PROVINCIAL PRIOR’S ADDRESS TO THE PROVINCIAL PRIORY OF MALTA
3 MARCH 2023
May I extend a warm welcome to you all this evening.
Firstly may I thank the Prior of Malta for the diligent manner in which he has conducted the ceremony this evening. I also extend my congratulations to our newly Installed Knight of Malta. Brother Knight the ceremony this evening adds another dimension to your Masonic journey, and I trust it has stimulated even further your interest in this wonderful Order.
This evening I have conferred the equivalent rank in the Order of Malta on those Knights I appointed and promoted in Provincial Priory last October, with the exception of those who have no ceremonial duties in the Order of Malta. I thank you all for your continued support and may I remind you that I expect to see you around the Province supporting Preceptories and Priories during your year in office.
I and the Provincial Executive still have concerns at the challenges facing a number of Preceptories. We continue to work with them to address the issues they face and develop and agree plans in a hope that the challenges can be overcome and the Preceptories and their members move forward with renewed vigour.
I am still heartened at the interest being shown in the Order across the Province. We had 61 potential candidates in the Provincial Pipeline, of those 25 have already been installed as Knights, 36 are waiting to be admitted into the Order, and of those 7 are yet to join the Holy Royal Arch. We have been actively working with the Royal Arch to speed up the process of getting these Brethren Exalted, and I am pleased that progress is now being made. However I am aware that some Chapters have concerns that their Exaltation into the Holy Royal Arch is a convenience to join the Order of the Temple, and once Exalted they won’t be seen again. Whilst this reaction is understandable I can assure you we are striving to strengthen our relationship with the Holy Royal Arch and allay these concerns. It is therefore important that we demonstrate our support for the Holy Royal Arch, and I would expect all members of this Province to set an example and be good and active Royal Arch Masons.
The long standing historical link between the Holy Royal Arch and the Order of the Temple is not one that can lightly be removed, and indeed, is one that we should all use to explain to Royal Arch Masons why they should fulfil the next step of their Masonic journey by joining the Knight Templar degree. Can I therefore encourage you to look at the article on the Provincial website on the subject, which will also be published on the Provincial Facebook page from tomorrow.
I have recently been in dialogue with the Grand Superintendent regarding relations between the Order and the Holy Royal Arch, and the efforts being made to strengthen the long-standing historical link between the two Orders. The Grand Superintendent is fully in concord with our efforts and apparently indicated as much in recent talks on the subject with the ME Supreme Grand Master.
Brother Knights in further efforts to raise the profile of the Order we have been looking at an initiative from Warwickshire. They have been holding what they call ‘Brethren and Companions Evenings’, where Brethren and Companions who have shown interest are invited along to learn more about the Order in an informal setting. I want to pursue this initiative in West Yorkshire. Hopefully it will prove more beneficial than going along to a Chapter meeting to speak about the Order, as it will encompass a wider audience of those who have expressed an interest in learning more about the Order. A pilot evening will therefore be taking place at Pudsey Masonic Hall on Tuesday 25 April under the sponsorship of St Laurence Preceptory. We hope to involve the Royal Arch in this – in light of what I said earlier about strengthening our links with them – and I am sure they will also find it beneficial in establishing a dialogue with those who are not in the Royal Arch. We are awaiting a response from the Royal Arch on how best they may support the initiative.
Our monthly newsletter ‘Non Nobis Domine’ continues to be published, and I am delighted at the continued interest it generates both inside and outside the Order. Can I make a plea to you that if you have any items of interest for inclusion please let the editor have them.
There are a number of significant dates for your diary in the coming months. Firstly the Provincial Church Service on Low Sunday, 16 April commencing at 2.00 pm. This year it will be held at St Thomas’ Church, Batley followed by refreshments at a venue to be confirmed. I look forward to welcoming Knights and their wives, partners and family to the service which has always proved popular, as it gives us the opportunity to profess our Christian faith. On Wednesday, 17 May Great Priory meet in London and I hope Knights will support those members of the Province who may be receiving appointments or promotion in Great Priory. To conclude the first half of the year we will be holding the ever popular Annual Dinner at Drighlington on 7 July.
I have already thanked the Prior of Malta for his work this evening, but I also thank the Officers of the Pentagonal and Octagonal Tables for their work and the other Knights who have contributed to a successful ceremony, including the members of my Bodyguard. I particularly thank the Provincial Mareschal for his management of the meeting and the Provincial Vice Chancellor and his team for the administrative arrangements. I also thank the delegation of distinguished Knights from the Order of the Temple for their attendance this evening.
At the last two Provincial meetings I have stressed the importance of visiting not only to enhance your own experience of the Order, but also to support Preceptories in the Province. The summonses for Preceptory meetings are circulated by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor to all Registrars as soon as received. Can I make a plea to Registrars to forward them to their members without delay.
Brother Knights in this Lenten season let us reflect once again on the life of our Blessed Lord and Saviour – his suffering – his sacrifice – his life – death and resurrection.
At Provincial Priory I quoted words from our late and Most Gracious Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth. I therefore turn to her words again in her address to the Nation at Easter 2020 during the Covid lockdown , when she said:
“The discovery of the risen Christ on the first Easter Day gave his followers new hope and fresh purpose, and we can all take heart from this. As dark as death can be – particularly for those suffering with grief – light and life are greater. May the living flame of the Easter hope, be a steady guide as we face the future.”
Brother Knights I wish you all well in your endeavours, with renewed vigour to uphold the excellent ideals of this Order, and health and strength to continue to profess our Christian faith.