RA News

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 Twittershpere 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 Twittershere 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!

Annual Convocation Booklet – 15th June 2019

Worthy Companion,
Please find below a link to the Booklet that appertains to the Annual Convocation of this Provincial Grand Chapter; to be holden at Cardiff Masonic Hall on Saturday, 15th June 2019.
Annual Convocation Booklet 2019

Warm fraternal regards,
Ben Gait
Provincial Grand Scribe E.

Information Regarding Annual Convocation of Provincial Grand Chapter – 15th June 2019

Worthy Companion,

We look forward to your company at the Annual Convocation of South Wales Provincial Grand Chapter, to be held at Cardiff Masonic Hall on Saturday 15th June 2019. Please use this link for directions to Cardiff Masonic Hall, and this link for information on travelling to Cardiff.

There will be tea and coffee available from 9:30 a.m. Companions are asked to register, robe and be seated by 10:30 a.m.

Due to space restrictions, there will be one procession of Grand Superintendents and Past Grand Superintendents, which will form at 10:50 a.m. Provincial Grand Chapter will be opened at 11:00 a.m.

Following the Convocation there will be a Reception for Distinguished Guests, followed by Luncheon at 1:00 p.m. (where light jackets are most welcome). Carriages at or before 3:00 p.m.

On behalf of the Grand Superintendent and his Executive I wish you a safe and pleasant journey to South Wales, and I hope that you will enjoy the day.

Warm fraternal regards,
Ben Gait
Provincial Grand Scribe E.

Provincial Grand Chapter, Saturday 15th June 2019 Announcement

Dear Companions,

Due to the limited number of 300 available seats at Cardiff Masonic Hall, applications for attendance for Provincial Grand Chapter on Saturday 15th June 2019 have now closed.

The Most Excellent Grand Superintendent and Provincial Executive thank everyone for their wonderful support.

Most Excellent Grand Superintendent Address to Provincial Grand Lodge Committee, May 2019

The Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master invited the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent to address the Brethren at the 2019 Provincial Grand Lodge Committee Meeting, who covered the following 4 areas:

  • Relationship with the Craft and other Orders & Degrees
  • Royal Arch Representatives
  • Membership Figures
  • Conversation with membership

Relationship with the Craft and other Orders & Degrees

Brethren, I am sure you are all conversant with the Book of Constitutions which states, by way of a Preliminary Declaration that “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”. The Craft and Holy Royal Arch are therefore inextricably linked, and the Royal Arch forms a vital and integral part of Pure Ancient Masonry – it being the completion of Craft Masonry.

Like many of us, we also very much enjoy our membership of other Orders and Degrees and these are to be celebrated and supported. As I have said on many occasions, active membership is to be applauded as the facts are that members of other Orders and Degrees retain their memberships and are keen Ambassadors for both the Craft and Royal Arch.

That said, the route of advancement must continue to be 1st The Craft 2nd The Royal Arch and then please consider joining the delightful Orders and Degrees that we have available to us.

Royal Arch Representatives

The role of the Lodge Royal Arch Representative is a hugely important position that I know the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master will refer to shortly and I wanted firstly to thank all the Lodges for embracing this innovation and secondly explain the Process of appointment. This is clearly a decision for the Lodge to take. However, please take great care in choosing the Brother concerned. Some Lodges had previously appointed Brethren who were sadly no longer subscribing Companions. We are there to discuss appointments with you and Provincial Grand Chapter will liaise with Provincial Grand Lodge and propose suitable candidates for consideration and the Joint leaders on this are APGM Marc Lewis and the 2nd ProvGP with the Officers in charge being the Craft Provincial Membership Officer; WBro. Neil Martin Evans and the RA Membership Officer, EComp Simon Daniel. Brethren, please select the best, most interested Brother as this Office is far too important to be offered as a mere sinecure. Stage 2 will be to review processes, measure Exaltations and movement of Companions and strive towards achieving the best possible outcome for those aspiring candidates that are waiting to be approached, at the earliest opportunity.

Membership Figures

The Province of South Wales currently has 69 operating Chapters, following Crystal Chapter being erased from the register, at Supreme Grand Chapter, last Thursday. Sadly, the Chapter had not met for some considerable time and this was therefore an administrative necessity.

At PGC, next month, the ProvGReg will report covering the year 2018, but I am pleased to report that in the first four months of 2019, our memberships have continued to increase by 40 and our members by 35. Thank you for all your effort is continuing to share the benefits and enjoyment of membership of the Royal arch.

Conversation with membership

As I travel around the Province and indeed beyond, I value the conversations that I have with you all and want to learn more about what you really think. Therefore, with the help of the ProvGSec/GSE and others, I will be embarking on developing an interactive forum to better enable that conversation to take place; following PGC/PGL and over the summer.

The information from you will be treated with respect and if there are any points that you wish to get off your chest, I am also prepared to look at them and they can be submitted openly or anonymously (if you feel they are too hot a potato to put your name to), as long as they are polite and courteous.

The conversation will start with 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? Masonic Halls, costs and dining experience etc…

Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, Brethren and Companions, I am most grateful for your time, enthusiasm and love of our Craft and Royal Arch.

D Gerald Rowbottom
ME Grand Superintendent

Provincial Church Service – Saturday 11th May 2019

Dear Sir and Brother,

PROVINCIAL CHURCH SERVICE – Saturday 11th MAY 2019 at 11.00am

You will have noted in the February 2019 issue of Second Rising that the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master and the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent have decided to hold a joint Provincial Church Service at St. Martin’s Church, 3 St. Martins Road, Caerphilly, CF83 1EF at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, 11th May 2019.

Both the Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent wish that as many as possible of their Grand Officers, and that all their Lodges and Chapters, will be represented on this important day in our Provincial Calendar. All Masters, First Principals, Brethren and Companions along with their families and friends will of course be most welcome to attend.

Please see the attached documents for more information.

Warm fraternal regards,

Ben Gait
Provincial Grand Secretary & Scribe E.
Masonic Province of South Wales

Download a pdf of the 2019 Provincial Church Service letter here
Download the Reply Slip here

Royal Arch Appointments for 2019 – 2020

The Most Excellent Grand Superintendent presided over the Annual Royal Arch Luncheon in the Elizabethan Room of the Imperial Hotel in London on 25th April 2019, where the welcome change of venue allowed for extra capacity for him and the Executive to be joined by 100 Companions from the Province.

At the Luncheon, the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent was pleased to announce that he has appointed E.Comp. Phillip A. Aubrey, PGStB, Third Provincial Grand Principal to succeed E.Comp. Gwilym H. Jones, PGStB as Second Provincial Grand Principal and E.Comp. Peter Jones, PGStB, ProvGDC to succeed E.Comp. Phillip A. Aubrey as Third Provincial Grand Principal.

The Most Excellent Grand Superintendent was further pleased to announce that he has appointed E.Comp. Paul Davies, PPrGSN to be the Provincial Grand Scribe N. and  E.Comp. Christopher M.L. Davies, PGStB as Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies,  and following discussion with the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, confirmed this Appointment would be in both Provincial Grand Lodge and Provincial Grand Chapter.

The Provincial Grand Principals and Appointees will be Invested at Provincial Grand Chapter in Cardiff Masonic Hall on Saturday 15th June 2019.