The latest annual installation meeting of Downshire Chapter No 594 was opened in an exemplary manner by first principal Geoffrey Gill, ably assisted by his fellow principals Paul Copeland and Robert Martin, all under the discerning eye of their director of ceremonies Roy Cowley. Principal guest for the evening, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Colin Rowling, entered the chapter room accompanied by the Liverpool Group Chairman Mark Matthews and the chairman of the Liverpool Masonic Hall committee John Roberts. After warmly receiving Colin to the chapter, Geoff also welcomed the other visitors, which included the third principal of Chapter of Harmony No 220 John MacKenzie and the second principal of the Provincial Grand Stewards’ Chapter of West Lancashire No 8516 Geoffrey Cuthill.
Prior to the ceremony of installation, Geoff Gill requested the officers to line up in the north and then gave his heartfelt thanks for the support and dedication given to both the chapter and himself for the previous 12 months. For the purpose of the ceremony, Dave Newland acted as scribe Nehemiah, and when appropriate Bill Allen took the chair of third principal and Alan Riley that of the second principal. The readings for the chair of the third principal were given by Dave Newland, those for second principal by John Roberts and Roy Ashley proved equally as proficient in the reading for the first principal. Installed as first principal was Paul Copeland, an experienced companion who had held this position on two previous occasions, first in 2013 and again in 2014. Robert Martin was installed as second principal and Oliver Winder that of third.
On being installed into their respective chairs, the red robe address was given to Paul Copeland by Geoff Gill, with Alan Riley giving the purple robe address to Robert (Bob) Martin and Eric Poole the blue robe address to Oliver Winder. As first principal, Paul was presented with the charter, the book of Royal Arch regulations and the by-laws of the chapter by Roy Cowley. Paul then had the pleasure of investing Geoff Gill with the collar and jewel, worn by right as the immediate past first principal of Downshire Chapter. The address to the newly installed principals was rendered by Roy Cowley and the address to the companions of the chapter was delivered in magnificent manner by Colin Rowling.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Colin 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.” Colin then congratulated Geoff Gill for the excellent work he carried out 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. Paul Copeland, as the newly installed first principal, then presented a number of cheques on behalf of the chapter; £250 in favour of the MCF 2021 Festival, £100 to Liverpool Masonic Hall building fund and £50 to the Friends of Tithebarn. On behalf of the recipients, Colin thanked the companions for their generosity. Colin also had another pleasant duty to perform on the evening presenting the ‘Supreme Grand Chapter’ certificate to recent exalted companion Paul Dwan.
Once the ceremony had concluded, the companions moved into the adjacent banquet room for the festive board. It was here that Colin, in response to the toast to the grand officers, congratulated the chapter on a well-organised ceremony, before thanking those grand officers present for their support. He then moved on to discuss the MCF 2021 Festival, noting that it was great to see so many companions wearing their festival jewel, adding how pleasing it was to see the fantastic commitment being shown by the Downshire Chapter to the festival. Colin 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 his visit so happy and joyful.