Extract from the Grand Superintendent's Address
Companions, I have already thanked and welcomed our distinguished guests, but I would like to start by thanking you all for being here. Today marks the end of my third year as the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent in and over the Province of West Wales. I would like to thank you all for your help and support over the last three years. It has been a challenge at times but having such a supportive Province makes my life very much easier. I hope that you all enjoy both the Provincial Grand Chapter Meeting this morning and the Provincial Grand Lodge Meeting after lunch.
Companions, The Holy Royal Arch is an integral part of Pure Antient Masonry, and this is affirmed by the very first paragraph of the Book of Constitutions under the heading of General Laws and Regulations for the Government of the Craft.
The Grand Master and the Pro Grand Master have repeatedly emphasised that The Royal Arch should be the next step for all freemasons after they have become Master Masons. We aren’t supposed to say anything which might imply that the Third Degree is in anyway incomplete, but it is clear to everyone in the room that the story told in the Exaltation Ceremony has very close links to the story told in the Third Degree.
All Grand Superintendents have been given the task of raising the number of Craft Masons who are also Royal Arch Masons by 5%. In West Wales currently 46% of Craft Masons are also Royal Arch Masons. This has seen a slight decline in the last 12 months as we have been working through our backlog of Initiations faster than we are able to clear our backlog of Exaltations.
Companions, here in West Wales we are fortunate to have a thriving Community of Royal Arch Masons. We are our own best advertisement and I know that I can rely on you all to sing the praises of Royal Arch Masonry at every opportunity. Please make sure that everyone knows just how much we enjoy our Royal Arch Masonry. On behalf of the Deputy Grand Superintendent and myself, I thank you for your continued support. I am sure that our combined efforts, coupled with the Royal Arch Representative scheme can get the number of Craft Masons who are also Royal Arch Masons up to 55% and beyond.
As I am sure you are aware, the incoming Pro First Grand Principal and his team have been working on a new strategy for the future of freemasonry in the coming years. What you may not be aware of is that the new strategy is an integrated strategy for both the Craft and the Royal Arch. The Supreme Grand Chapter Committee of General Purposes under the direction of Professor Stephen Tucker and with the assistance and input of the Royal Arch Liaison Group, which is Chaired by our good friend, Excellent Companion Michael Holland, the Grand Superintendent in and over the Province of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire are working on a specific Pathway to help us attract new members. They are also working on new language for us to use in Craft Lodges when talking about the Royal Arch to non-members. I am sure that we all welcome these changes and will embrace them when they are launched.
I congratulate all those who I have appointed and promoted in Provincial Grand Chapter this morning. These new ranks are to reward you for all you have done for your Chapters and to encourage you to even greater efforts in the future. To those of you who have received your first appointment in Provincial Grand Chapter, don’t underestimate how much the Companions in your Chapter will follow your example. It is a nice feeling, but a big responsibility.
I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the outgoing acting Officers for their company at Installation Meetings this year. I have already thanked the outgoing Principals, Excellent Companion Jeff Lewis, and Excellent Companion Emyr Davies. Companions Jeff and Emyr, you have been role models for me for many years. I thank you for the dedicated service you have given to the Province of West Wales, and I look forward to your company at meetings for many years to come.
I would also like to congratulate, Excellent Companion Mike Bradney on his promotion to the rank of Past Assistant Grand Sojourner in Supreme Grand Chapter and Excellent Companion Tony Trumper on being appointed to the rank of Past Grand Standard Bearer. Both ranks were richly deserved and are a testament to years of dedicated service to the province.
Provincial meetings take a lot of organising. I would like to thank the Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra, E Comp Tony Trumper, and the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, E Comp Phil Jones, for all the work they have put in which has made these meetings possible.
In addition, I would like to thank the companions of Kensington Chapter who have provided the equipment and manpower, ably assisted by some extra willing volunteers.
Finally, I would also like to thank Aled and his team here in Lampeter for providing us with a wonderful venue for our meetings.
In conclusion companions, I would like to thank you once again for attending today and I thank you in advance for your support and enthusiasm, as freemasonry and the Royal Arch heads towards a bright and exciting future.