Traditionally a ninetieth year anniversary present would be celebrated by presentation of stone or a floral gift would be representative of a purple flower, both representative in presence and colour in a Royal Arch chapter room, more especially in the presence of a Nonagintennial installation meeting where members and visitors of Royal Protector Chapter No 3471 were honoured and delighted to receive the Deputy Grand Superintendent, Danny Jones as their principal guest to their recent installation meeting.
Danny was well supported by the accompaniment of Barry Jameson, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals, the Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah, Jim Miller, and the Provincial Deputy Director of Ceremonies, Neil MacSymons. Also supported by the South Eastern Group Chairman Mike Adams along with group vice-chairman David Durling along with acting rank officer, Provincial Grand Steward, Stephen Firth, group officers and visiting companions.
Following the opening and initial business of the chapter, at the appropriate point, Neil MacSymons entered to announce the presence of Danny Jones and his demand of admission. Danny was then formally welcomed by the first principal Ray Wilkinson and his fellow principals. Danny, having been seated along with his grand and acting retinue, Ray quickly rose in the time honoured fashion and in a vein hope of Danny accepting the sceptre of the chapter. Danny was of course honoured to be offered the opportunity, more especially on the chapter’s actual ninetieth birthday; however Danny precluded that Ray, as the installing principal would have carried the ninety year tradition of practice and kindly offered the privilege back to Ray saying he was looking forward to a relaxed evening of celebration.
The ensuing ceremony was conducted in a pleasant manner where the three principals were progressed to their respective offices, John Phillips was installed as first principal for the first time in his Royal Arch career, Sylvester During was installed as second principal and Charles Makinson installed as third principal.
The scarlet, purple and blue robe addresses were orated by Ray Wilkinson, John Phillips and Sylvester During respectively. The conclave was closed and companions readmitted to the chapter.
At the completion of the installation ceremony, Danny brought the greetings and congratulations of the Provincial Grand Superintendent, Tony Harrison, wishing them well during their year in office. He continued by congratulating Ray Wilkinson for his part in installing his successor as the first principal, thanking him for all his work during his year in office. He concluded the good wishes of the Grand Superintendent by congratulating all the companions of the chapter who had taken part in what had been a lovely installation ceremony.
Before resuming his seat, Danny asked the three acting rank officers present to stand and introduce themselves to the members of the chapter, thanking them for their continuing support and attendance at the meeting.
John Phillips, in response, thanked Danny for his very kind comments on behalf of the Grand Superintendent and had the pleasure of presenting a cheque for £200 in support of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, Danny thanked the chapter for their very kind donation and on behalf of all those we may never know who will ultimately benefit.
On the first rising, Scribe Ezra, Austin Fletcher announced that there was a receipt of a Supreme Grand Chapter certificate for the recently exalted chapter member, Tim Rathwell. At that point Barry, having been delegated by Danny, rose to take the opportunity of giving an explanation of the certificate in an excellent, well presented fashion where he explained the history which goes back to the year 1791 and the meaning of the certificate to Tim.
Then on behalf of the grand officers, Mike Adams rose and responded by saying that he and the grand officers had been delighted to attend a pleasant installation meeting and moreover, most pleased to receive Danny at the meeting, Mike said it was a pleasure to see a presentation of mixed combined ritual being used. Mike also thanked the group officers for the presence too.
Later in the evening, in response to the toast to the grand officers, Danny brought his own congratulations and good wishes to the three principals and the companions of the chapter. He congratulated those that had taken office wishing them all well for the future. He went on to thank Barry Jameson, Jim Miller, Mike Adams, David Durling, and group officers Ezra McGowan (group membership officer) and Eddie Wilkinson (group publicity officer) for their attendance and support.
Turning to the Royal Arch, Danny informed the companions that currently only 42 per cent of Craft Masons are members of the Royal Arch. He went on to say that the profile of the Royal Arch needs to be raised to attract Masons. He acknowledged that the ‘Talking Heads’ presentations goes some way to drawing attention to the Royal Arch. The recent enhanced exaltation ceremony coupled with team visits has made the Royal Arch a more enjoyable, vibrant and stimulating complete degree. He hoped this would further encourage Craft Masons to take the extra step in their Masonic career by joining a chapter that was welcoming, colourful and enjoyable for new candidates.
He concluded his remarks by thanking Neil MacSymons for all his work travelling throughout the Province in his role as a Provincial Deputy Director of Ceremonies.
Towards the end of the evening, Jim Miller responded on behalf of the Provincial grand officers on which concluded a most convivial, enjoyable festive board.
Article and photographs by Eddie Wilkinson.