The Ormskirk and Bootle Group, along with the Southport Group, held a joint service of thanksgiving as part of their tercentenary celebrations of the formation of the first Grand Lodge in the world in June 1717, with the date of the service being chosen to be as close to its anniversary.
The service was held at St Cuthbert’s Church in Halsall, which is in the Diocese of Liverpool and the Archdeaconry of Warrington, with the oldest parts of the church, the chancel, dating back to the 14th century.
Representing the groups for the service were the two group chairmen, Frank Umbers from the Ormskirk and Bootle Group and Colin Jenkins from the Southport Group. They were accompanied by many group officers and members who were accompanied by their wives, partners and family.
The service started with the Reverend Stephen Leach warmly welcoming the congregation to the service of thanksgiving, before commencing with the first hymn, ‘O Worship the King all glorious above’ written by Robert Grant in 1833 and set to the music of ‘Hanover’; with the music for the service being played by the St Cuthbert’s Church organist Eddie Carr a member of St Luke’s Lodge No 6006. Following the hymn the Reverend Stephen Leach delivered the introduction, confession and absolution.
The congregation then sang another hymn ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’ set to the music of ‘Crimond’ written by L E Grennan. Following this hymn Frank Umbers made his way up to the pulpit to deliver the first lesson, 1 Kings 8:25 – 30 ‘Solomon’s Prayer of Dedication of the Temple.’
The hymn ‘King of Glory, King of Peace’ set to the tune ‘Gwalchmai’, by George Herbert, was followed by Colin Jenkins taking the pulpit to deliver the second lesson in the service St John 2, ‘That house not made with hands’.
With the reading completed the Reverend Stephen Leach, lead the congregation in prayers, which was followed with the hymn ‘Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us’, written by James Edmeston in 1821, to the tune of ‘Mannheim’. This was followed by the sermon.
The congregation then sang the penultimate hymn ‘Angel voices, ever singing’ by Francis Pott, to the tune of ‘Angel Voices’ by Arthur Sullivan whilst the collection was taken among the congregation.
Reverend Stephen Leach then gave the general thanksgiving before the final hymn of the afternoon’s service ‘The Closing Hymn’ sung to the tune of ‘St Sylvester’. This was followed by the blessing. The service now being completed the congregation made their way out of the church to be greeted by the very hot sunny weather before making their way a couple of 100 yards down the road to St Cuthbert’s Church of England Primary School for some light refreshments of tea, coffee and biscuits which had been laid on in the school hall.