Although John Murphy, representing of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison at the installation meeting of Compass Lodge No 7052, was attending the lodge for the very first time, as the Chairman of Garston Group he was already well acquainted with many of the members, including master elect David Potts. Prior to the opening of the lodge, John chatted with many of the members and guests as they prepared to enjoy the well organised installation ceremony which was to take place at the famous Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool.
The lodge was opened by the WM Mike Hilton, assisted by his stand-in wardens John Bellis and Michael Collins, personal guest of David Potts and the current WM of Liverpool Mercantile Lodge No 4319. Following confirmation of the minutes of the last regular meeting, director of ceremonies Jim Hawkins called the brethren to be upstanding to receive the representative of the Provincial Grand Master John Murphy and Chairman of Gladstone Group John James, together with other grand officers. Mike welcomed John with a warm handshake and a hope that he would have a most enjoyable evening, both in the lodge room and later at the festive board.
Mike requested John Bellis and Michael Collins to continue to act as wardens. He also asked Ray Hope to act as inner guard for the purpose of the installation. The lodge was opened in the second and subsequently in the third degree, after which Jim called the brethren to order to salute the grand and Provincial grand officers.
Resuming labour in the second degree, David Potts was presented as master elect by Jim and proceeded to repeat his obligation in a sincere manner. Brethren below the rank of an installed master retired to allow Mike to declare a board of installed masters and he proceeded to install David as WM according to ancient custom. Mike’s experience as a ritualist shone through as he performed the duty expertly.
The board of installed masters was closed once David had been declared master and saluted by the past masters. David was further saluted by master Masons, fellow crafts and entered apprentices in turn. The third, second and first degree working tools were presented by Ken Jones, Jim Hawkins and David Smith respectively; all presented and explained to the usual high standard of Compass Lodge.
Following the presentation of the working tools, David proceeded to invest his officers for the ensuing year with David Smith becoming senior warden and Ken Jones who jokingly mocked complete surprise as he was named junior warden. When David appointed John Bellis as charity steward, Paul Shirley rose to give an address to John regarding his very important duties.
The highlights of the workings were the addresses; that to the WM by Jim Hawkins; that to the wardens by John Jackson and that to the brethren of the lodge by John Murphy. When director of ceremonies Jim announced to David that the installation ceremony was concluded, John immediately rose to congratulate David on behalf of the Provincial Grand Master. John also congratulated Mike for the manner that he had conducted the installation ceremony and congratulated and thanked all the brethren who had taken a part in the brilliant ceremony.
John had no sooner taken his seat when David rose to present him with a cheque for the magnificent sum of £800 towards the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival; thus, entitling the lodge to become a Vice Patron of the Festival. This brought about thunderous applause. David gave grateful thanks for the generous donation.
Following communications from Grand Lodge, multi-skilled director of ceremonies Jim called the brethren to be upstanding whilst John Murphy, John James, Michael Collins and David Hilliard retired. Once the formal business of the evening was concluded, the lodge was closed in perfect harmony.
30 members and guests then gathered in the Crosby Suite to enjoy pre-dinner drinks prior to taking their seats to enjoy a fine four course dinner served by the pleasant catering staff Nicky and Marie. David and John took wine with all present at various times during the meal.
In response to the toast to Grand Lodge, John Murphy covered many salient points including the news that brethren who were not already holders of a Festival jewel could still complete a direct debit form to donate over a 24-month period. He also appealed to all members to seek out new members but only if they are of the right calibre, saying: “As well as the group membership officers, all brethren should consider themselves a membership office.”
Royal Arch was also on his agenda with a plea to those brethren not already a companion to seriously consider joining. John concluded by congratulating Ken Jones on his promotion in Provincial Grand Lodge, to which the brethren responded with warm applause. The toast to the WM was proposed by Mike Hilton to which David gave a brief response.
All too soon it was time for the last toast of the evening and tyler Brian Jones stood behind David to toast all poor and distressed Freemasons throughout the universe. It was the end of a very memorable evening for David and all the members and guests of Compass Lodge.
Article and photographs by Phil Marshall.