Sefton Chapter No 680 installation ceremony took place one month later than its bylaws required because of a clash of dates. It was due to be held on the same date as the meeting of Provincial Grand Chapter. After the dispensation was read out as required, the proceedings were soon under way.
The guest of honour on this special occasion was the Second Provincial Grand Principal, Peter Elmore. Provincial Assistant Director of Ceremonies, Neil MacSymons was admitted and announced that Peter was without and demanded admission. The companions then stood to admit Peter accompanied by Gladstone Group Chairman Bill Culshaw, who is a member of Sefton Chapter and was first principal in 1999 and Past Provincial Grand Treasurer David Potts and other officers of Supreme Grand Chapter.
The first principal Ian Walton welcomed Peter on behalf of himself, his co principals and the rest of the officers and companions of Sefton Chapter. Ian then offered his sceptre to Peter hoping he would accept his offer and conduct the ceremony in his stead. Peter thanked Ian but politely declined, saying he preferred to simply enjoy the proceedings as a spectator and guest, particularly as he had heard that Sefton Chapter’s ritual was especially challenging.
After companions below the rank of an installed principal had retired, the ceremony commenced with the chapter DC Tim Burgess presenting Paul Shirley as first principal elect. As he had previously occupied the position, he re-affirmed his obligation and was installed in an impeccable manner by Ian; the appropriate reading was given by Ernie Waites, who had also temporally occupied the third principal’s chair. Ian concluded by giving the robe address, again in a faultless manner.
Newly installed first principal Paul then installed his second principal elect Rick Walker. After repeating his obligation, he was presented with his sceptre of office and took his chair. The appropriate reading was again given by Ernie. Paul concluded by giving the robe address faultlessly to Rick. Ian Elsby, who had temporally occupied the chair, was relieved to step down without having to speak a word. Finally, after being admitted, Rick installed his third principal elect Peter McGrady. Peter had progressed through the ranks and had been principal sojourner during the last calendar year. Rick presented him with his sceptre of office and he occupied the third principal’s chair. The appropriate reading was given by Tim Burgess. Rick concluded by giving the robe address in an impeccable manner.
Companions below the rank of an installed principal were re-admitted and after receiving a copy of the book of constitutions and a copy of the chapter by-laws, Paul was presented with the chapter’s warrant and centenary warrant. With the assistance of the Tim, Paul then appointed and invested his officers for the ensuing year.
Peter Elmore then rose to convey the congratulations of the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison. He stated that if Tony had been present in person he would have congratulated the installing principals, the Psalm readers and Tim Burgess for the manner in which the proceedings had been conducted. Paul Shirley then presented a cheque to Peter for the sum of £200 to be passed to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. Peter thanked him and commented that although the final recipients would be unknown, he was sure that they would be very grateful.
During the first rising, scribe Ezra Patrick Kent announced that a Provincial Grand Chapter certificate had been received for the newest member of the chapter, Joe Allan. Patrick said that it would be an honour if Peter presented to certificate to Joe and in doing so give him an explanation of the symbols and wording. Peter jokingly said he had a feeling he would not get away without taking some part in the proceedings, however he would be delighted and honoured to do so. Joe was brought forward and after an in-depth explanation, he signed the certificate and brought it back to Paul, who formally presented it to him
The three principals were then given a pleasant surprise in the form of a proposition. On behalf of an absent member, Ron Davies, Ian Elsby proposed a new member; he then seconded the proposition in his own name. Paul commented that although he was delighted to hear the proposition, it meant lazy summer days learning ritual, (not a bad thing).
A most enjoyable meal then followed after all 27 who were in attendance had enjoyed a complimentary drink at the bar. By far the most popular beverage served at the famous Artist Club in Eberle Street Liverpool, is a measure of Liverpool gin with tonic, served in a large brandy style glass, mixed in with something resembling a green salad.
The three principals took wine in turn with all those present during the course of the dinner. Peter McGrady had to leave after the ceremony and Ernie again stood in as third principal at the festive board. There was wine and brandy aplenty.
In response to the toast to his health given by the three principals, Peter again thanked the companions for their hospitality, his provincial ADC and the company of other grand officers. He went on to encourage every companion to promote membership of Royal Arch to Craft Mason. After Peter and his DC retired, there followed the janitors toast after which the members relaxed to enjoy an informal drink and chat, reflecting on a wonderful evening and looking forward to the summer and their first meeting of the new season in November.