On Friday 23 July 2021, members of Semper Sursum Lodge No 5622 held an emergency meeting. The meeting heralded the first in the Furness and South Lakeland Group of Freemasons since the easing of restrictions. The group chairman Peter Schofield attended as the representative of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. Semper Sursum Lodge being Peter’s own lodge, he was more than delighted to be able to attend an installation of the new master Phil J Renney, especially since he initially proposed him to join Semper Sursum Lodge.
An incredible 81 brethren radiated sheer enjoyment at being back in the lodge room as Phil became installed as master. Being the first in the group to hold an installation, the lodge officers worked tirelessly to ensure all new measures required by the Province were met on one of the hottest days of the year so far and were dealt with superbly.
Extra fans were brought in to the temple and the banquet room ensuring that the brethren were as comfortable as possible. Peter was grateful for the support of David Grainger and other grand officers, who witnessed Kevin Rigg install his successor in a heartfelt and dignified manner. The evening was also further enhanced by the acting officers Gordon Evans Assistant Provincial Grand Steward and Jo Crabtree Assistant Provincial Grand Pursuivant. Following Phil’s ascension into the chair, Bill Merewood delivered the address to the new master of the lodge. It was extremely apt that Barry Fitzgerald gave the address to the wardens being a member of Semper Sursum Lodge and likewise for Alan Tomlinson who explained the working tools of a master and addressed the stewards perfectly.
Their work was certainly impressive, but perhaps just topped by the junior brethren who undertook the duties of presenting and explaining the working tools of the degrees. Chris Earley set the ‘bar’ with his superb delivery of the third degree tools. Next followed Bernie McGeough who undertook a faultless delivery of the long version of the second degree tools and David Shaw had the final task of ending with the first degree tools and like those before, was word perfect.
The time spent on perfecting their input was made even more special as John Stanley PProvSGW, David Edwards PProvSGW and Paul Storrar PProvJGW all made the trip around Morecambe Bay. John is a frequent visitor from Lancaster to the Furness and South Lakeland Group, whilst David and Paul’s excuse for such a long drive on a rather warm day was that they both had such an enjoyable experience when they had made official visits, that they were determined to come back! You will be made welcome in any lodge brethren.
The message of ‘happiness’ stressed by Peter in his address to Phil, was certainly obtained. He was looking at nothing but a ‘sea of smiles where ever he looked’. The only moment of sadness came when the brethren remembered the passing of the lodge treasurer W G Edmonds who lived respected and died regretted. He had been the treasurer of the lodge for the past 26 years. An incredible service for his lodge, by an incredible man. Also, a huge amount of gratitude was bestowed on Bob Durkin who is retiring from the position of lodge secretary after 11 years. Well done Bob, everyone thought you did a marvellous job!
Following the formalities of the installation, a four course meal was thoroughly enjoyed by the brethren. Well done to Terry and Christine who dealt with a new kitchen, plus the heat!
American author Helen Keller once said: “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” On the night of the installation, Semper Sursum Lodge showed how to ‘overcome’ our suffering by trying to be the best Freemason they could via showing ‘happiness’. Surely Peter would agree, they certainly achieved it. ‘Ever onwards’ Semper Sursum!