Saturday 20th May 2023 saw The Annual Convocation of the Provincial Grand Chapter of Durham, with the Fed in Dunston being the venue. The various car parks quickly filled as the Stewards displayed their usual immaculate organising skills to make sure all went with precision so that the Companions could enter the venue and robe in the crimson, purple and blue of the Royal Arch.
This is the premier event in the Royal Arch Masonic calendar, and it provides an opportunity for companions from Masonic Halls throughout the province, along with distinguished guests to renew old friendships, meet future friends and of course, support the many Companions being either appointed or Promoted in Provincial Grand Chapter.
The Chapter room looked magnificent, and many thanks go to all those responsible for the setting up which had been ongoing from Friday evening. The sound of the Provincial Grand Organ so eloquently played by Richard Scothan, as the Companions stood to order to receive the Grand Superintendent and his Co-Principals added to the occasion.
With Provincial Grand Chapter opened in due form, apologies and minutes of the previous Convocation confirmed it was time for all present to remember the 41 companions we lost since our last meeting in July 2022.
After the Roll Call of Acting Provincial Grand Chapter Officers and Chapters, the Grand Superintendent welcomed the Companions, his Distinguished Guests, and Heads of Other Orders.
With the Provincial Grand Treasurer’s Statement of Accounts considered and accepted by the Companions present and the Treasurer re-elected for another 12 months along with the official Auditors, it was time to perform the most important and pleasurable part of the day, to appoint, invest and promote those companions’ receiving honours.
To see the full list of Appointments and Promotions Click Here.
With the Companions newly invested, safely back in their seats and the escorting carrousel of Director of Ceremonies retired back to their positions within Provincial Grand Chapter the Grand Superintendent, John Paul Thompson addressed Provincial Grand Chapter.
In his address John paid tribute to the companions he had the privilege to invest as well as to those retiring acting officers for the support they gave to the province and to Michael Shaw the Deputy.
Those who had been appointed to or promoted in Grand Rank at the April meeting of the Supreme Grand Chapter were introduced and applauded with acclamation.
John also thanked the many Companions present for their support in such high numbers, a testament to their commitment to Royal Arch Masonry, the first on a Saturday, as opposed to the usual mid-week meetings of the Chapter.
Moving onto the subject of membership he expounded on the need to make our ceremonies enjoyable and engaging, allowing Companions not only to perform the ritual to a high standard but also to understand their journey.
In his address, John said I hope you have noticed today companions that our Chapter furniture is looking quite pristine today. For many years we have kindly borrowed these items from Castle Eden, Sunderland, and Durham Chapters. Recently Londonderry Chapter of Amity and Rowlands Gill Lodge closed, and have kindly donated various ‘key’ items for our Provincial ceremonials including these magnificent thrones and many other items related to the Chapter.
To read the Grand Superintendent’s Address in Full Click Here.
A collection was then taken in Aid of Durham Benevolence raising over £2,000.00 and with the companions having the opportunity of donating electronically by scanning a QR code on the back of the order of proceedings all donations made this weekend will be credited to the chapter collection.
Quick link to the donation page here
After the Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra informed the Convocation that there was no other business Provincial Grand Chapter was then closed in due form the Grand Organ along with the Companions raised the roof with two verses of the National Anthem.
Remember companions, we are stronger together.
Gallery of photos in Flickr now by clicking here