W Bro Frank O’Keeffe PPrSGD presents a “lyrical” report of the two Provincial Meetings held on Friday 3rd September at TDMC
The Middlesex masonic train has recommenced its journey after the longest collective delay in recent history.
The Middlesex Royal Arch Convocation and Craft Provincial Grand Lodge meetings were held at Cole Court on Friday, 3rd September.
Due to the ongoing issues of the pandemic, numbers were restricted to Provincial Grand Officers and those receiving first appointments or promotions.
The grandeur and pomp of the normal Provincial Grand Lodge meetings held at Great Queen Street was missing.
However, the camaraderie, the joy of seeing old friends again in a physical space, rather than online, and the feeling (and fervent hope!) that we may finally be leaving the darkest days of this dreadful and indiscriminate disease behind us was not.
Therefore, it was fitting that at the beginning of Provincial Grand Chapter, the first of the Provincial AGMs held in the morning, thoughts were with the Brethren and Companions who had not been there to join in the assembly.
There were some who had succumbed to Covid, or other illnesses, during the time when we had been unable to meet.
Others who were currently ill were therefore unable to make the journey not to mention those who still felt uneasy about attending physical meetings, fearful for their own health and that of their families and friends.
All of these are victims of the pandemic and they were remembered in a moment of reflection and prayer for the souls of those who had gone to higher service.
First Things First
Then the Most Excellent, the Grand Superintendent, Peter Baker, took the assembled Royal Arch Companions through the order of business in a wonderfully heartfelt, cheerful and inspiring manner.
The re-appointments, the appointments and promotions/investitures were on a much smaller scale than normal.
But that did not detract from the sincerity with which he spoke to each Companion – thanking them for past service, or looking forward to future cooperation.
He reminded everyone that next year the Provincial Grand Chapter will finally get to celebrate its 150th Anniversary, with details of the celebrations to be distributed in the near future.
At the luncheon held afterwards, and prior to the Craft Provincial Grand Lodge Annual General Meeting, he exhorted those present to redouble their efforts in rebuilding the membership, so sadly decimated during the pandemic.
It brought home to us that we were the lucky ones, to have emerged unscathed from the random selections of the Covid disease.
There will undoubtedly be many Chapters and Craft Lodges that have not been so fortunate.
It is incumbent on all of us to support them, while they rebuild their numbers.
If you get an invitation to visit – consider carefully before you decline.
They may need the numbers to justify/afford a Festive Board after the meeting.
They may just need a stand in officer or two, in order to give a Candidate an impressive ceremony.
Or they may want the Temple filled in the way that they remember, especially during Exaltations or Initiations, for that special moment when the blindfold comes off.
Remember – Brotherly Love is not just the giving of monies for good causes.
In the coming months and years the more practical support of your Brethren is likely to be of critical importance, and can be the difference between Charters and Warrants being handed back, or a Chapter or Lodge weathering the storm, and going on to a prosperous future.
During the luncheon, the Pro Provincial Grand Master was presented by Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VW Brother Barry Cramer with a token of the esteem in which the Pro PGM is held by his Province – a shiny new red Ferrari.
RW Brother Peter’s delight was not diminished by the fact that it was a scale model, rather than a real one, and he expressed his delight and thanks to the Brethren.
The Craft Annual General Meeting
At the very convivial Craft Provincial Grand Lodge meeting held in the afternoon, W Bro William James “Jim” Mitchell was appointed and invested as Assistant PGM, relinquishing his role as Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, which he had held for the past four years.
The Pro Provincial Grand Master then continued to appoint and invest those selected for first appointment or promotion with the important message that this was not just the reward for past endeavours, but required ongoing activity for the benefit of the Province and its members in these most difficult of times.
The Pro Provincial Grand Master was also able to Appoint and Invest two new Collared Offices which were those of Provincial Grand Membership Officer (PGMO) and Provincial Grand Communications Officer (PGCO).
W Bro Nigel Harris-Cooksley ProvJGW was invested as PGMO and W Bro Daniel Graham ProvStwd was invested as PGCO.
Members of the Province will surely be aware of the essential work that goes on behind the scenes in relation to the recruitment and retention of suitable candidates to freemasonry and also to the role of communications in promoting Middlesex freemasonry through the media channels.
By definition the objectives of the Provincial Grand Communications Officer (PGCO) will be to maintain and improve the public perception of freemasonry and offer effective Public Relations within the Province.
This latter role will be allied with the establishment and development of relationships with communities within the Province and other organisations both locally and nationally.
These new roles are essential in our current age and will impact on public perception and knowledge of the work of Freemasons.
The message of the morning meeting was reiterated – we are all in this together, no matter which Masonic Order we belong to and that we can all hopefully look forward to resuming more normal activity again soon with a full complement of attendees at our next Provincial meetings.
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