Most Excellent Grand Superintendent Addresses

Address by the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent ‘in and over’ South Wales, June 2019

Companions, I am delighted to have this opportunity to address you today, after 12 hugely enjoyable months, since we last met.

The Executive and Acting Provincial Officers are so very grateful for the courtesy extended to us all, during our „Sojourn‟ to our 21 Provincial meeting venues and indeed when visiting our Kindred Provinces; where we have greatly enjoyed the honour of representing South Wales and it is very pleasing to see so many friends here today, who make our Annual Convocation all the better for their much valued support and friendship and we thank them for taking the time to support us here today, in Cardiff.

I have been afforded a tremendous privilege in leading an Executive Team who are both committed and totally dedicated to ensure our Province is productive, content and responsive. I am indebted to all of them for their sage advice and unstinting loyalty. The hospitality we have received from our chapters has been second to none. As well as visiting Chapters in a private capacity, I have been pleased with the standards achieved in the 23 Installation Convocations I have attended, in year one and I look forward to attending the 46 remaining Chapter Installations, as scheduled; over the next 2 years.

Following my Appointment as Grand Superintendent in 2017 and subsequent Investiture, I prioritorised the following strategic areas: Charity, Communication, Reporting SGC Officers, Royal Arch Representatives and Membership.

Charity

Your continued generosity as Companions of the Holy Royal Arch is uplifting and humbling. As well as so generously donating to the 2021 RMBI Festival individually (through your membership of the Craft), all our 69 Chapters have also donated to the Festival. To which end, Companion Deputy President (E.Comp William) and Companion Chairman (E.Comp Sir Paul), I am delighted to announce that earlier this month, the Provincial Grand Treasurer transferred from Provincial Grand Chapter to the 2021 RMBI Festival a further sum of £15,000. This brings our total Royal Arch contribution to date to £70,000. A figure which all of you Companions ought to be justly proud and I take this opportunity to thank you publicly.

Today, as every year, you will no doubt generously contribute to charity via use of 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 and 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 are already seeing an increase in charitable giving by using these envelopes throughout the Province. I thank you also for purchasing the Provincial Red pens on sale today, which all go towards balancing our outgoing commitments.

Communication

We have improved the breadth of platforms available to the membership and potential membership, by going live on the Twittersphere and by appointing a dedicated Royal Arch Provincial Communications Officer; working closely with the Craft Provincial Communications Officer. Since my Installation at Hendre Chapter last week, on the Twittersphere alone, we have had over 4000 interactions; views and forwarded posts. We must embrace all communication tools available to us and keep pace with an ever changing World. Under the lead of Supreme Grand Chapter, “Project Hermes” will develop with the aim that individual Scribes E will have improved access to Adelphi and this will no doubt prove an innovation to inputting and accessing timely reporting of our membership data.

Reporting Supreme Grand Chapter Officers

This year, a new electronic reporting system has ensured transparency, fairness and provided opportunities to reward merit and ability. I have been pleased with the positive and supportive involvement of Officers of Supreme Grand Chapter. Your input and invaluable experience is essential in ensuring that we reward and inspire Companions to actively participate in our future. Several Companion Grand Officers have spoken to me with regard to the possibility of meeting as Grand Chapter Officers – regularly, perhaps in a forum such as we enjoy in our Craft Lodge of Benevolence. There also plans afoot for another new Chapter, which will unfold after the recess.

Royal Arch Representatives

As a Province, we will continue to build momentum in the welcome development of Royal Arch Representatives in our Craft Lodges by increasing their visibility and activity. I want to thank all 160 Lodges for embracing the role of the Lodge Royal Arch Representative and the Joint Executive Leads on this initiative are; APGM Marc Lewis and the 2nd Provincial Grand Principal, with the Officers in charge being the Craft Provincial Membership Officer; WBro. Neil Martin Evans and the RA Membership Officer, EComp Simon Daniel. It is imperative that the Craft Royal Arch Representatives have an opportunity to speak at our Lodge meetings, and I am grateful to the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master for his full support and leadership in this aim.

Membership

You will have seen Companions that we continue in an enviable position with a second year of both increased growth in Members and Memberships. The best Ambassadors for this trend to continue are you, by your enthusiasm and enjoyment of our Order. We have fully embraced the membership Pathway and by the Royal Arch Provincial Membership Officer, working closely with the Craft Provincial Membership Officer, we have been able to focus strongly on increasing the conversion rate of Craft Masons becoming members of the Royal Arch; including Exaltations and rejoining members. We will continue to promote and embrace The Membership Pathway and Solomon, our online searchable repository for Masonic learning. In the Royal Arch Province of South Wales, we retain approaching 9 out of 10 subscribing memberships and I am most grateful to the Deputy Grand Superintendent and the 2nd Provincial Grand Principal, Phillip Aubrey, for leading on the roll-out of the Talking Heads and In Camera presentations.

Companions, at the PGL Committee Meeting, held last month, our RWPGM (the ME3GP) afforded me the singular honour of addressing those gathered; once again highlighting the close working relationship between the Craft and Royal Arch.

That Address (which is on the Website) highlighted our close affinity and support of other Orders and Degrees. Whilst “Pure Ancient Masonry consists of three degrees and no more, i.e. those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft, and the Master Mason, including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch”, our membership of other Orders and Degrees is to be celebrated and supported. Members of other Orders and Degrees retain their memberships and are keen Ambassadors for both the Craft and Royal Arch and we should not think that we have any different concerns than they do. By developing stronger working relationship with other Orders, we can also learn from what they are doing right.

To ensure your views and ideas are being listened to I will be initiating a “Conversation” with our membership, both Craft and Royal Arch. We want to learn and develop together and ultimately increase the proportion of those subscribing Craft members who complete their journey of pure ancient Freemasonry by being Exalted into the Holy Royal Arch. I will be assisted in this exciting venture by E.Comp. Gwilym Jones, Past 2nd Provincial Grand Principal, the ProvGSE and others.

One of the items of conversation will be your preferred wishes for the Provincial Meetings, location, and type of event, meals, timings and days of the working week or Saturdays – should the Craft and Royal Arch meetings be joint or kept separate? The quality and cost-effectiveness of our Masonic Centres will no doubt provide a stimulating topic of conversation for you to engage with.

I am grateful to E.Comp David Suter, Past 2nd Provincial Grand Principal for providing a Ritual Support Team to assist Chapters when emergencies happen, such as key personal not being able to attend and deliver ritual. Remember Companions, the emphasis should always be on the quality of the ceremony for our Principals (at Installations) and our Exaltees.

I again wholeheartedly recommend to all of you Installed First Principals to consider joining Hendre and Lord Swansea Chapters, where you will receive a warm welcome.

As we look back over the last year, with great pride in our Active Provincial Officers we now look forward to those whom I have Invested today to carry the Baton and maintain the standards expected by our illustrious predecessors.
It is a great honour for me to be the one investing you today, on behalf of the Province and I offer my personal thanks and gratitude to all those who have made today such an enjoyable success and in particular, the Provincial Grand Scribe E, Provincial Deputy Grand Scribe E, our new Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Provincial Officers on duty, the Office Team Volunteers, Cardiff Masonic Hall Management & Staff and the “Set up Team” and for those who will so kindly pack away after we close this Convocation.

Finally, Companions, I am not sure who wishes to claim the honour of having been a subscribing member of the Holy Royal Arch the longest here today but I can tell you that the newest is Companion Rob Fry, who was Exalted into Llantwit Major Chapter just last evening and I am sure we welcome him into our Chapter Family.

Diolch yn fawr!

Address by the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent in and over South Wales, Friday 15th June 2018

Companions, on Monday, it will be 100 days since we met in this beautiful Temple; for my Installation at the hands of the Most Excellent The Third Grand Principal. It has been a very busy and hugely enjoyable 14 weeks since that memorable day, including the Consecration of Cwm Rhondda Chapter here on 19th April and our Gala Dinner in Bridgend on 26th May and I must thank everyone who has made me and the Provincial representation so very welcome, throughout our wonderful Province and indeed when visiting our Kindred Provinces; when I have enjoyed the honour of representing South Wales and it is very pleasing to see so many friends here today; who have all made the journey to support us here today, in Cardiff.

The Craft Tercentenary provided us with a wonderful platform to show to the popular and uninstructed World what we are all about and the 426 Initiates we welcomed into our Lodges, in South Wales, provides us with interested and worthy Brethren, whom I sincerely hope will wish to extend their researches into the Holy Royal Arch. Indeed, in 2017, our total number of memberships increased by 24, which was the first increase in real terms since 2007. You will be pleased to know that the figures for 2018 are also encouraging, with both memberships and actual companions showing increases over 2017. You, everyone here today, are the best advertisement for the Royal Arch so please keep asking our friends to consider joining or indeed rejoining our ranks.

To maintain this momentum, it is essential that the Craft Royal Arch Representatives have an opportunity to speak at our Lodge meetings, and I am grateful to the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master for his full support and leadership in this aim.

Royal Arch membership is a very special addition to our Masonic journey, Companions. It is something to be hugely proud of and is the gateway to many other Orders & Degrees. We, as one of the larger Provinces in the Constitution enjoy a particular sense of history. Companions, the original Provincial Grand Lodge of South Wales was Consecrated in 1727 and subsequently divided into 2 Provinces (Eastern and Western Division) in 1848. This year we celebrate 10 years since we were renamed as South Wales and as our first Joint Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent, Theodore Mansel Talbot, would no doubt have said in 1848 – “look forward with pride and purpose”.

Your generosity as Companions of the Holy Royal Arch is truly staggering. As well as so generously donating to the 2021 Festival individually (through your membership of the Craft), all our Chapters have also donated to the Festival. To which end, Companion Deputy President (E.Comp Roy) and Chairman (E.Comp Sir Paul), I am delighted to announce that earlier this month, the Provincial Grand Treasurer transferred from Provincial Grand Chapter to the 2021 Festival a sum of £15,000. This brings our Royal Arch total contribution to date to “in excess” of £51,000. A total of which all of you Companions ought to be justly proud.”

As I said in my inaugural address, the current provision of Mandated Grand Officers has been reviewed and the Deputy Grand Superintendent will be in touch with the Officers of Supreme Grand Chapter, after the recess. Your input and invaluable experience will be essential in ensuring that we reward and inspire Companions to fully participate in our future.

I have a simple message; I want no Chapters to close. If you are in difficulty, for whatever reason, please contact the Deputy Grand Superintendent via the Provincial Office and we will do everything in our power to support you. Please do not wait until it may be too late. My colleague, E.Comp David Suter, the Past Provincial 2nd Grand Principal will head up a Team to attend and support Chapters who require support with their ritual. Full contact details will be populated on the Provincial Website.

Quite a few Companions have intimated to me that they would like new Chapters to be consecrated. Again, we will discuss the merits and any pitfalls with you to engender an open and honest conversation. I am certainly not averse to listening to your views. I would also recommend to all of you Installed First Principals to consider joining Hendre and Lord Swansea Chapters, where you will be most welcome.

To improve greater understanding of our joint Masonic direction of travel, we will hold a Joint Executive with the Craft Executive on Monday 02nd July. We have already met as the Executive Appointed today, agreed areas of responsibility and assigned leadership roles to named Officers.

We have today Invested a new Provincial Grand Almoner and Provincial Grand Charity Steward. Both these Officers will shortly also be Invested in the same office in Provincial Grand Lodge, together with the Provincial Grand Scribe E, Director of Ceremonies and Janitor.

The Almoner role has not been used as it was designed in our Chapters. Indeed, the Masonic Charitable Foundation would like queries and petitions to be made by whatever means at our disposal. The Chapter Almoner can help our Companions and families with that contact and also to care and enquire after Companions, if not attending; as they do in some of our Chapters, but not all.

Likewise, the Provincial Grand Charity Steward will liaise with you all to ensure that we are maximising our charitable efforts and being “smarter” with what we collect and give to so many charitable causes, all of which we appreciate and who contribute to the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves. Today, once again, you will no doubt generously contribute to charity via 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 and 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.

You will no doubt note from the report of the General Purposes Committee, printed in the “Red Book” that should Elected Principals be unable to attend their Regular Installations, the Executive will not automatically expect to return a delegation to the subsequent convocation. However, should the Chapter concerned wish an Active Officer of Province to attend, please do contact the Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra.

The quality of the design of the Red Book is in readiness to be populated on line, in the future – so that all of our membership can keep informed and up to date. That said, I am mindful that some of our membership, who are not fully engaged in electronic media, can sometimes feel left behind or disenfranchised. It is vital that we ensure that we communicate with all of our membership in the most appropriate form.

Finally Companions, I offer my personal congratulations to all Companions appointed and promoted today and congratulate all the retiring acting Officers who have been such wonderful Ambassadors for the Royal Arch. I cannot tell you what a great honour I deem it to be the one investing you today, on behalf of the Province.

I offer my personal thanks and gratitude to all those who have made today such a huge and enjoyable success and in particular, the Provincial Grand Scribe E, the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremony, Provincial Officers on duty, the Office Team, Cardiff Masonic Hall Management & Staff and the “Set up Team” and for those who will so kindly pack away after we close this Convocation and for the “often unseen guiding hands” of those helping deliver their particular support. You know who you are!

Feel proud Companions, for I am very proud of you!

Address by the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent in and over South Wales, Saturday 10th March 2018

I start my inaugural address as the Twelfth Grand Superintendent in and over South Wales by paying tribute to my illustrious predecessor, Excellent Companion David Anthony Westall: to the man, the Mason and as our much loved Leader, for the last 8 years. I will miss his wise counsel, integrity and courtesy and I sincerely hope that I repay the honour he conferred upon me, by his generous recommendation which led to my Appointment by the Most Excellent First Grand Principal, last December.

For the last 7 Years, David’s loyal Deputy has been Excellent Companion Colin Weatherall and I place on record my gratitude to him, on behalf of us all and to all the Past Executive for their dedication, sense of duty and for ensuring that today, I inherit such a well respected Province.

The expressions of good-will here today is palpable and I am most grateful for the hundreds of letters, emails, texts, tweets and messages of support that I and my Executive Officers have received, from within and without South Wales. I realise and appreciate that I am only here as your servant, because of the extraordinary support that I have received throughout my life and in particular, over the 30 years that I have been a Freemason, support and guidance from good men and Masons. Companions whom I respect greatly – many of which are here today.