Companions, it is again my very great pleasure and delight to address Provincial Grand Chapter. The frightening thought is that this is for the 5th time !!
I have already welcomed our honoured guests. This it our opportunity to express just how much we value the relationship we have with those Provinces and with the other orders of Freemasonry in Buckinghamshire and finally of course to the Craft Executive under the leadership of our Provincial Grand Master RW Bro John Clark with whom we enjoy an outstanding and productive relationship.
Today is very much about the Companions I have had the pleasure of appointing and promoting in Provincial Grand Chapter:
Companions, I congratulate on your preferment – your honours have rightly been earned by your commitment to your individual Chapters and of course to this Province. THIS IS YOUR DAY – Enjoy it, you have earned it.
The most senior appointment today has been to invest Ex Companion Graham Dearing as Deputy Grand Superintendent, that appointment is tempered by the fact that Paul Savage has stood down from that role – I will say more about Paul at the festive board, but for now we welcome Graham on board – I just know the future is going to be lively!!!
I urge those appointed to acting rank to take advantage of the offer to join us Principals when we attend both Installation and Exaltation meetings, the Asst Provincial Grand Scribe E Mel Shah will contact you on a regular basis to inform of meetings and to ask you to commit to attendance – we welcome your company as do the Chapters concerned. You learn more about the Province and broaden your knowledge of the Royal Arch. I ask you though to respond to Mel when he sends you the list – even if its only to say NO.
I thank those acting officers from last year who have been with us on numerous occasions, believe me, we NEVER get to the stage of thinking “Oh no – not him again” we have really enjoyed your company!!
Continuing the theme of visits, may I express my sincere thanks to all our Chapters for the warmth of welcome and hospitality extended to us on our visits.
Now on to the ‘state of the nation’ as it were, numbers dipped slightly during the year, but are now on the rise and there is a very noticeable and exciting trend emerging, over the year we have witnessed an increasing number of double exaltations and Chapters reporting a backlog of candidates. For the 1st time on my watch I have a report citing us as exceeding the trend line of Supreme Grand Chapter – exciting news indeed. I sense a BUZZ about the Province.
Keep it going Companions – SUCCESS BREEDS SUCCESS
This success is in part due to the many initiatives we have instituted over the past few years and significantly the support given to the Royal Arch by our Craft colleagues, none more noticeable than the clear statement by our Provincial Grand Master that acting offices in Craft will require active membership of the Royal Arch – a clear reflection of the ‘preliminary declaration’ in the Book of Constitutions.
I know you’ve heard it all before but the Royal Arch does indeed complete the journey in “Pure antient Freemasonry”
You will be aware that we have held 2 (meet the RA sessions), these have been very well managed by Ex Comp Richard Reano. It’s too early to measure the results, but I am optimistic that they will continue to play an important part in gaining new members.
Following on from successes in recruitment it is of vital importance to engage and retain members. In this respect we will continue with our Exaltees Breakfast meetings to ensure candidates get a flying start in their Royal Arch career. We have our educational ‘nuggets’ entitled The Royal Arch Explained’ written by Stephen Knight and John Power as well as the booklet written by the late Brian Baker.
Further supporting the growth of the individual is the online ‘Virtual Learning Environment’ – SOLOMON – this was launched last November and has been the subject of 2 Freemasonry Today (FMT) articles. If you have not already done so I urge you to register and use this outstanding resource and ‘check out’ the material there for the Royal Arch. I am going to say this is WORK IN PROGRESS – not in a negative sense, but because it will never be finished – it will always be added to and updated – in a sense it is a LIVING LIBRARY. (ANTHONY HOWLETT-BOLTON) – see the banners in the bar area Companions
You will all be aware that we no longer have a Blue Provincial directory – I can tell you know that we in Royal Arch now have one dedicated to our Chapters – this is online and follows the format of the old directory – Scribes E will be notified shortly of how to access this password protected resource and be encouraged to make available to their members.
Our Website continues to be populated with lively topical and up to date information thanks to John Stribling – if you haven’t looked at it recently, I urge you to do so now – this is constantly being updated by John Stribling. Also, if you have any item off interest just let John know REMEMBER IT IS YOUR WEBSITE
As you know, the RA supports our PGM in his objectives for the 2021 festival for the MCF and we are now in a position to start presenting Chapter Grand Patron Certificates to those Chapters who have donated the required sum – I am looking forward to presenting the 1st of these in just a few weeks’ time.
And now a very special thank you to the ENGINE ROOM of the Province – Mike Stephens our Scribe E so well supported by Mel Shah as Asst Scribe E and Richard Lewis as Registrar do a fantastic job and without their dedication, I really don’t know how we would function. A message I carry through to the Scribes E of all our Chapters – thank you one and all.
To Ray Harrison our Provincial GDC who with his team and the working Stewards make the mechanics of the day work so well – a heartfelt thank you. I occasionally get a itchy palm thinking perhaps I could still do the job, then reality dawns so I have another beer.
Companions, once again thank you all for coming today and I look forward talking with you in the bars afterwards and to sharing your company at the Festive Board.
May the True and Living God most high be with you all – God bless.