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- Batt Dingle - 50 Not Out
2011 Address to Divisional Grand Conclave
Saturday 25th June 2011
Worthy Knights this is the first occasion on which I have been able to address you at our Annual Divisional Conclave.
May I first pay tribute to my predecessor R. III. Kt. Gerry Southwell, G.C.C.. It is a testament to his stewardship and leadership for 17 years, that we have a thriving and enthusiastic Division. Many of us had the delight of seeing his and Pat's surprise and pleasure when I presented them with an original painting of Amesbury Abbey Church, on behalf of the Division, during our Annual Ladies' evening. You are all aware that Amesbury Abbey Church is where we hold the annual Christian Orders Church Service and it is also Gerry's local church in which he is very involved. We are all indebted to him for his many years of service to this Order, it would not have been what it is today without him. On a more personal basis I wish to thank him for his help and guidance over the last 6 months and I am delighted he is able to be with us today.
I and a number of members of the Division were privileged to be present in York for the Order's Church Service in October 2010. It was inspiring and the Address by the Dean of York Minster the highlight of a wonderful service in the most beautiful surroundings. Many of you who were not present in York have asked if the Address is available. It has in fact been published as an addendum to the minutes of the Annual assembly of Grand Imperial Conclave held on the 6th July 2010 and will be on our Divisional Website next week. In it you will find a reference to the fact that the Greek Orthodox Church consider Constantine the 13th Apostle.
One of my first tasks as Intendant General was to accompany R. III. Kt. Gerry and a number of members of this Division to Kenya to consecrate the first Red Cross Conclave in East Africa on behalf of the Grand Sovereign - East Africa Conclave No 506. This was a major learning experience from start to finish. We installed 18 as Knights of the Red Cross of Constantine on one evening, and then took them through the Appendant Orders on the next evening, before Consecrating the Conclave. The Consecration was somewhat complicated as we had to take 4 through the Consecration as Viceroy and 5 through the Enthronement as a Sovereign. It was 6 days of very hard work but one of the most rewarding that I have had in Masonry.
May I extend my congratulations to those who will be appointed to or promoted in Grand Imperial Conclave on Tuesday 5th July 2011 at the Annual Assembly in Birmingham. They are:-
Charles Aspinell as Assistant Grand Marshal;
Fred Blowman will be promoted to Past Grand Chamberlain as will Richard Dunleavy, Bruce Dyson, Bryan Little, Roy Rudling and Revd Bill Whitfield;
Larry Harding promoted to Past Grand Standard Bearer Constantine;
Stewart Taynton appointed to Past Grand Prefect and Peter Dowden-Smith appointed to Past Grand Warden of Regalia.
And via other Divisions:-
Duncan Bell appointed as Past Grand Prefect (Surrey)
Michael Whelan appointed as Past Grand Warden of Regalia (Dorset)
They are all very well deserved and follow many years of dedicated service to the Order.
The past year has been a year of change for the Division and also for myself. My first six months as Intendant- General have flown by. Most of it has been spent in getting to know the Division and its members with visits to the Conclaves. I had the advantage of knowing it pretty well by being the Deputy Intendant-General and also knowing many of you individually through my time as an Assistant Provincial Grand Master in the Craft and Deputy Grand Superintendent in the Royal Arch.
The Divisional Recorder has indicated in his report the visits that have been undertaken with our own Conclaves and also representing the Division with other Divisions and also other Orders within our area - particularly the 175th anniversary of the first Provincial Priory in Dorset. All these visits have been marked by the warmth of the welcome and hospitality and in the case of the Conclaves, the sincerity of the ceremonies we have witnessed. The visits within our own Division are enhanced by the support of the active officers, the divisional guard and the many Grand Officers that attend with us. They all have my grateful thanks; their support has been nothing short of magnificent.
I must thank 3 members of the active team individually. The Divisional Recorder III Kt Larry Peer, the Assistant Divisional Recorder P. Kt. Stewart Taynton and the Divisional Marshal III Kt Richard Dunleavy. Life would have been very difficult without the advice, help and guidance I have received from all of them. I am most grateful particularly to Ill. Kt. Richard Dunleavy who, despite being the Head of another Order, has agreed to remain in position for a further year to assist in bringing a new team into place.
I congratulate all those that have been appointed to office today. It is an honour that is well deserved by you all. I look forward to working with you during the next year. One of our long serving regular officers has retired to day. Ill. Kt. Roy Rudling our retiring Deputy Marshal has moved to live in Cornwall. Roy, thank you all that you have undertaken on behalf of the Division over the years. We wish you a happy and fulfilling life in Cornwall. I know that our loss is the Division of Devon and Cornwall's gain - yet again.
Having been an APGM, and more particularly the Deputy Grand Superintendent and Deputy Intendant General, I have noted the slightly strange position of my Deputy Intendant-General. He frequently gets ignored, is not kept fully up to date on everything that is going on, but is expected to step straight in, should his immediate superior be unable to fulfil his duties. I am, therefore, endeavouring to raise the profile of the Deputy Intendant- General. You have seen from the summons for today that he will be undertaking a number of Official Visits in his own right during the year, as well as accompanying myself on my Official Visits. On his visits he will be accompanied by a small designated team, but any member of the active team, or Grand Officers, that wish to attend these visits would be most welcome. I am also ensuring that he is fully conversant with all activities in the Division.
During the visits a number of questions have occurred about the ritual. Some of the more important ones are these:-
- I would remind you all that you should be using the Ritual No 1 and 2 dated 2010 with the latest amendments. New rituals 3 and 4 are to be issued shortly and they must then be used.
- Sovereigns when installed are presented with a baton of office - the emblem of your power. There is in Ritual Book 1 a specified ritual on how to use it. It does not mention putting down for the entire meeting. Clearly when undertaking activity particularly ritual that requires two hands it has to be put down, e.g. during the Accolade. , investing a candidate and communicating the signs, at other times it should be held as required and remember it is not a gavel.
- The handling of multiple candidates has become much more important recently. I personally do not like to see a candidate sitting on the sidelines watching what should be for him a moving and very important ceremony.
- Imperial Grand Conclave is considering a more formalised method of Remembrance for those who have passed to higher service. We have one Conclave that has used its own 'ritual or routine' for a considerable time and we have submitted details of that for GIC's consideration. We await developments.
The primary activity for us all in the next year is recruitment. Worthy Knights we first have to accept that all the Orders are striving to recruit from the Craft or the Royal Arch depending on their own requirements. Therefore, it is most important that we work together in this activity. You will all have noted in the Summons our membership statistics. These are memberships rather than individual members and are an excellent result for the year, when you consider the extra financial burden placed upon us from Mark Masons' Hall. They emphasise the need for recruitment to strengthen our existing Conclaves. Some are already strong, but others need enlarging to ensure that offices are filled and that progression to the Sovereign's Chair for W.Kts. is assured. Clearly if this is achieved we will look at establishing new Conclaves to serve those areas of the Division not served at present by a reasonably local Conclave.
Our chosen method of recruitment at this time, as you are all well aware, is to invite specific individuals to join us at the end of a very brief regular meeting to learn about the Order, by means of a power point presentation on the Order, its history, its origins and structure. They then join us at a buffet where questions can be answered and further discussions take place. In the coming Masonic year we intend to hold these meetings in conjunction with the Conclaves that meet at Woolston on Thursday the 1st September 2011, and at Mudeford on Friday 25th November 2011. It is likely that there will be a third evening in either April or May 2012 - the location is still under discussion. These recruiting evenings rely very heavily on your support and assistance. I hope you will support us in these endeavours whole heartedly. I intend at the meeting of St Peter and St Paul Conclave, our Installed Sovereigns' Conclave, in September to discuss with you our recruiting activity. I am looking for your ideas on how we can improve it and also on a number of suggestions for the future that have been put to me.
Looking forward to next year, you will notice that there are 5 Saturdays in June. Our By Laws allow the Intendant General to decide the date and location of the Annual Divisional Conclave. It came as a surprise to me to find that our meeting has been scheduled for the last Saturday in the month rather than the 4th Saturday. Next year, I intend to hold our annual Divisional Conclave on the 4th Saturday in June - 23rd June 2012 - and will continue that schedule for the foreseeable future.
Worthy Knights, I have found the initial part of my tenure as the Intendant-General, stimulating, encouraging and above all enjoyable. We are a truly Christian Order and we should never forget it particularly in our recruiting activity. I find it fits perfectly with my activities in my local Church, and from what you have said to me, many of you are of similar mind. The Christian Orders' service in Amesbury Abbey Church was a great success and I extend my thanks to R. Ill. Kt. Gerry for making the arrangements.
I must extend my thanks to all who have made the arrangements for today, both with the use of this centre, the setting up and control of this Annual Assembly and the festive board to come.
Worthy Knights may I thank you all for attending today. I look forward to working with you in the next year and we part with the watchwords of our wonderful Order
FAITH UNITY and ZEAL
R.Ill.Kt. Roger Charles Bricknell 25 June 2011