Provincial Grand Chapter
The MEGS's Address, Provincial Team & Committee Meeting Minutes
Click on the section headings below to see the various topics.

28th March 2019   
  Companions 
I am pleased to welcome you all here today in record numbers and thank you for your support, both the members of Oxfordshire and our guests from far and wide.
The last 12 months have been very exciting and active for the Province, witnessing the consecration of a new Chapter, the dedication of a new banner, a change in some of the key executives half way through the year, and an exaltation ceremony done by 14 members of the provincial team. As the registrar’s report shows, we have seen an overall increase in memberships this year of 34.
The consecration of Semper Paratus chapter was the highlight, with 17 founders and a large number of Oxfordshire companions and guests from other provinces present in Witney last October. A memorable occasion and the members have set themselves an ambitious conversion target, which, if they achieve it, will be the envy of Chapters across the English Constitution. Just last week, I attended their first meeting since the consecration – an emergency meeting to welcome two joining members and to exalt their first candidate. Their principals have been active supporters of other chapters since the consecration. I wish the chapter well and look forward to reporting on further progress.
Alfred Chapter has again exploited the University Lodge scheme, with double exaltations at each of their meetings. This rich new seam of candidates means that Alfred Chapter has grown rapidly and is now almost twice the size of its eponymous Lodge.
But all is not rosy and we have to continue our focus on encouraging Craft masons to complete their journey in pure antient masonry. Resignations, whilst lower than the previous 12 months are still too high. And our Ambassador scheme is not as effective as it should be. In order to sharpen this focus, I have asked Dave Roberts to take on the role of Provincial Membership Officer for Chapter. He will work closely with Scribes, the Chapter Ambassadors, as well as his and their counterparts in the Craft. Please support him in this important task.
At the Installed First Principals meeting last September, I made some changes to the executive, following on from changes in the Craft executive. Let me reiterate my thanks in particular to Bernie Wegerhoff for his contributions to the provincial team, the last 18 months of which were as Provincial J. Chris Cox, Andy O'Sullivan and Mark Baker are all settling into their new roles as today has shown.
Of the outgoing officers, I must pick out Allan Jenkins who has stepped down today as Janitor after 8 years of loyal service and hard work lugging the furniture around. I also thank the rest of the outgoing officers for their support over the last year. I hope they have enjoyed it and will continue to support our Chapters. I am pleased to see that all the newly appointed and promoted officers have been able to attend today. I hope the new team of officers gets as much enjoyment this year as the team did last year and I would certainly encourage them to visit as much as they can. Remember appointment and promotion is not just a reward for past service, but also an encouragement to do more in the future, both in our own chapters, but also around the province. But I do congratulate you all heartily on your appointments and promotions as they are well deserved,
I also congratulate Andy O’Sullivan, our Scribe E, not just on his organisation of the meeting today, but also on his forthcoming appointment as PGStdB. Three other members of the province have received appointment or promotion in Grand Rank – Prof Stephen Tucker as President of the Committee of General Purposes, Jem Whitmore as PGSwdB and Paul Grier as GStdB. Let me also thank everyone involved in today’s meeting – you are too many to name, but without your input this event would not be the success it is
I thank you for your attention, and pray that the True and Living God Most High will keep you, your families and friends under his protection.
 James R.G. Hilditch, MEGS
 
 
 
Chapter Membership Officer
Companions, not quite the last appointment, I have one other appointment to make, but unfortunately this one does not come with a collar. One of the key focuses for the province is recruitment and retention. I am keen that as many Craft masons as possible should have the opportunity to complete their journey into pure Antient Freemasonry by being exalted into the Holy Royal Arch, and that they so enjoy the experience that not only will they want to continue their membership, but that they will also encourage their friends along. Whilst the responsibility for this lies on all of us, I have decided to appoint a Chapter membership officer to help us focus on the task at hand. He will work closely with Chapter Scribes and Royal Arch Ambassadors, as well as forging a stronger bridge to Craft secretaries and Visiting Offices. Our first Chapter membership officer will be E Comp Dave Roberts. Dave, thank you for taking this on, and I look forward to working with you.
 James R.G. Hilditch, MEGS
 
 
 
Chapter of the Year
Companions, we now come to the award of Chapter of the Year. Since the award was instituted back in 2015, the criteria have not changed, although each year different weighting may be applied. But one of the most important criteria will always be how a Chapter grows itself.
The winning Chapter this year has over the last two years identified and pursued a rich seam of new candidates into this Supreme Degree by establishing new links with a lodge that has also been reinventing itself. In the last year, it has performed a double exaltation at each meeting, as well as taking in a couple of joining members, and it has lost none of the traditional values that it holds dear.
PrGDC, please bring me the representative(s) of the Alfred Chapter.
 James R.G. Hilditch, MEGS
 
 
 
Meritorious Service Award
From time to time, I like to recognise a companion who has given sterling service to his chapter and the province over a long period.
This companion is or has been a member of three chapters in the province and was involved as a founder in two of them – not many people can say that! He has been MEZ in total for four years, in two of the Chapters and has held various other offices, and if Adelphi is to be believed I can only find two years in the last 20 when he has not been in office. But beyond that, I know that he will also stand in and do other bits of ritual to a very high standard – indeed, I recently watched him deliver the last part of the Principal Sojourners work, without hesitation or deviation (or repetition for that matter).
Provincially, he was last recognised almost exactly 10 years ago with appointment as Acting Scribe N. Companions, please join with me in congratulating E Comp Len Oatham as I present him with my meritorious service award.
 James R.G. Hilditch, MEGS