Annual Investiture 2017
This year’s meeting again took place at the Masonic Hall, Peterborough on 13th May. The Grand Master opened the meeting and the Grand Chancellor read out the apologies.
There were three postulants this year – Chevalier Brian Everett, Dame Olive Ward and the Rt Rev’d Michael Ward, and we welcome them all to the Order. Prior to the Investiture Ceremony, a short vigil was introduced this year for the postulants, led by the Grand Prior, to focus the postulants’ minds on the step that they are about to take.
There was just one St Raphael promotion this year, with Chevalier David Starritt promoted to Knight Grand Cross, and the Grand Prior was invested with the newly created decoration of Ecclesiastical Grand Cross. The Grand Master then had great pleasure in making a number of awards in the Order of St Mark.
The Grand Master then appointed E Dame Pamela Robinson as Commander of the Conclave of St Martin at Sées – the first female to achieve this in our Order. This being his first Investiture as GM, certificates were presented to all Grand Officers present. The full list of Grand Officers can be found on the website.
Following the service, the usual convivial meal took place, attended by 26 members and guests.
The Grand Council meeting took place after lunch, and items discussed were as follows:
- The Grand Chancellor announced that although a few minor changes to the Constitution and Statutes were approved last year, several further changes were now proposed and had been circulated to members of the Grand Council by email. These were approved unanimously and a copy of the revised document can be found on the Order’s website.
- At the beginning of the morning service, the Grand Chancellor had announced that we were using a temporary Ritual booklet since changes needed to be made following the change of GM. The Grand Prior now explained that we had introduced some extra items into the service, namely a Bible Reading, short intercessions, and a short section allowing those who wished to receive healing oils. There were no objections from members and so these will be introduced into the Ritual on a permanent basis.
- The Grand Prior went on to say that he had produced a St Raphael Prayer book to enable Conclaves, especially those with no ordained Prior, to have something to use at local meetings, with prayers and blessings that can be said by a lay person. It can also be used by members to assist with prayer, and covers various eventualities when prayer may be required. At the moment it is still a work in progress, but copies have been initially given to Conclaves to use and provide feedback.
- The Grand Chancellor said that a lot of positive reports were received following the service at Rugeley, and in order to build on this suggested an annual Service of Thanksgiving in the autumn of each year at Rugeley, but with a more informal lunch. This would give members of the Order an extra opportunity to meet, and it would not matter too much if the response was not huge. The Grand Prior confirmed that we could use the Cathedral at any time we wished. Full details and application forms will be sent out later in the summer. The date now set is Saturday 7th October, at 11am.
- The Grand Treasurer circulated a copy of the accounts to 31st December 2015, which showed a deficit for the year of £524.66, due mainly to the extra cost incurred in the Installation of the Grand Master and new Chains of Office and Batons. Only one member is now in arrears with subscriptions, and it is reported that he is very poorly. The accounts had been independently examined by Dame Rhoda Ross. The accounts were accepted by the meeting and thanks given to David and Rhoda for their work. David went on to say that he is stepping down as Treasurer at the end of the year, and the GM has appointed Chevalier Brian Everett to take over at that time.
- The GT went on to add that following today’s raffle, and with membership donations and donations from Conclaves we had around £600 to distribute to our nominated Charities. The Grand Master said that he wished to change our distribution process and split this between the Conclaves to enable them to choose and distribute to local charities. Not only will this ensure that the money goes to small worthy charities, but the publicity opportunity is also much greater, and it is hoped that all Conclaves will make the most of this. The only criteria is that the charity must have a “human healing” aspect to it, and that details of any charities chosen must be submitted to the Grand Hospitaller and Grand Chancellor for approval before the cheques are issued by the Grand Treasurer.
Commanders are to invite the local press and radio to any donations to ensure a photo opportunity.
If the press do not attend, it is the Commander’s responsibility to ensure photos are taken and the copy written for the press. Photos and the “written copy” are to be sent to the Grand Hospitaller and Grand Chancellor for inclusion in the newsletter, Facebook and the website.
- Each of the three Conclave Commanders gave brief reports of their activities, and it is pleasing that we now have three active Conclaves. Copies of the reports or events can be found on the website.
- Chevalier Steven Turner spoke about a new organisation of which he is a founder. The Grand Master of the International Order of St Stanislas thought that it was about time that the alleged illegitimate or unrecognised Orders had their own association. He therefore created the International Confederation of Chivalric Orders (ICCO) and has sent invitations to various Orders around the World inviting them to join. At the moment and for the next few Years there will be no Fees and all costs will be met by St Stanislas, when sufficient Orders have joined a Council will be formed with each Order having representation. All Orders will remain independent as the purpose of the ICCO is to create strength in numbers and to allow exchange of ideas and possibly members.
A discussion then took place amongst the Grand Council as to whether or not we should join. There was a small number against but the majority agreed that we should give it a try and the Order of St Raphael will therefore join the ICCO for an initial period of three years.
- Steven Turner talked about the benefits of easyfundraising, which enables people shopping or searching on the internet to have a small amount donated to their charitable cause. It was agreed that each Conclave should set up its own easyfundraising page and accrue the donations received in its own Conclave account for distribution in due course.
- The Grand Master closed the Grand Council Meeting at 3.30pm.
- The date for the 2018 Investiture is Saturday 12th
New members admitted:
Chevalier Brian Everett, MBE (KSR)
Dame Olive Ward (DSR)
Rt Rev’d Michael Ward (SChSR)
E Chevalier David Starritt (GCSR)
St Mark Awards:
RE Dame Margaret Gunnell (DGCSM)
E Steven Turner (KCSM)
Dame Dianne Uttley (DCSM)
Chevalier Ian Cameron (OSM)
Dame Susan Austin (MSM)
Chevalier Mike Boxall (MSM)
Photographs of the event can be viewed in the Gallery on the website. www.orderofstraphael.org.uk