Most Excellent Grand Superintendent Address 2021

Companions all, I bid you a hearty welcome back to our Provincial Convocation after the Coronavirus Pandemic hiatus to our masonic activities. I thank you all for supporting this return but I am also aware that there are many who do not feel that the time is right for public travel or large meetings and have sent their apologies. We have even had last minute apologies from those who have tested positive for Covid either personally or from within their family groups. Remember to be cautious companions because Covid is still here and winter is coming.

On a happier note, I am pleased to have been able to appoint and promote Companions deserving of such honours and in thanking you for your past efforts I trust that your new ranks will give you a renewed impetus to promote our Order and assist your respective Chapters to flourish in the future. You will all be aware that I have today promoted E Comp. Robert Asser to Second Provincial Grand Principal and he, with the help of an Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals, in the person of E Comp. Peter Walters, will be enhancing the role of the Royal Arch Representatives in our Craft Lodges, a role that I believe should carry more gravitas than it currently does. Both the First Grand Principal and the Pro First Grand Principal have stated that the next step after the Craft Degrees should be to the Royal Arch and I trust that our Provincial Grand Master will follow their lead and assist us in this endeavour.

I have also appointed E Comp. Roderick Kent to Third Provincial Grand Principal and he will take up his duties and meet you during Chapter visits and the various Centenaries and Banner Dedications which we have yet to perform. I would also take this opportunity to applaud E Comp. John Linley for relinquishing this anticipated Rank for himself as the intervention of the Covid Pandemic meant that he could not fulfil the duties of the position at this time.

It would also be remiss of me if I did not declare my grateful thanks to E Comp. Phillip Masters for his many years of devotion as Third and Second Provincial Grand Principal, his dedication and valued advice were much appreciated during our many hours of travel together. Phillip will remain on the Provincial Executive and continue to be involved with the Hermes Project, Solomon, the Visiting Officer Scheme and perhaps most importantly the Prostate Screening Programme for which he is the one that we should all thank for all that he does with that particular venture for our benefit. The next Screening is anticipated to be in March 2023.

With regards to our Danish initiative to assist with Denmark acquiring its own Supreme Grand Chapter, I can tell you that we have now received clearance from our own Supreme Grand Chapter to transfer a fourth Chapter to Denmark, that being Ravenscroft Chapter which will now meet in Copenhagen. As the Pandemic is Global it has also affected Masonry in Denmark and has ‘pushed back’ the anticipated programme. The situation is now that it is intended for a delegation from Supreme Grand Chapter to travel to Denmark in 2023 to Consecrate the Supreme Grand Chapter of Denmark. It might provide an opportunity for a contingent to travel from Hertfordshire and enjoy the spectacle of this rare occurrence and probably a once in a lifetime event.

With regards to our Social Events, you will be painfully aware that there has been no activity on this front over the last two years and I have taken a cautious approach to their resumption. I sincerely hope that we can return to our Sunday Lunches, the Royal Arch Golf Day and a weekend away planned for November 2022 but we will have to wait and see what the future holds.

Last year, you may recall that the Provincial Executive agreed that due to the Pandemic restrictions, it would be beneficial to our Chapters to reduce the Provincial Fee by almost 30% and following our latest Executive Meeting we have managed to persuade the Provincial Treasurer, E Comp. Tim Huckle, that we should repeat that again for the following year. In addition to this we have also endeavoured to keep certain initiatives going during the Pandemic restrictions, amongst the foremost of these were the Website, various newsletters, Almoner Reports and the Royal Arch Initiative of First Aider Training for our Masonic Centre Staff which was fully supported by the Hertfordshire Craft and not forgetting our latest Prostate Screening which took place on the 16th October.

Regarding our Charitable efforts, I would remind you Companions that the smaller Charities in the Province have been particularly hit by the Pandemic as it curtailed their usual fundraising events that had to be cancelled due to Government Rules. Should any of you feel that you want to assist these Charities then please remember the match funding by the Province with which our Provincial Charity Steward, E Comp Clive Bradnum can advise you as well as setting up a Relief Chest if your Chapter does not yet have one.

Companions, now we come to the crux of my Address. Over the last two years our activities were severely curtailed and we could not exalt any new members, added to this the Craft could not perform the Third Degree ceremony and produce the Master Masons that are our ‘feedstock’. Since the resumption of Masonic activity there has been a concentration to get Initiates into lodges before they lose interest and these brethren then have to take their Second Degree before becoming Master Masons. I cautiously expect that this will be another twelve months or so before they can be approached to join the Royal Arch and during that time we will still be losing members via a natural wastage. To try and maintain our membership numbers in the Order Companions, this leaves us with only one resource and that is the 60 percent of Craft Masons in the Province who have not completed their journey through Pure Ancient Masonry and I now urge you to approach those brethren who do not display a Royal Arch Breast Jewel and convince them that it is a step they should take to complete this section of their masonic knowledge. We do not expect them all to learn the ritual and progress, but just to become a part of the Royal Arch and enjoy our meetings and ceremonial. If each of you could persuade a friend or acquaintance to become a member it not only bodes well for this Order but also to the other Orders in masonry where membership of the Royal Arch is required for membership.

Companions, as we near the completion of this Provincial Convocation I am sure that you are aware of the many hours of hard work that go into producing today’s annual event and my grateful thanks go to: – My Deputy, E. Comp David Hampton for his continued support in which he has ensured that we continue to serve you well and ensures that I am aware of everything of importance and his assistance to me has been invaluable.

To the Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra, E. Comp David Broomer and his team on this, their first Provincial Convocation and for their tireless work over the past year.

To the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, E. Comp James Angus and his team on this, their first Provincial Convocation and their escorting duties since the return to masonic activity.

And the Provincial Grand Treasurer, E. Comp Tim Huckle for keeping a vigilant eye on our finances.

Companions I look forward to your company at dinner which for the first time in this Province will be in the Vestibule Area of this building and to the pleasure of your company next year and as I always say, please bring another Companion with you.

May the True and Living God Most High Bless you all.