Holy Royal Arch Masonry in Devonshire
 
The Grand Superintendent's annual address - 9th November 2019
Companions, I welcome you all here today and thank you for your support on this wonderful occasion.
I have already welcomed all our distinguished guests who are each very special friends. I do thank most sincerely our M E Third Grand Principal, in allowing time within his very busy schedule for once again coming to Devonshire. It has been our pleasure to welcome you once again. You are always welcome Sir. Thank you.

My thanks also go to the acting Grand Director of Ceremonies, E. Comp. Jim Mitchell. We hope that you too, have enjoyed your visit.

On behalf of all the Companions of Devonshire, I truly mean it when I say to all our Companions, the friendship and Companionship of our guests is much treasured. We thank you all for travelling so many miles to be with us. Once again can I ask Devonshire to show our appreciation for your support.

To those who have just been appointed and promoted to their Provincial Ranks, it has been a pleasure to invest you with your new offices. All the Companions in your Chapters and beyond will be looking to you to set high standards in all you do. I look forward to your company this year. I will be watching as well. No pressure. Many Congratulations to you all.

A massive thank you must go to all those active officers who have just completed their term of office. I congratulate them on the happy and wonderful manner in which they have performed their duties. Like all active officers over the years, they have been everywhere around the Province. I know that they have gained much from their term of office and have made many new friendships. Companions don’t let it stop here.

At the April convocation of Supreme Grand Chapter, it was a delight for me to see E. Comps. Shaun Crannis, Conrad Donaldson and Steve Joint being appointed to Past Grand Standard Bearers in Supreme Grand Chapter, and also E. Comp. Peter Hawken being promoted to Past Assistant Grand Sojourner. Our sincere congratulations to them all. Let me say once again, to all Grand Officers, I look forward to seeing you in support of the Province on a regular basis please, otherwise I miss your Companionship.

My most grateful thanks go to the Second and Third Provincial Grand Principals, E. Comp. Paul Hughes and E. Comp. Steve Joint, for your support and help over the last 12 months. It is much appreciated. Thank you.
My most grateful thanks go to E. Comp John Sevieri who has stepped down from office today. I thank John for all he has done for Royal Arch Masonry for many years, as my Director of Ceremonies, as a Principal of the Province, and as my friend. Thank you.

My grateful thanks go to my Scribe Ezra, E. Comp Tony Parker, for all his hard work conducted during the year. He has been, and still is, a superb Scribe. I also thank him for his organisation of today with the assistance of my Assistant Scribe Ezra, E. Comp. Richard Spencer who I also thank. Tony’s patience knows no bounds. I am a hard task master; today has been another superb day and my sincere thanks to you and your team. Tony, you can sleep well tonight. Also, many thanks go to many Companions; to my Director of Ceremonies E. Comp. Simon Wills and his team for all their hard work to ensure the ceremonial has run well today; to my old and new Janitors, E. Comps. Roger Smith and Mike Lock and their band of helpers for all their hard work; to my Treasurer, E. Comp, Conrad Donaldson, who has worked so hard and to all the Stewards who will be breaking down the Chapter with the Janitor. Please!

The last 12 months have been busy, with the re-launch of the Chapter Representative initiative, with those representatives now being called ‘Chapter Liaison Officers’, with the full and grateful received support of our PGM. Under the management of E. Comp. Jeff Bailey, this re-launch needs all Lodges to reply. I ask, that if your Lodge has not yet appointed such an officer, that you Companions put yourselves forward for this most important position in Pure Ancient Masonry.

The demonstration teams for “Talking Heads” are being well received, with the demonstration being conducted in Craft Lodges. Use them, Companions, within your Lodges. A new demonstration called “In Camera”, delivered in Chapters, is also now available. These demonstrations provide further education and knowledge of the HRA. They will help to answer the question of why all Brethren should become Companions, when ready, as their next step in Pure Ancient Masonry as set down by our processors in 1813. If you wish to become part of the teams, please advise the Province. You will be warmly welcomed.

I strongly recommend to all Chapters consideration to using the guidance of the Membership Pathway, to help in attracting and maintaining memberships. It does provide sound guidance. Solomon, the online Education program is also being well received and I highly recommended it for study by all Companions.

My team of advisors, in respect to our approach to Prostate Cancer, have been invaluable in their guidance. E. Comps Bob Munro, Peter Lucas, Keith Meager, David Bennett and Companion Dr Leo Clarke, have worked hard with a positive strategy. We have had issues as to the right course of action, but we are getting there. We hope to announce good news in the new year. However, our message is quite clear. If you have any doubts or concerns that you feel are not quite right, GO AND SEE YOU DOCTOR. Do not bury your head in the sand. Better to be safe than sorry. Please do not be embarrassed. We want you well.

Companions, I have always tried to convey the need for true Companionship in every sense of the word. We should care for one another. We should be kind and support each other at all times. Remember that, around a sacred altar, you have voluntarily and solemnly vowed to befriend and relieve with unhesitating cordiality every friend or brother who may require your assistance; that you have promised to remind him in the most gentle manner of his failings.

All freemasons are Brothers, but not all Brothers are Companions. To be a Companion is something special, a special feeling we have when we are together. The next step in Pure Ancient Freemasonry after being raised, is the Royal Arch, but only when a Brother is ready to take that important step. As Companions I ask you to care and guide our Brethren who have yet to take that step. We are all in this together. There is no us, no them, only us.

Finally, Companions, I make no apology in thanking all of you for your support, your kindness and your companionship during the years I have been privileged to be your Grand Superintendent. Devonshire is a superb Province and you are wonderful Companions. To be A Companion is special. You are all special. You are Companions.

Please, always remember the words, which I have said so often, and if you wish, say them with me today. “Freemasonry is meant to be enjoyed, not endured.”

May peace be with you all.

Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra - Annual Report - November 2019

Most Excellent Grand Superintendent, Excellent Companions and Companions, I have pleasure in submitting for your consideration and approval my Annual Report on the activities of the Holy Royal Arch in the Province of Devonshire during the past year.
This year has been an eventful year for the Holy Royal Arch in Devonshire. The ‘Talking Heads’ teams have been busy giving several presentations of the ‘playlet’ developed to introduce Craft masons to the Royal Arch. They have been well received by Lodges. In my report of last year, I mentioned a visit to Devonian Chapter of First Principals by a team from Metropolitan Grand Chapter who performed their playlet ‘In Camera’. Created to help companions develop a greater understanding of the Royal Arch, the event was so well received that again, under the management of E. Comps John Sevieri and Gerald Watson, teams have been formed to present the ‘playlet’ to Chapters in the Province. If your Chapter has room in its calendar
during the coming years, send an email to either John or Gerald and a team can be arranged to attend your Chapter.

During the year, the ‘Provincial Team’ led by the Grand Superintendent has conducted two Exaltation Ceremonies on behalf of Chapters. In June, Companion Mark Andrew Willetts was Exalted in Pleiades Chapter No. 710 and in October, Companion Peter Timothy Bull was Exalted in Jordan Chapter No. 1402. On each occasion the team of Active Provincial Officers performed their parts admirably and the Exaltees were treated to ceremonies which will for ever be etched in their minds. Our congratulations go to all those Active Officers who took part.
In April, at the Annual Investiture held in London, four of our Companions received Appointment or Promotion in Supreme Grand Chapter. Our congratulations go to E. Comp Peter Hawken on his promotion to Past Assistant Grand Sojourner and E. Comps Shaun Crannis, Conrad Donaldson and Stephen Joint, on their appointments as Past Grand Standard Bearers. Nearly 50 Companions of the Province made the long journey to London to support those receiving preferment and enjoy the spectacle.

The Most Excellent Grand Superintendent and members of the Principalship have, between them, been present at every Installation Convocation. They have been delighted by the support given to them, and to the Chapters, by the Grand and Active Provincial Officers. Some travelled great distances across Devon to attend. On behalf of the Province, I would like to thank them all for their outstanding commitment and support throughout the year. The companionship we and they have shared has been very rewarding. The membership of our order remains at 36% of Craft Brethren within the Province. New data available from Adelphi indicates that this figure has been constant for several years. So, it is still the case that two out of every three Brethren in our Province are not yet enjoying the companionship of Royal Arch Masonry. The good news is that most Chapters within the
Province have Exalted new Companions this year. In fact, the Province has seen ’double’ exaltations for the first time in many years. To boost their recruitment, many Chapters have organised evenings within temples where brethren of local Lodges are invited to attend a question and answer event and be given a presentation of the themes of Royal Arch Masonry. The initiative has had some success, with participating Chapters reporting membership increases as a result.

The small amount of good news is tempered by the loss, to the Grand Chapter above, of 28 of our companions. The majority of them succumbed to ‘Old Father Time’ having given a considerable number of years of service to Royal Arch Freemasonry in Devonshire. It is interesting to note that, between them, they were Royal Arch masons for nearly 700 years. That is service!

As stated in previous reports, my role within the Province is made easier by the forbearance of the ‘Grand Sanhedrin’, and by the many Companions who offer their help and advice when needed. Their unwavering support makes a real difference in the day to day functioning of my job. I thank them wholeheartedly. I give particular thanks to my Assistant Scribe Ezra, Richard Spencer, for his efforts on behalf of the Province and to the Provincial Grand Treasurer, Conrad Donaldson, who is, as always, a joy to work with and integral to the administration of the Province. I give thanks to my many helpers at our Annual Convocation; they continue to give of their time to ensure the meeting runs as smoothly as it does. There are too many to mention; they all know who they are. They have my grateful thanks and I look forward to working with them once
again this year.
Once again, I end my report by offering my thanks to the Scribe’s Ezra of the Chapters in our Province. They work diligently on behalf of their Chapter and continue to be of great help to me. I look forward to working with them again in the coming years. I look forward to the coming year and, once again, wish you all good health to enjoy your Royal Arch Freemasonry to the full.

Anthony J. Parker
Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra
1st November 2019