John Doig returns to the principal’s chair

To avoid putting undue pressure on the more recently exalted members, Liverpool Epworth Chapter No 5381 made full use of the depth of experience that it has within its ranks for the latest installation convocation. Held in the Egyptian Suite in Liverpool’s magnificent Masonic Hall, the chapter was also celebrating the 40th anniversary of the issue of the charter in 1978. A memorable occasion and it was a pleasure to have a founder in attendance, the former Deputy Grand Superintendent of the Province Brian Jackson.

John Doig told off yet again. Pictured left to right, are: Brian Jackson, Mark Matthews, John Doig, Colin Rowling and David Kemp.

John Doig told off yet again. Pictured left to right, are: Brian Jackson, Mark Matthews, John Doig, Colin Rowling and David Kemp.

Sadly, due to illness and an accident, the first and second principals were unable to attend on the evening, so the chapter was opened in due form by Geoffrey Cuthill acting as first principal, ably assisted by Steve Foster acting as second principal and third principal Gordon McConnell. The three principals and the companions were delighted to welcome Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Colin Rowling as the principal guest, accompanied by Liverpool Group Chairman Mark Matthews, vice chairman David Kemp, together with grand and Provincial grand officers.

For the purpose of installation, James Whisker took station inside the entrance, before Geoffrey Green was presented as third principal elect by the director of ceremonies Edward O’Hare. Mal Myers took the position of third principal when Gordon McConnell was presented as second principal elect. Edward next presented John Alexander Doig as first principal elect, then following the obligations by the incoming principals, companions below the rank of an installed first principal retired for a short time.

Geoffrey Cuthill installed John into the chair of first principal, a return after 22 years, his last time being in 1996. On his re-admittance Gordon McConnell was installed as second principal by Steve Foster and in similar style Gordon installed his successor Geoff Green as third principal. The readings for the ceremony were given by David Kemp, Mal Myers and Brian Pierpoint (for the first, second and third principals respectively), while the red robe address was by Steve Foster, the purple by John Doig and the blue by David Bruffell, all presented in a most laudable manner.

Pictured left to right, are: Gordon McConnell, John Doig and Geoff Green.

Pictured left to right, are: Gordon McConnell, John Doig and Geoff Green.

John next proceeded to appoint and invest the chapter officers for the coming year. On being appointed as charity steward and the MCF 2021 Festival representative, Geoffrey Cuthill was read the address relevant to his office by Mark Matthews, a copy of which was then presented to him. The address to the companions of the chapter was delivered in an excellent manner by Colin Rowling.

With the completion of the installation, Colin rose to bring the greetings of the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison, together with the express wish that all the companions present would continue to have an enjoyable year in their chapter. This was the cue for John Doig to present Colin, on behalf of the chapter, with two cheque’s, one in favour of the Liverpool Masonic Hall Building Fund for £250 and the other for £150 to the MCF 2021 Festival. Colin replied by giving thanks to the benevolence of the companions, who had also given generously on previous occasions in their respective Craft lodges.

A well-attended festive board gave Colin the opportunity to bring his own congratulations and warm wishes. In his address, he enlightened the companions of the current issues within Royal Arch Masonry that the Grand Superintendent wished to draw to their attention. In particular, he stressed the advantages of spreading the word about the charitable work done by Royal Arch Masons and the additional enjoyment gained from membership of the order. To be able to achieve this, he recommended the use of whatever appropriate social media each companion felt most comfortable in using and encouraged the members to keep their group publicity officer informed of any social or charitable events they had planned, so that appropriate coverage could be arranged. At this point Colin congratulated two members of the chapter, Mal Myers and Geoff Cuthill, who had received promotion at the previous Provincial Grand Chapter meeting. He also thanked Mal for the way in which his secretarial expertise allowed the evening to run so smoothly. Colin also thanked everyone for their kind thoughts for arranging the delivery of a beautiful floral bouquet to his wife early in the day and expressed thanks on her behalf. In summary, he reminded everyone again that Tony Harrison’s most fervent wish was that they continued to enjoy their Freemasonry to the full.

Later, it was the turn of John Doig to say a few words and he expressed his thanks for all those who had taken part in the ceremony and also to the number of visitors in attendance. It was a special delight to have Bernie Ashley, first principal of Everton Chapter No 823 present, together with his brother Roy. Likewise, it was also particularly pleasing to have two honorary members of Liverpool Epworth Chapter here, founder Brian Jackson and the chairman of the Liverpool Masonic Hall Company John Roberts.

The three principals with their guests.

The three principals with their guests.

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