The installation convocation of Rowley Chapter No 1051 was conducted with not just sincerity but with an accuracy deserving of imitation by others. That was the conclusion reached by Rev Harry Ross, who was the guest of honour at the meeting, which was held in Rowley Court, Lancaster. Also present was Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Chris Butterfield together with Chairman of the Lancaster Group Jim Wilson. Other grand officers in attendance were Peter Mason, Rowley Saunders and Frank Clarke. Acting officers of Provincial Grand Chapter were also present in the persons of, Jim Aitken Provincial Grand Sojourner, David Tattersall Provincial Grand Organist, Stephen Fox and Bob Stafford both of whom are Provincial Grand Stewards.
The retiring first principal Derrick Hughes made a special mention of the support and assistance that he had been afforded by the chapter members in a year where his poor health had made some aspects of his role difficult. Following this valedictory address, the three principals were installed into the respective chairs with very commendable skill and sensitivity.
Ken Maunder ably and unobtrusively assisted Derrick in obligating and installing Peter Pemberton into the first principal’s chair. Peter then with particular competence and confidence performed the transition of Bill Byrne from the third to second principals office whilst in due turn, John Berry a past first principal, was inducted into the third principals chair by Bill Byrne. The robe addresses were delivered with very commendable confidence by Daniel Crossley and Paul Mason to the first and second chairs. These performances by less experienced companions drew much praise and admiration. The address to the third chair was handled with the skill and ease only to be expected from Adrian Gifford as chapter assistant director of ceremonies.
Following the appointment and investiture of the officers, Harry brought the personal greetings of the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison and was at pains to stress that he was positive that Tony would have been very impressed with all the performances given by the chapter members. His complimentary remarks were much appreciated and grateful thanks were expressed by Peter Pemberton. Harry was then presented with the details of the charitable donations made by the chapter companions. These amounted to £550 with disbursements benefitting the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, Lancaster Masonic Hall Company and other deserving causes.
The festive board proved to be a most happy event with a large number of guests enjoying an excellent meal in the dining suite at Rowley Court. In due course, Harry brought his personal congratulations to the principals and chapter members. In his address, he touched on all the issues that are currently relevant to Freemasonry and Royal Arch members in particular. He employed an appropriate acronym, which he suggested was a very suitable ‘aide mémoire’ for the topics he had mentioned, these topics being; charity, halls, almoners, principals, tercentenary, enjoyment and recruitment, the initial letters of which aptly spell ‘Chapter’.
Brian Milner who gave an edifying summation of the skills and abilities possessed by the newly installed principals, then very eloquently proposed a toast to their health. He suggested that as Rowley Chapter now had the group vice chairman as first principal, a former president of the Lancaster Chamber of Trade as second principal and a retired sub post master in the third chair, their was scarce a case of difficulty that could occur within the chapter that could not be addressed by such varied and undoubtedly consummate skills.
At the end of the evening, Peter Pemberton presented Harry Ross with a basket of roses as a gift for Harry’s wife, apologising that they were of a colour that Harry, as chaplain of Everton FC would not normally approve of. He excused the ‘indiscretion’ by reporting that ‘there appeared to be a shortage of blue roses’ at the present time.
With such diplomatic prowess in evidence, Rowley Chapter can no doubt feel reassured that the high standards it has achieved to date will be amply maintained and possibly exceeded in the year to come.