The members and guests of Rowley Chapter No 1051 gave the Deputy Grand Superintendent Paul Renton an especially fervent welcome when he joined them as the principal guest at the Masonic Hall, Lancaster for their installation convocation.
Paul was delighted to have the support of the Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Christopher (Chris) Butterfield, the Lancaster and District Group Vice Chairman Neil McGill, grand officers Philip Gardner, Peter Mason and Frank Clarke, together with acting Provincial grand officers Paul Thompson, David Tattersall and Stephen McClintock. Orchestrating events both in the chapter and at the festive board was the Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Dave Thomas.
Following the entry procession and customary exchanges, the three principals set about the task of installing or inducting their successors in a ceremony that was delightful to witness. Daniel Crossley was installed into the third principal’s chair by Peter Pemberton, who received his induction into the second principal’s chair from John Berry. John was in turn afforded an excellent demonstration of ritual delivery by Bill Byrne who inducted him into the office of first principal.
The robe addresses were admirably delivered by Paul Mason (address to the first principal), Paul Morgan (address to the second principal) and Paul Seacy the robe address to the third principal. As the ceremony drew to a close Paul was pleased to bring to the principals and the chapter the greetings and best wishes of the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison. He felt sure that had Tony been present in person he would have been impressed by what could only be described as an excellent ceremony, especially the work done by the three relatively new companions who had delivered the robe addresses.
Paul said that he was delighted to receive two cheques totalling the magnificent sum of £750 in favour of the MCF 2021 Festival, which entitled the chapter to Vice Patronage of the MCF 2021 Festival.
At the festive board held in the Rowley Court Banqueting Suite, Paul Renton in response to the toast to the grand officers, congratulated the chapter on a well organised ceremony, before thanking Chris Butterfield, Neil McGill and the grand and acting Provincial grand officers for their support. Special mention was made of Dave Thomas for his commitment and hard work over the years as a Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies.
Paul then moved on to discuss the MCF 2021 Festival, with specific reference to the magnificent donation the chapter had made earlier in the evening. Paul noted that it was great to see so many companions wearing their festival jewel and informed his audience that in total 2,300 pledges had already been made towards the festival, a fantastic commitment given it was only six months since the official launch of the festival.
Paul then touched upon the need to make sure that fellow Masons were made aware of the Royal Arch and that we need to go out and sell it to them. In conclusion Paul congratulated John Berry in attaining the first principal’s chair and encouraged him to enjoy his Royal Arch Masonry and to keep up with the good work.
The toast the three principals was given with humour and style by Peter Mann, a good friend of the first principal John Berry. Peter, a Royal Arch Mason from the Blackpool Chapter of Integrity No 5864, had travelled from Blackpool to support John on taking the first principal’s chair. We learnt from Peter, that John had once before been installed as first principal at the Blackpool Chapter of Integrity in 1981, and he was sure John would be committed in his efforts in supporting Rowley Chapter.
In response, John replied he had really enjoyed the evening and hoped the companions of Rowley Chapter would look back on the evening with fond memories as well. The Royal Arch is a wonderful degree in John’s mind and the fulfilment of his Craft Masonry. Upon thanking everyone for attending the installation convocation and festive board, John announced that the raffle had raised the wonderful sum of £179.
Given that Rowley Chapter installation convocation was on the same day as Paul Renton’s birthday, just one final touch remained and that was to present Paul with a very large and superbly decorated birthday cake, for which Paul effusively thanked the companions of the chapter.
Article and photographs by Paul Thompson.