A Day Out in Bolton

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019

I travel a lot by car. To stay entertained I listen to audiobooks. A favourite author is Lee Childs whose hero, ex-military police major, Jack Reacher, has a habit of saying there is no such thing as a coincidence.

Well Jack, try this for a coincidence.

  • Two thriving lodges in the Province of East Lancashire (Internet 9659, Manchester City Derby District; Maritime 3025, Salford) each decide, at the same time, to form an associated chapter.
  • Each, independently, expresses a wish that the Chapters should come to be based in Salford.
  • Each concludes that the best way forward would be to develop its Chapter by repurposing an existing Chapter that has fallen on difficult times
  • Each identifies a chapter (Internet – Manchester Epworth Chapter 3921; Maritime – St John’s Chapter 221) that is about to surrender its warrant over the summer of 2019
  • Both Chapters meet at Bolton Masonic Hall
  • Both Chapters have their installation meetings on the 1stTuesday of the month

Thus, at the culmination of a long and complex journey in which both of us were involved, two APGPs, myself (APGP for Salford and Manchester) and Kirk Mulhearn (APGP for Western Area), found ourselves at Bolton Masonic Hall for 10am on the morning of October 1st.

We were there to witness EComps from around the UK, all members of Internet Lodge, being installed into the Principals’ chairs of Manchester Epworth Chapter 3921 by EComp Barrie Hughes, who will remain in the Chapter as IPZ. The new principals are: Z – EComp Derek Oliver,  H – EComp Mark Griffin and J – EComp Ted Pater.

How do you tell a member of Internet Chapter? From the colour of his lanyard

As you might expect the atmosphere at the ceremony was varied. For some this was an end, for others a beginning and a for small third group staying in the Chapter but with a change in venue, a new focus and a host of new and “exotic” companions, a bit of both. But for everyone there was a recognition that the history of Manchester Epworth Chapter would be carried forward into the new look Chapter whose name would, eventually become, Internet Chapter.

The thing that impressed me most, other than the way the ceremony was conducted, which was superb, was the amount of work that had been done to reach this point. This is particularly so because of the size and pan-national/international nature of Internet Lodge and therefore the prospective joining members and exaltees of the Chapter. An email that arrived on Wednesday morning, 2ndOctober, from John Dutchman-Smith, the new Assistant Scribe E indicates the scope of the changes:

Just a word of welcome to everyone in our rejuvenated chapter. We had a most enjoyable day at the installation meeting old and new faces alike. Comp Paul Spann is creating a website for the chapter. These things take time so please be patient and we shall report on progress as soon as we can. He is also working on a database so you can maintain your own profile of your membership, and a communication network for our day to day discussions. Similarly Adi Cojan [from Romania.TF] is working on a Facebook presence.

The thing that has taxed me most as the Representative of the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent was how I was to report on the visitors. There were 18 at the beginning and 3 at the end of the ceremony, the difference being the number of members who joined the Chapter in the middle.

Some of the Members of Manchester Epworth (Internet) Chapter 3921

In 1817 the two Grand Chapters of the Royal Arch were amalgamated and 65 years later were renamed the Supreme Grand Chapter of England.