I have already welcomed our honoured guests – it is now time to welcome all our other guests – particularly those who are attending for the first time – amongst whom those who have been recently exalted. To those companions I would hope to meet you in person subsequent to the ceremony when I wander through the bars prior to the festive board – please come and introduce yourselves to me that I can welcome you to our meeting in person.
I must now congratulate all those companions I have had the pleasure of investing and promoting in Provincial Grand Chapter this afternoon. Your appointments are but a sincere reward by the Province for all the work you performed for the benefit of the Order. However, I do hope that it will not rest there – continue in your endeavours to communicate light and instruction to your exaltees. Of the senior appointees this will be a token of gratitude for the work you have put into the Order.
This year, there are two major changes in the Provincial executive. I have already thanked the retiring officers, now it is time to welcome the new ones. Firstly to Excellent Companion John Keeble as my deputy Grand Superintendent, John has worked meticulously as our Provincial Director of Ceremonies and now brings his skills into sharp focus. He is keen to expand the teachings of our Order, and address other less welcome problems of falling attendances at Chapter Meetings. He thinks carefully and deeply about the Order and I welcome him and wish him well in his greater role.
Excellent Companion Paul Cawte has had rapid promotion to Second Provincial Grand Principal – so great is his enthusiasm and effort – that his boundless energy has to be gently guided. He is to be rewarded at Supreme Grand Chapter Investiture next month with the Acting Rank of Grand Standard Bearer – a reward, Paul you richly deserve.
As our new Provincial Third Grand Principal I welcome Excellent Companion Paul Savage, his quiet authority within the Order has been greatly appreciated over a number of years. I hope – Paul – you will enjoy your new office and grant you the freedom to go round the Province and assess our Chapters.
Our new Provincial Director of Ceremonies – Excellent Companion Richard Reano has been a revelation and has already some telling contribution to both Craft and Chapter instruction at Slough Centre. His energy is boundless and will be a great asset.
The new executive has as you will appreciate – a much younger profile – this must be good for the future.
Companions the future harbours well for our Province.
Today would not happen without the hard work of the Provincial Scribe E John Stribling who is in charge of the event for the first time – he is helped by Excellent Companion Mike Stevens, Assistant Scribe E who has helped tirelessly throughout the year – to both our sincere thanks.
I must mention our Provincial Treasurer – at last our Provincial Finances are on a much firmer footing than when I first became your Grand Superintendent Excellent. Comp Russel Pendle, “your work” is accepted and approved.
Companions, the Province now has a well updated and useful new website – its internet address is available printed on these little cards which have been distributed to you today for your help – and here I would expect that all Scribes E’s would see to it that it is the principal website printed on your Chapter Summons.
To mention the Internet – may I make a plea – new technologies are fine – BUT please remember in the Royal Arch we have many senior masons who do not have computers and are never likely to do so. Many chapters send out the summons by e-mail – fine and it is cheaper – but please remember there are still those who do not have access to modern technology – do not forget them. Hard copy must prevail.
Companions, Supreme Grand Chapter – at last designated to visit the Province officially in January when we welcomed the Most Excellent Second Grand Principal George Pipon Francis to Buckinghamshire’s – First Principals Chapter – I could not resist the temptation to tweak his nether regions about this, he could have been on the wrong end of my stethoscope whilst as a pupil at Eton College which lay within the catchment of my former General Practice. He wiped his forehead and accepted the tease and then spoke of the Bicentenary celebration of Supreme Grand Chapter in 2013. All of you are being asked to contribute £10.00 or more before 2013 to go to a fund for Royal College of Surgeons for the furtherance of the Science of Surgery – Companions this is not, I suggest a big ask, we can all do it. – The Provincial Charity Steward E Comp John McKenzie is to coordinate whith Great Queen Street in this effort. The rewards to Society at large will be huge.
Companions recruitment and particularly retention will be high on the agenda of our new executive – attendances at meetings are falling – whether this is due to the economic downturn or personal reason or plain damnable apathy – I don’t know – this should concern all of us and my executive will be taking a survey of what we can discern as the causes.
The Royal Arch has always had a problem of not being properly understood by its members – confronting spirituality does not come easy – ladies do it more easily in my experience – but men either don’t want to or don’t understand. It is not easy, but we must try and succeed. – What is your relationship with the most High and how do you conduct it – questions which so many cannot and do not want to pursue.
I will close now with a quotation from St Augustine:-
All Shall be Amen & Alleluia.
We shall rest and We shall see.
We shall see and We shall know.
We shall know and We shall love.
We shall love and we shall praise.
Behold our end which is no end.
Certificate of Meritorious service.
Excellent Companion Randolph George Evans P.P.G.S.N. We have been Friends for 30 years, he is now the only living witness to my own Exaltation.
I commend Your devotion to the Royal Arch, you were Exalted in 1975 to Inglefield Chapter and became First Principal in 1983. You are the Best Recruiting Sergeant for the Royal Arch and have proposed many candidates, not only just in Royal Arch but also to Freemasonry…
A Founder of a Denham Chapter and its Primus First Principal and also a Founder of Denham Green Lodge. Life has not always been easy for you with social upheaval with your first marriage, was difficult – but now happily married to Jenny.
Your health has been a problem. Renal failure – kidney transplant with complications. At the UK Transplant Games in Scotland, you won a gold medal in the Veterans Badminton, a game you still play. Devout Catholic – very strong faith and a lay reader at your local church in Langley. It was always my predecessor’s wish to reward you and I gladly comply.