Most Excellent Grand Superintendent, Excellent Companions and Companions, I have pleasure in submitting, for your consideration and approval, my Annual Report on the activities of the Holy Royal Arch in the Province of Devonshire.
This year has been another positive year for the Holy Royal Arch in Devonshire. In January, Benevolent Chapter No. 303, during their Installation Convocation, had a beautiful ‘Plate of Gold’ dedicated by E. Comp John Sevieri, PGStB, the 3 rd Provincial Grand Principal. The dedication helped to make the evening one that will be remembered by those in attendance for a long time.
In June, The Most Excellent Grand Superintendent was pleased to Consecrate another new Chapter in the Province; Louis Marchesi Chapter No. 9558. The Consecration Ceremony took place at the Langstone Cliff Hotel in Dawlish Warren on Tuesday 20 th June. The Consecrating ceremony was led by the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent, E. Comp Simon Rowe; the 2nd Provincial Grand Principal, E. Comp Gerald Watson, as Haggai; the 3rd Provincial Grand Principal, E. Comp John Sevieri, as Joshua and the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, E. Comp Paul Hughes as Director of Ceremonies. Those in attendance were treated to a delightful ceremony which culminated in the Installation of E. Comp Roy Webber, PGSupt, as MEZ; E. Comp Chris Aplin as Haggai and E. Comp Stephen Vosper as Joshua. In October, a ‘Provincial Team’ consisting of the Grand Superintendent, his Co-Principals and Active Provincial Officers, conducted the Exaltation Ceremony at the meeting of Britannia Chapter No. 4099 in Plymouth. It was a delightful ceremony during which Bro. Michael Keith Phillips was made a Royal Arch Companion.
The Active Officers carrying out the ceremony gave our new Companion an evening to remember. Members of the ‘Grand Sanhedrin’ have been present at every Installation Convocation again this year and have been very well supported by the Grand and Active Officers. The Companionship shared has, once again, been outstanding and I thank the Active Officers for their attendance and support throughout the year.
On 27 th April, four of our Companions received Appointment or Promotion in Supreme Grand Chapter at the Annual Investiture held in London. Our congratulations go to E. Comp Gerald Watson, 2 nd Provincial Grand Principal, on his promotion to Past Assistant Grand Sojourner and E. Comps John Bate, Colin Gale and Roger Guest on their appointments as Past Grand Standard Bearers. Over 30 Companions of the Province made the long journey to London to provide support and experience the pageant on display.
At this time last year, I reported the first net increase of our membership for several years. I am pleased that, this year, I am able to report another net increase of members; albeit an increase of 8 members. The signs are still positive. However, with the general trend, nationally, of falling membership, we cannot afford to ‘rest on our laurels’ and consider we have ‘turned the corner’. There is still a tremendous amount of work we can do in our Lodges and Chapters to ‘enlighten’ the 63% of brethren in Devonshire who have yet to complete their ‘journey in Pure and Ancient Freemasonry’ and join us in The Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch.
The good news regarding membership has to be tempered with the fact that we have lost 27 of our Companions to the Grand Chapter above. The most notable among them being E. Comp Douglas Penny, PAGSoj; E. Comp Ivor Headey, PAGSoj and E. Comp Derek (Joe) Mullins, PGStB. Coming from the Plymouth area, I make no apology for mentioning the loss of E. Comp Bob Downing of Sincerity Chapter No. 189 who, although a member of only one Lodge and Chapter, was Tyler and Janitor of many. He was a great friend to Freemasonry in Plymouth and none who met him will forget parading in with him standing outside the temple holding aloft a huge sword he could barely carry!
My second year in office has been no less enjoyable than my first and I have many to thank for their help and assistance. The ‘Grand Sanhedrin’ for their continued and unwavering support; my assistant, E. Comp Richard Spencer for all his efforts, and the Provincial Grand Treasurer, E. Comp Conrad Donaldson, who is my ‘sounding board’ and has become integral to my enjoyment of the important office I hold. I thank, also, the many ‘unseen’ helpers at Provincial Grand Chapter. Each year they give of their time to ensure the smooth running of the meeting. There are too many to mention, but they know who they are. They have my grateful thanks and I look forward to working with them once again this year.
I end by giving thanks to the Scribe’s Ezra of the Chapters in our Province. They have given support to me and their Chapters without which the administration of the Province would not be as easy as they help it to be.
I look forward to the coming year and, once again, wish you all good health to enjoy your Royal Arch Freemasonry to the full.
Anthony J. Parker
Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra
1st November 2017