Another perfect day greeted this event, with barely a breath of wind and dappled sunshine at every turn.
After a splendid luncheon at Alderson House a congregation of ninety made their way to All Saints Parish Church in Sherbourne for what was another rousing service. Early arrivals were rewarded by a graceful recital delivered by E&P Bro Peter Summers on the church organ before we were formally welcomed by the new Church Warden, Edward Alexander.
E&P Bro The Rev'd. Dr. Roy Lodge, MBE, led the service throughout: a ceremony enlivened once again by contributions from The Provincial Choir under the baton of W Bro Michael Irving. Their support for the hymns made for a wonderful noise and greater joy for all participants.
On this occasion ill-health prevented attendance by the Sovereign Grand Inspector General, District of Warwickshire, V.·. Ill.·. Bro. Alan J. Wellan, 33°, and also the Most Wise Sovereign of Warwickshire Chapter RC No. 483, Ill.·. Bro. H. David Butterworth, 31°, both of whom were specifically mentioned in our prayers for those who are sick or in need. As a result of their absence the IPS from Warwickshire Chapter RC No 483, Ill.·. Bro. Stephen W. Fowler, 32°, read the First Lesson and our District Recorder, Ill.·. Bro. David A. Williams, 32°, gave the Second Lesson.
The sermon from E&P Bro The Rev'd. Dr. Roy Lodge, MBE, was vivifying and though-provoking. His ability to encourage a congregation to relax into lowering their mental portcullis in readiness for him to introduce an alternative view is to be admired. A copy of his Sermon is attached because it makes for even better reading a second or third time.
A final hymn warmed the vocal chords of the congregation in readiness for the National Anthem before a short walk from this remarkably pretty church to the village hall for tea, cake and genial conversation. It is easy to see why this event is a staple for so many of us and hopefully you can enjoy it next year too.
Standing members of the MRCCI are holding an evening of instruction at Alderson House on Wednesday 25th September at 7:00pm that is open to everyone but likely to be of greatest benefit to members of the 18°.
The structure of the evening is like a workshop in that there will be demonstrations of various elements of the ceremony, opportunities to share your own experiences and get answers to your questions about specific aspects of the ritual or its significance. Food is available at roughly 9:00pm and full details can be found on the attached document, including a booking form.
This event is expected to be popular, so please make your booking with Peter Rodwell as soon as you can.
Saturday 1st June saw 144 brethren gather on a sunshine-bathed day at the Provincial Grand Lodge in Leicester to witness another excellent ceremony delivered by this volunteer team under the guidance of Ill.·.Bro P Brockbank, 32°, once again. This included nine members of the 33º, led by M.·.Ill.·.Bro AW Hanbury-Bateman: the current Grand Marshal of the Supreme Council 33º who was supported by a Director of Ceremonies from the Supreme Council.
This 13° ceremony took its roots from verse 4 of Psalm 68 according to the Francken manuscripts. The workings showed not only how a great deal of our current ritual arose, but it also had considerable similarities with the current ritual of both the Holy Royal Arch and Knights Templar. Spectators were left in no doubt about the long-standing interconnection between these religious Orders.
As the M.·.Ill.·.Bro AW Hanbury-Bateman said in his summary, this ceremony is one of the most interesting and instructive of all the Intermediate Degrees and it was delivered in a splendid manner by the Chapter of Improvement. An awareness of these intermediate degrees does nothing but enhance our appreciation of the beauty and purity of our Order and so readers who were not amongst this happy gross are encouraged to seek out one of the remaining opportunities to see it this year.
After just sixty-five minutes all business was ended and most attendees adjourned to a splendid Festive Board.
Our Inspector General, V.·.Ill.·.Bro. Alan J Wellan, 33°, wishes to draw your attention to the support available to Chapters from the District Support Team, ably led by Ill.·.Bro. Keith Beckett, 31º.
It is not unknown for a Chapter to find that one or more Offices cannot be filled, whether due to sickness, the loss of a Brother or simply lack of members, and that is precisely the situation that the District Support Team was designed to help with. Ill.·.Bro. Keith leads an enthusiastic group that are ready, willing and able to lend your Chapter support in such times of need if given a little notice. They, like you, have busy lives and so it may not be possible to respond positively if the request is made shortly before a meeting but Ill.·.Bro. Keith and his team will be delighted to hear from you in your hour of need.