Friends amongst friends

The installation ceremony at Harmonic Lodge No 216 meant a reunion for many old friends. Keith Sanders, a past vice chairman of the Gladstone Group and past secretary, was delighted to meet up again with John James the current group vice chairman. Keith attended as the representative of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison and John attended on behalf of the group. They both had numerous old friends in Harmonic Lodge following previous happy time spent in their company over many years.

Picture from left to right, are: Ian Elsby, John Owen and Ron Cain.

Picture from left to right, are: Ian Elsby, John Owen and Ron Cain.

The evening began when past master, Harry Kinney, occupied the master’s chair due to the untimely illness of the master, Ian Follett. Harry opened the lodge and after the opening business had been concluded the director of ceremonies, Jimmy Murphy announced that Keith Sanders, John James and other grand and Provincial grand lodge officers were outside the door of the lodge and sought admission. Harry welcomed them with delight and with a wish that they all enjoyed the ceremony in general and the festive board in particular.

Harry then requested the two entered apprentices present to retire for a short time and the lodge was opened in the second degree. The brethren then saluted the grand and Provincial grand lodge officers in turn. The salutations were acknowledged and greetings conveyed. Once the lodge was opened in the third degree, Harry requested John Donnelly to occupy the chair; John duly complied and commenced to request past masters to occupy the warden’s chairs for the ceremony of installation. Harry, fresh from vacating the master’s chair acted as senior warden and his business partner, Gerry Carson, as junior warden. Geoff Holly, who had stepped in as inner guard, continued in that position. The master elect, John Owen, arguably one of the most experienced past masters in the Province, was presented to the installing by the two most senior members, Tony Foulds and Keith Dowell.

John Owen was about to be installed in the chair of Harmonic Lodge for an amazing fourth time, spanning a 32 year period. John had not intended to break any records, he simply stepped into the breach when he was needed, always willing to help the lodge when others cautiously declined. John repeated his obligation faultlessly. The lodge was then opened in the third degree and those below the rank of an installed master retired whilst a board of installed masters was declared. The installing master, John Donnely, then installed the master elect, John Owen, with sincerity and warmth. John was saluted by the past masters and subsequently master Masons, fellowcraft and entered apprentices. The working tools were presented and explained by the DC, Jimmy Murphy.

Pictured are: Keith Sanders (left) and John Owen

Pictured are: Keith Sanders (left) and John Owen

John then appointed his officers, Ian Elsby as senior warden, Ron Cain as junior warden, Clive Brooke treasurer and after four years as assistant secretary, Eric O’Callaghan was appointed secretary. Jimmy Murphy continued as DC as did Geoff Holly as almoner, Gerry Carson as charity steward, however, hardworking and ever keen to help, Harry Kinney was appointed as the lodge mentor.

The address to the master was given by John Cairns of Compass Lodge, although he is not a member of Harmonic Lodge, he attends all meetings. The address to the wardens was given by Clive Brooke and the address to the brethren by Keith Sanders. All of the addresses were given with obvious sincerity.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Keith immediately rose to congratulate John as the newest ruler in the Province. He said that he had spoken just last week to the PrGM, Tony Harrison, who had insisted he congratulated John on his behalf. Keith also congratulated installing master, John and the DC Jimmy for their fine work. John then had the pleasure of presenting a number of cheques to Keith, for various charities, totalling the magnificent sum of £1,550.

The lodge was then called from labour to refreshment. The DC announced for the benefit of visitors that, as one of a few lodges in the Province observing this tradition, the members and guests of Harmonic Lodge dined in Masonic regalia. A total of 30 members and guests then crossed to the Crosby Suite for pre-dinner drinks prior to taking their seats to enjoy a fine meal with an ample supply of wine. Following the toast to grand lodge, Keith took pleasure in responding, adding humour as well as highlighting issues such as promoting the MCF 2021 Festival. Keith also made reference to and congratulated the recent recipients of Provincial honours in the lodge. Geoff Holly and Jimmy Murphy who were promoted and Ron Cain who received his first appointment. This brought loud applause from the brethren. The toast to the worshipful master was followed by the master’s song. John Donnelly, Harmonic Lodge’s very much in demand crooner, sang gracefully with the brethren joining in after each verse. John, the WM, then responded, again adding humour with sincerity.

Finally the tyler, Brian Jones, gave the tyler’s toast. The lodge was then called from refreshment to labour and closed in due form and perfect harmony. The end of a perfect evening.

Story and photos by Phil Marshall.

Pictured from left to right, are: Keith Dowell, Tony Foulds, John James, Keith Sanders and John Owen.

Pictured from left to right, are: Keith Dowell, Tony Foulds, John James, Keith Sanders and John Owen.