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Provincial Annual Convocation and Installation

The Annual Convocation took place at the Webbington Hotel on Thursday 19th May 2022, this was preceded by the Installation of E Comp Raymond Guthrie as Most Excellent Grand Superintendent in and over the Province of Somerset.

At the early hour of 07:30 I was picked up by E Comp Jim Nicol, Prov Ass Scr E, for our journey along the M5 to the venue. On arrival we assembled in the Chapter room, which had been set up the previous day, ready for our rehearsal with the team down from London at 09:00. The London team was lead by Acting Grand Director of Ceremonies E Comp Paul Grier, a former pupil at a school in Taunton. He was accompanied by Asst Grand Director of Ceremonies E Comp Ed Goodchild, Asst Grand Director of Ceremonies, E Comp Thomas Hawley and Grand Janitor, E Comp Graham Daly. The rehearsals went well with the London team putting everyone at ease reminding those taking part that the floor was solid and there was no need to keep looking down for any holes to appear.

After a leisurely change into regalia the companions assembled in the main hall for the Installation to commence at 11:00. E Comp Paul Grier called the companions to order to receive the Third Grand Principal, E Comp Gareth Jones, Acting Second Principal E Comp David Pascoe, MEGS of Cornwall, and Acting Third Principal E Comp Graham Glazier, MEGS of Dorset. There were ten Grand Superintendents and numerous Provincial Grand Principals forming the escort and they were welcomed by acclamation in true Somerset tradition.

E Comp Gareth Jones addressing the companions

E Comp Gareth Jones welcomed everyone to the Installation of E Comp Ray Guthrie, stating that they were old friends from the time when they were both Deputy Provincial Grand Masters and meeting up around the Provinces. After MEGS’ Patent was examined by the Third Principal asked for a column of First Principals or former Principals of Somerset Chapters to retire to escort E Comp Ray followed by his son, E Comp Tony Guthrie, bearing MEGS’ Chain of Office, into the meeting. The Patent was then read by E Comp Shawn Christie, Assistant Grand Scribe E. E Comp Ray then took his obligation, was robed and taken before the Third Principal who Invested him with his Chain and seated him in the First Principal’s Chair

MEGS then Appointed and Invested the Provincial 2nd, E Comp Neil Hurcum, and 3rd Principals, E Comp Geoff Lester and his Deputy, E Comp Clive Lambert. Provincial Grand Chapter was then called off and companions headed for “rest and refreshment” where lunch was served at 13:00.

At the Festive Board MEGS proposed the Toasts and in particular that to the Third Grand Principal who was presented with a bottle of Somerset Brandy, likewise the London team also received bag of Somerset goodies. The Third Grand Principal then responded and followed this by proposing the toast to E Comp Ray. Likewise gifts were given to Ray on behalf or Supreme Grand Chapter and special cuff links given to all Grand Superintendents.

The Third Grand Principal then retired accompanied by the London team and Grand Superintendents. The companions then put on their regalia and returned to the Chapter ready for the Annual Convocation to be called back on.

Annual Provincial Convocation

The Chapter room started tp fill and everyone took their seats and enjoyed seeing old and new friends before the Convocation was called back on.

E Comp Tony Beaumont, Prov G Scribe E then read out the Roll of Chapters, each was represented. The Minutes of the last Convocation were confirmed followed by those companions called to the Grand Chapter Above. E Comp Tel Hayes, Prov G Treasurer, then gave his report and the accounts were then adopted. E Comp Tony Beaumont then stated that his report was printed in the brochure but can be read HERE.

MEGS then appointed and Invested the Provincial Officers for the 2022- 2023 season, followed by Appointments to Past Provincial rank and then Promotions, 26 in number.

The Provincial Team 2022-2023

MEGS then addressed the companions, thanking everyone for coming, especially Grand Superintendents and heads of other orders in Somerset. He congratulated those Appointed/Promoted and also E Comp David Dixon on his Grand Chapter Appointment.

He then went on to note the death of former MEGS, E Comp Barry Woodside, and thanked the outstanding work undertaken by E Comp Clive Lambert, Deputy GS, Neil Hurcum, 2nd Principal and Geoff Lester, 3rd Principal, in running the Province in the interim period. He then noted the changes that have occurred in the pandemic and the ways he hoped we could move on in the future.

MEGS then continued in seeking help to get those companions who were not in chapters to rejoin to boost our numbers. He is also looking to have a every chapter appoint a Mentor. MEGS believes there is a
place in the Royal Arch for everyone, including those who do not wish to progress through the three Chairs.

During these different times with rising prices, food poverty is becoming more widespread, MEGS is looking for chapters to give assistance to Food Banks, not only monetary but also volunteering.

He then gave his thanks to the retiring Provincial Scribe E, Tony Beaumont, the Deputy Provincial Director of Ceremonies Richard Stone, his team of assistant DCs and Stewards and the Provincial Janitor, Ray
Johnson-Smith, the Companions of Dungarvan Chapter, under whose banner this convocation has been held, for supplying the Chapter equipment. To read his address click HERE

Next item on the agenda was the presentation of a bible to Provincial Grand Chapter by E Comp Ian Keech in Memory E Comp Barry Woodside. MEGS said that this Bible will be used at all future Provincial Convocations.

There was no other business then the closing hymn was sung followed by the first verse of the National Anthem. The Chapter was then closed and companions headed for home.

Here are some further photos from the day. With special thanks to E Comp David Flack for all of the photographs shown on this page

E Comp Adrian Halliwell

Provincial Liaison Officer

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