Address by MEGS E.Comp Philip L Hall
posted on 25 November 2016
Most Excellent Second Grand Principal and Companions all.
Four months ago I received a most unexpected telephone call followed by a letter from the Grand Scribe Ezra advising me that the First Grand Principal was appointing me as Grand Superintendent in and over the Marvellous Province of Warwickshire. Well Companions, in truth the word ‘marvellous’ was inexplicably missing from the letter, but I am quite sure that was an over-sight on the part of the Grand Scribe Ezra because without doubt I have today become the 15th Grand Superintendent of this ‘Marvellous’ province and I couldn’t be more proud and in some respects, more daunted!
This Province has a heritage stretching back to 1783 and has itself much to be proud of, with a legacy that is the envy of many and an approach that is the aspiration of many more. My predecessors, including Excellent Companion Richard Wallis who I am delighted is here today, and their respective teams have helped to create a Royal Arch Province which is forward thinking, innovative and inclusive and I hope and pray that I will be able to continue to develop their legacy over the term of my tenure and fully embrace the challenges and opportunities that early 21st century freemasonry presents to us all.
Companions, I know you are all very busy people and the fact that so many of you have taken the time to be with us today to support this Special Convocation is both rewarding and humbling. The calls on your time, be they family, work or freemasonry, or even Golf, are considerable and we must all constantly remind ourselves of the need for the right balance. Nevertheless, companions you have all felt that to spend time here today, to support the Province and to support me, was important and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Companions, the Province exists for the sole benefit of the many chapters and companions within it. We are here to serve and to support you, and whilst the position of Grand Superintendent is to provide the leadership and strategy for the Province I do not believe it is a one-man job. As such I am so delighted to have appointed the senior team today, the Deputy Grand Superintendent, the second and third Provincial Grand Principals, all of whom I know you and I can rely on to give constant support to you and your Chapters and to provide the support and wise counsel to the Provincial executive so that we all see the result of a more robust Warwickshire Royal Arch.
Companions I want Exaltation to be an aspiration of every freemason, rather than just another Order to join. I am sure you will all agree that the process of becoming a freemason involves four steps, not three. All of us here today know the value of that fourth step and must joyfully share that with our brethren in our lodges so that they too can experience the wonderful companionship we all so enjoy.
I am so very grateful that the Provincial Grand Master and other Craft Rulers are here in support today. The relationship between the Craft and the Royal Arch is indissoluble and demands an ever-closer understanding of each other as we both strive for the good of freemasonry. I know I can rely on the Craft Rulers to promote the Holy Royal Arch at every appropriate opportunity, and with the help of my team and indeed with the help of each and every one of you, I hope we will be able to improve the visibility of the order at Craft events.
Let’s be honest though Companions, we are all equally aware that the Royal Arch is complicated and it takes time to understand, but from that dawning of understanding comes an inner awareness and self-knowledge that we all deeply benefit from. If it takes years to reach that understanding then so be it, this is not a race Companions but a journey and the journey will take just as long as it will take.
Companions, I have many people to thank, some of whom are leaving office today. First and foremost, I thank and pay tribute to the past MEGS John Saint, who so ably and skilfully led this Province for the last ten years. Protocol prevents him from attending today but I am sure you will join with me in thanking him for all he has done.
I am delighted though that with us here today is E Comp John Handley, the Past Deputy Grand Superintendent who has stood down today. E Comp John has been a rock of support to the Province over the last 5 years both as Provincial GSE and as Deputy GSupt. He has personally been an enormous supporter and guide to me over the last few months and I am delighted that he is continuing as a member of the Provincial Executive Committee so that we can continue to benefit from his valued experience and knowledge.
Companions events like today do not just happen and all this would not have been possible without E Comp David Graham, our remarkable ProvGSE who, together with the indomitable E.Comp Ivan Norris and his team of willing volunteers, and E. Comp David Shakeshaft and his team of DC’s, have successfully undertaken the enormous task in a very short time to deliver this Special Convocation today. Companions they were here at 6am this morning to set things up, a dedication we should all applaud.
Companions we have many guests here today all of whom I would like to thank personally. Unfortunately time doesn’t allow, but I will say a little more at lunch. I will, however, thank M.E Comp Russell Race, the Second Grand Principal for taking the time out of his busy schedule to install me today. He was so ably supported by E Comp Oliver Lodge the Grand Director of Ceremonies and the full team of Deputy GDC’s all of whom I consider as good friends and I am so pleased they could all be here.
Companions, I promise you that you will never hear a patent read more remarkably than you have heard it read today. E Comp Graham Redman you are a legend and I would not have wished for anyone else to have read my patent.
The final member of the London team is the unsung hero of so many Provincial Installations. All the DepGDC’s appreciate the value of the discreet advice and unfailing good humour of the Grand Janitor, E Comp Malcolm Brooks and I thank him for his support again today.
Companions, I can hear the lunch bell ringing so I will end by saying that today is the start of a new beginning for Warwickshire Royal Arch masonry, a beginning that I hope will be both fun and innovative. Companions, I read a nice 19th century line the other day – ‘A Royal Arch mason is not properly dressed unless he is wearing a smile” – a vital piece of our regalia companions, please do not forget to bring it with you.
E Comp Philip L Hall Grand Superintendent
18th November 2016
Showing here is a gallery of the day's proceedings.