Good morning Companions. It is a great pleasure to address you this morning, on this 15th National Armed Forces Day, despite us not being able to meet in the way we have traditionally done so; since we were established as a Province nearly 250 years ago, in 1865.
We are only 30 in number, with no guests permissible. That said, today is a celebration of coming through the restrictions enforced upon us by the Covid Pandemic and we will ensure that 2022 will be a very special year, in recompense.
We have all suffered terrible losses and we will commemorate those Companions and their loved ones, when we are able to do so appropriately and when we can start Exaltations once again. That will be our positive response, by looking forward. The Executive and I have already been hugely impressed with those Chapters that have met and carried out their work since 17th May 2021. Well done to you all!
Restricted numbers have resulted in us meeting once again in Cardiff Masonic Hall today, although it is a joint meeting and I look forward to representing you at Provincial Grand Lodge, a little later today and we are delighted to have the Most Excellent Third Grand Principal with us this morning.
I am truly impressed with the work that has been undertaken in our meeting venues and congratulate all who have given of their time and expertise to ensure that come September, we will all meet in the most impressive of venues and I hope, enjoy wonderful harmony at our Festive Boards.
The Executive Team remain both committed and dedicated to ensure that our wonderful Province remains productive, content and responsive and I am indebted to them all for their loyalty.
In the year ahead, we will rebuild our membership numbers and continue to prioritorised Charity and Communication. The ME3GP is aware of your continued generosity to the 2021 RMBI Festival, both individually and through all of our 69 beloved Chapters.
The Festival culmination will be celebrated with true Welsh class in Cardiff on Saturday 27th November 2021. Companion President (ME3GP), I am humbled to announce that earlier this month, the Provincial Grand Treasurer transferred from Provincial Grand Chapter to the 2021 RMBI Festival a further sum which brings our total Royal Arch contribution for the 2021 Festival; to over £100,000. An unprecedented figure which all Companions ought to be justly proud and I take this opportunity to thank you all for this outstanding achievement.
Today, you will no doubt generously contribute to charity via use of the pre-prepared Gift Aid envelopes and I would once again urge you to please go back to your Chapters and consider using Gift Aid envelopes at all of your Convocations. I emphasise the benefit of gift aid and the need to tick the gift aid box on the envelope, if you are a Tax payer. We continue to see an increase in charitable giving by using these envelopes throughout the Province.
Communication The breadth of platforms available to the membership and potential membership has been enhanced greatly by the appointment of a dedicated Royal Arch Provincial Communications Officer, E.Comp. Karl Frowen. Project Hermes will continue to be developed, so that individual Scribes E will have direct access to Adelphi and this will no doubt prove an innovation to inputting and accessing timely reporting of our membership data.
The RA Membership Officer, EComp Simon Daniel, working closely with the Craft Provincial Membership Officer, was doing so very well in focussing strongly on increasing the conversion rate of Craft Masons becoming members of the Royal Arch. However, restrictions on our meetings have temporarily restricted that progress. I have no doubt he will be leading the way, when we are allowed to meet again “properly”.
Once again, I unashamedly recommend to all of you Installed First Principals to consider joining Hendre and Lord Swansea Chapters, where you will receive a very warm welcome and increase your knowledge and circle of friends.
It is a great honour for me to be the one symbolically investing all those appointed and promoted today, on behalf of the Province and I offer my personal thanks and gratitude to you all. You all richly deserve these accolades and I am most grateful to those who have made today such an enjoyable success. In particular, the omniscient Provincial Grand Scribe E, the Provincial Deputy Grand Scribe E, ProvGTreas, ProvGReg, ProvDGReg, ProvGAlmoner and ProvGChStwd, all of whom have worked continually throughout the restrictions placed on us to ensure operational effectiveness. I thank the immaculate Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, all of our Provincial Officers whilst representing me on duty, our impressive Office Team Volunteers, and Cardiff Masonic Hall Management & Staff, for hosting us today.
“We 3” Principals are indeed fortunate to form a Catenerian Arch, supported by the Assistants to the Provincial Grand Principals of which I am very proud.
In closing Companions, I could not carry out this role without the sage support of the DGSupt, who epitomises what a Freemason is; a Gentleman, well skilled in his Art, respected and loyal.
We all wish you and your loved ones a fabulous Summer, full of re-found freedom and fun and we look forward to seeing you all, safe and sound, in the season ahead!