The Annual Church Service of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire
This was the first annual church service held and the first occasion when R W Bro Philip Hall, our Provincial Grand Master, was able to be escorted to the Collegiate Church of St Mary in Warwick prior to the service since 2019.
The procession left Alderson House, with the traffic stopped to allow it to proceed from Alderson House, with the newly appointed team of acting Provincial Grand Officers and officers of Grand Lodge walking through Warwick to the church. The procession was joined by a number of masters of Warwickshire lodges, proud to represent their lodges in public.
In a new move to demonstrate the inclusive nature of Freemasonry, the heads of other orders were invited to join the procession and attend the service, dressed in their own individual regalia. This was quite a spectacle for the local residents and visiting tourists, and with the weather being warm and sunny, many had their cameras at the ready to capture the moment.
At the church, the procession joined the assembled Freemasons with their families and friends for a very enjoyable and inspirational service.
This year, Richard Warren, the assistant verger of St Mary’s, welcomed everyone to the church and hoped they enjoyed the service. (Richard is a past master of the lodge of the Round Table and member of other Warwickshire lodges).
The Provincial Grand Master also welcomed everyone to the service, thanked the vicar and his team, for allowing us to hold the service, and thanked all present for attending in such good 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.
Readings were given by both the Second Provincial Grand Principal, E Comp John Starley, representing the Provincial Grand Chapter of Warwickshire, and W Bro Philip Wills, Provincial Grand Master of the Degree of Mark Master Masons of Warwickshire, and finally by the Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro Philip Hall.
Hymns were sung with great enthusiasm and the Provincial Choir sang the Anthem “Unity and Love Abide Forever”, written to music composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. Following the retirement of W Bro Michael Irving, W Bro Chris Grove conducted the choir throughout the service, accompanied on the organ by W Bro Peter Summers.
The address, given this year by W Bro John Cowan, Provincial Grand Chaplain, was themed "Unity – Acting Together”, and asked us to cultivate consideration, forgiveness and generosity towards others. Once again, the chaplain emphasised that through our work with the Warwickshire Masonic Charitable Association, the Warwickshire Masonic Benevolent Fund and the Masonic Charitable Foundation, we will 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. He also congratulated all concerned with the organisation of the event and thanked W Bro Peter Summers and W Bro Chris Grove and the choir for the wonderful way in which they had sung and enhanced the entire service.
Another inspiring service, enjoyed by all present.
Please note that this article is written by W Bro John Hayward PGSD, APGM, and originally published on Warwickshire Freemasons' June 2022 In Touch Magazine (47th edition).
With thanks to W Bro Simon Grove for his excellent photography.
Please click HERE for additional photographs.