Companions, this is my first address as officially the new Grand Superintendent of Buckinghamshire. I am delighted to confirm that at 9.30am on September 14th in the Grand Temple at Great Queen St; I was invested by the Second Grand Principal E Comp Russell Race.
The meeting had been rearranged to accommodate the new rule of 6, which came into effect that day at noon. A total of 16 people were present, including our own Provincial Grand Master RW Bro John Clark, along with the full Royal Arch Executive and the Grand Scribe Ezra, E Comp David Staples and the Grand DC, E Comp Charles Hopkinson-Woolley. I could not have hoped for a better team to support the Provincial Royal Arch executive. It was a strange but very memorable and enjoyable meeting lasting only 35 minutes, but creating memories which will last forever. The opportunity for my 2nd and 3rd Principal’s to be able to assist in conducting a meeting from the Grand Chairs is something I know was a highlight of the day.
At the meeting, I was delighted to appoint and invest the following:-
E Comp Michael Stephens Deputy Grand Superintendent
E Comp John Stribling 2nd Provincial Grand Principal
E Comp Stan Green 3rd Provincial Grand Principal
It was not the way any of us wanted to be invested, sharing this with our usual 350 Companions would have been preferred. However, this could not be, and I can assure you that we intend to ensure next year’s Provincial Convocation will be an event not to miss. It is important to note that the date of this meeting is now being changed to Monday 17th May 2021. The change of date, back two months from its original in March should allow time to get back to normal. Companions one thing we know is that nothing is certain, but we must have a plan.
The appointments and promotions letters for 2021-2022 have all been posted and responses received. Therefore, I can now share with you the name of the companion who will be appointed as Scribe Nehemiah for the year 2021-2022 along with any other senior roles changing. The new Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah for 2021-2022 will be E Comp Bryan Harfield, a well-respected member of this Province. Bryan has served the Royal Arch in an exemplary fashion over many years, and I look forward to investing him and working with him during his year of office.
Another senior change is E Comp Mike Phillips coming to the end of his tenure of an APGP (Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals). Mike will have served this office with distinction for three years being one of the first APGPs appointed in the Province. The Province will still use his counsel and enthusiasm, and he will continue to support our great Province. Mike’s replacement will be Joseph Le Roi Smith. Joseph is known to everyone as a dedicated and a respected Royal Arch Mason. I know he is relishing the opportunity of continuing the high standard that Mike has set in this significant office. Joseph’s appointment is for two years to allow him time to work with our other APGP who will be staying in office, that of E Comp Richard Lewis who still has another year to run of his tenure. The Executive of the Province will remain the same with no changes in 2021.
We have now published all the A’s and P’s for 2021 on our website. Please visit www.buckspgc.org to receive the full list. Please, do not be shy in passing on your congratulations to those who received preferment this year.
During the past few months, the Provincial team have been working hard to keep you and your Chapters informed and engaged. My special thanks go to my Scribe Ezra Mel Shah who works so tirelessly for the Province. His Scribe E’s Zoom meetings are well attended and very informative. If you are a Scribe E and do not get along to these, it is well worth logging on. Our Provincial Almoner/Mentor E Comp Nick Wilson continues to inform and educate us on the RAVC Facebook page, his work and conversations on the twelve tribes have engaged many companions. If you are not yet a member of the Royal Arch Vision Club, I will urge you to go into Facebook, search for RAVC and be part of something special. Please encourage all members of your Chapter to join this group; if we all learn together, we will be able to understand so much more.
2020 has undoubtedly been an extraordinary year; no one could have predicted the devastation that COVID has brought to our lives. We have lost several members to the effects of this dreadful virus, and I know many companion’s families have been adversely affected by illnesses and the financial worries about work and businesses. We as Royal Arch Masons can only be there for our companions when they need support, comfort and at times just someone to pick up the phone and say hello. Whilst we cannot fix the crisis, we certainly can help others in coping with the fallout. Companions let’s all continue to do just that. Being a Freemason does not preclude us from either getting this dreadful virus or being affected by it.
Companions, let us all hope that 2021 brings us back together at our meetings. There is no doubting that Zoom has been invaluable, but it is no substitute for being together.
As we close 2020, let’s say goodbye to a tough year and look forward to our future. With this in mind, I want to leave you with a quotation which should be our mantra for next year.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN SAID “THE BEST WAY TO PREDICT YOUR FUTURE IS TO CREATE IT”