Address to Divisional Conclave 24th June 2017
Worthy Knights this is the seventh occasion on which I have had the privilege and very great pleasure of addressing you at our Divisional Meeting.
May I now pay tribute to all the members of this Division that were mentioned in our requiem earlier. Their devotion and dedication to this Order was immense. They were all well known to us, and many had served this Order faithfully and diligently for a considerable number of years. But, I must make particular mention of one.
V.Ill. Knight George Nichols, whose funeral took place on the13th of June, became a member of this order on 9th November 1964. He had been a very active member for 53 years and one of our more recent activities with George was the presentation of his 50 year jewel, by R.Ill. & Em.Kt. Peter Hawken the Deputy Grand Sovereign. George was a member of Rose of Wessex Conclave No 236. He was installed as the M P Sovereign on 14th October 1971. He was also a member of Naval and Military Conclave No 35, becoming an Honorary Member in 2004. He was also an Honorary Member of St Peter and St Paul conclave No 450, our Installed Sovereigns Conclave. He served in a number of Divisional Offices which included Divisional Marshall and Deputy Intendent-General from 1992 to 1996. He received 3 ranks in Grand Imperial Conclave; first as Past Grand Orator, then Past Grand High Chancellor and finally as Past Grand Junior General in 1998. George was dedicated to this Order, and served it very well for many years. He was an exceptional Dep I-G for my predecessor Rt.Ill. Knight Gerry Southwell. He was well liked by everyone and will be
Sorely missed by us all.
I congratulate all those who will be appointed to or promoted in Grand Imperial Conclave early next month.
Michael Jenkins to Grand High Almoner (V.ILL) - Middx
Graham Roberts to Past Grand Chamberlain
Lee Robinson to Past Grand Chamberlain
Jim Stott to Past Grand Chamberlain
Tony Bargrove to Past G Standard Bearer (L)
On first Appointment
Alan Krzysica as Grand Prefect
Derek Radford as Grand Vice Chamberlain
George Deacon as Past Grand Prefect Middx
We were particularly pleased and a little surprised to have 2 first Appointments as active Grand Officers. You will note that 2 of our W Knights received their Grand Appointments through the Division of Middlesex a collaboration we have undertaken with a number of Divisions when a Knight is a member of Conclaves in more than one division. These appointments and promotions are all well-deserved and follow many years of dedicated service to the Order. I look forward to seeing you all in London for your Investiture and also I trust many of you who will no doubt be supporting them.
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. I would remind you all that you are expected to attend as many official visits as you can, that also includes those promoted to a Past Divisional Rank, as we treat you all as active for this year.
The membership figures in the summons reflect the year ending 31st August 2016. They show an increase of 6 memberships, a 3% increase. This is encouraging and I hope that we may have an increase this year as well, albeit a very small one. We still have a reasonably high death rate and number of resignations. This is to be expected in some respects due to the age profile of our membership. The recruitment as you all know is from the Royal Arch. The Royal Arch membership figures for 2016 show a decrease of 71 to 3625. Clearly there is an ever decreasing pot that we can draw new membership from, and we are not the only order recruiting from the Royal Arch.
We have had about 12 new members this year, three of whom are able to be with us today. They are:
W.Kt. Gerald Thurgar of Naval and Military Conclave No.35
W.Kt. Andrew Dennis of Holy Rood Conclave No.319
And W.Kt. Barry Barnes of Mystic Rose Conclave No.464
W.Kt.'s of the Division of Hampshire and Isle of Wight, I introduce to you 3 of our new Kts. I trust you will give them a hearty welcome whenever you see them, and provide them with help, guidance and companionship in this wonderful Order -- They are the future.
Recruitment and retention are our major preoccupation for the coming year. You are all well aware that the best method of recruitment is for each member to make approaches to individuals about joining us. I would remind Sovereigns and Viceroys that they should be bringing in an individual each in their year of office. But this does not mean that the rest of us can stand back and watch.
The Division hopes to arrange 2 or possibly 3 open evenings in the coming year in conjunction with suitable Conclaves. The first one will be held in Andover with Milvian Bridge Conclave.
Ill.Kt. Larry and myself have undertaken 15 official visits within the Division this year. With the addition of the Divisional Recorder and also the Divisional Marshall, between us we have made 37 individual visits to 22 Divisions. All these visits have been marked by the warmth of the welcome and hospitality and in the case of the Conclaves, the sincerity and warmth 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 wonderful.
I now wish to acknowledge the immense amount of work undertaken by my Senior Team. V.Ill.Kt. Larry Peer, my deputy; Ill.Kt. Stuart Taynton, my Venerable Divisional Eusebius; Ill.Kt. Kevin Todd, the Divisional Marshal;
Ill.Kt. Tony Bargrove, the Divisional Recorder. Their advice and guidance continues to be in valuable to me. I also include in these thanks the Deputy Divisional Marshal, Ill.Kt. Graham Brown and the Divisional Assistant recorder P.Kt. Ian Campbell, both of whom have worked tirelessly for the Division.
The Captain of the Guard – P.Kt. Chris Davis and Deputy Captain of the Guard W.Kt. Mark Gannaway, who play such a substantial role with in this Division, not only on Official Visits but on all Appendant Orders Ceremonies, have my grateful thanks for all they and the Guard do.
The Divisional Executive meeting was of great value to me in deciding on whom I would put forward for Grand Rank and Grand Promotions. Likewise we were able to decide on who would be the active officers that we have appointed today.
The Divisional General Purposes Committee meeting was attended by approximately 38. Apart from the information that I am able to make known to those present, the Divisional Marshall, Recorder and Treasurer are able to meet with their counterparts in each of the Conclaves. We also receive reports from each of the Conclaves updating us with their progress and any problems they may have.
The Ladies' evening at Winchester was a wonderful event. We had a new Key Board player on this occasion. He organised a competition, by playing 10 tunes and we each had to write down the country of origin of the music. They were all well known, to the extent that they were all lustily sung by Ill.Kt. Trevor Gulliver, and he even remembers to leave out the words that would have given the answer away. It was very clear that the Ladies enjoyed it immensely.
You are all aware that the collection today will go to our Divisional Relief Chest.
We are building up the Divisional Relief Chest to be able to make donation to a number of charities in the future. I also would like to thank the Conclaves who have made contributions to the Relief Chest during the last Masonic Year.
The Christian Orders Church service was a great success, with approximately 100 attending. This year we had a special service which had been put together by Ill.Kt. Trevor Gulliver our organist. Trevor thank you for undertaking this task for us we are in you dept. Without exception all the comments made to me after the service were very complementary. The service was enjoyed by all, as was the high tea afterwards.
We are working towards our 150 year celebration which will occur in 2021. I have decided to appoint a small subcommittee to undertake much of the organising. It will be chaired by V.Ill.Kt. Larry Peer and will include a number of others who will be involved with the project. We are going to publish a history of the Division which will include a history of each conclave. You are aware that I have asked each Conclave to undertake the compilation of their own history. The next GP committee Meeting will receive an update on progress by the member of the Conclave who is compiling the History.
Worthy Knights, the last year as your Intendant-General, has been stimulating, encouraging, challenging and above all, most enjoyable. You are all well aware that we are a truly Christian Order and it should be emphasised throughout our sojourn as a member of this Order. In fact we should emphasise it in our recruitment so that no candidate should ever arrive at his installation in any doubt as to the relationship between the Order and his Christian beliefs.
Worthy Knights may I thank you all for attending today. My thanks go to Tony Ian, Kevin and Graham for organising today; and the staff at Botley for the meal to come. 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
God bless you all
R.Ill.Kt. Roger Charles Bricknell June 2017.