Annual Service Of Thanksgiving 2023



Guldford Cathedral

Once again members of the Province of Middlesex gathered to give Praise and Thanksgiving to the Great Architect of the Universe. It had been two years since the last Service at Guilford and it seems that for the last few times that we have been blessed with autumnal sunshine, but this year was accompanied by a slightly cold wind which reminded us of the season’s change as we head towards winter. Indeed, the sunshine spread its rays through the Cathedral windows which enhanced the already bright ambience of the Cathedral interior.

The Opening Procession began at 3.00pm to the rousing stanzas of the hymn “O Worship the King“, with Banners representing Lodge and Chapters of the Province. The Volume of the Sacred Law was carried by Entered Apprentice Bro Ravi Arora of Berkely Lodge No 7591. Then followed the entrance of the Provincial Executives of Craft and Royal Arch and RW Bro David Allan, Pro Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent in and over the Province of Middlesex closely followed by members of the Cathedral clergy and the acting Dean of the Cathedral. During these manoeuvres the Provincial Grand Organist. W. Bro Dr Andrew C Storey DepGOrg provided splendid Grand Organ accompaniment at triple forte followed subsequently by the dulcet tones of the Middlesex Provincial Choir in a rendition of the Sanctus from Schubert’s German Mass.

The Welcome.

The Acting Dean welcomed members of the Province after which RW Bro David Allan opened the Volume of the Sacred Law. Prayers followed led by the Provincial Grand Chaplain which would be familiar to many within their masonic assemblies in the Province.  A Scriptural Reading followed and then a beautiful musical interlude given by Soprano Cheryl Enever of “How Beautiful are The Feet” from Handel’s Messiah. The full words are How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace. Ecumenical readings followed from Jewish, Islamic, Hindu and Sikh Scriptures.

Subsequently further prayers of thanks were given to the Great Architect of the Universe by the Provincial Grand Chaplain, W. Bro Revd Dr William Dolman AGChap, with a poignant reminder of those of our Brethren who had succumbed to the Covid pandemic invoking peace and perpetual light upon them as they ascended to those immortal mansions whence all goodness emanates.

Further readings were given and intercessory prayers. The Provincial Grand Chaplain gave thanks for all that we as Masons derive from our Masonic membership, with the hope that brotherly love, relief and truth would increase among us to benefit the needy and provide comfort to all both in this country and throughout the world.

RW Bro David Allan read Matthew 23:1-2 which was a condemnation of the religious leadership in Jerusalem at the time Christ in that their example should not be followed as they did not practice what they preached. The modern lesson as freemasons is that our actions should not be for personal acclaim from others. We should be a paragon for others to emulate instead, a model of excellence and perfection.

The Address

The Address was given by the Reverend David Joynes, the Provincial Grand Chaplain for the Province of Berkshire. His theme was one of service and he spoke about the Archbishop of Canterbury’s sermon at the Coronation of King Charles 3rd and the service of the monarchy to the country. He also mentioned that aspect of service especially by those who gave their lives for their country. Quoting Christian scripture, he gave the example from the Gospel of John where Christ gave the command that we are to love another. This act of love, he continued, where the laying down one’s life for one’s friends, must surely be the greatest example of service. Quoting Archbishop Marcus Welby, he reminded us of those who work with charities and within organisations that build our communities, those that serve the nation in the Armed Forces and the emergency services and in so many other ways. They live their lives for the sake of others.

Our work as freemasons within our communities must surely fit in to this definition of love and service.

The Provincial Grand Chaplain gave thanks in prayer for the Masonic Province of Middlesex, the Provincial Grand Master, Prince Michael of Kent, and the Pro Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent David Allan. Also included were the Craft and Royal Arch Provincial Executives and all those in positions of leadership.

Final Blessing

This was given by the Venerable Stuart Beake, Acting Dean of the Cathedral. Then followed the Provincial choir’s rendition of John Rutter’s Go Forth Into The World In Peace. Finally, the labours of the afternoon being ended the Service closed with the Hymn Now the Evening Shadows Closing. The Volume of the Sacred Law was closed by the Pro Provincial Grand Master and then followed by the National Anthem.

Please click for the full Order of Service.

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