The festive season is approaching rapidly, and with the end of the year in sight it is time to turn our attention to the opportunities and challenges which face us in 2014. First of all however, I would like to review our successes of this current year.

In 2013 the Supreme Grand Chapter celebrated its bi-centenary with the culmination of the appeal in support of the Royal College of Surgeons; a cause very close to my heart as you can well imagine. This has been superbly well supported nationally, and the anticipated final total will be in excess of £2 million, well above the original aim of £1 million. In achieving this magnificent result, Buckinghamshire has played its part with honour as we hope to exceed £50 thousand. This is double our anticipated achievement, and I would therefore, like to thank most sincerely every Companion and each Chapter that contributed so handsomely to this impressive result. We can all feel proud that we, as members of the Royal Arch, have helped to promote vital research by the Royal Collage of Surgeons who’s work undoubtedly, will bring many future benefits to those who need the best that modern surgery is able to provide. 

 The Dinner and Dance that was arranged to celebrate the Royal Arch bicentenary in Buckinghamshire was very well attended, and enjoyed by 130 Companions, partners and friends who enjoyed a superb dinner at the newly commissioned ‘Ivo Nash’ dining suite at the Beaconsfield Masonic Centre on 30th November. This special occasion took the place of the customary annual Grand Superintendent’s reception that we have enjoyed in recent years. I hope that we can return next year to celebrate another successful year for the Province with a similar event.

I believe 2013 to have been a very successful year overall for our Province, with John Keeble’s hard work in masterminding the introduction of the Royal Arch Representative scheme in Bucks Craft Lodges.

In 2014 we are looking forward to the Royal Arch achieving a much higher profile in Buckinghamshire as we now have the services of a Provincial Information Officer with the appointment of Paul Cawte. Consequently, will be able to ensure that we communicate successfully throughout the Province and report important news of the achievements of Chapters and Companions. I do encourage you please, to contact Paul or the Provincial office if you have any news items that you wish to share with your Royal Arch colleagues.

With regard to what we do in our Chapters next year, I would make a heartfelt plea that we all do our very best to ensure that our convocations are interesting and stimulating for all those who attend. This might include the sharing or certain elements of our ritual, such as the Principal Sojourner’s work or the Historical and Symbolical lectures by Companions, or the Mystical lecture by past-first principals. You might even consider planning to perform the lectures in their catechetical forms to maximise the involvement of those attending. You can acquire catechetical versions of the lectures by contacting Paul Cawte. You can also book a Royal Arch Team Quiz for inclusion as part of your convocation. Both Rob Chapronier and Paul Cawte are willing to come along to host a fun quiz which I am sure you and your colleagues will find most illuminating as well as enjoyable.

In Buckinghamshire, we are moving ahead to do our very best to give our members many opportunities to enjoy their Royal Arch Masonry and prepare their way to reaching the Principals’ chairs in their a chapters, and beyond. Any ideas and suggestions you might have for progressing these initiatives would be welcomed and very well received by the Executive team. We all look forward to hearing from you.

Finally, it remains for me on behalf of the entire Executive team to wish each and every one of you and those nearest and dearest, a very peaceful and enjoyable festive break and a most happy and prosperous New Year.

Dr. Richard J. H. Neale

M.E. Grand Superintendent