The installation ceremony of Lodge of Israel No 1502 took place within the Roman Suite at Liverpool Masonic Hall. Founded on 3 June 1874 and consecrated on 12 October 1874 as a kosher lodge, which means it observes Jewish dietary requirements, but has welcomed non-Jewish members, of which there has always been many, right from the start.
This year’s installation saw the lodge opened in due form by Ian Niven, ably assisted by his wardens Ray Sephton and Dave Waddington. With the opening business duly completed, the director of ceremonies Steve Kayne announced that the principal guest for the evening Derek Parkinson, was outside with an accompanying entourage and demanded admission. Accompanying Derek for the evening were Liverpool Group Vice Chairman David Johnson and Provincial Grand Steward John Shaw, with lodge member and grand officer Barry Elman.
It was at this point that Ian took the opportunity to welcome three visiting WM’s, Dave Johnson of Temple Lodge No 1094, Neil Worthington of St Paul’s No 5459 and Geoffrey Cuthill of Woolton Lodge No 6448. Also welcomed was George Crawley, regional charity representative, and Bob Paterson, Craft secretary for the group.
Ian next requested all to stand in silence for two minutes as it was Armistice Day, and to reflect on all who had lost their lives through war. The memory of two members of Lodge of Israel has never dimmed; Dr James Farrell McDermott who lost his life working as a surgeon aboard the Lusitania in 1915, in sight of his native land when the vessel was torpedoed, and of Frank Shenkel who died from wounds and disease in East Africa in the November of 1917.
After the silence the WM requested that Paul Rattigan occupy the senior warden’s chair, Stan Blake that of junior warden, with Ian Thompson to take up position as inner guard for the purpose of installation. Master elect Ray Sephton was then presented to the WM by Paul Hudson and Steve Blake. On giving his assent, Ray was brought forward to recite his obligation at the pedestal. Ian Niven did an excellent job of installing Ray into the chair of King Solomon, in a ceremony that was undertaken with great sincerity and precision. Drawing favourable comments from all who witnessed their work were Chris Jones, Christopher Mullen, and Alan Sephton, who delivered the working tools of each degree, each having their own distinctive style and who performed their duties impeccably.
Ian then appointed and invested his officers for the ensuing year, with Ray Sephton as senior warden and David Waddington as the junior warden and the address to Ray was given by Paul Rattigan while that to David Waddington by Stan Blake. The new senior and junior deacons John Sephton, and Keith Jones were duly invested and had the honour of receiving the address from David Johnson. The address to inner guard Alan Sephton was delivered in exemplary fashion by Ian Thompson, and that to tyler Dave Jones by Paul Hudson, and to the lodge stewards by Provincial Grand Steward John Shaw. Ian Niven next gave the address to the master, while the address to the wardens was given in an equally impressive and accomplished manner by Barry Elman. This left Derek Parkinson with a hard act to follow, as he was called upon to give the address to the brethren of the lodge, but he easily ensured that the high standards set by those on the floor before him were equalled and even surpassed.
At the completion of the proceedings, Derek had the utmost pleasure in congratulating and complimenting each of the participants and expressed the wish that the lodge members would have a wonderful year under the guidance of their new master and that Ray Sephton would be fortunate in having good health to fully enjoy and fulfil his year in office. Derek again eulogised about the first-class ceremony, which had been a delight to watch and conducted with great dignity, with particular congratulations to the three brethren who presented and explained the working tools of each degree. It had been an exceptional performance by all involved and an absolute credit to Lodge of Israel.
This was the moment Ray had been waiting for, his first duty of the evening following his installation, the presentation of the charitable cheques. He presented Derek with cheques in favour of the Marie Curie Centre in Woolton for £500 and another for the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, also for £500, both of which were graciously accepted with grateful thanks.
Following the ceremony, the adjacent dining suite was the setting for an excellent kiddush (reception), accompanied by the traditional toast to the new master and followed by an equally outstanding festive board. As a way of explanation, at the end of each meeting and prior to the festive board, the lodge enjoys an excellent kiddush before the festive board. During particular ceremonies and at the festive board, some of the prayers are said in Hebrew and some of the brethren may wear a head covering and it is also traditional to sing a short Hebrew verse after the return of thanks.
During the festivities and in response to the toast to grand officers, Derek Parkinson offered his own congratulations to Ray Sephton and all those involved in the ceremony, which had been carried out to the highest of standards. He then made special mention of three very important points, the first being membership, which he said was a responsibility of us all, not just the membership officers. The second point was the Royal Arch, which he said was the completion of speculative Freemasonry and is integral to an understanding of Freemasonry in general. His third point was the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival and its work, once again thanking the lodge on the achievement last year of becoming vice patron. Sadly, the evening eventually drew to a close and after a presentation of a floral bouquet to Derek for Mrs Parkinson the tyler David Jones was called upon to give the final toast of the evening.