Adding to the dignity and magnificent vision of the Masonic procession to this year’s Annual Church Service were Chairman of Warwick District Council Cllr Richard Davies and Chairman of Warwick County Council Cllr David Shilton. The procession once again commenced at the Alderson House meeting rooms, following High Street and turning into Church Street to the Collegiate Church of St Mary, which is one of the largest and most interesting churches in England. Its association with Freemasonry dates back at least as far as 1728 when the master of the first lodge in Warwickshire was vicar of the Church. Another link is the wonderful oak pulpit which was presented by Warwickshire Freemasons in 1897.
In his welcome the present Vicar of St Mary's, the Rev Dr Vaughan Roberts, referred to this long standing association, his gratitude for the support given by Warwickshire Freemasons and the shared principles of mutual love and charity. Representatives of the Jewish, Sikh, Hindu and Christian faiths offered thoughts and blessings relating to the theme of the multi-denominational service “Openness and Understanding”. Conducted by the Provincial Grand Chaplain W Bro John Cowan, together with the Assistant Grand Chaplain W Bro Paul Wheeler, the service included Lessons read by VW Bro Alan Wellan, Deputy Provincial Grand Master, and the RW Bro David Macey, Provincial Grand Master, with the Provincial Choir, conducted by W Bro Roy Marshall, singing moving anthems. Music before and during the service was played by the Church’s Assistant Director of Music, Mark Swinton.
The Address was delivered by the Provincial Grand Chaplain, who is a Methodist Lay Minister, in which he mentioned the enjoyment he had received from his own membership for many years, making humorous comment about the misinterpretation of those who confuse Freemasonry with religion. He thanked all the team members who had made this special occasion take place so successfully, and expanded upon the messages contained in the lessons which had been read. As regards the theme for the service, Openness in Freemasonry predominated via the use of modern technology, enabling all with access to it to obtain a greater understanding, especially of the huge amount of charitable donations made. Having spent some weeks in hospital earlier in the year, he had experienced at first hand the Understanding of loyal and caring staff, an example which should be adopted by everyone.
The Closing Ode and two verses of The National Anthem were sung and the Provincial Grand Master thanked everyone present for attending, in particular W Bro Roy Marshall for conducting the choir so ably. He was pleased to present a cheque for £7,400 to the vicar, arising from recent Masonic events, this being the first donation made under his ”Famous Five” scheme. It was followed by a further £1,000 as a result of the collection at the service. The PGM and Mrs Sandra Macey were then escorted to the church doorway, where they joined the Clergy in bidding farewell to members of the congregation as they departed.
David Macey with his Sword and Standard Bearers, preceded by Alan Wellan (centre)
flanked by Richard Davies (l) and David Shilton (r)
Provincial Grand Tyler Ian Hart leads the procession, flanked by Deputy DCs Howard Smith (l) and Avtar Panesar (r)
Left: top & middle, well known faces in the procession bottom, John Cowan in the oak pulpit
Right: top, Provincial Shepherds (Stewards) at the Church middle, Vaughan Roberts & John Cowan
bottom, David Macey thanks Richard Davies for attending