E.Comp Chris Roach

Most Excellent Grand Superintendents Annual Address

Companions, firstly I would like to thank all of you who have attended today.  We are of course very restricted in numbers because our normal venue in Torquay is currently assigned
to help our NHS provide vital Vaccinations against Covid, and a number of Companions have been assisting with this in Torquay and at other centres across Devon. They must all be commended for their efforts.

This would also be an appropriate moment for me to publicly thank the Management and Trustees of this wonderful Temple in Exmouth for welcoming us here today, it is very much appreciated.

This is a special occasion for many reasons, it enables us all to meet as friends and Companions in a convivial manner, it gives this wonderful province of Devonshire an opportunity to invite some special guests from other Provinces and important orders within this Province, all of whom I have already introduced to you earlier when we opened this meeting, but it also allows us a great platform to Appoint and Invest all of the officers for the coming year, something which I regard as highly important.

I am a great believer that such promotions are a recognition of the effort put in by the individuals receiving them and will hopefully inspire them to continue and encourage those coming along in the years ahead. Companions, please keep up your efforts, as we move on, we must both maintain our existing members
and attract new members to this special order which, as we know completes our journey in Pure and Ancient Freemasonry.

Back in the April of this year London was pleased to accept my recommendation for the appointment of two new Grand Officers to the rank of Past Grand Standard Bearer both of whom, despite our restriction in numbers we were able to invite today. I would hereby on behalf of all of us present publicly congratulate Simon Wills and Martin Heskins on their distinguished preferment.
From today we have a new Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra in Chris Taylor, he has a hard act to follow but we all have every confidence in him, and our team will all support him fully.
Tim Golder of Benevolence Chapter, Gilson Rowe of Brunswick Chapter and Denis Challis of Brent Chapter have all been promoted to senior positions and I again have every confidence in their abilities so we can all look forward to a good year ahead.

Companions as we move forwards we have much to do. You are all aware that we now have a brand new web site which has only gone live in the last month. We have also appointed a Publicity & Communications Officer in the person of Chris Hodgson, and he is working in close harmony with Clive Eden in the Craft who is already now well established in his role. These appointments are already proving to be very successful particularly in establishing even better communications between our Degrees.

We have made a good start on the Cluster meetings programme. This is the initiative where I, with the assistance of my team are holding a series of six informal meetings throughout the entire Province.  Every Chapter will have an invite to attend with three members, two ideally being the Scribe Ezra and the Director of Ceremonies then also a junior member, although that is not necessarily definitive as clearly that may not always be possible.
We want to hear about your Chapters, how are you getting on ? What issues are causing you concern ? how about your membership ? Are your Companions ready to return in higher numbers etc etc, but for us primarily – How Can We Help You? As I mentioned these are informal meetings and we provide a Buffet and a Drink for us all to enjoy together.
Two of these meetings have been held already and the response has been excellent, I am delighted about the positivity that has so far come out of this initiative which is very encouraging, of course concerns are being raised, but that is the point because then we can come up with some positive proposals and suggestions. The next meeting will be in Newton Abbot and we aim to have the final three completed by the end of January. If I have not already had the pleasure of the company of your representatives and you may well be one of those, then I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Whilst on the subject of communication I would wish to take a moment to thank some Companions who have helped my team and I greatly in our efforts to keep in touch during the unprecedented times when we were locked-down and effectively isolated from sharing our companionship with our Masonic friends. Alan Salsbury of Petitor Chapter was requested to re write some of the Lectures and Papers that he would normally have delivered in a Chapter, to make them interesting and informative via the new medium for many of us of Zoom. Quite a task actually not just in re writing but also in being able to
deliver them in such a way that the viewers could relate to and understand. With the assistance of his Team, and a lot of hard work he succeeded. There are now a number of suitable presentations available.  We owe Alan and his team our sincere thanks. Please don’t forget Companions these Lectures and
presentations are still available now either in person or on Zoom for the future. On this subject in particular I would say that if you have a meeting with little or no work to do please get in touch, it is important that when we meet we have an opportunity to learn more thereby gaining a better understanding of the wonderful order of the Royal Arch. Please do not waste that opportunity. Only by keeping our Companions busy and engaged can we expect to attract new members to join us and be sure they have joined an order worthy of their time and effort. When we have new Exaltees that first meeting is always going to be in their mind. Make it memorable, we want them to feel special. Then
ensure that they continue to feel that way at future meetings, give them some small responsibility to start off with or invite them to take part in some ritual, basically ensure that they are well looked after and engaged , believe me it makes a big difference to retention.

This COVID period has been difficult for so many. In our Masonic fraternity we are very fortunate to have Bob Munro as our Provincial Grand Almoner for both this degree and the Craft. He is always diligent and speedy on the case, a very caring Mason. Bob keeps both our Provincial Grand Master and myself
updated, and comes to us when he needs finance to enable him to assist those in need. Last year he was promoted in Supreme Grand Chapter to the Past Asst Grand Sojourner, so I congratulate him on this and thank him for his hard work as Provincial Grand Almoner.

Our ability to provide this finance is of course down to you and your Chapters, and I thank all who have been in a position to allocate monies to the Grand Superintendents’ Fund. Let me assure all that I am most grateful for your help . It is well received and will be faithfully applied.
To conclude, we have a wonderful Province here in Devonshire which I am so very proud to have been entrusted to lead by London.

We have all endured some unprecedented problems for the best part of almost 2 years now but I believe that we are coming through all this, I am also confident that with the spirit, will and determination that exists in our order we can only go one way and that is onwards and upwards. I cannot do this on my own
however, as I look around this room today it is very clear that with the Team and Companions I have around me we will not fail – we will prosper.  Thank you Companions

EComp. Chris Roach

Grand Superintendent of the Province of Devonshire

November 13th 2021

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