The centenary is nearly there for the Sure and Stedfast Chapter of Temperance and Felicity No 9326, as it reaches the milestone of 99 years since the issue of its charter in 1919. The 2018 installation ceremony, held in Liverpool Masonic Hall, was opened with Joe Edwards as the acting first principal, Chris Bruffell as second principal, with his father John as third principal.
The chapter was pleased to receive and welcome Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Sam Robinson, along with Liverpool Group Vice Chairman David Kemp and group secretary Tim Burgess. The companions then rose in respect of departed merit for James (Jim) Henry Kontzle. Jim first joined the chapter when it was known as Felicity Temperance Chapter No 3632 and has twice held office as first principal, in 1986 and again in 1995. It had been hoped that Jim would take the position of first principal again for the centenary year, but alas that will now not be the case.
Jim Kontzle had been the oldest as well as the longest serving member of the chapter, but with his loss, the companions decided to give their youngest member Chris Bruffell, the honour of being installed as first principal for the centenary year.
The installation ceremony began with David Crowley presenting Graham Edwards as the third principal elect and Ray Parkins was invited to occupy the chair of the third principal for the rest of the ceremony. This then allowed David to present John Bruffell as first principal elect, as John’s son Christopher Bruffell was remaining as second principal.
The readings throughout the ceremony were kindly carried out by David Kemp, while Joe Edwards recited the red robe address, John Bruffell the purple and Chris Bruffell the blue. Joe Edwards presented John with the charter of the chapter and the Royal Arch regulations and by-laws. During the investiture of officers Tim Burgess read the address to the charity steward Syd Needham.
With the installation of the members complete, Sam Robinson was delighted to bring greetings from the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison and commented on the excellence of the installation ceremony, especially in overcoming some of the difficulties caused by the unusual nature of the proceedings. He congratulated all those who had taken part and thanked those taking office, particularly David Crowley, who in spite of illness, planned the evening in his role as scribe as well as acting as director of ceremonies during the ceremony. It was at this point that Sam was pleased to receive from John Bruffell charitable donations in favour of the MCF 2021 Festival £50, Friends of Tithebarn £50 and the Liverpool Masonic Hall Building Fund also £50.
A wonderful festive board followed, held in a very friendly atmosphere, with the usual taking of liquid refreshment for the toasts. One of the traditions of the chapter set by the founders is still honoured, in that no alcohol can be consumed at the festive board. This is a delightful tradition that is fully adhered to and brings many uplifting surprises to first time visitors who can be overwhelmed at the array of alternate drinks available to choose from. These consist of all the old favourites, including cream soda, dandelion and burdock and for the more adventurous ginger beer.
At the appropriate time, Sam responded to the toast to grand officers and brought his own personal congratulations to the principals and to all the officers and companions that took part. Sam spoke with a smile on his face as he expressed his gratitude for being able to witness a good ceremony, totally enhanced by the happy nature of the event, both in the chapter and at the festive board. He also took time to thank Mike Jakins, a visitor on the evening, who had acted as a sojourner during the ceremony. Mike, a member of Sure and Stedfast Lodge No 8991 in Cardiff, had this evening completed the task he had set himself last year when installed into the chair of his lodge. That task was to visit every Sure and Stedfast Lodge and chapter during his year of mastership and tonight he had seen it fulfilled. A very committed Freemason, Mike holds senior London Grand Rank and is also a Past Provincial Grand Registrar.
At the end of the evening John Bruffell, on behalf of the three principals, thanked all those who had taken part in the ceremony and hoped to see the visitors return again, adding that a forthcoming reciprocal trip to South Wales was already in the planning stage.