It was that time of the year again for Minerva Lodge No 4002 to display their mastery of the art of the ceremonial. Similar to a number of the other lodges within the Liverpool Group, this has not happened by chance, but through the sheer hard work of the brethren concerned being willing and enthusiastic in putting in hour after hour of rehearsal. The lodge regulates itself to the Bottomley system of working which to any newcomer is an absolute delight to behold.
The lodge was opened in due form by acting WM Justin Lewis and after completion of standard lodge business the director of ceremonies Martin Farmer, announced the arrival of the principal guest David Anderton, acting as the representative of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. Led by two past Provincial grand officers George Andrews and Trevor Jones, acting as deacons, David entered the room accompanied by Liverpool Group Chairman Mark Matthews and fellow grand officers Les Moore and Ken Mallon, all bringing a colourful display to the proceedings.
For the purpose of the ceremony, Justin requested Colin Ferrington to remain as senior warden, Gordon Farmer to occupy the position of junior warden and Bill Skinner as inner-guard. With everyone in place, master elect Jack Poller, was brought forward by Bob Farmer and Miles Cotterall as the ‘presenting officers’. Following the obligations necessary for a past master, Jack was then installed into the chair of King Solomon in an exemplary and dignified manner by Justin. As alluded to previously, Justin was standing in for WM Alan Ritchie, who due to unforeseen circumstance was unable to attend, so Jack said he would invest Alan with the collar and jewel of the IPM on a future occasion.
Justin, having supervised the salutations to Jack, as laid down in the Bottomley system of working, also presented the working tools in all three degrees, before presenting the warrant of the lodge, book of constitutions and the by-laws.
Jack then had the duty of appointing and investing his officers for the coming year, with Arnie Neale going to SW and on taking his position he was addressed by Colin Berrington. A similar procedure followed for Colin at the position of JW, being addressed by Gordon Farmer. With the re-appointment of Roger Kilshaw as charity steward, that was the cue for Mark Matthews to rise and read the address and on completion he presented a copy to Roger. Martin Farmer, a Past Provincial Grand Steward was an obvious choice to present the address to the stewards and this was followed by Colin Ferrington, giving a superb rendition of the ‘address to the master’. Miles Cotterall gave the address to both warden’s, while the piece de resistance came from David Anderton with his address to the brethren of Minerva Lodge.
With the ceremony of installation complete, David rose to congratulate Jack and bring greetings from the PrGM. He thanked Justin for performing a superb installation and Martin for his outstanding work as DC. He added however, that the ceremony had been enhanced beyond measure by the virtuosity of the keyboard playing by Bob Farmer. Jack Poller then presented David with two cheques; £200 to the MCF 2021 Festival and £300 to WLFC. David thanked Jack on behalf of the recipients, for the generosity of the brethren.
The lodge was then closed and the brethren retired to the adjoining banquet suite to chat and enjoy a pre-dinner drink before taking their places at the festive board to enjoy a fine meal with ample supplies of wine. The starter being the ever popular, Bury black pudding, followed by fillet of beef with seasonal vegetables, Eton mess as desert, and rounded off with a cheese board.
The toast to the grand officers received a response from David Anderton, who in his usual amicable manner delighted all present by his delivery of hilarious one liners and anecdotes worthy of any professional comic. He again praised the lodge for working to a high standard and congratulated Bill Skinner on his forthcoming promotion to Past Provincial Senior Grand Deacon. He also highlighted a number of serious subjects, including support to the MCF 2021 Festival, use of a standard selective method of potential candidates and the promotion of the Royal Arch. David has for many years been actively involved with the charities and is a trustee of the WLFC. Finally, the members and guests having once again enjoyed a very memorable event, the re-appointed tyler, Brian Jones, proposed the last toast of the evening.