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First Principals Installation – September 2022

Once again Bridgwater Masonic Hall was the venue for the daytime meeting. Many companions were available to set up the chapter room, especially E Comp Richard Elliss, MEZ, he must have got in very early. The rehearsal started later than scheduled but managed to do all of the important parts of the ceremony. At just after 11:00am we managed to start to open the Chapter, the three Principals, E Comps Richard Eliss, MEZ, Ray Beckingham, acting H, and Ray Guthrie, J, carrying out the opening.

The usual parts of the Agenda was carried out then MEZ welcomed Companions from Devon and Cornwall, then those 1st Principals present from Chapters in Somerset. A Ballot for five joining members was carried out in a slightly different manner; we had the ballot box but no balls, eventually white paper was used, the ballot proved clear.

E Comps John Winston, H, Ray Guthrie, MEZ, and Barry McCormack, J

The main event of the morning was to Induct the three Principals and E Comp Adrian Halliwell, DC, was asked to present the Principals starting with E Comp Barry McCormack as J, E Comp John Winston as H and E Comp Ray Guthrie as Z, to their relevant Principal. E Comp Ray then invested the Officers of the Chapter.

E Comp Ray Beckingham then gave the Almoner’s report.

Next on the Agenda was a presentation by E Comp Ray Guthrie. E Comp Ray started by saying the word “Holy” would no longer be used as in “The Holy Royal Arch” as directed by Supreme Grand Chapter. He then brought up the problems of retention of Companions and that there were over 500 lapsed Royal Arch Companions in the Province and that this figure was too high. There is a need to stop this hemorrhaging which usually occurred in the first few years of their Exaltation. Could everyone try to bring them back, find out why they left and to resolve that problem if possible.

In 2023 SGC would be appointing a Grand Mentor and the Province would follow suit in the AGM next May. Chapters will be asked to appoint their own Mentor following the Province’s example. At the May Convocation they will also appoint a Provincial Communications Officer, watch this space!

E Comp Ray finished off by saying that UGLE were making stronger bonds with SGC, though if you look at the UGLE Website the Royal Arch is only on the sub menu at present. In the future it will probably be that the Royal Arch will be subsumed into one site.

There was no other business and the Chapter was closed and companions headed downstairs for the Festive Board.

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