PROVINCIAL GRAND CHAPTER NEWS
So much has changed since the postponement of the Annual Convocation in March that it seems appropriate to assess just where we are now.
When the General Suspension of Freemasonry came to an end in July, and indoor meetings of 30 people were permitted, it made very little difference to the Royal Arch because exaltations could not be worked and even Installations could not be worked in full.
Then the “Rule of Six” made meetings even more pointless and the opinion of the Grand Superintendent and the Executive remained unchanged – unless and until ceremonies could be worked in full and followed by a celebratory festive board there was little to be gained by meeting (except for a very few specific reasons which we highlighted back in July).
We now have the advice from Supreme Grand Chapter that Chapters can choose to suspend their meetings for 3 months at a time, and renew a suspension at will. However, it is necessary to get the approval of two thirds of members in writing and apply to the Grand Superintendent (through the Provincial Grand Scribe E) for permission. If a Chapter wishes to follow this course permission will be granted. But many Chapter Scribes E may feel that it is far easier to produce a pointless summons for a meeting which will then be abandoned, than to obtain written agreement from two thirds of members to a suspension every 3 months (which may well only cover one meeting). The decision is down to each Chapter.
ANNUAL CONVOCATION 2020
We sent an email to all members a few weeks ago explaining that the RA Regulations insist that a Provincial Meeting be held every year and that SGC interpret that as a calendar year. We therefore arranged for the Annual Convocation to take place at 2pm at Derby Masonic Hall on Thursday 22 October. It was to be restricted to 30 members, but will now be restricted to six – the Grand Superintendent, his Deputy, the Second and Third Provincial Principals and the Provincial Scribes E and N. The business, which has already been circulated, is essentially to confirm appointments and promotions, to accept the accounts and to re-elect the treasurer.
If any member has any business which they would like to bring before the meeting, the Grand Superintendent would be delighted to receive notice through the Provincial Scribe E. He is anxious that you do not feel excluded from the meeting (other than physically excluded that is).
ANNUAL CONVOCATION 2021
It is hoped that the 2021 Convocation will be held on the usual date, the third Saturday in March. But this is by no means guaranteed! It is the intention of the Grand Superintendent to re-appoint to acting office this year’s acting officers so that they may enjoy a full and proper year in office. There will be the odd change because the Second Provincial Grand Principal will be retiring. This means that those Past Zs from 2018 who might well have expected to receive a first appointment in 2021 will unfortunately have to wait another year. This will also apply in 2022 to the Past Zs of 2019, but in 2023 as there will be very few new Zs appointed in 2020 the situation will revert to the usual time scale and the few Past Zs of 2020 and those of 2021 will be considered for first appointment.
The time scale for Promotion in Provincial Rank has, as a general rule, increased over the years to every seven years. The Grand Superintendent wishes to reduce this wait and members who continue to work diligently and give good support to their Chapters will be considered for promotion after six years in 2021, and five years thereafter. This is not a hard and fast rule and the Grand Superintendent may appoint and promote whoever he wishes at his sole discretion.
Offers of appointment and promotion will be sent out as usual from mid-November.
We all hope that you and yours are well. Whatever your Chapter decides, the health and welfare of its members should be the first and foremost concern. Our Provincial Almoner continues to perform sterling work on behalf of us all and is keen to hear if anyone needs help. In these days of infrequent physical meetings, it is more important than ever to keep in contact by other means, whether by on-line meetings by Zoom or Skype, or by a simple telephone call or e-mail. Let us not lose our fraternal fellowship by neglecting simple contact.
May I remind you that Annual Returns AR1 still need dealing with at the appropriate time. You now receive them by e-mail and the password is in the Scribes’ section of the webpage. You need to check it, print it, sign it, scan it and e-mail it to the Provincial Registrar, Mike Boyes. The MEZ should be sent a copy by e-mail and he should confirm it’s correct by a simple e-mail to Mike – this avoids the need for the MEZ to sign the form. Fees should be paid by electronic transfer if at all possible – otherwise a cheque payable to SGC should be sent with covering note to Julie Foster at her home address (details on website) for forwarding to SGC.
Installation Returns, LP&A4 and Provincial Form A, should only be completed when the physical installation has taken place.
Summonses for all meetings, even if abandoned, still need sending to the GS, DGS, Prov Principals and Prov Scribe E.
Any requests for dispensations to move the date or place of meeting, for any Principal to continue in the same office for a third year, and any requests for a suspension, need to come to the Prov. Scribe E.
Principals continuing in office for a second year merely need proclaiming – no ceremony necessary. Officers continue in office until replaced.