Celebrating 100 Years

Celebrating 100 Years
at Ground Zero where the Order Founded

More Pictures in Gallery Here….

Members of District 43 made the pilgrimage to the North of England to join the Grand College as it celebrated the Order’s Centenary, a once in a life time event.  Planning for the visit started in January and following many meetings and emails, Knights Priests from the District journeyed by land sea and air to assemble in Newcastle.

The occasion was made more special by the Service being held in the very Cathedral the Order was consecrated.  Not only that, but the occasion being made even more special knowing the Cathedral was over 1300 years old, dating back to the Normal conquests.  Members of the Order attending the service came from across the whole of the UK, Europe and even far as Hong Kong.

The organisation was superb being aided by the Tabernacles in the NE, notably Royal Kent (Immemorial), it being the oldest of all KTP Tabernacles.  It is of note, and deeply humbling, we found out, the origin of the authority for conferring the KTP degree before the establishment of the Grand College came directly from Royal Kent, as did nearly all other appendant degrees now administrated by Mark Masson’s Hall.  This was one of those rare occasions when you felt you could touch history and all its enormity.

Registration took place at the idyllic Gosforth race course followed by a well orchestrated short coach trip to central Newcastle. Entering the cathedral, it was clear the classic Norman building was not only meant to impose spiritual humility but project temporal power, for which it did not disappoint.  The surroundings and ambience were stunning and perfect for such an important occasion.  On entering, we were all met by the Dean and humbled by the warmth, energy and happiness that radiated from his welcome and hand shake.  Chris Bilson commented, “The Dean’s welcome was just simply fantastic making the introduction to the Service really special, moving and deeply personal”.  He went on the say, “The quoting of the Berlinda Carlise lyrics from the song, ‘Heaven on Earth’ was joyful and playful but also remarkably deep and surprisingly fitting.  It brought a happy tear to my eye because rather coincidently, that was a favourite song of my late wife, so it somehow seemed a personal message to myself as well as to the congregation”.

The Service started with the usual procession of senior Grand College officers in splendour and finery, accompanied by their wives, and surprisingly, the Dean and Lord Lieutenant processing side by side. In times gone by this would be a demonstration projecting of spiritual and temporal power.  The service was outstanding with the Dean delivering a well informed, highly relevant and funny sermon that touched the hearts of everyone showing he understood and respected not only Freemasonry but also our Order.  In deed, some of his well chosen and subtlety attuned language suggested he had done a great deal of research such as his acute sensitivity to our Order.

During the Service we were not only entertained but enthralled by the Choir, many of whom were professional singers. Their incredible talent shone through enriched and amplified by the acoustics of Cathedral.   Many times during the Service whilst accompanying the hymns or delivering a recital, their angelic voices just gave you goose bumps on the back of the neck.  Of the hymns, many of which were known from our formative years as children were evocative and wrapped in the emission of happy memories.   This all culminated in the emotional roller coaster ride of singing “Abide with me” which built to a deeply personal and memorable crescendo.

A number of us, noticed that half way through the Service we as members of District 43 were bathed in bright light as tough a quiet divine guest had joined us which only added to the spiritual message emanating from the Dean’s address from the pulpit.

Such was the enjoyment and emersion in the Service it felt like we had only been in the Cathedral a short time.  The commemorative Service now over, but the splendour and enormity of the occasion being celebrated with great dignity, sensitivity, yet, pomp.

Following the Service, was a well orchestrated logistics move of some 600 members and guests from the bustling centre of Newcastle to Gosforth for the celebratory banquet. The company was excellent and boisterous as District 43 had it’s own table, also, and helpfully,  closest to the bar.  The food was sumptuous and befitting the occasion of our Order.  All too soon, however, the grace after the meal was proffered and we all started to disperse with warm and lasting memories well made knowing this was a once in a life time event.  However, before we did, we had the great joy of presenting a bouquet of flowers to Linda who has been a real stalwart of support to us from Grand College.

We all know and acknowledge that God moves in mysterious ways, however, it was not lost on us how fitting the whole ceremony was, especially realising that the founding of the Order had taken place in the very same Cathedral on 15th May 1924, one hundred years previous. Another strange coincidence is that 15th May was when I was founded too.  Perhaps a divine acknowledgement of our maker.