The total number of members in each Area of the Province as at 1st December 2015 is listed below.
Area 1 870
Area 2 475* Two Chapters from Area 1 are being looked after by Area 2.
Area 3 680
Area 4 504
Total membership gains for the period 1.1.15 to 31.12.15 and notified to us so far were 127 consisting of Exaltees, Joining and Rejoining members, which is set against total membership losses over the same period of 139. This figure consists of Resignations, elections to Honorary Membership, Exclusions, Cessations and Chapter Closures. It also includes 39 Companions who have been called to Higher Service.
There were 92 Resignations in the year of which 59 were from the 60+ age group. Set against this was the 56 Exaltees reported for the period. 12 Exaltees were aged over 60, 32 of these fell into the 40 to 60 age group and 12 below the age of 40. Of the 85 Chapters, 50 Chapters did not have a Candidate. This equates to almost 59%.
It is incumbent on us all to ensure that each newly raised Master Mason should continue his journey in “pure Antient Masonry” by joining the Royal Arch. However, I realise that for 100% Craft Masons to become a member of the Royal Arch is never going to happen but to have a membership of greater than 50% ought to be achievable. To this end, the “Talking Heads” team from the Metropolitan Grand Stewards Chapter have been invited to visit the Province in February to give a demonstration which is intended to awaken the interest of Master Masons, both newly Raised or of long standing on what the Royal Arch is about and why they should join. Following the presentation by the Team from London the intention will be to form teams within each Craft Area to present the same in Craft Lodges, by invitation, to promote the Royal Arch. We already have our first invitation and I hope there will be many more to follow. We obviously require volunteers to be part of these teams and would welcome any Companion who may be interested in taking part (please contact your Scribe Ezra or Area APGP).
PROVINCIAL GRAND CHAPTER OF ROYAL ARCH MASONS OF CHESHIRE COMPANIONS FORUM
The Forum continues to prosper, so much so that other Provinces have shown an interest in what we doing here in Cheshire. Excellent Companion Roger Quayle was recently invited to give a presentation on the Forum at a recent meeting of the Deputy Grand Superintendents Forum which was attended by the Second Grand Principal. I thank you for all the information that you are passing to Excellent Companion Andy Tong and to whom I extend my grateful thanks for the considerable amount of work he puts into the Companions Forum on our behalf. The Forum has its own database to enable Scribes Ezra to update their Chapter information so that Companions from other Chapters may visit should there be an item of business on the Agenda e.g. 50th Celebrations, Exaltation, Lecture which might be of interest. I would urge all Scribes Ezra visit the website to ensure the database is kept up to date. The RA Companions Forum representatives will continue to visit your Chapters for you to pass on your feelings / suggestions etc to them in person.
There are a number of initiatives scheduled for 2016. I have already made mention of the “Talking Heads” demonstration. In September, the Province is planning to give the 2nd ever re-enactment of the Tunnah Manuscript which describes an 18th century Chapter Catechism in the form of a colloquy similar to that of the Craft Green Book lectures. This was first performed back in 2014 and was seen by over 180 Cheshire Royal Arch Companions. We hope for similar numbers again.
In agreement with the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, the Royal Arch Leadership aim to define the roles and responsibilities of the Lodge Royal Arch Representative which will be rolled out in a series of workshops throughout the Province. This Brother has an important role within the Lodge to ensure that each newly raised Master Mason is made aware of the Royal Arch, which, when he is ready, should be the next step on the Master Masons ladder.
Since our last Annual Convocation a number of Chapters and Companions have celebrated Anniversaries as follows:
COMPANIONS WITH 50 YEARS AND OVER IN THE ROYAL ARCH
Excellent Companion John William Drain
Excellent Companion Eric Barnes
Excellent Companion Dennis Boughen
Excellent Companion Dennis Holmes
Excellent Companion Victor Albert Birkinshaw
Excellent Companion Roger Bugler
Excellent Companion Leslie William Gabriel
Excellent Companion Ramon Cottrell
Excellent Companion William Humphrey Chetham
Excellent Companion George Terence Butler
Excellent Companion John Macmillan Baird
Excellent Companion Thomas Geoffrey Archer
Excellent Companion Basil Gilbert
Excellent Companion Walter Edward Yates
Excellent Companion Neville John Nixon
Excellent Companion Wilfred Knight
Excellent Companion Brian Sykes Raby (not celebrating until later in the year)
Excellent Companion John Clisset
COMPANIONS WITH 60 YEARS AND OVER IN THE ROYAL ARCH
Excellent Companion Brian Edwards Baguley
Excellent Companion Eric Middleton Thomason
SUPREME GRAND CHAPTER
At the Annual Investiture Meeting of Supreme Grand Chapter held on 30th April 2015 the following Companions were invested with the Supreme Grand Chapter Ranks indicated:-
Excellent Companion Simon James Palfreyman Past Grand Standard Bearer
Excellent Companion Paul Stefan Richards Past Grand Standard Bearer
Excellent Companion David Robinson Sellers Past Grand Standard Bearer
Excellent Companion Stephen Charles Teare Past Grand Standard Bearer
Excellent Companion Robert Harrop Past Assistant Grand Sojourner
We extend our congratulations to them and wish them well for the future.
Over the last twelve months we have paid our last respects to 39 (as at 31/12/15) Companions, including Excellent Companions Norman Albert Rogers (who was also a Past Provincial Grand Secretary and Provincial Grand Scribe E) and Michael Arthur Watkin both of whom were Past Grand Standard Bearers.
We offer our condolences to the families and friends of all our dear departed Companions.
FEES AND CONTRIBUTIONS 2016
The Committee recommend the Annual Convocation to adopt the following fees and contributions payable at the end of October 2016 for the previous 12 months namely:
|Annual Dues per Member||11.50|
|Registration of newly Exalted Companion||5.00|
|Registration of joining or rejoining Companion from another Chapter in the English Constitution||3.00|
|Registration of joining Companion from another Chapter outside the English Constitution||5.00|
|Contribution towards the Annual Convocation||25.00|
|Dispensation granted by the Grand Superintendent||10.00|
|Amendment to Chapter By-Laws||10.00|
|Appointments to Provincial Grand Rank Acting and Past||30.00|
|Donations towards promotions in Provincial Grand Rank||18.00|
|Registration of new Chapter (By-Law No. 14)||200.00|
|Closure of a Chapter||100.00|
The contribution of £25 per Chapter towards the Annual Convocation has been waived for a further year. This is the 9th year the cost to the Annual Convocation has been waived.
Download link for Dues & Fees: RA dues and fees 2016
The Province is indebted to the Provincial Grand Treasurer and his predecessor whose report they have considered and records its thanks and appreciation for the work undertaken by him and the Independent Auditor.
It is anticipated there will be no changes in the Annual Dues per member (£11.50) for 2016, however, it should be noted that these are subject to review each year.
The foregoing figures are to help Chapters plan their budgets but it must be stressed that the amounts are only estimated at this time and are based on the best information currently available. Chapters are also reminded that Grand and Provincial Dues are paid in arrears. Therefore, Chapters should budget to meet such Dues out of current and not future income.
I close by extending my sincere thanks to the Acting Officers of the 2015 who have supported the RA leadership throughout the Province during the past 12 months, to the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies and his Deputies, the Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra, the staff and volunteers at the Provincial Office and all the Companions and Chapters within this wonderful Province of ours.
Excellent Companion John Robert Bramley, PGStB
Deputy Grand Superintendent and Chairman