The Woolton Group hosted the first meeting of Provincial Grand Chapter, held at the Southport Convention Centre. The meeting was the firs meeting of Provincial Grand Chapter since Tony Harrison was installed as Grand Superintendent in August last year and one of the first changes he agreed was the new venue for Provincial Grand Chapter.
After opening Provincial Chapter, Tony welcomed his distinguished guests from other Provinces –
from the Province of Cumberland and Westmorland: Norman Thompson the Grand Superintendent accompanied by Peter Mason the Deputy Grand Superintendent, the second and third Provincial grand principals, Ronald Cameron and David Kellet, Joseph Wilson, AtoPrGPs and William Douthwaite Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra. From the Province of East Lancashire: Stephen Blank Deputy Grand Superintendent,
the second and third Provincial grand principals David Thompson and Rev Donald Pryce, David Thornton, AtoPrGPs and Martin Roche Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra. From the Province of the Isle of Man: William Ashton Deputy Grand Superintendent, the second and third Provincial grand principals Philip Taubman and John Kermode, Martin Blackburn Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra and Graham Whyte Provincial Grand Treasurer. From the Province of Cheshire: Robert Bramley Deputy Grand Superintendent, the second and third Provincial grand principals Philip Rowlandand and RevBarry Jobberand Kenneth Mallon AtoPrGPs. The visitors were welcomed with acclamation after Tony announced their names.
The minutes of the Convocation of Provincial Grand Chapter held at Preston on 9 April 2014 were confirmed.
Tony then reappointed Danny Jones the Deputy Grand Superintendent. Saying that since he was appointed Danny has demonstrated great enthusiasm and determination to raise the profile of the Royal Arch. He has introduced “Team visits”, and in conjunction with a dedicated team of AtoPrGPs he has continued to promote the “Enhanced Exaltation demonstrations” which are proving very popular indeed.
Tony continued: ”Recently you employed the assistance of the Second Provincial Grand Principal, Peter Elmore by entertaining a team from the Metropolitan Grand Chapter who demonstrated their ‘Talking Heads’ presentation and you accomplished all of this through a serious illness and what a pleasure it is to see you looking so well. Your many qualities are certainly bringing a new dynamism to the Royal Arch and I am delighted that you have agreed to continue in office and it gives me great pleasure to reappoint you.”
Tony then reappointed Peter Elmore as Second Provincial Grand Principal and Stanley Oldfield as Third Provincial Grand Principad Principal. This was followed by the reappointment of all the Assistants to the Provincial Grand Principals: Paul Shepherd, Paul Renton, David Randerson, Michael Radcliffe, Chris Butterfield, Ian Cuerden and Barry Jameson.
Tony said he was “delighted to announce the grand ranks for 2015 which will take place in London at the meeting of Supreme Grand Chapter on 30 April” he read the names: First appointments to the rank of PGStdB – Christopher Charles Butterfield, William Andrew Culshaw, Paul Albert Hesketh, Professor Michael Anthony Jones, Keith Stanley Kemp, Michael Reginald Radcliffe, Francis Anthony Umbers and David John Winder. Promotion to the rank of PGSwdB – George Daniel Jones and Peter Mason and promotion to the Rank of PAGSoj – Anthony Bent, Peter George Elmore and John Stuart Thornber. This announcement was followed with loud applause.
Neil Latham the Provincial Grand Treasurer presented a report on the finances of the Province. Paul Renton proposed a vote of thanks to the Provincial Grand Treasurer.
Tony declared Neil Latham as Provincial Grand Treasurer and Peter Taylor Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra for the ensuing year.
Neil Latham, then announced a reduction in the annual dues of £6.50 + VAT to £3.00 + VAT. A collection for charity was held.
Tony addressed the companions: “I have already had the great pleasure in welcoming all our distinguished guests here this afternoon and may I now welcome all of you the companions of West Lancashire.
I am thrilled to see so many of you here, at this my first Provincial Chapter Convocation and of course, at this our new venue. I hope you agree with me that it is a most splendid facility and eminently suitable for this our special occasion.
There are many amongst you who are first, second or third principals and some of you will be attending in that capacity for the first time. In which case, I extend to you a particularly warm welcome, and would invite you to stand and be recognised.
Companions I would first like to pay tribute to my predecessor the Past Grand Superintendent Peter Hosker and his Deputy Grand Superintendent Stephen Reid for the work that they carried out during their tenure of office. Companions because of their efforts, I inherited this Royal Arch Province in good health and with a progressive and active membership and long may that continue Regrettably Peter cannot be with us today, but happily Steven is present and thank you for you continued interest and support.
May I thank, my deputy Danny who we are delighted to see here following your recent illness, The second and third Provincial Grand Principals Peter Elmore and Stanley Oldfield together with the AtoPrGPs, the Scribe Nehemiah Stewart Blagg and of course all the other acting officers of the year who have contributed so much of their time to be part of the ceremonial in support of the principal officers.
To our Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra Peter Taylor for the huge amount of work that he and his staff have put in to making not only this meeting such a success, but for all the work carried out during the year.
In just over 12 months’ time, the Provincial Deputy Grand Scribe Ezra, Arend van Duyvenbode, will be retiring after what will be 12 years working in the Provincial Office. Arend has been responsible for the computerisation of the office from the start and his IT skills have proved invaluable over this time. Consequently, an advertisement for his replacement appeared on the website yesterday, so if you think you are suitable or know somebody who might be interested, please contact the Provincial office for an application form.
To our Provincial Grand DC Ian Higham, and all his Deputies for their unstinting attention to their duties, and lastly but by no means least to all those excellent companions who have represented me at the many RA installation meetings during the year.
The Province is undergoing a major change in the Care structure to bring it into line with modern day thinking. By removing, onerous administration and financial burdens from both the Craft and Royal Arch almoners. This new system comes into force at the beginning of October 2015 when applications to the charities will be carried out by a specialist team. This will enable almoners to have more time to concentrate on home visits, as loneliness is one of the greatest problems in society today and I actively encourage all Freemasons to play their part in our new structure. It is important to remember that almoners will continue to play a vital role within the new system by gathering information and passing it on to the Provincial Care Team.
During this past year we have had the amalgamation of Withy Chapter and Cuerden Chapter which was one of my first and very pleasant duties in the Royal Arch following my investiture as Grand Superintendent.
We had a most exciting acting Provincial team visit to Wigan Chapter where we witnessed the demonstration of the working of the enhanced exaltation ceremony, which has received a great deal of interest throughout the Province and it is hoped that many chapters will start to use it for their actual exaltation ceremonies.
I intend to have other acting Provincial team visits this next year and hope that as many as possible of the new Acting officers will accompany me on those occasions and make them really special events.
I am sure many of you will have heard about ‘The Talking Heads’ initiative, which is a play-let, about the Holy Royal Arch and with the agreement and assistance of the group chairmen, is to be undertaken by our
AtoPrGPs and other Royal Arch companions, in craft lodges throughout the Province. I sincerely hope that this will enlighten those brethren not yet in the Royal Arch, and will hopefully encourage them to join us.
Companions this really is a most beautiful and colourful part of our Freemasonry but it is essential that if we are to encourage brethren to join the Royal Arch we must first ensure that we encourage the right type of men to join our craft lodges.
All of you here today are dedicated Freemasons and to that end I trust that you would wish to see our membership increase. You are all mentors and membership officers of both the Craft and the Royal Arch and I sincerely trust that you will all endeavour to attract gentlemen into Freemasonry and brethren into the chapter.
The Holy Royal Arch is a very important and integral part of our Freemasonry and is essential to all Masons if they wish to complete the whole experience of being a Freemason. However, companions, nobody should be pressurised into joining this Order, and it is only when their personal circumstances permit and they wish to extend their Masonic knowledge should they be considered as suitable candidates for the Royal Arch, but equally there is the concern that he may be approached to join other Orders available to us.
I whole heartedly support the many other Masonic Orders to which interested and enthusiastic Masons join during their Masonic journey, but I would hope that when a Brother is comfortable and confident within his odge, he would be encouraged by the lodge Royal Arch representative and his mentor, to seriously consider joining the Royal Arch before joining other orders.
I would very much like to thank all those companions and in particular first principals and their ladies who supported the recent Provincial Ball at the Macron Stadium in Bolton. It really was a most wonderful and enjoyable evening for all concerned and I thank you for your support. For those unable to attend it this year, perhaps we will see you there next March
I shall very shortly have the privilege and the great honour to invest those companions who are to be appointed to and promoted in Provincial Grand Chapter and I would like to congratulate you all upon your preferment and in doing so remind you that you have received the honour not only for what you have done within your private chapters, your groups and even within the Province, but also for what I trust, you will continue to do in the future.
I thank our Provincial Grand Organist, David Tattersall for his wonderful choice of music, for and during this Provincial convocation.
Finally may I thank those companions from the Woolton Group of Lodges and Chapters who have looked after us all so well here today. Their work started early this morning preparing this building for our convocation and stewarding the meeting and to the Southport Group for the loan of the Masonic furniture. All these companions will I am sure be working long after we have left this hall and are enjoying ourselves at the bar and the banquet.
Lastly companions, I thank all of you for your attendance here today. I do hope that you have enjoyed this meeting as much as I have and I look forward to the pleasure of your company next door for the festive board.”
The investiture of 187 companions who have been appointed and promoted in Provincial grand rank were asked to come forward so that Tony could invest them.
Tony said: “This investiture recognises the important achievements of each celebrant, so please continue your good work in the future. I shall rely upon you to help in encouraging members of the craft to join this beautiful degree and then, once they have been exalted, to help in mentoring and supporting them through their fascinating journey as Royal Arch Masons.”
After the investiture the Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra announced that the Province had received an invitation from the Preston Group of Chapters to host the next meeting of Provincial Grand Chapter on Monday 11 April 2016.
Provincial Grand Chapter was closed in due form.