The following is an extract from the Provincial Prior’s address.
‘Brother Knights, I am speaking to you on what would have been the day designated for the meeting of Provincial Priory. However, circumstances dictate that such a meeting isn’t possible, but we have the best alternative, which is a virtual business meeting. Whilst it is devoid of the usual ceremonial it does afford me the opportunity to speak to you all direct.
We are in unusual times and I sincerely hope that you and your loved ones have managed to stay safe and well through all the trials of the past months. When I was appointed your Prior last October never did I think that I would be faced with the turmoil that has beset us. Neither did I realise how much I would miss Preceptory meetings and, above all, enjoying your companionship.
The business of a virtual meeting is limited to certain prescribed aspects, amongst those it says, ‘to receive a short address from the Provincial Head of Order’. Brother Knights my address to you today will be as ‘short’ and as ‘long’ as I consider necessary to say what needs to be said.
The Sub-Prior has already referred to those Knights who have departed on that pilgrimage that ends in the Holy City. Their contribution to the work of the Order of the Temple, however small, is much appreciated and they will be sorely missed. We mourn their loss and extend our sympathy to their loved ones, but rest in the consolation that they are now at peace.
Whilst I have appointed and promoted certain Knights this has been something of a clinical process, which has not afforded me the opportunity to congratulate you personally. I also extend my congratulations to all those Knights who have received promotion in Provincial Priory today.
I must thank the members of the Provincial Priors Council for their support and encouragement, particularly the Chancellor and Marshall, who with the Sub-Prior have tried their best to guide me through the plethora of documents coming from various sources over the recent months. At this stage I can just see the Provincial Vice-Chancellor saying, ‘what about me’. I haven’t forgotten you, how could I. I do thank you for the work you undertake looking after the administrative aspects of the Province. It is essential work and the support you give to me, the other Provincial Officers, Preceptories and their Registrars is very much appreciated by us all.
Whilst we may not be in a position to enjoy our Knight Templar activities in the usual manner, I can assure you that the work of the Province has not stood still. I have taken the opportunity to look at the Provincial honours system and have authorised some changes which have been communicated to you. The underlying essence of the changes is to preserve the integrity of the honours system, whilst at the same time allowing me to exercise my prerogative, in the award of honours, in a pragmatic and informed manner. Also, the team under the leadership of the First Constable have continued their work on the ‘Awareness, Recruitment and Retention’ initiative so that they will ready and keen to get started once normal service is resumed.
Brother Knights these are testing and challenging times for us all, which have possibly left a lot of you questioning how you want to spend your leisure time in the future. I don’t need to remind you that we are a Christian Order and it is our faith which has sustained us through many challenges, and I am sure will see us through the current problems. Some of you have taken the opportunity of the Virtual Business Meetings which are helping to keep Knights interested in their Preceptory and the Order, and we are currently looking at ways in which these can be enhanced.
Brother Knights I sincerely hope we will come through these difficult times with renewed vigour and strength to profess our Christian faith when we meet again in our Preceptories, and at the same time help sustain the future of this fine Order, not only for ourselves, but generations to follow.