Ancient and enigmatic ceremony at St John of Jerusalem

A marvellous spectacle was witnessed by all at the installation ceremony of St John of Jerusalem Chapter No 203, at Liverpool Masonic Hall. Held in the traditional Egyptian Suite, the meeting was extremely well attended and the companions were pleased to welcome a number of guests, including honorary member Paul Shepherd, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principal’s and representing the Grand Superintendent. It was delightful to also welcome Bob Povall and David Kemp representing the Liverpool Group.

Geoffrey receives his gift from Graham.

Geoffrey receives his gift from Graham.

After serving as first principal of St John of Jerusalem Chapter for two successive years, Graham Hamilton-Taylor handed over the sceptre to his successor Geoffrey Cuthill in an enthralling and ancient enigmatic ceremony rarely witnessed in modern times.

The chapter was opened in due form by the three principals, Graham Hamilton-Taylor, Geoffrey Cuthill and Ian MacFall, who sadly had the sad duty of announcing the sudden demise of the scribe Ezra of the chapter, Richard (Ricky) Roberts. Ricky’s great friend, the Rev Gerard Crane gave a very emotional and moving eulogy to the assembled companions.

Following the installation of the three principals, Geoffrey as first principal, Ian as second with Steve Roberts as third, the scarlet, purple and blue robe addresses were delivered by Graham, Geoffrey and Ian to their respective successors. The address to the three principals was given by Graham and the address to the companions was graciously given by the chapter’s honoured guest, Paul Shepherd.

Geoffrey presents Graham with the jewel.

Geoffrey presents Graham with the jewel.

At the conclusion of the installation ceremony and on behalf of the chapter companions, Geoffrey had the enjoyment of presenting Paul with two cheques, the first for £100 in support of the Friends of Tithebarn, the second for £103, in favour of Liverpool Masonic Hall Building Fund, a total of £203.

Later in the evening, in his response to the toast to the grand officers, Paul Shepherd commented that having brought the formal greetings of the Grand Superintendent in the chapter, at the festive board, he could add his own greetings. He began by saying it was a joy to attend the many different chapter installations and to witness so many variations in the presentation of the ceremony. He particularly enjoyed this evening’s presentation, an absolute delight to witness, such a well performed and ancient working from one of the oldest and well established chapters in the Province.

During the course of the festive board a presentation was made to Geoffrey of a bottle of his favourite malt which had been suitably inscribed, while Geoffrey himself had the pleasure of presenting his predecessor Graham Hamilton-Taylor with a past principals jewel. Geoffrey also thanked the large number of guests who had come to support the chapter for the evening and wished all a safe journey home.

Pictured from left to right, are: Ian MacFall, Geoffrey Cuthill and Steve Roberts.

Pictured from left to right, are: Ian MacFall, Geoffrey Cuthill and Steve Roberts.