There is a rich history of established and successful musicians coming together to form their own ‘supergroup’; Led Zeppelin, Crosby Stills & Nash and Mike and the Mechanics to name but a few.
In 1979, our Province’s very own Royal Arch ‘superchapter’ was formed, bringing together the great and the good of West Lancashire’s Provincial Grand Stewards, past and present. One of the purposes of the new Provincial Grand Stewards’ Chapter of West Lancashire No 8516 was to promote the knowledge of Royal Arch Freemasonry to chapters throughout West Lancashire.
Since then, they have made many visits throughout the Province giving lectures and demonstrations covering fascinating subjects including the Royal Arch Tracing Board and the mystical and mysterious, Passing of the Veils.
More recently, it was the turn of the Gladstone Group’s Jerusalem Chapter No 32 to host the Province’s Travelling Wilburys. In the grand setting of The Adelphi Hotel’s Empire Suite, the members of Jerusalem Chapter and their guests sat down to a demonstration titled ‘See who seeks admission’ or ‘Whom have you there?’, which consists of a brief history of the names of the main Royal Arch players, from scribes Ezra and Nehemiah through to the sojourners and finally the principal officers.
The demonstration was delivered with aplomb by each Provincial Grand Steward who each took a turn in inviting a chapter officer into the convocation before they segued smoothly into their monologue. Led confidently by Michael Harrison, the team who attended Jerusalem Chapter consisted of Kevin Byrne, Geoff Cuthill, Jayson Hengler, Stephen Holcroft, Eric Kos, Doug Smith, Malcolm Warren and Geoff Waters.
Each of them played their part in what was a splendid occasion and indeed Jerusalem Chapter’s first principal Paul Storrar, the Gladstone Group Chairman, who was standing in for Simon Dawes, thanked the visiting companions for their contribution.
It was also a slightly bittersweet occasion as the chapter accepted a number of joining companions formerly of Blundellsands Chapter No 2289, including two of the Gladstone Group officers, treasurer Paul McLachlan and membership officer Malcolm Hodgson, as well as Assistant Provincial Grand Master John James, who had returned the chapter warrant to Supreme Grand Chapter at their final convocation.
Thankfully the ballot proved decisive for each member, although it was touch and go for a while! They were warmly welcomed by Paul Storrar who was clearly enjoying his evening back in the first principal’s chair. Paul then asked the companions to stand for a few moments in departed merit for Simon Newton who had sadly passed away since the previous convocation.
The remainder of the convocation progressed effortlessly and expeditiously under the ever-watchful eye of the chapter’s director of ceremonies, Mark Dimelow. After the meeting was closed in due form, the companions were invited across the way to the Pearce Suite where they enjoyed a short reception followed by a fine three course evening meal. Echoing their attached lodge, St George’s Lodge of Harmony No 32, the pleasure of wine was exchanged both literally and orally in their own inimitable manner and to the delight of their visiting companions. As ever with Jerusalem Chapter, the atmosphere was genial and the hospitality warm and graceful.
After toasting the King, Duke of Lancaster, the evening was brought to a close and the Companions slowly drifted away, although the echoes of the evening will no doubt live long in the memory of all those privileged enough to attend.