Having enjoyed the hospitality of Fortitude at Severn Street, as your correspondent, I was pleased to travel a little further afield to Warwick and to Shakespeare Chapter. Whilst it boasts a low number – 284 – it was in fact only consecrated in 1947. Whilst the brethren of St Paul’s Lodge only took a few years after consecrating the lodge in 1733 to start Fortitude Chapter, the brethren of Shakespeare took a little more time – from 1792 to 1947!
The Presiding Officer was EComp Phil Gough and this was his second consecutive meeting at Alderson House having attending St Mary’s Chapter on the previous evening when he assured the members that their installation ritual would be much better than those of their Shakespeare colleagues. EComp Phil knew why he could make such a boast as the Principals of Shakespeare were all continuing in office for a further year – therefore, apart from a proclamation, there was no installation ritual to perform! This also meant that he had an easy night with no address to deliver. However, the acting Second and Third Provincial Principals, EComps Peter Huckle and Gerry Perks were not offered this unusual luxury. Both delivered exemplary renditions of their respective addresses – having seen them in action many times, one has come to expect this – which was especially nice for EComp Gerry as Shakespeare in his Mother Chapter!
What this did mean that those attending and possibly expecting the customary workings of an installation were treated to an excellent exaltation ceremony. The Chapter has wisely heeded the suggestion from our Grand Superintendent and the work of the Principals and Sojourners was nicely shared. Indeed, the Mystical lecture was even delivered by two PZs.
What then followed indicated the good health that Shakespeare is enjoying as a ballot was held for not one, not two but three candidates for exaltation. I’m pleased to report that the ballot proved in favour of them all so if you’d like to see an exaltation or perhaps have a new and shiny exaltee in your Chapter who would love to see what it was all about, it stands a chance that Shakespeare with be able to assist!