In 1878 it would have been only those beholden of great optimism and foresight amongst the founders to see their dream of a successful and vibrant chapter still operating to their high standard 140 years hence. Those grand originals of Downshire Chapter No 594, which is still meeting at Liverpool Masonic Hall, would be well gratified to know that in the year 2018 their direct successors performed an installation ceremony to the sublime standard they first set.
This latest installation meeting was opened in an exemplary manner by first principal Eric Poole, ably assisted by his fellow principals Geoff Gill and Paul Copeland, all under the fatherly eye of their director of ceremonies Roy Cowley. 2018 will be a memorable year for Roy, being first principal in the very prestigious Provincial Grand Stewards’ Chapter of West Lancashire No 8516, the foremost chapter within the Province. Sadly, due to unforeseen circumstances, the third principal elect Robert Martin, was unable to be in attendance and so will be invested at a future date.
The principal guest for the evening, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Sam Robinson, entered the chapter room accompanied by the Liverpool Group Chairman Mark Matthews and the chairman of the Liverpool Masonic Hall Committee John Roberts. The musical dexterity of Dave Jones was in evidence throughout the evening, forming a perfect enhancement to the proceedings.
For the purpose of the installation ceremony, Dave Newland acted as scribe Nehemiah. The readings for the second principal’s chair were given by John Roberts, while Roy Ashley proved equally as proficient in the reading for the first principal. On being installed into the chairs the red robe address was given to Geoff Gill by Alan Riley, with Geoff giving that the purple robe address to Paul Copeland. As first principal, Geoff was presented with the charter, the book of Royal Arch regulations and the by-laws of the chapter by Roy Cowley.
Geoff then had the pleasure of investing Eric Poole with the collar and jewel worn by right as the immediate past first principal of Downshire Chapter. Later in the ceremony, Eric was also invested as almoner, charity steward and the MCF 2021 Festival representative. Mark Mathews gave the address to Eric, now being the charity steward of the chapter. The address to the newly installed principals was rendered by Roy Cowley and the address to the companions of the chapter was delivered by Sam Robinson.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Sam brought greetings from the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison, congratulating the newly installed principals, by saying: “The Grand Superintendent hopes you have a good and enjoyable year in office.” Sam then congratulated Eric for his excellent work during his tenure of office, coupled with his outstanding deliverance of ritual during the evening. He further thanked all the members of the chapter for the enjoyable and unique ceremony, commenting on how well the companions of the chapter had pulled together for the event. Geoff then presented a number of cheques on behalf of the chapter; £100 in favour of the MCF 2021 Festival, £100 Liverpool Masonic Hall building fund and £50 to the Friends of Tithebarn. On behalf of the recipients, Sam thanked the companions for their generosity.
Once the ceremony had concluded the companions moved into the adjacent banquet room for the festive board. It was here that Sam, in response to the toast to the grand officers, congratulated the chapter on a well-organized ceremony, before thanking the grand and acting Provincial grand officers for their support. Sam then moved on to discuss the MCF 2021 Festival, Sam noted that it was great to see so many companions wearing their festival jewel adding how pleasing it was to see the fantastic commitment being given around the Province to the festival.
Sam then touched upon the need to make sure that fellow Masons were made aware of the Royal Arch and that we need to go out and sell it to them. In conclusion he congratulated the new principals and encouraged them to enjoy their Royal Arch Masonry and to keep up with the good work which has made Downshire Chapter such a happy and joyful to visit.