Friday 15 th July 2022 saw The Annual Convocation of the Provincial Grand Chapter of Durham return to Rainton Arena after an absence of 8 years. The recently refurbished venue welcomed a plethora of companions resplendent in the crimson, purple and blue of the Royal Arch.
The return also saw the Grand Superintendent, EComp John Paul Thompson preside over his inaugural convocation following his recent investiture in June of this year.
Wildly recognised as the highlight in the Royal Arch Masonic calendar, 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.
It is quite something to witness when the Chapter is set out in an auditorium of this size, richly embellished this year by the roar and magnificent 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.
With Provincial Grand Chapter opened in due form and apologies and minutes of the previous Convocation confirmed it was time for the Companions present to remember those companions we have lost since our last meeting, sadly 40 companions have passed since September 2021 and a total of 152 companions since our last physical meeting in May 2019.
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 fire up the carrousel of as the Grand Superintendent Appointed, Invested and Promoted the worthy Companions who were lucky enough to receive a letter of appointment on the 17th April 2022.
At this point in the proceedings, John paid tribute to E Comp Paul Anthony Lee Hopper who stood down as 2nd Provincial Grand Principal at the recent special Installation meeting held at Dunston on 25 th June. He thanked Paul for his dedication to the Order and invested him with a Collarette to mark his retirement after some 10 years of active service.
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, EComp John Paul Thompson addressed Provincial Grand Chapter.
In his address, he paid tribute to the Companions he had had the privilege of investing as well as the Companions those retiring acting officers for the support they have given to the Province, to Michael Shaw our Deputy, our past GS John Arthur and himself over the last year
Those who had been appointed to or Promoted in Supreme Grand Chapter. At the April Meeting of the Supreme Grand Chapter, where the Ceremony was presided over by The Pro First Grand Principal, Peter Geoffrey Lowndes, were introduced and applauded with acclamation.
He also complimented the Companions on the high attendance which is a testament to your commitment to Royal Arch masonry, on what was a day of work for many himself included, stating “I can assure you this will be the last Provincial meeting which occurs during the week”
Moving onto the subject of membership he expounded on the need to make our ceremonies enjoyable and engaging, allowing Companions not only to perform ritual to a high standard but to also understand their journey.
John spoke of his delight at how the Province was beginning to host social, sporting and charitable events outlining a number that are in the planning stage and would be announced in the near future.
To read the Grand Superintendent’s Address in full Click Here .
A collection was then taken in Aid of Durham Benevolence raising with gift aid over £1,500 , 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.
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 by clicking here