M E Grand Superintendent’s Address 27th March 2017
Companions, it is now my great pleasure to address Provincial Grand Chapter.
I have already formally welcomed our honoured guests from other Provinces and from within Buckinghamshire. The warmth of the welcome we receive when visiting our friends in other Provinces is outstanding. The close relationships we build and the experiences and ideas we share adds value when we return home, and it challenges us to renewed effort.
I am now delighted to congratulate those Companions I had the pleasure of investing today. Your Appointments and Promotions are well deserved and they recognise the dedication and service you give to your Chapters and to the Province.
I urge you to be forthright in promoting the Royal Arch and be confident in the belief that it is the essential 4th Step in Freemasonry – no ifs! – no buts!. Show pride in your membership – PLEASE, PLEASE, spread the word.
It is established practice in this Province for Acting Officers of the year to accompany the Executive and to join with us at Installation Meetings and it is fantastic that so many of you outgoing Officers have been out with us this year – we have all enjoyed your company.
We now aim to have an escorted Executive Member at all Exaltation meetings; not necessarily a ‘chain’, it could be one of the other members of the broader Executive. I would like to see more Acting Officers accompany on those occasions, but to make that happen, we do need good advanced notice of those Exaltations in order to allow our Companions to plan. Scribes E please take note!
May I express my deep thanks for the hospitality, companionship and friendship shown on all our visits. Ritual standards of course vary, but I would say that at one Exaltation, I was privileged to witness one of the finest pieces of Principal Sojourner work I have ever seen!
Today the Executive say goodbye to Rob Chaproniere as he leaves the Office of Second Provincial Grand Principal. He has been a tower of strength and a huge asset to the Province: we are not losing him completely as he has agreed to stay on the executive in an ex officio capacity, even though he will be busy in his new role as a Metropolitan Grand Inspector, we wish him every success in that challenging Office.
It has been a delight to install E.Comp John Stribling as Second Provincial Grand Principal, John has had a sabbatical year having been Third Principal.
I now welcome him back at the “coal face”.
In common with many Provinces, our numbers have dipped slightly, this is a concern, but I am heartened and motivated by reports from other Provinces, some of whom are showing small but significant increases in membership. It is not impossible for us to do the same.
Do we have the tools available to us to stem or even reverse the downward trend?
Well yes Companions we do – IT IS US! we are the tools, each and every one of us! We are or should all be Ambassadors for Royal Arch Masonry.
It will not have escaped your notice that Buckinghamshire is now in Festival and that we will be the first Province to complete for the Masonic Charitable Foundation in 2021.
We as Royal Arch Masons totally support our Craft colleagues. I do not wish to put a further financial burden on you. However I am amazed when I go round the Province just how much some Chapters accumulate without any real conscious effort other than enjoying their Royal Arch Masonry. In many cases they don’t know what to do with it!
May I suggest Companions that you consider the MCF for a Chapter donation? With this in mind, I believe that Chapters should be recognised, to that end we aim to award a Chapter specific honorific to those who do achieve certain levels – E.Comp Derek Watts our hard working Charity Steward will be in contact very soon to outline what we have in mind on that score.
In addition you will be aware that we have made several donations to small Charities and good causes in the name of the Royal Arch over the last year, this is another area you may wish to support – our funding for this mostly comes from our own Relief Chest which will be enhanced by our alms today.
I say mostly, because we are hugely indebted to E.Comp Tom Davies who put at our disposal a significant sum (£1000 in fact) from his pre loved regalia sales activities, specifically to support young members of our communities.
At this stage I would like to invite our Provincial Grand Master forward……………………….
A DONATION OF £10,000 MADE TO THE PROVINCIAL GRAND MASTER R.W.BRO GORDON ROBERTSON FROM THE PROVINCIAL GRAND CHAPTER RELIEF CHEST FOR THE 2021 FESTIVAL FOR THE MCF.
Companions, in January, we held a Breakfast Brainstorming meeting between the two Executives (Craft and RA) to further hone the superb relationship we have in Buckinghamshire and to identify key areas of cooperation – putting these into practice is an ongoing process, but for example MEMBER DEVELOPMENT is well underway. Whilst there are Royal Arch or Craft specifics in some areas, there is much common ground.
While on the subject of Breakfast meetings we recently held an Exaltees session, the aim of which is for our newer Companions to meet the Executive and to continue the process of Royal Arch engagement that began with their Exaltation ceremony – more of the these will be announced in the near future and we aim to cover the geography of the Province, these are being organised by E.Comp Stephen Knight our Provincial Grand Almoner/Mentor.
The presentations of ‘Talking Heads’ and ‘In Camera’ have been very well received in Lodges and Chapters. My thanks go to Rob Chaproniere and his teams for making this happen.
E.Comp John Power, our Third Provincial Grand Principal has been busy setting up our ‘Travelling Sojourners’ initiative and this is now operational, led by John and ably supported by 3 regional coordinators in the 3 Mikes – that is Lockie, Clanford and Phillips – Companions they are there to support your Chapters – please make use of them.
The second of John’s initiatives is the Altar of Companionship which is a travelling Altar and has just started its journey around the Province and started at our First Principals Chapter and will be moving on in a few weeks’ time – this will gather momentum as the year progresses.
I will be talking with our friends at Metropolitan Grand Chapter to see if we can have them come to our First Principals Chapter and give their presentation on “Adding Theatre to the ceremony” – who knows where that may lead…………..
May I take this opportunity of thanking all of my Executive for the work they do on behalf of the Province in particular my Deputy Paul Savage who is a voice of calm and reason and keeps me on the straight and narrow!
And a very special “thank you” today to E.Comp Mike Stephens – Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra and his team and of course E.Comp Richard Reano – Provincial GDC and his team, both of whom have been so well supported by our Provincial Grand Stewards Chapter. Without them all, today would certainly not happen. Thank you again!
There is one final and very important thank you I wish to make, and coming from a DC background this is difficult for me to say – because we all know DC’s are all important – if only in our own minds, and that is to thank all the hard working Scribes E in the province- it’s a tough enough job being a Craft Secretary, but I believe it’s even tougher being a Scribe E – I used a word when presenting my Certificate of Meritorious Service to E.Comp John Money and it does sum up our Scribes E – You are definitely the glue that binds a Chapter together. Keep up the great work – YOUR PROVINCE NEEDS YOU! Look after them Companions?
While on the subject of Scribes E, I have had advance notice that the Third Grand Principal Gareth Jones has accepted an invitation to talk about Royal Arch matters at Notarius Lodge on September 4th – I am keen that as many Scribes as possible attend this meeting and invites will sent out in due course – whilst Notarius is a Craft Lodge, it is for both Craft Secretaries and Scribes E and its remit should and must cover the interests of both the Craft and Royal Arch, so make a note in your diaries. It would be good if more Scribes E felt able to join Notarius and help make it the forum for Secretarial Excellence!
Companions, once again thank you all for coming today and I look forward to your company at the Festive Board and of course in your Chapters, and to our visitors in their Provinces and at Metropolitan Grand Chapter.
May the True and Living God Most High bless you all – thank you!