Grand Superintendent’s Address- 19th September 2019
istinguished Guests and Companions. It is a great honour for me to be able to address you again as Grand Superintendent in
and over the Royal Arch Province of Essex at this Annual Essex
Convocation – it is now four years since I was installed as your
Grand Superintendent and Provincial Grand Master and I have
enjoyed every minute in both those roles.
I have already welcomed our Official guests from Supreme
Grand Chapter, from other Provinces and from the Metropolitan
Grand Chapter – may I now extend a warm welcome to all the
Companions here today and I thank you all for supporting our
Annual Meeting here in the Grand Temple in such numbers.
Warmest congratulations to those Companions whom I (or my
Deputy) have had the privilege of investing today. This is your
day and I hope it will be a happy and memorable one for you.
Provincial honours are, of course, in part a reward for past
efforts but they also reflect an expectation of future service for
your Chapter, your Masonic Centre or the Province itself.
It is, of course, an especial privilege for us all in Essex for me to
be able to welcome to our Meeting the Pro First Grand
Principal. Sir, we really do appreciate the leadership you have
consistently and amply demonstrated to both the Royal Arch
and the Craft in general and to Essex in particular. Your
predecessor, the Marquess of Northampton, did conduct the
proceedings for the installation of my predecessor in 2005 but
this is the first occasion that the Pro First Grand Principal has
ever attended an “ordinary Essex Provincial Convocation” and
we are truly grateful bearing in mind the enormous demands
upon your time.
Furthermore your kindness, support and understanding, together
with all the members of the Essex Executive, and of so many
Freemasons in Essex and the Provinces beyond, during my
recent illness and treatment has been outstanding and uplifting
for me and my wife and family. Thank you so much for
reinforcing to me personally part of what Freemasonry is all
about and what it does so well.
May I again thank most sincerely Cliff Thoms for his
outstanding work for the Royal Arch as Deputy Grand
Superintendent. His experience and wise counsel both in the
Royal Arch and in Craft masonry has been invaluable both to
me personally and to the Province as a whole. I also pay a warm
tribute to Clive Rees (and wish him well in his new role in the
Craft) and to Phil Campbell for their conscientious and diligent
work as Second and Third Provincial Grand Principals
respectively. I am sure that Nick Franklin will be an admirable
successor to Cliff and that Phil and Elliott Chevin thoroughly
deserve their promotions.
The Assistants to the PGPs have also done an excellent job. Ian
Simpson is stepping down today as an APGP. I thank him for
his hard work in that role and his continuing active involvement
in the Province is very much appreciated. I am delighted to
have appointed Martin Cook as APGP to succeed him and
David Wilson to succeed Elliott Chevin and I wish them both
well in their new roles.
May I also extend my grateful thanks to the Provincial Scribe E,
Phil Lovelock and the outgoing and incoming Provincial Grand
DCs Geoff Turpin and Joe Shearer and each of their teams for
all their hard work and effort in ensuring that today’s meeting
proceeded smoothly – as well as the outstanding support they
give me throughout the year.
The Royal Arch Executive has continued to develop, borrow,
and produce many innovative initiatives around the Province,
primarily designed to recruit new Exaltees and to provide a
better understanding of The Royal Arch. With the help of The
Stewards Chapter and the ever-improving network of Lodge
Royal Arch Reps, we remain an active and vibrant Royal Arch
Province. A more clearly defined and broader role for the
Chapter Almoner combining the duties of Craft Almoner,
Mentor and Membership Officer is hugely important to the
strength and well being of a Chapter and we will continue to
work on this.
In the long run, the overall strength of The Royal Arch depends
upon the vitality of the Craft. The new Membership Pathway
Lodges in the Craft, highlight, from the very beginning, the
natural progression of Core Masonry from Entered Apprentice
through to Royal Arch Companion. The Craft overall is very
supportive of The Royal Arch and as this Province has the same
Head of both organisations, it should come as no surprise that
this link is being continually reinforced in Essex!.
We also make no apologies for briefly emphasising two things.
First, promotions to active or senior Provincial rank in the Craft
in Essex will normally require Membership of the Royal Arch as
a pre-requisite and, in turn, appointments to active or senior
Essex Provincial rank in the Royal Arch require a continuing
engagement with the Craft. This reinforces the indissoluble link
between the two. Secondly, it is as vital that the ceremony of
Exaltation is carried out well so as to give a favourable
impression to the candidate for Royal Arch masonry as it is for
the ceremony of Initiation in the Craft. It is pointless for the
ceremony to be read (or even prompted) from the book – it
completely loses its meaning and purpose - better to divide up
the work and farm it out. As my old Preceptor in my Mother
Lodge used to say - “Chuck the book away – it is wrong
I know that all the Members of the Executive appreciate the
support and encouragement we receive from Chapters all across
the Province and their generous hospitality whenever we make
an official visit. It has been my especial pleasure and privilege
this past year to serve as First Principal of Essex First Principals
Chapter No 3256 and of Essex Provincial Grand Stewards
Chapter No 8665 for which I am eternally grateful. Can I also
pay tribute to the excellent support provided by several Essex
Chapters to the 2022 Festival (as illustrated in the Report of the
Committee of General Purposes) and to encourage others to
follow their lead.
Thank you once again for listening to me and may God Bless
you all and indeed this Royal Arch Province of Essex. As I say
at the conclusion of each of these addresses, let us go forward
together and walk worthily in the light which shines around.
Rodney Lister Bass, OBE