The total number of members in each Area of the Province as at 31st December 2016 is shown below:
Total membership gains for the period 1.1.16 to 31.12.16 and notified to us so far were 86 consisting of Exaltees, Joining and Rejoining members, which is set against total membership losses over the same period of 191. This figure consists of Resignations, elections to Honorary Membership, Exclusions, Cessations and Chapter Closures. It also includes 69 Companions who have been called to Higher Service.
There were 99 Resignations in the year of which 76 were from the 60+ age group. Set against this was the 53 Exaltees reported for the period. 9 Exaltees were aged over 60, 34 of these fell into the 40 to 60 age group and 10 below the age of 40. Of the 86 Chapters, 47 Chapters did not have a Candidate. This equates to almost 55%.
Following the successful visit of the “Talking Heads” Team from the Metropolitan Grand Chapter in February 2016, we are about to embark on a series of presentations around the Province with our own teams drawn up from Companions in each of the Areas. This initiative has obviously caught the imagination as several Lodges from each Area have already “booked in” the Team for a visit. The Teams are busy rehearsing and are keen to spread the message. I strongly recommend that the host Lodge invites as many Master Masons, both newly Raised or of long standing, together with Lodge Royal Arch Representatives, that meet at the respective Halls to attend so that they may see for themselves what the Royal Arch is about and hopefully, awaken the interest of the inquiring mind to take that next step in “pure Antient Masonry”. Whilst we already have teams in place we would welcome any Companion who may be interested in taking part to volunteer to be part of these teams (please contact your Scribe Ezra or Area APGP). I strongly believe that a Royal Arch membership of greater than 50% in the Province of Cheshire is achievable.
I have been heartened by the number of Exaltations that have occurred throughout the year and where possible I try and attend to welcome the new Companion into our wonderful Order. I must also congratulate the standard of Ritual in each of the Chapters that I have visited. The introduction of the “Setting the Scene” has been adopted throughout the Province and has been well received.
We have started to roll out the “Roles and Responsibilities of the Lodge Royal Arch Representative”. This initiative will continue by Area in 2017. 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 and to be a mentor once taken.
Companions, potential Candidates are present in each of our Lodges. I acknowledge that not every Master Mason will join the Royal Arch, but we should at least ask the question “why not?”
The Forum continues to prosper, so much so that other Provinces have shown an interest in what we are doing here in Cheshire. Our near neighbours in the Province of East Lancashire have adopted our model and set up their own Companions Forum. The Province of Nottinghamshire are doing the same and I must thank Excellent Companion Andy Tong for the time and energy he has provided in assisting these two Provinces. In November and December of last year, Excellent Companion Roger Quayle together with Andy Tong visited a number of Areas to reinvigorate the Companions Forum in the Province.
Companions, this is your Forum please use it. It is a simple way to communicate with the Leadership and can be anonymous if that is your wish. I would like to remind 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 Celebration, Exaltation, Lecture which might be of interest. I would urge all Scribes Ezra to visit the website to ensure the database is kept up to date.
At the Annual Convocation in 2016, the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent announced the Royal Arch Province of Cheshire would be aligned directly to the Craft Areas which in turn would require the appointment of a new Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals. It has pleased the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent to appoint Excellent Companion Stephen Philip Christian, PGStdB, as the Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals for Area 1 with Excellent Companion David Williams moving across to Area 5. I would like to take this opportunity to wish E Comp Steve well in his new role within the Province.
I have already made mention of the “Talking Heads” presentations that will take place throughout the Province. In a similar vein, we are hoping to invite the Metropolitan Team back to the Province later in the year for a demonstration of another playlet – “Royal Arch in camera-your Chapter in Focus”. This promises to be an informative and entertaining explanation of the Royal Arch with something new for everyone. The presentation is lively and informative and provides guidance on such matters as the RA protocols and procedures that should be observed, the wearing of the RA Regalia, the Opening, Closings and explores some the inextricable links between Craft and Royal Arch Masonry. The Companions will be enlightened to some of the RA symbolism coupled with descriptions of the characters represented and their background history, including the relationship to the Ceremony of the Veils.
In September 2016, the Province welcomed the presence of the Second Grand Principal, Most Excellent Companion Russell John Race, together with the Leaders of some of our neighbouring Provinces, on the occasion of the second ever re- enactment of the Tunnah Manuscript. Such was the success of the evening that the Team has been invited to present the same to some of our neighbours. As a result the Team are back in rehearsals.
Since our last Annual Convocation a number of Companions have celebrated Anniversaries as follows:
COMPANIONS WITH 50 YEARS AND OVER IN THE ROYAL ARCH
EComp Dr. Peter John Lorraine Chapman
EComp Brian Sykes Raby
EComp Wilfred Knight Excellent
Comp John Clisset
EComp John Kevin Meredith
EComp Geoffrey Hindley Whitehurst
EComp Roy Ham
EComp Robert Douglas Currie
EComp Stanley Bernard Berry
EComp Peter Charles Hearn
EComp Ronald Keely
EComp Michael Stanley Fleeson
COMPANIONS WITH 60 YEARS AND OVER IN THE ROYAL ARCH
EComp William Edward Stanley Devine
EComp John Kenneth Rudd
EComp Donald Eric Boden
SUPREME GRAND CHAPTER
At the Annual Investiture Meeting of Supreme Grand Chapter held on 28 April 2016 the following Companions were invested with the Supreme Grand Chapter Ranks indicated:
EComp Philip Royston Jones Past Grand Standard Bearer
EComp Kenneth Mallon Past Grand Standard Bearer
EComp David Allen Williams Past Grand Standard Bearer
EComp Keith Rogerson 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 69 (as at 31 December 2016) Companions, including Most Excellent Companion Timothy Raymond Roper Richards, Past Grand Superintendent; Excellent Companions Maxwell Millward Leese, Ralph Latham Jones, Geoffrey Yorke Papworth all of whom were PGStB; and William Dudley Aukland, PAGSoj.
We offer our condolences to the families and friends of all our dear departed Companions.
FEES AND CONTRIBUTIONS
It is recommended the Annual Convocation adopt the following fees and contributions payable at the end of October 2017 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|
Note: The contribution of £25 per Chapter towards the Annual Convocation has been waived for a further year. This is the 10th year the cost to the Annual Convocation has been waived.
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 Examiner.
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 2016 who have supported the RA leadership throughout the Province during the past 12 months and hope that you have enjoyed your year in office, 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, PGSwdB Deputy Grand Superintendent