Members of The Chapter of Unity and Perseverance No 580 held their installation at Ormskirk Masonic Hall. First principal, Robert Taylor, opened the convocation expertly with his companions, second principal Alan Johnson and third principal Barry Hewitt.
The chapter was opened in due form by the three principals, following which the administrative business of the chapter included a ballot for a new member Thomas Hales to be exalted at a future convocation. David Thomas Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies was then admitted to announce that Second Provincial Grand Principal, Paul Renton, was without and demanded admission.
Paul then entered the chapter accompanied by Tony Hall Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals, grand officers Brian Fairhurst and Frank Umbers (Ormskirk and Bootle Group Chairman). Paul was also supported by acting Provincial grand officers; Ray Morris Provincial Principal Grand Sojourner, George Fletcher and Richard Frazer-Bastable Provincial Grand Standard Bearers and Derek Midgley Provincial Grand Steward; all were formally welcomed into the chapter by Robert.
The companions and their visitors were treated to a relaxed and eventful ceremony of installation which saw Alan Johnson a retired train driver and Barry Hewitt a member of the group’s publicity team (who is more used to being behind the camera than in front of it); installed to office as first and second principal respectively. On the evening Rob Hales, third principal elect, was unavailable due to work commitments; owing to this he will be installed at the April convocation. Mark Holloway assisted by occupying the third principal’s chair for the ceremony.
The scripture readings were delivered by Stephen Brereton and Bill Goulden. The crimson robe address was presented by Leon Teasdale and the purple robe address by Stewart Cranage.
The members of the chapter were honoured to have Paul give the address to the companions; a very special piece of ritual delivered with great warmth and sincerity and never before presented in this chapter. This was very much appreciated by all present. At the conclusion of the convocation Paul brought greetings from the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison, congratulating all those who had taken part in what had been a dignified ceremony; with a special mention for Robert Taylor installing first principal for all his hard work.
Alan then had the pleasant task of presenting Paul with three cheques totalling £600; with £300 to the MCF 2021 Festival, £200 to West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and £100 Macmillan Cancer Support. Paul thanked the companions for their immense generosity and said the money would be faithfully applied.
The companions retired to the festive board and enjoyed an outstanding meal of deep fried breaded Brie for starters; steak and kidney suet pudding with chunky chips, garden peas and gravy, and for dessert Banoffee cheesecake with cream and to complete the meal a selection of English and continental cheeses with crackers grapes, celery and chutney.
Later in the evening, in his response to the toast proposed by Barry to the grand officers, Paul having brought the formal greetings of the Grand Superintendent in the chapter, he now added his own greetings. He began by saying it was a joy to attend different chapter installations and to witness so many variations in the presentation of the ceremony; and he said that tonight this was a unique and different ceremony. He went on to mention that when he was exalted into Stonehenge Chapter in Wiltshire the difference there was that they had to use a JCB to move the keystone!! This brought much hilarity to the proceedings. Paul continued by adding several humerous anecdotes on chapter ceremonies that he had attended recently. Paul concluded by passing on his personal thanks to Stewart Cranage, chapter scribe and to David Thomas and Frank Umbers, also to the acting officers and all the companions with the hope that they would continue to enjoy their Royal Arch Masonry.
The evening ended, as companions left for home; many will remember a very special and unique night in a friendly and happy chapter.
Article by Barry Hewitt.
Photographs by Stephen Brereton and Barry Hewitt.