If the late Leon Tax was looking down on the last meeting of Peace and Unity Chapter No 3966 he could not but have been impressed by his son Michael’s demeanour as he found himself being installed as first principal of the chapter that his father ruled over in 1988. The installation ritual in Peace and Unity Chapter has been described in many ways from ‘unique’ and ‘different’ to ‘blow that for a laugh’!
In the latest version of the script, which changes depending on the ranks of the members being installed into the three principal’s chairs, Bob Wareham took charge of proceedings as he was the reigning first principal. The usual business was dealt with and then a ballot for honorary membership was taken on behalf of grand officer David Harrison.
The ballot proved in David’s favour and this was relayed to him on his arrival as the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison’s representative. No relation we are assured but it made for some interesting comments during the evening. The evening at Peace and Unity proved to be smoothly run and convivial to take part in.
David Harrison was supported on this occasion by grand officers Keith Jackson, Duncan Smith, Blackpool Group Chairman David Cook, Provincial Grand Registrar John Lee, Provincial Grand Steward Steve Jelly and a retinue of Provincial grand officers. Once they had been greeted and taken their seats the ceremony commenced without further ado.
As indicated, Michael Tax was to be installed as first principal, Richard Anderson was to remain as second principal and David Hill was to be installed as third principal. The script for the day, prepared by Richard Anderson, was then followed to the letter.
The ceremony began with Giles Berkley and Peter Maxwell taking over the second and third principal’s chairs. The principals elect then took their obligations followed by the installation of each principal into his chair, with readings from scripture delivered by Manny Adeoye and Glenn O’ Brien and prayers by Peter Maxwell.
Proceedings continued with the explanation of the robes, with Richard Anderson explaining the crimson robe, Ron Strangwick explained the purple robe and Giles Berkley concluding with an explanation of the blue robe. These parts of the ceremony were followed by an address to the principals delivered by David Cook and an address to the officers by the hard working Richard Anderson. These were followed by an excellent address to the companions of the chapter delivered by David Harrison.
There were some items of other business, one of which was a proposal of a new member. Then Duncan Smith congratulated the chapter members on a smooth but different ceremony of installation before the grand and acting Provincial grand officers retired. The greetings from the visitors was delivered by Derek Lewthwaite of Semper Fidelis Chapter No 4428, who voiced his wonder at the variations in the ceremony and how everyone remembers where to be at any given time.
Where everyone was going to be next was into the bar, thence to the banqueting suite to relax and enjoy the remainder of the evening. Following a four course meal the customary toasts were proposed. In response to the toast to the grand officers, David Harrison thanked Keith Jackson and Duncan Smith for their support. He went on to thank David Cook, John Lee and Steve Jelly and the other Provincial grand officers for supporting him and the chapter with their presence.
After mentioning subjects such as recruitment and retention, charities including the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and the MCF 2021 Festival, David went on to talk about the similarities between the installation script and the chapter of today.
He particularly mentioned Aaron’s staying of the plague being similar to the lockdowns of today staying the effects of COVID. Also, the bringing of David from the fields and anointing him with princely power, alluding to the fact that anybody, if they put their mind to it and work hard, can rise to a significant position. However, David did admonish the companions not to allow their progress and promotion not to get in the way of friendships. He concluded by thanking the chapter members for electing him as an honorary member, this had really made his day. He also thanked Bob Wareham, the new scribe Ezra for his advice and information prior to the meeting.
In proposing the toast to charities Ron Strangwick thanked the companions for their support of the raffle which had raised the sum of £155. Michael Tax began the response to the toast to his health with the comment: “What a day!” He thanked several members of the chapter for the work they had put into the success of this meeting and all of the members for their support during difficult times.
Michael said he was pleased to report that there was a new candidate to be exalted at the next meeting and possibly more later in the year. Throughout, Michael had conducted himself with dignity and confidence. We are sure that his father would have been proud of him, the chapter members certainly are.
Before the end Bob Wareham proposed a toast to the visitors which was answered by a response from Clive Tandy, the first principal of St Anne’s Chapter No 2457. The janitor’s toast was proposed by Barry Hage and the companions made their way home.