Chapter of Fortitude No 43, meeting at Severn Street Birmingham, is the oldest Chapter in the Province having been consecrated in 1783 as part of St Paul’s Lodge, which itself was consecrated fifty years earlier in 1733. The Chapter is immensely proud of its heritage and the present members have for many years taken every opportunity to celebrate this.
A great example took place last year, at what would normally have been the Installation meeting in May. Although the Chapter had already celebrated a bi-centenary in 1983, another opportunity to do likewise arose in 2021. This was the bi-centenary of Fortitude’s recognition at last by the then newly formed Grand and Royal Chapter (predecessors of today’s Supreme Grand Chapter) in 1821. Party time again and a fabulous celebration took place, slightly delayed due to covid, magnificently supported by our Grand Superintendent E Comp Philip Hall and a splendid retinue from the Province and beyond.
But with feet firmly back on the ground it was time to move on with business as usual at this year’s May meeting, with the Installation of new Principals, the previous ones having agreed to stay in office during covid and then to allow the celebrations to take place. This allowed E Comp Ron Parker, who had continued as MEZ for a record four years to hand over to Past Deputy Grand Superintendent E Comp John Handley with a great sigh of relief! E Comp Ray Ridsdale moved up to H from J and Comp Steve Kelly to J from PSoj.
Ably led by E Comp Nigel Hawkins, our 3rd Provincial Grand Principal (a member of the Chapter) acting as 1st Principal, the Provincial team provided the support and encouragement that’s always enjoyed, and included E Comp Mark Phillips as 2nd Principal, E Comp Paul Buck as 3rd Principal and E Comp James Freakley as Director of Ceremonies.
As ever, it was a very happy and enjoyable meeting, these attributes always being at the forefront of the Chapter’s outlook. Joining members are very welcome, especially those who are missing the unique companionship enjoyed in the Royal Arch following the closing of their own Chapters. For further information and an invitation contact the Scribe E, E Comp Peter Wellings email@example.com.
Pictured (l-r): Raymond Ridsdale, Mark Phillips, John Handley, Nigel Hawkins, Steve Kelly, Paul Buck.