2019 Provincial Church Service
The Annual Church Service of the
Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire
Sunday 9th June 2019
The Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick
As is the custom, the Church Service began with a procession to escort the Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro David Macey, with his newly appointed team of Acting Provincial Grand Officers and Officers of Grand Lodge from Alderson House through Warwick to the Church. This year they were joined for the first time by Masters of Lodges, proud to represent their Lodge in public. The weather was warm and sunny, and residents of the area and tourists in historic Warwick had their cameras at the ready to capture the spectacle of Freemasons processing in full Regalia.
The procession starting from Alderson House, is seen moving along High Street, before turning in to Church Street, on the way to St Mary’s Church. Leading is the Provincial Grand Tyler, followed by the Deputy Grand Directors of Ceremonies and members from across Warwickshire.
This year, the procession was joined by the Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, Mr Timothy B Cox, and the Chair of Warwickshire County Council, Councillor Nicola Davies, together with Chief Fire Officer Kieran Amos and other representatives of youth organisations.
The Provincial Grand Master with his team, accompanied by the Provincial Grand Master of Worcestershire, preceded by Grand Officers, and escorted by the Provincial Grand Sword Bearer, and Provincial Grand Standard Bearers.
At the Church the procession joined the assembled Freemasons with their families and friends for a very enjoyable and inspirational service. This year, due to the unavoidable absence of the Reverend Dr Vaughan Roberts, the Provincial Grand Master welcomed everyone to the service, and thanked all for attending in such great numbers.
The service started and finished with readings from the Holy Scriptures of the Hindu, Sikh, Islamic, Jewish and Christian faiths, delivered by W Bro Suresh Modi, W Bro Parminder Bhamra, W Bro Sohail Karamat, W Bro Keith Reynolds and W Bro Paul Wheeler respectively. These readings served to emphasise the inclusive nature of Freemasonry in Warwickshire.
Following readings from both the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VW Bro Christopher Rogers and the Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro David Macey, and hymns sung with great gusto, the Provincial Choir sang the Anthem “The Holy City”, written by Stephen Adams in 1892. A splendid solo rendition of parts of the anthem was beautifully performed by W Bro Chris Grove. The Holy City is a religious Victorian ballad, and is said to be one of the most “pirated” musical pieces, freely available on the internet. It has some of the loveliest words which make it so desirable and suitable for many occasions. Reproduced below are some of the words:
Last night as I lay sleeping, There came a dream so fair,
I stood in old Jerusalem, Beside the temple there.
I heard the children singing, And ever as they sang
Methought the voice of angels, From heaven in answer rang,
The choir was conducted throughout the service by W Bro Peter Summers, our Provincial Grand Organist, on behalf of W Bro Michael Irving who was unable to attend. It was evident from Peter’s beaming smile throughout that he thoroughly enjoyed his role, as did everyone present. The organ accompaniment throughout was by Mr Mark Swinton, Organist and Assistant Director of Music at the Church.
The address, given this year by W Bro John Cowan, Provincial Grand Chaplain, was themed "Where are we now?”, and asked us to now take stock of our present work in the community having celebrated our Tercentenary and are now moving forward.
The conclusion is that through our work with the Warwickshire Masonic Charitable Association, the Warwickshire Masonic Benevolent Fund and the Masonic Charitable Foundation, we should continue to make our mark in the community and to continue to be open and proud of our Freemasonry and its history and of what we do for others.
Prior to two rousing verses of the National Anthem, the Provincial Grand Master expressed his pleasure for again being able to hold our annual service at St Mary’s, and congratulated all concerned with the organisation of the event. He particularly thanked W Bro Peter Summers and the choir for the wonderful way in which they had sung and enhanced the entire service, and thanked Mr Mark Swinton for his masterly playing of the organ prior to and throughout the service.
The collection received on the day which is given to St Mary’s will amount to approximately £1200 when gift aid is added. A splendid sum which adds to the significant contribution made to the church from the Famous Five Initiative.
An inspiring service, enjoyed by all present.
With thanks to W Bro Simon Grove for his excellent photography. See the full gallery of photographs here.