Craft Masonry of East Lancashire
Craft Masonry of East Lancashire

Provincial Grand Chapter Meeting – 21st March 2013

King George’s Hall, Blackburn – “Uniting in that Grand Design…”

The meeting of Provincial Grand Chapter on the 21st, attended by so many committed Royal Arch Freemasons, was another splendid day in the history of the Province. The highlights included the address of the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent, Sir David Trippier, to the companions and the appointment, re-appointment and promotion of almost 140 companions in Provincial Grand Chapter.

After the Opening Sir David welcomed everyone thanking them for their attendance. He especially welcomed visitors from other Provinces commenting that it was a great strength in Freemasonry in this part of the country that the senior teams find time in their busy schedules to support each other at Provincial meetings. He also welcomed Distinguished guests from our Province and all were greeted with acclaim.

The companions then stood in silence to remember the Grand Officers (EComp Arthur J Knight, Derek Schofield and Roy Taylor), 34 Past Provincial Officers and companions of private Chapters who had died since the last meeting.

 

Accounts

EComp Ashley Hayman then presented the accounts (following which a vote of thanks was proposed to the Treasurer and the Auditors, (Comps. Keith Taylor assisted Peter Barnfield). Companion Neville Hesketh steps down as auditor this year and the MEGSupt wished him and his wife sincere good wishes and thanked him for the work he has done on our behalf:

“ME Grand Superintendent and Companions, I am pleased to present the accounts of Provincial Grand Chapter for the year ended 31 December 2012, copies of which have been circulated.

The striking feature of these accounts is that we have made a surplus of £7,574. and I am pleased about that, because we have had several recent years in which we suffered deficits – planned deficits, but deficits nonetheless. So the time has come to rebuild our reserves. And you will see from the balance sheet that our General Fund has increased by the amount of the surplus from £29,054 to £36,628.

I have to say that the main reason for this year’s surplus is a reduction in our cost base following a reorganisation of the Provincial office. That reorganisation was led by the Deputy Grand Supt, together with the Deputy PGM, and implemented by the hard-working Secretariat, led by the Prov Grand Scribe E. I am grateful to them all. And let me also thank the Secretariat for the ready assistance they have given me when I have needed it.

This is my first year as Provincial Grand Treasurer, so it has been my first experience of being audited by EComp Keith Taylor, assisted by EComp Peter Barnfield. I have appreciated their professional and courteous approach.

ME Grand Supt and Companions, I commend these accounts to you.”

Later EComp Ashley proposed that annual subscriptions to Provincial Grand Chapter be raised to £10. This was approved.

 

Reappointments

The MEGSupt had great pleasure reappointing EComp William John Porter as Deputy Grand Superintendent commenting that he had been a great source of encouragement and strength. He also re-appointed Comp David H Thompson as Second Provincial Grand Principal (who had carried out his duties in an exemplary manner) and Rev’d Donald Keith Pryce as Third Provincial Grand Principal (who has fulfilled this office for a number of years, whose orations are legendary and who makes friends for the Province wherever he goes). All were proclaimed by the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Comp Henri Lyons.

 

Sir David then re-appointed the Assistants to the Provincial Grand Principals:

– Comp Norman Clarke to Southern Area
– Comp Ed Cheadle to Eastern Area
– Comp Stuart Hughes to Manchester / Salford Area
– Comp David Thornton to Western Area
– Comp Paul Aspinall to Northern Area

He then reminded the Companions of the appointment of Comp Brendan Harte as Provincial Grand Mentor for the Royal Arch. Finally he thanked the retiring District Officer’s Royal Arch, Denny Stevens, Roger Watts, Ken Olive and Graham Rawlinson for the excellent work they have done in Office and the support they will give the Royal Arch in the future, before appointing or re-appointing the following DORA’s:

 

For the Manchester Area

– Comp Stephen Pilling
– Comp Roger Bower
– Comp Derek Smith

 

In the Southern Area

– Comp David Hoyle

 

In the Eastern Area

– Comp Stuart Booth
– Comp Paul M Holt

 

For the Western Area

– Comp Keith Doyle
– Comp Roy Fairhurst

 

And in the Northern Area

– Comp Stephen Jansen
– Comp Gordon McMillan

 

New Appointments:

 

For Manchester

– Comp Rev’d John Winstanley

 

For Salford

– Comp Peter Hegerty

 

And finally in the Southern Area

– Comp William Wootton and Comp Prof Tony Freemont

 

PROVINCIAL GRAND SCRIBE E REPORT

“Sir,

I am pleased to present my Report. I would first wish to thank all those who work in the Province office, both in paid capacity or as Volunteers, for their continued assistance and support. I am indebted to them all.

In summary, the Royal Arch membership for the year 2012, commenced at 2803 and ended at 2666, a net decrease of 137 memberships. During the year there were 46 Exaltations. The strength of the Province is presently 110 Chapters.

During the past year Special meetings have been held at the East Lancashire Provincial Grand Officers’ Chapter No 3747 for the Installation of Comp David H Thompson as the 2nd Provincial Grand Principal and Horizon Chapter No 8948 for the Installation of Comp Paul Aspinall as an Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals. Provincial Deputations have attended, Joint Convocations at Rochdale, Blackburn, Audenshaw, Manchester and Darwen.

 

Visits were made to the:-

– Red Rose of Lancashire Chapter No 9640,
– Social Chapter No 62,
– Chapter of Remembrance No 3787 and
– Limestone Rock Chapter No 369

A Bible Dedication was held at the Chapter of Friendship Numbered 44

 

The following Companions celebrated 60 years in the Royal Arch:

Comp James Crabtree and Comp Robert Veevers, both from Limestone Rock Chapter No 369, Clitheroe. It must be something in the water!

 

Personal 50ths were celebrated by:

– Comp Myer Rose, Menorah Chapter No 6594
– Comp Wilfred Hodkinson, Chapter of Truth No 1458
– Comp Alan Johnson, Chapter of Remembrance No 3787
– Comp William Devlin, St John’s No 348
– Comp Wilfred Clough, Unity Chapter No 2341

 

MEG Superintendent, you have asked me to announce that the following Companions have received notification from Supreme Grand Chapter that they are to receive a Grand Rank Appointment, Promotion or Re-appointment at the Royal Arch Annual Investiture on 25 April 2013.

Comp Derek Thornhill will be promoted to PAGSoj.

Comp Paul Aspinall, Comp Edward Barlow and Comp Martin Roche will be appointed to PGStB

And, I am pleased to announce the Re-appointment of Comp Paul Bowen as the Grand Organist.

And for completeness, in the Craft,

 

Promotions are awarded as follows:

– WBro James Newman to Pres RMBI
– VWBro Grahame Elliott to PJGW
– WBro Stephen Blank to PGSwdB
– WBro Norman Cope to PSGD
– WBro Keith Beeston to PJGD

 

First Appointments are

WBro Brian Carter, WBro David Dunn, and WBro Naunton Liles all to PAGDC and WBro Andrew Holland to PAGSwdB.

We offer our congratulations and good wishes to them all.

Thank you, Sir”

The Collection for the 2013 Bi-Centenary Appeal for the Royal College of Surgeons raised almost £2500, during which the Companions sang Jerusalem:

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountain green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.

MEGSUPT Address

Sir David then addressed Provincial Grand Chapter.

He thanked individually all of those who had ensured his first 13 months in office had been enjoyable and rewarding. He then highlighted the importance of Joint Convocations as a vehicle which enabled him to meet the Companions and convey his messages.

The Most Excellent Grand Superintendent was delighted that over 40% of Craft Masons in the Province were also members of the Royal Arch (amongst the highest percentages in the land) but pointed out that recruitment must still be prominent and we need to make Craft Masons aware of what the Royal Arch can hold for them and to emphasise the indissoluble link to them. This was in great part the role of the RA Representative in Craft Lodges and a revision of the role description will be circulated.

He then talked about the importance of Mentoring in the Royal Arch and how the appointment of Provincial Grand Mentor in the Royal Arch will strengthen our approach to Royal Arch Mentoring.

“The Royal Arch Bicentenary Appeal has been well supported thus far with over 75% of our suggested total collected. There will be a Celebration of the completion of the Appeal in October at Supreme Grand Chapter. This will take the form of a demonstration in the Temple during the morning, lunch and then the Convocation in the afternoon, followed by dinner in the evening at the Savoy. Ticket allocations have now been received for each event and will be distributed by the Province to Companions of varying levels of seniority, including Principals of Chapters serving in the Chair for the first time, upon application. More details will follow.

To mark the success of our own Appeal, the Second Grand Principal, George Pipon Francis, a good friend of this Province, will attend as a Distinguished Guest at the meeting of the East Lancashire Provincial Grand Officers Chapter 3747 on the 10th October 2013, to receive our cheque. Whilst preference will be given to applications from members of the Chapter, remaining spaces will be available to any Companion who applies when the appropriate notice is given. This will be a very special day and evening.

Contributions to the 2015 RMBI Festival have now reached over £1.3 Million and I am grateful to those individual Companions and also the Chapters who have supported it thus far. Your generosity is much appreciated.

As most of you are aware I have made my own personal contribution to the Festival by committing myself to a sponsored slim which started 7 weeks ago. As you might guess, it has been a painful experience and my success owes a great deal to my wife Ruth who has entered into my slimming regime with an enthusiasm which I have found to be terrifying.

I am now a shadow of my former self and before you all burst into spontaneous applause you should know the facts! I have lost a stone, which was my target, and have raised over £8,000.

If the slimming regime lasts for much longer, I might vanish altogether. My sincere thanks go to all those who have sponsored me – and for those of you who haven’t – I hope you can live with your consciences.”

Finally the MEGSupt talked about the move of the Provincial Office from Bridge Street to Ashday Lea in Rawtenstall and the redevelopment of Freemasons’ Hall.

The MEGSupt then moved on to the appointment and promotion of Provincial and Past Provincial Officers thanking every one of them for the Excellent work they carry out in East Lancashire on behalf of the Order.


The Festive Board

There was an air of happiness throughout the Banquet following Provincial Grand Chapter. Thanks to the experience and expertise of the staff at King George’s Hall the Service and food were both excellent.

EComp William Porter proposed the toast to our Most Excellent Grand Superintendent likening him, as First Principal of Provincial Grand Chapter to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah and grandson to the penultimate King of Judah. Zerubabbel led the first group of Jews from their Babylonian Captivity and laid the foundation of the second Temple in Jerusalem. As our Leader Sir David Trippier shares Zerubbabel’s sturdiness, charisma, handsomeness and leading nature. Comp Porter recollected how Sir David, 13 months ago, said ‘the Past is behind us, today is a new challenge and tomorrow a new opportunity’. He then explained how Sir David had applied himself to the Province during the period – seeing as many Masons as he could, visiting almost every Masonic Hall (some several times), attending a tremendous list of Royal Arch events (Social, Masonic and Charitable), forging relationships with the Christian Church, Chethams School (where they have a room named after us), the Manchester Jewish Museum and forming many other community bonds. EComp Porter expressed our gratitude to Lady Trippier who has allowed Sir David out with us stating ‘Her loss is our gain, but I am not sure how Lady Trippier might view his absence’

Sir David with MEGSupts from Yorkshire WR (John Clayton) and Isle of Man (Keith Dalrymple)

 

There was rousing applause and Sir David responded: First he stated how pleased he was to see both Ian Ronson and Roger Norris back with us after cardiac surgery (spontaneous applause). He then asked Bill Porter if he could record his toast to play in the car when he is feeling a bit down :-). If there was one wish he could have Sir David hoped for all of us, like we wish for our families, to be happy. He would wish for the Province to be seen as being ‘happy’, by our neighbouring Provinces and by the communities in which we exist. If we were perceived this way then then others would want to join us, they would talk about us in those terms and may want to join us in the Royal Arch and in the Craft. Good leadership, direction and efficiency were essential to running the Province well but realising all our goals is only important when in the end we are all happy with our lives in Freemasonry. So that must also be our aim.

Top Table – EComp Paul Aspinall is the 2nd Companion to the Right

 

EComp Paul Aspinall proposed the Toast to the newly appointed and promoted Companions. They have been rewarded today for their commitment to the Royal Arch Province. This was their special day to recognise their achievements now and for the future. Their reward is also in the satisfaction of doing a job well. He said that junior Companions would look to them for support and guidance pointing out that respect is earned and needs to be worked for. Collars are given for merit and no other reason. He wished all the new appointees and promotees health and strength to succeed and hoped they became proud of their contribution to the future success of the Royal Arch in East Lancashire.

In response, Comp. Michael Williams, ProvGSN, thanked the MEGSupt for his vision and guidance wishing him the best of health and hoped his sponsored slim didn’t sap his strength. The day has taken meticulous planning and he wished to thank the Secretariat, the DCs team, the Stewards, the Provincial Grand Organist and the Security Detail for all their work.


Support from the Craft

The Craft Deputy and Assistant Provincial Grand Masters with Past Senior Provincial Officers

 

One change that many will have noticed is that the Craft Leaders processed into Provincial Grand Chapter today, perhaps helping to cement the indissoluble link between the Craft and the Royal Arch. For historical reasons, when the two Grand Lodges came together in 1813 to form the United Grand Lodge of England they adopted a definition of “pure ancient Masonry” which stated that it consisted “of three degrees and no more, viz., those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft and the Master Mason, including the Supreme order of the Holy Royal Arch.” As a result the two became indissolubly linked. That is why the Grand Master is also the First Grand Principal over the Royal Arch.

Until relatively recently the general view was that the Royal Arch was the completion of the Master Mason degree. Indeed, so widely held was that view, that in the ritual the candidate was informed that he must not think that he had taken a fourth degree but that he had completed his third.This is illogical and not kind to those who remained solely in the Craft. Illogical, because the Third Degree is complete in itself, and unkind in that it implied that those who did not go into the Royal Arch were somehow incomplete or second class Master Masons.

Progress through Freemasonry is a journey of selfdiscovery and self-knowledge. In the Craft we are presented with eminently practical principles and rules which, if we follow them in our lives, we would hope to live a life of service to our fellow man and pleasing to God, however we worship Him.But we are not simply practical beings. We have a vital inner aspect to our natures which is addressed in the Royal Arch. In essence the Royal Arch, without transgressing the bounds of religion, invites the candidate to consider the nature of God and his relationship with Him. In that way the Royal Arch completes the man by leading him from the practical to the next level, and the Craft and Royal Arch form “pure ancient masonry”.

The exaltation ceremony (when one joins a Chapter) is one of the most beautiful and thought-provoking in Freemasonry. More dramatic than the Craft, the climax of the ceremony forms a vivid memory for all who go through it. The Royal Arch Degree is full of companionship and enjoyment. It is rare for a Chapter to draw its membership from only one Lodge. By joining a Chapter you will increase your Masonic acquaintance beyond the membership of your own Lodge, which, in turn, can lead to an increase in your Masonic experience and knowledge. Joining the Royal Arch should increase your enjoyment of Freemasonry. It brings with it new experiences, new insights and new Companions, all of which add to our pleasure and our enjoyment of Freemasonry.

Today the MEGSupt spoke of the over 40% of Craft Masons who are already members of the Royal Arch. to find out more please speak with your Lodge Royal Arch Representative or contact the District Officer Royal Arch whose contact details can be found on this website.


Distinguished Guests from this and other Provinces

 

Yorkshire, WR

– EComp John K Clayton, ME Grand Superintendent
– EComp Stewart Carley, Deputy Grand Superintendent
– EComp Paul Clarke, 3rd Provincial Grand Principal
– EComp James Gray, Assistant to the Prov Grand Principals

 

Isle of Man

– EComp Keith Dalrymple, ME Grand Superintendent
– EComp Bill Ashton 2nd Provincial Grand Principal
– EComp Martin Blackburn, Provincial Grand Scribe E

 

Cumberland & Westmorland

– EComp John Leslie, Deputy Grand Superintendent
– EComp Keith Beattie, 2nd Provincial Grand Principal
– EComp Peter Mason, Assistant to Provincial Grand Principals
– EComp Bill Douthwaite, Provincial Grand Scribe E

 

West Lancashire

– EComp John Hutton, 2nd Provincial Grand Principal

 

Cheshire

– EComp Keith Rogerson, 2nd Provincial Grand Principal
– First, the Past Grand Superintendent, Companion Paul Rink
– The Past Deputy Grand Superintendent, Comp Allan Bennion
– Our Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Comp Derek Thornhill
– The Assistant Provincial Grand Masters: Companions: Martin Caller, Stephen Blank, Alex McLaren,Martin Roche, Chad Northcott, Norman Cope
– Comp Keith Schofield, Provincial Grand Master in the Mark Degree
– Comp David Gallear, Provincial Prior of the Knights Templar
– Comp Nigel Bramley-Haworth, The Intendent General and Divisional Commander of St John for the Red Cross of Constantine and who, is of course, a Past Third Provincial Grand Principal.
– Comp Alex McLaren, District Grand Prefect, Allied Masonic Degrees
– Comp Howard Nuttall, The Provincial Grand Supreme Ruler of the Order of the Secret Monitor
– Comp Ian Clark, The Lancashire Provincial Grand Master of Royal Order of Scotland
– Comp James Adams, BEM, The Cheshire Provincial Grand Master of Royal Order of Scotland
– Comp Malcolm Moreland, The Regional Grand Prefect, Knights Beneficent of the Holy City.