The ‘Merry Month of May’ has passed and what a merry month it has been!
While May traditionally heralds the end of the Craft season for the summer recess, other Orders, particularly the Ancient & Accepted Rite, continue apace and there have been a number of significant meetings in the past few weeks.
Early in the month, the North East Lancashire District held the first of a planned series of meetings for Chapter Directors of Ceremonies with the aim of harnessing their collective wisdom and experience for the benefit of all our Chapters, and raising the standards of ritual across the board.
Saturday 6th May saw Jack Aston and myself travelling over the Pennines to attend the Annual District Meeting for Yorkshire West Riding at Castle Grove Masonic Centre in Leeds. The meeting consisted of a demonstration of the Perfection Ceremony, expertly conducted by the members of the Prince Albert, Duke of York Chapter, which is the Past Sovereigns’ Chapter for the District.
On Monday 8th May I had the pleasure of attending a meeting of Chapel in the Fields Chapter at Horwich as a guest of Ill. Bro John Hughes who was Enthroned that evening as the Chapters’ second Most Wise Sovereign, following its consecration in May 2016.
On Saturday 13th May, Sue and I attended the 90th Charter Celebrations of the Central and South West London Club of Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland.
The party began with a drinks reception in the Museum of the Order of St. John in Clerkenwell, followed by a gala dinner in the spectacular Chapter Hall of the Order.
The following day, after a leisurely breakfast in the hotel and a walk in the lovely spring sunshine, we attended an afternoon tea with the Soroptimist club members and their guests from overseas in the Orangery at Kensington Palace.
Monday saw a day’s respite from non-stop eating (I lie) and some relaxing sightseeing in London. On Tuesday I spent the day at Duke Street St. James’s, first for the half-yearly meeting of ‘Suprema Lex’, the Chapter for Members and Officials of Supreme Council and serving Inspectors General, then in the afternoon a Higher Degrees Meeting where five Past Sovereigns from the North East Lancashire District were among the 28 Brethren receiving promotions to the 30th Degree.
Back to Lancashire on Wednesday in time for a Plains of Tabor Priory of Malta meeting at Colne on Thursday 18th May and the half-yearly meeting of the East Lancashire (Past Sovereigns’) Chapter No.440 at Rochdale on Friday 19th May.
On Saturday 20th May, I attended the inaugural Annual District Meeting for Cumberland and Westmorland in Carlisle, hosted by Dunmail Chapter, which, like the Chapel in Fields Chapter earlier in the month, was holding its first Enthronement meeting since its consecration in 2016.
The following week was dominated by Mark Degree events, with the Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge at Blackburn on Wednesday 24th May and the Mark Provincial Wardens’ Mess at Manchester Hall on Friday 26th May.
Finally, on 31st May, to round off another very enjoyable month, I attended a meeting of William Horrocks Chapter in Blackburn where a small but happy band of Rose Croix Masons witnessed an excellent demonstration of the Intermediate Degrees, given by the 1st General, E&P Bro Philip Beaumont, followed by a delightful festive board.