A View from the Gallery – Excellent Companion David Pearson PProvGScribeE , team writer for the Provincial Media Team gives his view of the recent Annual Convocation.
It was something of a relief to hear the weather forecast on the morning of Tuesday 9 July telling us that the temperature in the afternoon would peak at around 25°, because the 2018 Annual Convocation, likewise held at the Twickenham Stoop home of Harlequins RFC, had been conducted in temperatures edging into the low thirties.
It was therefore with a light heart that I set out around noon to drive to Twickenham and, lo and behold, the traffic en route from Harrow was remarkably light.
Parking at the Stoop was plentiful and well organised (well, it was at 13:00) and from there the route to the meeting was via the Jason Leonard Gate and around the south and east perimeter of the ground to the robing rooms under the East Stand.
Having arrived early, it was fascinating to watch the rehearsals of the team of Provincial Grand Stewards under the direction of the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies and his Deputies.
The precision of the ceremonial in the meeting is not achieved without meticulous attention to detail and dedicated practice.
In the robing rooms it was time to catch up with Companions from one’s own Chapters in Middlesex and with those from other Provinces and Metropolitan who had been invited to join us as guests.
This all created a wonderful atmosphere of genuine companionship as well as a spectacle of colour from the Royal Arch regalia.
From 15:00 onwards the seats in the temple were being filled and at 15:45 The Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies addressed the gathering and explained how the Convocation would run.
To Order Companions –
There was a special escorted entrance and welcome for two Past Grand Superintendents, E Comps David Cons and Roger Croome.
That was followed by a procession into the temple of distinguished visitors from other Provinces, Metropolitan Grand Chapter and Middlesex Provincial Executive members, present and past accompanying and preceding the ME Grand Superintendent, E Comp Peter Baker.
This was accompanied by the enthusiastic singing of Jerusalem by the assembled Companions, who were then called to order and Provincial Grand Chapter was opened.
The proceedings opened with the acknowledgment of those Companions who had regrettably passed to the Grand Chapter Above in the year to 30 May and the Companions stood in silent tribute to departed merit before singing Abide With Me.
The ME Grand Superintendent then formally greeted all the guests of the Province.
The rest of the meeting was remarkably like one’s own Chapter meetings with minutes, accounts, elections, propositions, appointments, and reappointments of the leaders of the Royal Arch in Middlesex.
Several Chapters were presented with certificates for achieving Grand Patron status through their contributions to the 2020 Festival for RMTGB.
There was notably the appointment, installation and investiture of a new Second Provincial Grand Principal, E. Comp John Eynon PGStdB in succession to the late and much respected E Comp John Culling PAGDC.
The ME Grand Superintendent also ensured that the appointment of his Deputy Grand Superintendent and those of the Second and Third Provincial Grand Principals were for the first time legitimised by the presentation of Patents of Appointment.
This all preceded the real high point of the meeting for most of those present – the announcement of those Companions who were being appointed to or promoted in Provincial Grand Rank.
Once again, we witnessed the precision of the Provincial Deputies and Stewards in conducting those being honoured to their investiture and returning them to their seats.
Address to the Companions –
The ME Grand Superintendent then addressed the meeting on current and prospective matters of importance within the Province.
Alms were collected to the singing of I Vow to Thee, My Country, Provincial Grand Chapter was closed and the ME Grand Superintendent retired in procession with the distinguished visitors to the rousing notes of Land of Hope and Glory.
Then it was back to socialising in the bars, cementing old friendships and making new ones and generally relaxing while the temple was converted to the dining room for a convivial dinner, at the conclusion of which it was time to make one’s slightly weary way home. All-in-all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable day of colourful spectacle, excellent ceremonial and a feast of true companionship.
View photos of the Rehearsals HERE
View photos of the processions in and out of the Temple HERE
View photos of the reception and dinner HERE
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