The first installation meeting of a newly merged chapter took place at Elm Bank Masonic Hall. A dispensation had been granted by the Provincial Grand Master for the merger of Victoria Chapter No 1345 and Monton Chapter No 6361 to form a new chapter, Monton Victoria Chapter No 1345.
The principle guest for this unique meeting was the Deputy Grand Superintendent Paul Renton accompanied by the Second Provincial Grand Principal Barry Jameson, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principles Colin Rowling, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Malcolm Bell and grand officer Dave Walmsley. In support were acting Provincial grand officers Ian Lynch, John Hindle and John Goodrum along with the Eccles Group Vice Chairman Patrick Walsh.
Before the chapter was opened a dispensation notice to confirm the merger was read out in open chapter by Scribe Ezra Bob Allman. The chapter was then opened by installing principle David James and on completion of the business on the summons received a report. On entering the lodge, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Malcolm Bell announced that the Deputy Grand Superintendent Paul Renton demanded admission. David welcomed Paul and his officers expressing his delight for his attendance on behalf of the companions.
The three Principals elect were then presented in turn by Jeff Winstanley to mark the start of the installation proceedings, with Alan Perks being installed as first principal, Brian Redfearn as second principal and Amos Millington as third principal.
David James delivered the crimson robe address to the first principal, Alan Perks delivered the purple robe address and Brian Redfearn delivered the blue robe address. The officers of the chapter were then invested. Due to the group charity steward Bill Walker being hospitalised, Patrick Walsh presented the responsibilities of the charity steward to Craig Russell and thanked him for taking on this important office. The addresses to the three principals were expertly delivered by Ian Edge, that to the officers by Brian Redfearn and that to the companions by Paul Renton.
At the conclusion of the installation ceremony, Paul brought the congratulations of the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison wishing the three principals well during their coming year in office of this newly merged chapter. He congratulated all who had taken part in the ceremony. Alan Perks then presented Paul with a cheque in the sum of £150 in favour of the MCF 2021 Festival which was gratefully received.
Following communications from Supreme Grand Chapter Paul and the party retired. The business of the evening being ended, Amos Millington recited the validation to close the chapter by command of the three principals. The companions then retired to enjoy the festive board.
Paul Renton, in response to the toast to the grand officers, extended his own congratulations and said that he had enjoyed a wonderful ceremony and congratulated those officers who took part wishing the new chapter well for the coming year. He was pleased to hear that the chapter has three candidates waiting to join and that this stood in good stead for the chapter and would keep the officers busy in the forthcoming year ahead.
Paul said that on his travels visiting chapters he notices many differences in ceremonies and that this was no exception. He said that it is a new beginning for the chapter and that they can make changes in the early stages that are suitable to them. He said that this chapter had performed the first merger and that it will be the pathfinders in future for those chapters who are considering pursuing a merger.
Paul reported that the cabinet had met and that they are looking at ways in which to encourage brethren in the Craft to continue their journey by joining the Royal Arch expressing that development, quality and enjoyment are the key factors.
In conclusion, Paul made special mention to the Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Malcolm Bell and thanking him and his colleagues for the dedicated work that they do travelling up and down the country and that the office demands six years’ service.
He thanked all the officers who had supported him and the companions of Monton Victoria Chapter for their hospitality and a wonderful evening.
Before retiring from the festive board, Alan Perks presented orchids to both Paul and Barry thanking them for their attendance. The festive board being ended it concluded with the janitor’s toast given by Dave Walmsley.
Article and pictures by Tom Fredrickson.