PGC Address 2010
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The following is an address given by the ME Grand Superintendent of Northumberland on Thu 15th April 2010:


Welcome to [email protected]parkstadium or as it is more familiarly known St James’ Park home of Newcastle United and football – or, more accurately, Newcastle United - where our guests will, I anticipate, detect a significantly more buoyant atmosphere prevailing throughout the premises than that which existed at this time last year - would that “promotion” of the Royal Arch produced such enthusiasm.

I am delighted to see such a good attendance and I thank you all for your continued support   - it is very much appreciated by me and, I feel sure, even more so by those who have been invested with their new Provincial ranks this evening.

Appointment to and promotion in Provincial Rank is, and ought to be considered to be, a signal event in the Masonic career of every companion.  Investiture with the distinguishing regalia serves two purposes: firstly to reward merit and encourage industry; and secondly to provide tangible evidence of a companion’s contribution or further contribution to the Order in general and his Chapter in particular. 

I am firmly convinced, however, that if such appointment and promotion is to have any meaning or significance it has to be earned; it does not exist as of right simply because a companion has occupied the principal offices, the more so where he has not performed that ritual which accompanies those offices.   There was in the past, perhaps, a tendency for the recipient of an honour to view it rather too subjectively and it is for that reason that the present honours system was introduced, so that a companion would hopefully view the rank offered rather more dispassionately and objectively.   Any offer of appointment to or promotion in Provincial Rank can and should be greeted with pleasure and satisfaction, certainly, but with humility and docility as well.

A companion’s reaction to the letter of appointment is a strong indicator of his character and interest - and motives; any expression of disappointment, especially when sufficiently voluble to reach the ears of Executive, is unlikely to enhance the prospect of further promotion and is in my opinion at best inappropriate and at worst discourteous.  Happily, I am certain that none of these observations are relevant to any of those who have been honoured this evening.  I extend to you all my congratulations and hope that upon your return to your Chapters you will wear the regalia of your new rank with that same pleasure and satisfaction, humility and docility which I am sure you displayed on notification thereof.  

I urge each of you to be diligent in identifying prospective exaltees but do not confine your researches just to your own Craft Lodge.   Extend your horizons.  Seek among those lodges, Craft as well as other orders, which you visit where I am sure you will discover a member who may not yet have resolved to complete his Masonic journey, more often than not because he has never been approached.

In two week’s time the Annual Convocation of Supreme Grand Chapter will take place in London whereat a number of our Companions are to be honoured with appointment to or further honoured by promotion in Grand Rank.  They have each, despite in some cases significant responsibilities in the Craft and other Orders, continued to demonstrate enthusiasm and commitment for the benefit of the Royal Arch and I feel sure that once I have identified them to you, you will want to acknowledge with acclamation their respective preferment. I offer my congratulations to E Comp Michael Louis on his promotion to PAGSoj and to E Comp. Brian Rudd, E Comp. Alan Rice and E Comp. Jim Oliver all appointed to the rank of PGStB.

I want to say something about the operation of our Chapters which continues to give me cause for concern.   Last year, after allowing him just enough time to settle into his new role, I asked the Deputy GS to undertake with the assistance of the Co-Principals and their Assistants a review of all Chapters.  The results of their ongoing survey have revealed that almost without exception attendance at those Chapters which have to date been visited does not exceed 50% of the membership and in many cases falls well short of this figure – in one case a Chapter with a membership of @80 members currently has a regular attendance of no more than 20 of its own companions.   

Too many Chapters seem content to continue their working by condoning the practice of experienced Brethren interchanging the Principals chairs in rote.  It brings to mind the tale of the farmer who decided to train his horse to live on nothing – he had almost succeeded when the horse died.   Consequently, it really does not matter that most, if not all, of these Chapters are in good heart and that the Companions and their visitors enjoy their meetings and one another’s company – the prognosis for each one is the same as that for that unfortunate animal: without positive steps being taken to attract and retain new companions the Chapters will close.

During the past year the Executive has had extended to it invitations to attend the Annual Convocations of our friends in the Northern Provinces whereat in every case the warmth and enthusiasm of their welcome was exceeded only by the extent of their hospitality and companionship.  Today provides us with a welcome opportunity to reciprocate.  Overseeing a Province places great demands upon the time and energy of those charged with that responsibility and I am consequently delighted that this evening three such companions have found time to be with us – all of whom are accompanied by their Grand Superintendents.  It is now my pleasure to introduce to you our distinguished guests and I would ask that you restrain your natural inclination to individually acclaim their presence until I have introduced them all.  

I am delighted to acknowledge the support I receive from the Heads of the other Orders and I welcome their presence in the persons of:
I trust that our happy co-existence and the close relationship which we enjoy will long endure.

Annual Convocations necessarily bring about changes in personnel and occasionally in some of those offices which are perceived (perhaps more by the office holder than by me) to be permanent.  E Comp Ron Haikney retires from the office of Provincial Janitor after ten years in office.  I place on record my grateful thanks to him for the loyal and dedicated service he has given to me and my predecessor and which has quite properly been recognized this evening by promotion to the rank of Past Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah.

E Comp Barry Speker stands down today after two years as a Co-Principal, initially as Third Provincial Grand Principal and subsequently as Second Provincial Grand Principal.  He has made a significant contribution to the Provincial Executive during his time in office.  He has discharged his responsibilities in an exemplary manner and with the quiet and dignified authority which one would expect from a quiet and dignified lawyer.   I am most grateful to him.

I thank the Provincial Officers whose tour of duty ends today for their company and companionship during the past year – in case any of the newly appointed companions is labouring under the misapprehension that appointment to Prov Rank is a sinecure take note that on one of the formal visits earlier this year one of the Provincial Team was “volunteered” to assist the host Chapter when their own Second Principal failed to attend  - not only did he act as Second Principal he also delivered the Symbolical Lecture in exemplary fashion.    I hope that they found their year enjoyable and informative and that they will continue to remain in touch with one another within the context of the Royal Arch.

I thank the Deputy Provincial Grand Superintendent, the 3rd Provincial Grand Principal and the Assistants to the Principals for their assistance and support during the past year and for the manner in which they severally discharged their duties.

I wish to thank and congratulate the Prov Grand DC and his Deputy DCs together with the Assistant DCs who have once more demonstrated with their usual understated mode of operation an essential grasp of ceremonial as well as ensuring to the best of their ability suitable arrangements for your comfort and that of our distinguished guests.   I would request Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra to record my, and I trust your, appreciation and thanks.

Companions,a great deal of work is involved in the administration of the Province throughout the year as well as in connection with this evening’s Convocation here as well as at the subsequent Festive Board.  Prov Grand Scribe E and his team at Provincial Office provide help and guidance to all companions with courtesy and affability and deserve our sincere thanks for the exemplary service which they so willingly provide.  Let us show them how much they are appreciated.

Thank you, Companions, for your kind attention - may TT & LGMH guide you in all your endeavours and keep you safe.

Link to UGLE website