This anniversary was held over the 8th and 9th of September 2017 with the formal activities taking place in the Freemasons Hall in George Street Edinburgh.
The welcome on Friday night was fairly accurately described by John Kernohan in his report. As Graeme Pengelly, his wife Ruth, my sister Alison and I have contacts with members of the Scottish Constitution, both formal and social, in New Zealand, Perth WA, Malaysia and Scotland, the welcome included renewing friendships with friends from all those places as well as from India, Finland, Ireland as well as other places attending. Such is the international make up of Masonry.
The formal meeting, unlike similar ones in New Zealand, was a member’s only meeting and all visiting delegations were formally welcomed in turn by the First Grand Principal ME Companion Ian Fraser. All the overseas districts of the Scottish Constitution were well represented and New South Wales and Victoria has large delegations.
New Zealand with three members was warmly welcomed as coming the greatest distance and renewing the friendships made with the Scottish Constitution other parts of the world.
The ceremony was a rededication of Grand Chapter a ceremony carried out flawlessly by the Grand Team and really kept the attention of all those attending.
While the ceremony was on the Ladies as guests of Grand Chapter were taken by bus to the Falkirk Wheel. This can be described as a ‘Ferris wheel’ type of arrangement where canal boats are lifted or lowered alleviating the need for nine canal locks. (https://www.scottishcanals.co.uk/falkirk-wheel/ )
After the Masonic Ceremony we joined the ladies on the many buses for a 15 minute trip to the Corn Exchange, which in days gone by was exactly that but is now a large function venue. There around 450 people sat down to a fine banquet and delicious food. To give an idea of the size of the venue, with tables for that number of guests there was still room for a huge dance floor. During the meal there was time for musical interludes, speeches and toasts. The First Grand Principal gave a substantial donation to the Alzheimer’s Foundation as this was Grand Chapter’s 200th Anniversary project.
All in all, a good weekend with the only thing I would have done differently would have been to mix the people up at the banquet rather than having each delegation sitting at the same tables.
Bruce Hebbard, PGZ
At the celebrations M E Companions Hebbard and Pengelly presented the Grand Chapter of Scotland with a Quaich suitably inscribed for the occasion.
The inscription reads; Presented to SGRACS on the occasion of their Bi-centenary September 2017 by SGRACNZ.
Quite by chance my wife Cynthia and I were holidaying in Edinburgh at the time of the Scottish Royal Arch Bicentenary. Our holiday arrangements allowed me to attend the formal Ceremony on the Saturday and my wife could accompany me to the “Complimentary ” dinner extended to the overseas visitors on the Friday evening.
On arrival at the magnificent Freemasons Hall we passed a refreshment bar in the lobby and were served with suitable drinks. We found seating near the stage where the principal guests would be seated. The hall was set up with long tables. I think 400 or more would be seated. We were joined by 5 companions from the Caribbean. We introduced ourselves and a lively conversation ensued. One of Indian descent and four of Afro! Opposite me an Accountant (my profession) opposite Cynthia a four-time married man who Cynthia assured me was still attractive! The Companion on Cynthia’s right was full of information about all of them. An excellent chicken dinner was served. I ordered a Merlot, the man opposite ordered three double Scotch’s.
I murmured that I might like one. Make it four he quickly said, and so it was! How they managed such individual steward service for such a large number was amazing particularly as my new friend repeated his order several times and with a quick glance across the table would say “and one for him!”
The chicken portions were generous and one man offered another a piece of his chicken which was accepted. Cynthia then offered him a piece of hers which was declined. I said, “she is offering it to the highest bidder” Gales of laughter all round!
We did of course listen to the speeches of welcome. A pleasant lemon sorbet concluded our meal. It was a memorable evening for Cynthia and myself made possible by the very generous arrangements of the Scottish Royal Arch and enhanced by the table company of our Royal Arch Companions from the Bahamas.
John Kernohan. Ara 53 Royal Arch Chapter