The installation meeting of Fraternity Chapter No 4072 tested the mettle of the DC Joe Collier, as at very short notice the third principal indicated that he would be unable to attend the meeting. This meant that the normal installation procedure of each principal in turn installing his successor could not be followed. After a few hurried telephone calls it was agreed that, for the purposes of installation, Ronnie Holt would stand in as the third principal and at the appropriate moment assume the role of acting new second principal.
Second Provincial Grand Principal Peter Elmore was the principal guest and he was accompanied by Assistants to the Provincial Grand Principals Ian Cuerden and Chris Butterfield, Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah Tony Hall and Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Neil MacSymons. They were supported by Preston Group Chairman Steve Bolton.
First principal John Stansfield began the ceremony by first thanking Ronnie for his agreement to stand in at such short notice, noting that this would present Ronnie with the unexpected opportunity to install his own son John as third principal of the chapter.
ADC Malcolm Clifford presented John to the third principal for him to explain the duties of that office. Following his obligation to carry out those duties, the scripture reading was given by Rick Whelan and the prayer by John Whittall.
Moving directly on to the installation of the first principal, Joe Collier duly presented Hugh Jones for installation with the first principal John Stansfield explaining the duties of that office and obligating Hugh to carry out those duties to the best of his ability. The appropriate scripture reading was again given by Rick Whelan and the associated prayer by John Whittall.
Before leaving office, John rose and thanked the companions of the chapter for their support and assistance that had made his year in office so enjoyable. The companions below the rank of an installed first principal were then invited to retire from the chapter for a short time whilst a conclave of installed first principals was declared. Hugh was then placed in his chair of office with all due ceremony by John. Hugh then had the pleasure of investing John with his past first principal’s jewel before closing the conclave.
Installed second and third principals and the third principal elect were readmitted and a conclave of installed third principals declared. Ronnie, as acting second principal, then placed his son John in his chair of office again with all due ceremony and the conclave closed.
Companions were then readmitted and the two principals, Hugh Jones and John Holt, were respectively proclaimed as first and third principals of the chapter by the Joe Collier.
The scarlet robe address was given by John Whittall and the blue robe address by Ronnie Holt. Following the appointment of officers, the address to the principals was given by Joe Collier and the address to the companions by Peter Elmore. All were presented in an exemplary manner that was greatly appreciated by all those present.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Peter brought the congratulations and best wishes of the Grand Superintendent, Tony Harrison. On his behalf, he congratulated John Stansfield for his first class work throughout the evening and Ronnie Holt for standing in at such late notice and delivering such a commendable performance. He concluded by thanking the retiring DC Joe Collier for his contribution to Royal Arch Masonry during his many years as the chapter DC.
On behalf of the chapter, Hugh thanked Peter for his kind and generous remarks and then had the pleasure of presenting a cheque to the value of £100 in support of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity.
Later in the evening, in response to the toast to the grand officers and on his own behalf, Peter thanked the members of the chapter for what, although not as straight forward as usual, had never the less been a thoroughly enjoyable ceremony. He congratulated the two principals on their preferment wishing them a happy and enjoyable year in their offices. He went on to congratulate all those who had taken part in the evening’s ceremony and gave special mention to the excellent work of John Stansfield as the outgoing first principal.
Peter continued by thanking the chapter for the generous donation to the WLFC; encouraging them, where possible, to use the gift aid scheme to enhance the charity total at no extra cost to themselves. He went on to mention the enhanced exaltation ceremony that is currently being worked upon within the Province. The object of the enhancements was to to bring drama back into the ceremony and with it improve the candidates understanding. He mentioned the various ‘Talking Heads’ demonstrations taking place round the Province. The demonstrations are presented in Craft lodges as a means of cultivating interest in the Royal Arch from those brethren who have yet to take that step.
He reminded the companions that recruitment to the Royal Arch comes from within Craft lodges and without healthy lodges the source will dwindle. As a way of increasing the appeal of meetings he suggested that chapters consider inviting other chapters to attend when ceremonies are being worked. A full room adds to the importance of the occasion and provide an inspiration to the candidate taking his first steps on the Royal Arch ladder.
Peter concluded his response by congratulating the group chairman Steve Bolton, on his recent high promotion in the Craft and closed after thanking Neil MacSymons for his attendance and support.