MEGS Address to District Grand Chapter of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands Convocation on 22 January 2011
Welcome! Welcome to this, the January convocation of the District. Welcome to this, most historic event in the history of the District. Historic as for the first time we in this District are the hosts of a Grand Superintendent from the Continent of Africa. Companions, on your behalf I welcome our Most distinguished visiting companions and in particular I welcome:
- E. Companion James Bain the Grand Superintendent of the District Grand Chapter of the Bahamas and Turks; a constant friend and Companion of this District.
- E. Companion Olorogun Moses Taiga, the Grand Superintendent of the District Grand Chapter of Nigeria;
- E. Comp. James Moss Solomon of the Irish Royal Arch Masonry in Jamaica and the Bahamas, and
- E. Comp. G. Trevor Jones, the Grand Superintendent of Scottish Royal Arch Masonry in Jamaica.
I also offer a very special welcome to E. Comp. Afeef Lazarus, the Immediate Past Grand Superintendent.
Companions, one year ago I advised of the relatively novel approach of assigning administrative tasks and responsibilities in defined geographic areas of the District to the 2nd and 3rd District Grand Principals in order to assist generally in the management of the District, but more importantly to assist in the sustained growth and enjoyment of Royal Arch Masonry in the District.
One year later I am happy to report that the signs of growth are positive. The records of Supreme Grand Chapter reported a total of 577 Royal Arch Mason in the District out of 1146 members of the Craft. This amounts to 50.3 per centage.
You will also recall that we gave our undertaking to the Pro Grand Master to get our numbers of Royal Arch Masons up to 70% of members of the Craft by 2019. Whilst we have made progress since July of 2009, and whilst we are doing much better than several of the Provinces, we are still a long way from our goal.
My exhortation to you who are here today, you who are the committed and dedicated, you who are the lovers of the Holy Royal Arch, is simply to proceed with boundless energy, enthusiasm, happiness and zeal in spreading the good news of the Royal Arch.
In January 1998 the then Grand Superintendent, E. Comp. Afeef Lazarus, had the following to say to the Convocation of this District.
“As we start a new year, it is only right that we stop and take stock of where we are and assess where we go from here. Generally speaking, the Chapters in this District are growing at a satisfactory rate and the ritual work which they do continues to improve. However, I detect that one or two Chapters are not as strong as they ought to be and, in this regard, I urge the Past Principals, in particular, to get more actively involved in order to halt any downward slide and to put in place a plan to restore growth and pride in those Chapters. They may just be having a bad run, but, if you perceive that your Chapter is undergoing some particular difficulty, please bring it to my attention, or to the attention of the DistGSE and the District Grand Chapter will work with your Chapter to see what can be done to improve the situation.
Patience and industry, Companions, along with a little encouragement and, of course, good ritual work, will go a far way in attracting new members to the Royal Arch and so strengthen the Order. After all, there is no prohibition to proper solicitation, and nowhere better than in these circumstances”.
All that I, most humbly can do, is to adopt those words.
Companions, English Royal Arch Masonry does not generally perform or demonstrate the Ceremony of the Passing of the Veils. In English Royal Arch Masonry the ceremony of the passing of the veils is worked exclusively in the Province of Bristol in England. The Committee of General Purposes of Supreme Grand Chapter “after due consideration and consultation with the Grand Superintendent in and over Bristol”……….”.has settled the draft scheme under which demonstration” of the ceremony of the passing of the veils may be given in the Provinces and Districts.
I have tasked E. Comp. Dr. K.O E. Barrow to assemble a team to review the demonstration script for the Ceremony of the Passing of the Veils as provided by Supreme Grand Chapter, so that, before the end of this calendar year, this most beautiful ceremony may be “demonstrated” in this District.
Companions, by now it would not have escaped your notice that E. Comp. Dr. K.O.E. Barrow has retired as our Director of Ceremonies this evening. To him we owe a huge debt for all that he has done in perfecting and directing our ceremonies. To him, and of him, a lot more will be said later this evening.
I offer my sincere congratulations to all the Companions who have been re-appointed, appointed or promoted today. The aforementioned has been the result of hard work and dedication on your part and I entertain no doubt that your previous hard work has only been a small indication of your future hard work on behalf of Holy Royal Arch.
Companions, this is the first of two (2) meetings this afternoon, so I will be brief.
In closing, may I on your behalf express our gratitude to the District Grand Scribe Ezra and his team for their very hard work in arranging this meeting and to the Director of Ceremonies past and present along with their teams for our very efficient and beautiful ceremonies.
Walter H. Scott
Most Excellent Grand Superintendent
In and Over Jamaica and The Cayman Islands
22 January, 2011
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