At the installation convocation of Lancaster Castle Chapter No 5952, members and guests enjoyed a high calibre ceremony, which was honoured by the presence of Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Christopher (Chris) Butterfield, representing the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison. Accompanying Chris, were fellow grand officer Phil Gardner, Lancaster and District Group Chairman Neil Mcgill, group vice chairman and secretary Scott Devine and Chris Larder respectively, Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah David Barr and acting Provincial Grand officers Peter Quirk, John Roxburgh, Paul Thompson, Dennis Laird and Steve McLintock.
Following the opening of the chapter by the first principal George Fox and upon completion of business, the DC Ian Allison entered the chapter to announce the arrival of Chris Butterfield and his attendant companions. George greeted Chris on behalf of the three principals and ‘welcomed him home’, to which Chris responded that it was his pleasure to be at his mother chapter and that the fact he cannot always attend chapter meetings, makes it a bit special. In advance of the installation, George thanked all the members of the chapter for their help, support and encouragement during his year in office.
Due to the unfortunate absence of the second principal elect Richard Holdstock, past first principal of the chapter Peter Whaley, was called upon to install Simon Hanson into the chair of the third principal, which he did in a most sincere and measured fashion. Given that the installation of the second principal would be completed at a future meeting, that chair was occupied for the purposes of installation by past first principal Norman Mitchell. Then in a lovely bit of theatre, it was the turn of installing first principal George Fox to invest Paul Fuery with the scarlet robe and the collar of his office, which of course he undertook with much aplomb.
Once the chapter officers had been invested and appointed, Chris rose to give greetings on behalf of the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison, commenting that he was sure that Tony would have enjoyed the ceremony immensely and would have congratulated all who had taken part, further adding that it was Tony’s sincerest wish that the principals and members of the chapter be blessed with good health to enjoy a happy and fruitful year. Further praise was proffered to the DC Ian Allison, who was stepping down, Chris thanking him for all his hard work over the years. Chris was delighted to receive donations from the chapter for the sums of £200 MCF 2021 Festival, £200 Lancaster Masonic Hall and £50 to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary Intensive Care Unit.
At the festive board, Chris in response to the toast to the grand officers, took the opportunity to bring his own greetings to the chapter and to offer his own personal congratulations on the way the ceremony had been conducted. “It had been”, Chris said, “a fantastic ceremony, although I could be biased, given it is his mother chapter.” He then apprised the companions with updates on some of the current issues within Royal Arch Masonry, including encouraging support for our Masonic Halls, both in time and money, the MCF 2021 Festival, the WLFC and lastly the Royal Arch itself.
Chris particularly mentioned the latter subject in order to encourage the companions to be ambassadors for the Royal Arch, as we all have a role to play in the recruitment and retention of members. It was crucial that companions gently espouse the advantages of Royal Arch Masonry to those Masons who had not already joined and point them in the direction of their lodge Royal Arch contact who should be able to provide help with any questions they may have.
In conclusion Chris thanked all the acting Provincial grand officers for their support as well as the help he had received from the Scribe Ezra David Jackman and the DC Ian Allison.
Following a very welcome response to the toast to the officers of Provincial Grand Chapter by David Barr, the toast to the three principals was proposed with a degree of candour and much humour by George Fox. In response, Paul Fuery paid tribute to all who had contributed to such a successful and enjoyable day. One further essential element to the evening proceedings was the announcement that the raffle had raised the princely sum of £190.
Article by Paul Thompson.
Photographs courtesy of Stewart Aimson