The installation meeting of Fraternity Chapter No 4072 saw the three principals remaining in office for a second year. As a result, the ceremony could have consisted of a simple declaration as this is what was happening, followed by the appointment of officers for the ensuing year.
Following a discussion by the companions within the chapter, it was agreed that this would not be sufficient and in what would be a very short ceremony, an opportunity for many of members of the chapter to take a part would be missed. The decision was taken that the three principals would be reinstalled in a full ceremony with many members of the chapter playing a part.
The principal guest for the evening was grand officer, Chris Blackwell. He was accompanied by Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Chris Butterfield, grand officer Joe Collier, both of whom are members of the chapter, the Preston Group Chairman Steve Bolton and acting Provincial grand officers, Paul Astley and Gowan O’Hagan.
Following the administrative business of the chapter, the director of ceremonies Malcolm Clifford retired from the chapter for a short time to return and announce the presence of Chris Butterfield. The first principal, Steve Croasdale, formally welcomed Chris, who entered the chapter accompanied by grand and Provincial grand officers. Chris Butterfield thanked Steve for his welcome and introduced the principal guest of the evening, Chris Blackwell who duly took his place in the chapter.
Prior to the start of the ceremony the first principal rose to thank all the officers of the chapter for their support and assistance during the past year and wished them well for the future. The principals’ chairs were then occupied by other members of the chapter. The third principal, Rick Whelan, was replaced by John Stansfield, the second principal, John Holt, was replaced by Alan Eastham and the first principal, Steve Croasdale was replaced by Huw Jones.
The ceremony proper commenced with Joe Collier presenting Rick for installation as the third principal. The acting third principal invited Rick to recite his obligation as to the requirements and duties of a third principal. Malcolm Clifford, in turn, presented John for installation as the second principal. The acting second principal invited John to recite his obligation as to the requirements and duties of a second principal. Finally, Malcolm Clifford presented Steve for installation as the first principal. The acting first principal invited Steve to recite his obligation as to the requirements and duties of a first principal. In all three cases, the relevant scripture readings were given by John Whittall and the associated prayers by Bob Cadman.
The ceremony continued with the acting principals re-installing Rick, John and Steve back into their respective chairs for Malcolm Clifford to proclaim them as the principals of Fraternity Chapter for the ensuing year. The scarlet robe address was given by John Whittall, the purple robe address was given by Alan Eastham and the blue robe address was given by John Stansfield, all of which were delivered in an excellent manner.
The officers were duly appointed and invested, following which, Joe Collier gave the address to the three principals and the ceremony concluded with the final address, that to the companions of the chapter, given in an equally excellent manner by the principal guest Chris Blackwell.
Following Malcolm’s announcement of the completion of the installation ceremony, the principal guest rose to bring the congratulations and best wishes of the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison. He hoped the principals would continue to enjoy good health and to have an excellent year in office. His congratulations, on behalf of Tony, extended to all the companions who had a part to play in what had been an excellent and enjoyable ceremony.
Steve responded by thanking Chris for his kind and generous comments and presented him with two cheques on behalf of the chapter members. The first, in favour of the MCF 2021 Festival, was for £95 and the second, for £113, was in favour of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. Chris thanked the chapter companions for their donations to charity recognising that the members already donate to charity through their own Craft lodges and that these cheques represented a generous addition to their charitable giving.
Later in the evening, in response to the toast to the grand officers, Chris continued by saying what a delight it had been to represent the Grand Superintendent at Fraternity Chapter. He thanked the acting Provincial grand officers Paul Astley and Gowan O’Hagan for their support and Steve Bolton for his company as the group chairman. He was also pleased to be in the company of founder members of the chapter, Joe Collier, Alan Gordon, Bob Cadman and Malcolm Clifford.
He congratulated the chapter on what had been an excellent ceremony. It had been a ceremony that proved what could be done when re-installing the principals back in their respective chairs. He recognised that almost every chapter member had a part to play in delivering the ritual.
Turning to the recent television programmes regarding Freemasonry, he said the programmes had raised awareness of the Craft that would hopefully lead to membership applications from men who would enjoy their membership and in their own way contribute to the brotherhood of Freemasonry.
Moving to the Royal Arch, Chris mentioned the need to recruit and retain the right members. He encouraged those who are members of the Royal Arch to experiment with the way they operate. Steps have been taken to make the ritual more interesting and enjoyable by way of the enhanced ritual, a ritual that has already been incorporated into the workings of a number of chapters within the group. Inviting speakers to present talks on the various aspects of the Royal Arch is a way of gaining further knowledge and adding interest to meetings.
Acknowledging the charitable donations made earlier in the evening, he reminded the companions that during the full period of the 2021 Festival, the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity continues to need support in financing its continuing work and not to forget small local charities that could benefit from support.
Chris concluded by encouraging everyone to support the Province by attending the annual meetings of both Provincial Grand Lodge and Provincial Grand Chapter and closed by reminding everyone to, above all, enjoy their Masonry.