Companions, I welcome you all on this happy Convocation.
Companions, I most sincerely welcome you all on this happy occasion. I have already welcomed all our distinguished guests. Every single one of them is a very close friend of this Province, and their Companionship is much treasured. On behalf of all the Companions in Devonshire, I thank them all for travelling many miles to be with us. I ask the Companions of Devonshire, once again show our appreciation of their support.
This is a day for congratulations and thanks to many Companions. I firstly thank all of you Companions, not only for attending this Convocation, but for your very kind support over the last 6 years. Without your support I cannot undertake my role as MEGS, and I hope that I continue to maintain your support for a little while longer. I most sincerely thank each and every one of you. You are wonderful Companions.
To those Companions who have just been appointed and promoted to their Provincial Ranks, it has been a pleasure to invest you with your new offices. This is a special day for you. Any Provincial Grand Rank is conferred only after much consideration and is an accolade given both in acknowledgment of good work done, but more importantly of your future endeavours. Be assured that all the Companions in our Province will be looking to you to set high standards in all your activities, at all times, and in everything you do. Take great pride in what you do. Many Congratulations to you all.
A massive thank you has to go to all those active officers who have just completed their term of office. I congratulate them on the happy and honest manner in which they have performed their duties. Like all active officers over the years, they have been everywhere around the Province. I know that they have gained much from their term of office, and have made many new friendships. Companions don’t stop. Please support your Companions and the Province, and me, whenever possible. Thank you my Companions. Keep the Red shirts flying. I welcome the Most Excellent Zerubbabels of the Province. You are leaders of your Chapters. On you hang the responsibility of ensuring that your Chapters are happy, and true to the Principals of HRA masonry. Enjoy your terms of office. Any help required is always near to hand. This year has been a quite momentous year for the Royal Arch in Devonshire, with the consecration of the Devonshire Provincial Grand Stewards Chapter 3924, on the 29th June. Around 230 Companions attended, what I am advised was, a wonderful Masonic occasion, which was enjoyed by all. Many of the Grand Superintendents here today honoured us with their presence, together with many other Distinguished Guests and companions of this wonderful Province. I thank you all for all your support, and my very best wishes go to the E. Comp Brian Meldon, E. Comp Tony Moore and E. Comp Jeff Bailey who are the first 3 Principals of the new Chapter, and all the other 46 founders, with thanks for all their enthusiasm now, and for the future success of the chapter. For that day I would like to thank my then Director of Ceremonies, E. Comp John Sevieri, for the superb way the ceremonial was conducted. I felt physically and mentally drained after the evening, but at the same time proud of creating a new Chapter with such support. To those who attended the day, a huge thank you. I hope that you enjoyed the occasion, and the deep meaning of the ceremony. A great day indeed.
This Chapter will have its first exaltation in the New Year. This Chapter has a major role to play in our Province. I hope that all Chapters will use all their own Excellent Companions and Companions within their ceremonials. But, if there is a cry for help, the Stewards Chapter will be pleased to help in any way they can. Indeed, if a Chapter wishes to set a special meeting to invite Brethren to explain the Royal Arch, and why they should take the next step in their journey in Pure Ancient Masonry, the Stewards Chapter can and will be pleased to help with all the arrangements. Please contact the Chapter and all can be arranged.
The Stewards are also there to support the J Team in attending Chapters in boosting numbers especially at Exaltations. If any Chapter would like support from the J Team, please contact E. Comp David Jones, who will also contact the Stewards Chapter, to provide as much numerical support as they can. Chapters must of course let David know, as he is not a mind reader, so please contact him on the details provided on our website. Indeed, if any Companion wishes to become part of the J Team, please also contact David. The more the merrier, because the more support we can give Chapters, the better.
I am also pleased to make it known that at Supreme Grand Chapter on Wednesday the Province received the blessing to consecrate another HRA Chapter, to be known as the Louis Marchesi Chapter No 9558, to be held at Uffculme. The consecration date will be the 20th June 2017.
In April this year, it was a pleasure to see E. Companions Mike Newman and Roger Sleep being appointed to Grand Rank, E. Comp Jeff Bailey our Past 3rd Provincial Grand Principal, being promoted to Past Assistant Grand Sojourner. Our congratulations to them all. It was however with great sadness that our wonderful Companion Alan Newberry passed away only two months on having received his Grand Rank. He will be so sadly missed by one and all. A wonderful Companion.
Whilst on the subject of Grand Officers, I would like to say, to all Grand Officers that as you Companions have been given the highest accolade that it would be good to have your Company and support on as many occasions as you are able to attend. Please.
I thank my Deputy Grand Superintendent, E. Comp Chris Roach, my Second Grand Principal, E. Comp Gerald Watson for their loyal support, hard work and Companionship, and I look forward to another wonderful year with them. I am also looking forward to the Companionship of my new Third Provincial Grand Principal, E. Comp John Sevieri, who I welcome to the Sanhedrin. Thank you for all you have done over the last 6 years as my DC. We all wish you every happiness in your new role. You deserve to be the Provincial Grand Joshua in the Province of Devonshire.
I congratulate my Scribe E, E. Comp Tony Parker for all his hard work conducted during the year, and more especially in the organisation of today. Thank you Tony, you are a wonderful Scribe E, and together with your Assistant, E. Comp Richard Spencer, we have two most efficient and approachable Scribes E. My sincere thanks you both.
I congratulate my new Director of Ceremonies E. Comp Paul Hughes, and his team for all their hard work to ensure the ceremonial has run well today. Thank you to you all. I also thank my Treasurer, E. Comp Conrad Donaldson, who has worked so hard to achieve what has been achieved this year, his drive and enthusiasm, in ensuring that all the Accounts were fully completed for examination by our two respected Auditors, E. Companions Joe Mullins and Peter Bartlett. New ground has been broken today by the Royal Arch.
However, my main thanks must go to two other special Companions. E. Comp Tony Morrell has done so much for this Province, no matter in what degree, over so many years. It has been my pleasure to have appointed Tony as the Provincial Grand J, which in a small way, was my way of saying a huge thank you, to you Tony for everything you have done. I am so grateful for your support which I know will continue in the future. I am sure that the Companions would now also wish to show their appreciation.
The other companion is now my Past Provincial Grand Organist, E. Comp Roger Sleep, who for the last six years has been such a superb supporter of the Province, has been everywhere with the Team, and has simply been a wonderful friend and companion to one and all. Roger as you know was appointed a Grand Officer in April, and the lovely thing was that as he could not travel to Supreme Grand Chapter, as he has been very poorly, his own Chapter presented him with his new Grand Officer regalia on the same day as Supreme Grand Chapter. A wonderfully timed presentation, which I sadly missed as I was coming home from London. Roger, I thank you for all your support which I know I will always receive, and a big thank you from all your Companions, and I am sure they too would like to show their appreciation.
Finally, Companions let me close with some thoughts on the future for Freemasons in general. A distinguished Masonic Author within Freemasonry wrote in an introduction, “it is well to remember that Masonic degrees are a vital means of teaching lessons in the value of such virtues as Honesty, Charity, Industry, Fidelity and Humility.” I would also add Morality, Loyalty and Dependability, Patience, to love your fellow man and to do unto others as you would have done unto yourself, and continuous development in our understanding about ourselves and our belief in our God.
Companions, so many lessons are learned; are impressed on our minds and instilled in our hearts. Companions I ask you to do one thing.
Practice those lessons at all times. Be strong and work. But above all, Practice. Then, and only then, can you say, I am a true Brother and Companion in Pure Ancient Masonry.
Companions. May peace be with you all.