Companions may I thank you all for your attendance here this afternoon.
Since our last Convocation the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Ireland has met twice. On Wednesday 19th September 2018 M.E.Comp. S. Gordon Leathem BEM was installed as our M.E. & S. Grand King and M.E.Comp. Harry Trimble as M.E. Deputy Grand King.
On Wednesday 7th November 2018 M.E.Comp Charles Olden was installed as M.E. Assistant Grand King. On behalf of District Chapter I congratulate all 3, but especially our own M.E. & S.G.King Gordon and pledge our ongoing support to Supreme Grand Chapter. We wish them every success and look forward to a bright future under their leadership.
Our District Chapter BBQ was held on Saturday 15th September in Newry Masonic Hall. The weather was kind to us, it proved to be a great success and was enjoyed by all who attended. My thanks go to E.Comp. Derek Stevenson and the Newry Hall Committee for looking after us so well and to all the Companions who supported the event.
Next years social event will be a Dinner Dance. The District Deputy Grand King and District Assistant Grand King are working out the final details but I'm lead to believe it will be on Friday I st November 2019 in the Millbrook Lodge, Ballynahinch at 7:30pm, cost £25pp. Please keep that date free in your diary, subject to confirmation early next year.
Three of our companions have recently been approved as Foreign Representatives at Supreme Grand Chapter. They are M.E.Comp. James K Prime, Representative of the Grand Chapter of Illinois, M.E.Comp. Peter Rowntree, Representative of the Grand Chapter of Victoria and M.E.Comp. Roy J F Humphries, Representative ofthe Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of France. On behalf of District Chapter I congratulate all three Companions on their promotion and wish them well in their travels and many enjoyable years as foreign reps.
Companions if you haven't decided what you want for Xmas or are in need of a little stocking filler why not consider a District Chapter Tie. They are still available but are running out fast. Very reasonable priced at £10 each they can be ordered through the District Chapter Office or the website and are available at our Quarterly Convocations. V.E.Comp. Sam Snodden would be more than happy to sell you one or two.
With the Installation Season upon us I would again encourage everyone, but especially those going into office, to attend one of our classes of instruction. The classes in Banbridge, Belfast(the Mount) and N' Ards would appreciate your support. We all benefit from attending classes, as do our Chapters and a little bit of effort will pay dividends. Please give them the support they deserve. A programme is being put together to raise the standard of ritual throughout the District and it is our intention to hold Seminars for Directors of Ceremonies next year in September/October time. More details to follow.
Our Webmaster, E.Comp. Ian Simms, would appreciate some photographs of your Chapter Installations so that they can be added to our website. They can be emailed to District Office or to Ian directly. My thanks go to E.Comp. Simms for all his ongoing hard work looking after our District Chapter website.
On Saturday 10th November I and the other Senior Officers had the pleasure of attending the Installation of V.E.Comp John C. Clark as R. W. Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Down. On behalf of the District I congratulate John and wish him many happy years in that role, assuring him of our support during his term of office. I also congratulate his newly appointed Deputy, V.E.Comp Brian Gardner and Assistant, M.E.Comp Frank Williams and look forward to their installation on 2nd February.
At that meeting the Provincial Grand Master announced that it is Provincial Grand Lodges intention to acquire Galwally House as a Central Masonic Hall and Administration Building for the Province of Down. With falling membership, especially in the Greater Belfast area, there is no doubt that some consolidation is required. I have had a tour of the premises and the building has great potential. District Chapter fully endorse the project and look forward to availing of the facilities in due course.
Companions thank you for your attention and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Have a safe journey home.