I am sure it will not have escaped your notice, that this afternoon we should have been gathering at The Twickenham Stoop rugby football ground, the home of Harlequin FC, for the Annual Convocation of Provincial Grand Chapter, but sadly this event cannot take place this year as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, which is an unprecedented situation for Middlesex Royal Arch Masonry.
You will have noted from the First Rising #3, issued on Monday by UGLE/SGCE, that the M.W. the Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, KG, has chosen not to extend the present suspension of all Lodge and Chapter meetings beyond 17th July 2020, but in practical terms all meetings will not begin again until September.
As you will be aware, provisional arrangements had been made to hold a scaled-down Annual Convocation and a second Investiture Convocation on 7th and 28th September 2020 respectively, but as a result of the current restriction that an absolute maximum number of 30 attendees are allowed to physically attend meetings, it will not now be possible to hold these convocations.
However, Royal Arch Regulation 37 requires that a Grand Superintendent shall hold an Annual Convocation of Provincial Grand Chapter each year and so this Convocation will now be held on 1st September 2020, but because of the restriction on the number of attendees allowed, it will be by invitation only and will be limited to the minimum number of Active Provincial Grand Officers necessary for this purpose (approximately 24).
At this Annual Convocation I will be obligating, investing, and installing E Comp John Louis Eynon, PGStB as Deputy Grand Superintendent in succession to E Comp Martyn Patrick Farrell PGSwdB, who has served for more than 8 years on the Province’s Royal Arch Executive Committee, and E Comp Peter Michael De Wolfe PGStB as 2nd Provincial Grand Principal. I will also be investing E Comp Robert Gordon King PGStB as the third Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals.
Most regrettably, due to the COVID-19 restrictions, I will not be physically able to have the pleasure and privilege of investing all the other Companions I have had the honour to appoint to or promote in Provincial Grand Rank this year, but I reiterate that your new rank is effective from today, Thursday 9th July 2020, and you may wear your new regalia with pride from now.
I am sure you will appreciate that the unprecedented circumstances of the current pandemic make it impossible to perform these investitures this year.
Nevertheless, I offer you my sincere congratulations on your preferment which, as ever, comes with the rider that this is not only a reward for the work you have undertaken on behalf of your own Chapter and the Province, but also an expectation that you will not ‘sit back on you laurels’ and will continue that work in the future.
Finally Companions, until we can meet again in our Chapters, please remain resilient and steadfast, not forgetting the now familiar mantra to: ‘Stay Alert > Control the Virus > Save Lives’.
I wish you, your families and loved ones every blessing during this very trying time.
With kindest fraternal regards
E. Comp. Peter R. A. Baker
ME Grand Superintendent in and over Middlesex
9th July 2020
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