Abbey Royal Arch Chapter No 1225 proved its green credentials when it re-cycled the three present principals back into the chairs at its installation meeting in Barrow in Furness Masonic Hall.
First principal Doug Smith is delighted to have the prospect of a further 12 months in that role. Work commitments last year meant he spent a lot of time away from the area so he was unable to discharge the ambassadorial part of his duties as he would have liked. Another spell in office will enable him to put that right.
Second principal John Marriott and Derek Forrest were also pleased to be able to continue in office to help the chapter out during a temporary hiatus in its succession planning.
Rather than simply affirm the three principals as being in post once again the chapter decided to deliver an enhanced version of the ceremony. Director of ceremonies Tony Nevinson and chapter stalwart Andre Lawrence devised a form of ceremony falling within the boundaries of accepted protocol.
Their efforts meant that principal guest James Miller, who is the Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah, had some ceremonial work to enjoy. Also looking on was Furness and South Lakeland group vice chairman Gary Rogerson and group secretary Barry Hadley, along with three acting Provincial officers in the persons of Jim Richards, Mike Jenkins and David Ozanne.
The unique piece of ritual worked well and added a certain gravitas to the proceedings that a simple declaration would not have done. Junior members Gordon Evans, Stuart Anderson and Peter While also contributed by undertaking the robe and sceptre addresses which they performed in excellent fashion. Others called into action were Tony Cassells, Keran Stalker and Andre. Tony presented the charter of the chapter as well as other parts of the ceremony. Andre not only provided the music but also gave the address to the three principals. Keran’s address to the companions in office was impeccably and stylishly delivered leaving James with a hard act to follow.
Called upon to deliver the address to the companions James did not let the standard drop as he orated it in fine style.
For the first time the chapter appointed a mentor. Group mentor Kieron Mullan was on hand to address Andre as the inaugural holder of that important post. Gary was also called into action and addressed Steve Renney who was appointed charity steward and Gordon who was nominated the festival representative.
All are to be congratulated for making an interesting evening out of what could have been a rather bland affirmation ceremony.
Prior to the meeting a cheque for £1,225 had been sent in respect of the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival. This entitled Abbey Chapter to become patrons of the festival and James was able to present them with the appropriate certificate detailing that fact.
The installation meal in the Fairfield suite at the Masonic hall was enjoyed by 50 members and their guests. During the proceedings acknowledgement was made of the hard work of long standing chapter scribe Colin Clark. At the celebrations a donation of £300 in aid of the building fund was made to hall treasurer Bill Glassey.