On 21st March, members of the Royal Arch Province of Buckinghamshire and their guests attended the Annual Provincial Convocation held at the Sindlesham Masonic Centre.
After a year in office as Grand Superintendent, this was John Keeble’s first opportunity to talk to the members as a group since his installation.
In addressing the prospects for the future, John observed that the Province had continued to suffer a decline in membership in the Royal Arch but suggested this could be a real opportunity for future growth as two thirds of Buckinghamshire Craft Masons are not yet members of the Royal Arch.
New initiatives introduced during the past year included the Talking Heads presentations in Craft Lodges which had been very successful in raising awareness and, in some instances, were responsible for re-engaging lapsed members as well as stimulating real interest in the order.
The Provincial Grand Stewards’ Chapter was now able to meet its consecration objective of being the ‘Service Chapter’ of the Grand Superintendent. John invited any Companion to attend the Buckinghamshire Stewards meetings and witness their work, mentioning that if a Chapter needed support, it should make contact with the Stewards’ Chapter through the Provincial Office.
Other initiatives concerned the role of the Provincial Royal Arch Charity Steward and ongoing information and education projects, such as the recently introduced ‘In Camera – your Chapter in focus’ presentations which are being planned for introduction into the Province. Any Companion who would like to join a presentation team or arrange a presentation in their Chapter after the summer break should contact either the Chapter Provincial Office or the Second Provincial Principal, Rob Chaproniere, who will be leading the programme.
Finally, John described how there was to be a re-energising of the Royal Arch Representatives programme in Craft Lodges, which was considered to be vital for the future of recruiting new Companions into Buckinghamshire Chapters. This, when allied with a continued development of the recently combined Almoner/Mentor role by Dr Stephen Knight, and the incorporation of high quality development materials to enable the function to achieve a high profile throughout all of the Chapters in the Province, bodes extremely well for the future.
The Third Provincial Grand Principal, E Comp JOHN ROBERT POWER.