Anno Domini 1991 or Anno Lucius 5991 was an important year in many ways, significantly as it marked the final year of the Cold War with the collapse of the Soviet Union. As well as lifting the threat of nuclear conflict, it also redefined world maps proving a busy time for cartographers as countries such as Belarus seceded from the former Soviet Union or USSR as it was more commonly known.
It was also the start of another form of revolution when in August of the same year, the world wide web was released outside of CERN, Switzerland. With the creation of the very first website info.cern.ch, was quite possibly the start of a new epoch in human history with the dawn of the internet age and the rapid expansion of information sharing across the world, which is so commonplace now.
In December of the same year, the installation of a new master in Liverpool Mercantile Lodge No 4319 occurred for a certain John James McKay who for the first time became master of Mercantile Lodge.
Fast forward some 31 years later, and brethren, visitors and guests congregated in the lobby of the Britannia Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool for the installation of a new master of Liverpool Mercantile Lodge. Having enjoyed a drinks reception, acting director of ceremonies Malcolm Hodgson called everyone to order and all filed into the lodge room.
Master of the lodge David Hilliard, opened the lodge in fine form, assisted by the officers of the lodge. Stand-in inner guard Phil Marshall indicated that Assistant to the Provincial Grand Directors of Ceremonies David Boyes, stood without. David requested he be admitted, and having entered David Boyes announced that two Assistants Provincial Grand Masters stood without, master David indicated he would be delighted to receive them.
A procession was then formed, comprising of two the Assistants Provincial Grand Master, John James and Frank Umbers, accompanied by grand officers, Steven Robinson, David Anderton, David Potts, Steve Kayne and Howard Griffiths, followed by Gladstone Group Chairman Paul Storrar, who was accompanied by other Provincial grand officers, Provincial Junior Grand Warden Sylvester During, Provincial Grand Charity Steward Paul Shirley and other distinguished guests.
David Hilliard having welcomed John James to the lodge, was introduced by John to the principal guest Frank Umbers. Frank commented that he was looking forward to the ceremony of the evening and the ensuing festive board. David then requested would Paul Storrar occupy the chair of senior warden and Sylvester During to occupy the chair of junior warden, both graciously accepted.
David asked for presenting officer Steven Robinson to please present the master elect, John McKay to him for the benefit of installation. John performed his obligation faultlessly and in turn David was magnificent in his display of ritual as he installed John into the chair of King Solomon for a second time. A plethora of grand officers, Provincial grand officers and distinguished guests then processed around the lodge saluting newly installed WM John with the appropriate salutations.
Director of ceremonies Malcolm Hodgson then requested that master Masons be admitted, having performed the necessary salutations, Jack Howe presented the working tools of a master Mason. After admission of fellow crafts, Michael Woolf then following suit with an equally impressive display of ritual with the demonstration of the second degree working tools. Rounding off how impressive junior brethren can be, following admission of entered apprentices, was the deliverance of the working tools of that degree by Dylan Roberts. Very well done indeed to all three, which was commented upon by Frank Umbers at the festive board. Frank also delivered a very well received address to the brethren of the lodge and at the conclusion of the installation ceremony offered his personal thanks to all those who had taken part in the ceremony itself.
David Hilliard having been invested as immediate past master, then gave an impassioned address to John delivering the address to the master. Malcolm Hodgson gave an equally impressive address to the two deacons. Phil Marshall giving the collar address to newly installed inner guard, Dylan Thomas and finally Paul Shirley who gave the address to the tyler. An excellent display of ritual and a wonderful installation ceremony to witness.
At the festive board newly, installed WM John explained to all present that the last time he had been installed as master was back in 1991, and how pleased he was to be installed again as master of this fine lodge. He thanked David Hilliard for his help and wonderful ceremony as immediate past master, as well as the work that David does for the lodge in general, and that he was looking forward to the year ahead. The brethren and guests all agreed wholeheartedly in congratulating both on a wonderful night.