Grand Superintendent's address at 2019 Convocation
John Reid addresses Companions at Melksham
Once again Companions I welcome you all to Provincial Grand Chapter in which another Masonic year has flown by, with the Province experiencing yet another enjoyable and rewarding year.
Companions today is a special day of celebration and I congratulate all those Companions who I have had the pleasure of appointing and promoting this morning.
I am sure by now you know these honours are not given lightly or as of right, they are awarded in recognition of your continued contribution and commitment to both your Chapter and the Province.
You are all experienced Companions, there is the expectation as ambassadors of the Royal Arch that you will continue to support and encourage the newer members to take part in our ceremonies whilst guiding them to, and through the Principals’ Chairs, not forgetting where ever possible to promote the Holy Royal Arch within your Craft Lodges.
Companions the Provincial Executive has for some time encouraged the sharing of the Ritual. I acknowledge this is now being undertaken in many of our Chapters, especially by the Sojourners and during the presentation of the lectures. At last year’s Annual Convocation (and I am sure you will all remember it well) I asked you to consider the sharing of the First Principal’s work. To-date I am aware this has only occurred on two occasions, the Provincial Team undertook an Exaltation ceremony by invitation for the Lansdowne Chapter enabling 18 Provincial Officers to participate. This was followed shortly after by the members of Methuen Chapter, both Convocations received many favourable and congratulatory comments.
So Companions I encourage you to be brave and let’s encourage more Companions to take part in our ceremonies, share the burden, in doing so I believe it will enhance the enjoyment of the Ceremonies for all, and may prove to be the catalyst to help individuals in their decision to progress.
I am mindful that our ritual and the history which underlies it, does not come easy to us all. I commend to you, the United Grand Lodge website, “SOLOMON” a data base hosting lectures and short nuggets of information to aid with our learning and development either as individuals or collectively within our Chapters.
Companions earlier this year we re-launched the Royal Arch Representatives scheme. Our Representatives now have a more defined role, equipped with a comprehensive package of information enabling them to be more effective in promoting the natural progression of Brethren in completing their journey in Pure Antient Masonry.
The Most Excellent First Grand Principal HRH The Duke of Kent in his recent address to Supreme Grand Chapter said – “that no Mason should join other Orders without first completing their journey in Pure Antient Masonry by becoming a member of the Holy Royal Arch”
This said Companions sends a clear message of the importance of the Holy Royal Arch and gives the Royal Arch Representatives a much higher profile within their Craft Lodge.
At this juncture I acknowledge my grateful thanks to the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master in fully supporting and endorsing the Working Groups recommendations and look forward to the continued collaboration with the Craft Executive in promoting the Holy Royal Arch as we are so inextricably linked.
Here’s a thought for you Companions – How many times have you heard a Brother say, I have never joined the Royal Arch because nobody has ever asked me. You only have to ask Companions, you may be surprised with a positive response.
Companions it is heartening to hear from the Provincial Grand Registrar that our membership has increased for the third consecutive year. This is not by chance Companions, I acknowledge the commitment of our Royal Arch Representatives, and make mention of those Chapters (they know who they are) that have identified the need to become much more proactive in their quest to attract suitable Candidates, at the same time looking for ways to improve their ceremonies, dare I say even having the courage to request assistance from the Provincial Team.
But here Companions I especially thank Excellent Companion Mark Fuller who has greatly enhanced Wiltshire’s Royal Arch social media profile with intuitive and interesting articles through both Twitter and Provincial website. I also thank the Web Editor and the Communication Team for their support in keeping our Royal Arch pages current.
Companions let us not limit our Companionship to our own Chapters, whenever possible I encourage you to visit neighbouring Chapters, your support will be greatly valued and your enjoyment of the Order will be greatly enhanced. Evidence of this can be seen when the transfer of the Travelling Quaich has occurred. I thank those Chapters that have embraced this initiative thus far, so let us all continue to support it and long may it continue.
I thank you for the support you have given to the Children at Christmas initiative, especially to those Companions and their partners who attended the Luncheon last November raising over £1000, as well as those who attended the Provincial Officers Luncheon when we were able to donate £500 to the Masonic Trout and Salmon Fishing Charity following an excellent presentation by Companion Ian Lever. Once again Companions your generosity holds no bounds
Companions it was agreed at the Annual General Purposes Committee that all proceeds from the alms collection today will go towards our Royal Arch Benevolent Fund and ask you please to use the envelopes provided allowing us to claim the Gift Aid.
Companions, many of you have often hear me say Freemasonry being a progressive science, so there comes a time when we must thank those who have given tirelessly of their precious time, serving this Province with great dignity to themselves and a total commitment to the Province, only to make way for the new guard. I sincerely thank the outgoing Provincial Officers for their loyalty and support, on this occasion too many to mention but you know who you are.
To the newly appointed active Provincial Officers I encourage you to fully embrace the year of your appointment by supporting the Provincial Executive at Installations, Fraternal Visits and Special Convocations, only then will you fully appreciate the honour you have received today.
As in previous years the success of today is not the result of a single individual but that of an army of willing helpers. I am so aware of the time, planning and commitment that has been expended by all the Companions involved, to those Companions I thank you most sincerely. Special thanks are extended to the Provincial Assistant Grand Scribe Ezra and his Assistant Excellent Companion Brian Amos, along with the Director of Ceremonies and his team and those Chapters under whose banners we are meeting today; the Chapter of Harmony, Chapter of Friendship and Unity and the Methuen Chapter.
Before I conclude Companions, I pay tribute to Excellent Companion Paul Vogwell who this Province owes a huge debt of gratitude taking on the high profile office as Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra at very short notice, in 2014, only recently to be halted by ill health. I know I speak for all Wiltshire Companions and those from neighbouring Provinces especially their Scribe Ezra’s how relieved and delighted we all are to see Excellent Companion Paul’s continued improved health and to see him joining our celebrations here today.
I thank each and every one of you for your support here today and as always look forward to meeting you all in your Chapters in the knowledge that the Holy Royal Arch in Wiltshire is a most appealing Order in which to belong.