Companions it is now my time to address you and I do it almost unbelievably for the eighth – yes the eighth time.
May I start by welcoming all those who I did not individually greet earlier this afternoon – you are of course all very welcome and I hope you will enjoy the festive board to come.
Today we have among us a larger than usual number of newly exalted companions – to them I extend a very special welcome and when I tour the bars after the ceremony – please don’t be shy, do come up and introduce yourselves to me and my deputy.
Today we say goodbye and a huge tank you to E.Comp Paul Cawte who steps down from the executive after three years of outstanding and distinguished serve. He will not be entirely lost to us as he will become our publicity officer.
As you all have seen E Comp Paul Savage has moved to second grand principal and we now welcome from Olney in the north of the Province Rob Chaproniere, now he has stopped tossing pancakes down the main street of that town, he can channel all his energies into our executive – this he has done with great energy already for Cowper & Newton Chapter – welcome to Rob.
My right hand man E.Comp John Keeble continues to do sterling work as my deputy – his workload is tremendous and when he has got time he helps out the craft as action Provincial D.C.
Today would not happen without a lot of work from the Provincial Gravel Scribe E John Stribling, he has been sweating on the detail of this Convocation but I am sure you would want me to thank him most sincerely for his huge efforts.
The exemplary ceremonial has been carefully looked after by Richard Reano, our Provincial D.C. He keeps the whole team in order and it is fitting that he should receive an acting rank in Supreme Grand Chapter next month. He does not confine his instructional activities solely to the Royal Arch because he has schools of rehearsal for the craft in Slough which are very successful.
The Province has played its part in the bicentennial celebrations of the Royal Arch and the chapters will have reused a sum of money by the end of the year far in excess of what we hoped at the beginning of the year. Some of you have had special events and I look forward to the forthcoming race day at Windsor in June – it should be great fun.
Although the appeal will go to until December 31st we shall enjoy a thanksgiving dinner at Beaconsfield on November 30th. This occasion is not a fundraising occasion but a thanksgiving for all the work that has gone on in the year I must thank our provincial charity steward and his team for all their efforts in collating the moneys raised.
During my first convocation seven years ago I stated that there was a hunger for knowledge about or beautiful order – sadly it has taken so long to formulate a viable programme by which this need should be satisfied.
E Comp Paul Cawte has discovered several readable texts both in print and out it which do explain and record the history of the Order.
To find these out, you will need to go to the website and you will need a computer. Please contact him to find out details.
At the heart of the Order, is an individual’s relationship with the most high. To pursue this aim you will need the power of prayer – it is most powerful human gift and if some of you find the order difficult to understand I would urge you think along these lines.
I will conclude with this short prayer which I think amplifies my point. It was said at the conclusion of a meeting of The Association of Country Women of the World, a world conference held in Dublin 2011. At the conclusion of the conference this was said:
We humbly ask for your help your guidance and support.
When life is a challenge, that we meet it
When life is a duty that we may complete it
When life is a burden that we may bear it
When life is a sorrow that we may overcome it
When life is a struggle that we may accept it
When life is a dream that we may realise it
When life is a song that we may sing it
When life is an adventure that we may dare it
When life is a promise that we may fulfil it
When the path of life is stony that we follow it to the end.
Life is life then with God’s help, let us live it.
E.Comp. Richard J. H. Neale, M.E. Grand Superintendent – March 2013