MEGS Address to Provincial Grand Chapter – 1 June 2017

Companions, it is with great excitement that I address this Provincial Grand Chapter today. It has been, without doubt, a superb past year for the Province culminating in this our Annual Investiture and celebrations today.

You have already viewed the Provincial Grand Treasurers Report showing a significant contribution to Charity whilst maintaining a stable financial footing on which to build our future. Likewise, with the Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra’s report detailing many memorable occasions throughout the year.

Let me first express my personal thanks to those Companions who helped make this day such a huge success;

  • Our Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra – E. Comp Roger Jones, and Provincial Assistant Grand Scribe Ezra – E. Comp Philip Mott, who have once again pulled together a superb Annual Convocation. Congratulations and thank you both.
  • To our past Deputy GS E. Comp Gary Mitchell (who begged for a mention) for his wise council and experience in planning and preparing for this Convocation.
  • The visiting Grand Superintendents and our distinguished guests, who have once again adorned our Convocation – thank YOU for your company and very kind words of support. I look forward to joining you all again in the coming weeks
  • To our Provincial Grand DC on his first outing and his team for the excellent ceremonial. Congratulations!
  • And most especially, my thanks to you the Companions of Berkshire for your unceasing support and contribution in making Berkshire such an amazing Province.

I extend a warm welcome to our newly Exalted Companions (point to far left) on this your first visit to Provincial Grand Chapter. I hope you have enjoyed and absorbed the passion and momentum that this Annual Convocation brings. For you are the seedling of our Order and it is to you that we look for our future leaders and the ongoing prosperity of Berkshire Royal Arch Masonry. Help us to build and sustain this wonderful order of Masonic ritual by a solid and regular contribution to your individual Chapters. And WE look forward to the day you are up here receiving your Provincial honours.

Companions. it has been a particular pleasure today to invest and promote the Provincial Officers and on behalf of the Provincial Executive I congratulate you collectively. Your honours are not only recognition of your past efforts, but OUR anticipation of your continued contribution towards the success of this Province, especially your individual Chapters. I ask that you stand tall, proud of your well-deserved appointments and become the guiding light for those Companions around you. Lead by example, promote the joys of Royal Arch Masonry within your circles and captivate the hearts and minds of Master Masons to join us.

Companions, the Holy Royal Arch and Craft Masonry continue to prosper TOGETHER in this Province, thanks primarily to the close links and strong bonds of Companionship between Provincial Grand Lodge and Provincial Grand Chapter. I am hugely grateful to our Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, Excellent Companion Martin Peters and his Executive for their active promotion of the Royal Arch and its inclusion in their future plans for Masonic Education.

Indeed, off the back of the hugely successful set of the lectures ‘Explaining the Three Degrees’ of Craft Masonry, the Berkshire Masonic Education Committee, through E. Comp John Avery, have created a complimentary lecture, ‘Explaining the Royal Arch’, which was successfully delivered in the Sandhurst Chapter in April. 

RWPGM, with the multitude of Tercentenary celebrations this year, Berkshire Craft Masonry is riding the crest of a wave that we can all unite in, and we look forward to sharing those celebrations with you at Winsor Race Course on Sunday 2nd July.

Companions, you will recall, last year I pledged our Royal Arch support for the Mark Benevolent Fund to assist the Provincial Grand Mark Lodge of Berkshire in its 2017 Festival. Firstly, I congratulate the individual Companions and Chapters of Berkshire for the phenomenal way in which you have honoured this pledge. Your outstanding contributions are a wonderful testimony of thanks for what we have already received – thank you!

Comp ProvDepGDC would you kindly escort to the floor, the RW Provincial Grand Master for the Mark Province of Berkshire, E. Comp Richard Olliver. 

I now call upon our Provincial Grand Charity Steward, Excellent Companion John Peglar to present our contribution to the Mark Benevolent Fund 2017 Festival.

Excellent Companion Richard, on behalf of Berkshire Royal Arch Masons, many congratulations on your successful Mark Festival and we wish you and the Berkshire Mark Masons a spectacular evening of celebrations at Trunkwell House on Saturday 8th July.

Companions, my Vision for Berkshire remains solid – to be the BEST! A vibrant RA Province, bursting with character and happiness! A Province that leads the country for growth and success. A Province with a 50% RA membership!

We must accept that such a bold vision requires us to break down any unhealthy traditions that may chain us to the past, and, prevent the re-birth of our society to meet the expectations of the modern men. In short Companions, if we practice the same thing we can only reasonably expect the same results. So, we must be open to and encourage change.

Some results, of course, are very much appreciated and we look to draw from these, ‘best practices’ to share throughout the Province. But other factors require us to question the reasons behind what-we-do and ask if there is a different or better way to embrace the future opportunities before us.

Companions, far be it from me to dictate how you run your Chapters. You each, individually, have a responsibility for your own Chapter – its success or its demise! My role is to lead and guide this RA Province. To share with you the ‘best practice’ from other Chapters for your consideration. And, if you see fit, assist you to adopt those practices within your own Chapters. My message is simple – the Provincial team will help!

To this end Companions, our momentum is gathering and I am delighted to share with you several new initiatives to help propel RA Masonry forward in this wonderful Province of Royal Berkshire.

My first introduction to you is the new Berkshire Royal Arch logo – brilliantly crafted by our 2nd Provincial Grand Principal, E. Comp Jem Whitmore. Many of you will have spotted it on the front of your order book! It is designed to be bright, colourful, modern and inviting – just as we want the HRA to be portrayed in this Province. 

This new logo has been incorporated into a new promotional banner promoting the HRA One of these banners will be offered to each of the Masonic centres in the Province to serve as a visible reminder that the HRA is – the Fourth Step – and the completion of Pure Antient Freemasonry. Companions, let it act as a prompt to each and every one of you to talk with all Craft Masons about completing their Masonic journey and becoming a more rounded Mason.

The Fourth Step is also the working title of our new presentation introducing the HRA to Craft Masons. Companions, I commissioned two of the brightest characters from Berkshire RA Masonry to transform the ‘Talking Heads’ script into a lively Berkshire presentation that can be delivered in both Craft and Chapter settings to attract Master Masons.

Companions, I’m sure it will come as no surprise to you that I congratulate and thank 

  • Our Past Grand Superintendent – E. Comp Ken Benford and
  • Past Deputy Grand Superintendent – E. Comp Gary Mitchell

on their enthusiasm and dedication to this task. Under the direction of our 3rd Provincial Grand Principal E. Comp Mike Warner, we are now pulling together teams to travel the Province and deliver The Forth Step.

Finally, Companions, with the guidance of our Deputy Grand Superintendent, E. Comp Bernard Greenwold, the Provincial Royal Arch website is also about to be re-designed to incorporate the essence of these new initiatives. And I pay tribute to E. Comp Phil Harley who has maintained and updated the current website for many years. On behalf of the Executive, present and past, thank you for the enormous amount of work you have contributed.

Companions, with these initiative in mind, I look forward with great passion to leading this wonderful Province of Berkshire for the coming year as your Most Excellent Grand Superintendent. And I call on you to unite with me in this grand Vision and share in the glory of being the BEST in the land! Thank you for your attention.

Ian Hopgood

Most Excellent Grand Superintendent