After a busy year, including an exaltation, many principals would be looking forward to coming ‘out’ of the chair. However, that was not the case for the three principals of Chapter of Harmony No 220, who were extremely happy to stay in their respective ‘chairs’.
The three principals, consisting of first principal Alan McCluskey, second principal Bernard Bailey and third principal Robert Rowland, assisted by director of ceremonies Gary Mason, are a very experienced team, which was immediately apparent by their very polished performance in opening the chapter.
The first order of business was to immediately ballot for a joining member, Kevin Flynn. The ballot proving unanimous, it fell to stand-in scribe Nehemiah, Eric Palfreyman, to admit Kevin to the chapter. Kevin thanked the companions and the three principals, explaining that he was honoured to be a member and was looking forward to many happy years of service to the chapter, more on that to follow on later.
A number of distinguished guests were present outside the chapter and Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies for Craft Rob Fitzsimmons, who took on the role as DC for the ceremony, announced that the Deputy Grand Superintendent Chris Butterfield stood without. Alan exclaimed that he would be honoured to receive him.
All the companions stood, as Chris, accompanied by Provincial Steward Ian Edge, Provincial Grand Standard Bearers, Eddie Wilkinson and Mark Mellor, Provincial Deputy Grand Registrar John Walkey, Provincial Deputy Grand Scribe Ezra Mick Southern, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals John Murphy and Mersey Valley Group Chairman David Atkinson, all processed into the chapter.
Alan welcomed Chris formally to the chapter and offered him the sceptre. Chris in reply, remarked that he had been very much looking forward to attending the chapter and enjoying the evening, and returned the sceptre back to Alan. Director of ceremonies, Gary Mason, then proclaimed Robert Rowland, as third principal for the ensuing year. The scripture reading for a third principal being read by David Atkinson, followed by principal sojourner, Eirwyn Jones, delivering an impressive blue robe address.
Gary then proclaimed Bernard Bailey as second principal for the ensuing year, with the scripture reading for a second principal being expertly orated by John Murphy. This time it was the turn of Mark Mellor to deliver the purple robe address. Gary then proclaimed Alan McCluskey as first principal for the ensuing year, and trustee Ken Bradley was this time entrusted with the scripture reading of a first principal. Again, Eirwyn Jones stepped up and delivered the scarlet robe address in an equally impressive manner as he had previously.
During the investment of the officers of the chapter, Eric Palfreyman was invested as secretary of the chapter taking over from John Murphy, and Kevin Flynn, who was earlier admitted as a joining member, was invested as second assistant sojourner, immediately making good on his earlier introduction to offer many years of service to the chapter.
At the conclusion of the installation ceremony, Chris Butterfield rose to give his personal congratulations, making his way around the chapter to thank the companions who had taken part in the ceremony of installation and made it all that more enjoyable.
First principal Alan, then presented cheques for charity to Chris, who read them out to the chapter. They were for £150 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and the other for £150 to Garston Masonic Hall. Chris thanked the chapter for their generous donation to charity.
At the festive board, Chris gave his congratulations to the three principals in remaining in their respective chairs, explaining that it was always a delight to visit a chapter, every chapter does its ritual in slightly different ways, and with specific customs and manners, which makes visiting so enjoyable and interesting. He also thanked the many Provincial officers and team who had accompanied on this visit and for taking their time to visit Harmony Chapter. With another busy year ahead for the chapter, everyone is looking forward to hearing more from the three principals and companions.