Annual Investiture 2021
This year’s meeting again took place at the Masonic Hall, Peterborough on the later date of 2nd October. The 2020 meeting did not take place because of the restrictions and lockdowns related to the COVID 19 pandemic. It was felt safe to hold the meeting this year and a number of COVID precautions were taken to ensure the safety of all present. The Grand Master opened the meeting and the Grand Chancellor read out the apologies from Alan Blackstone, Howard Beber, Matthew Christmas, Lawrence Day, Alan Eadie, Cat le Huy, Graham and Isobel Smith, Colin Palmer, Vivian Palmer, Stan Smith, Mike and Anne Stephen, David Starritt, Andrew Stenson, Ian Tough, Steven Turner and John Warham.
We were delighted to have three postulants this year, and so we welcome into the Order Baizhou Cai, Kay Wilcox and Ross McEwen. There were due to be two more, but they had to cancel due to illness/other commitment, so we now already have two scheduled for 2022.
Chevalier Brian Everett and Chevalier Clive Warham were promoted in the Order to Knight Commander. In the Meritorious Order of St Mark, Chevalier Simon McIlwaine was promoted to Knight, E Chevalier Ian Cameron and E Dame Penny Bell-Wright were promoted to Commander, and Dame Helen Wilson was admitted at the rank of Officer. The Grand Chancellor took the opportunity to explain to those present, particularly those new to the Order, the workings of our award processes. He went on to explain that a new Medal of Merit has been introduced so that we can continue to recognise those members who have attained the highest grades in the Order of St Mark. This Medal will be in three categories, generally starting with Bronze, with further promotions to Silver and Gold in due course. The insignia will be the St Raphael Amalfi Cross on the red ribbon of St Mark, with a star of Bronze/Silver/Gold to differentiate. The GM then went on to explain that in view of their longstanding and exemplary service to the Order, the Grand Master Emeritus (ME Chevalier Howard Doe) and Deputy Grand Master Emeritus (RE Chevalier Barry Uttley) were to be the first recipients of this award, and with the exceptional honour of Gold Medal. We congratulate them all on their awards and thank them for their continued good work.
Following the service, the usual convivial meal took place, attended by 28 members and guests.
The Grand Council meeting took place before lunch, and following an opening prayer from the Grand Prior, items discussed were as follows:
- The minutes from the 2019 meeting had been circulated, and no matters were arising.
- The GM welcomed our new candidates and informed the meeting that several more are in the pipeline for next year, which is wonderful news, and thanked every member of the Order for their contributions. He thanked the GC and GP for their work in updating the Ritual and the Constitution. He encouraged Commanders to plan ahead and to ensure that details of events are circulated by the GC and Grand Herald. He finished by thanking the new Grand Steward, Ross McEwen, for his work in organising this year’s meeting and lunch, and in wishing him and his Fiancée, Victoria, the very best for their wedding later in the month.
- The Grand Chancellor gave a brief report on membership, and confirmed that this is broken down as follows (2019 in brackets):
|St Martin at Sées||St Thomas Becket||Lion Rampant||Not attached||TOTAL|
|Active member||15 (16)||25 (21)||10 (10)||2 (2)||52 (49)|
|Life member||1 (0)||10 (10)||1 (1)||1 (4)||13 (15)|
|Junior member||0 (2)||0 (2)|
|TOTAL||16 (16)||35 (31)||11 (13)||3 (6)||65 (66)|
Since the last meeting, 8 members had resigned, and three former members deceased (Michael Stayt, Mary Dalton and Gordon Gentry). He added that 8 members were over 80, and that Bishop Gerard Crane would be 90 in December. The Grand Almoner was asked to send a card on behalf of the Order to recognise this special Birthday.
- The GC proposed several changes to the Constitution. Due to COVID, the Order had had to make some urgent changes to the way it worked, and these had now been included in the Constitution to cover future eventualities. A full list of changes to be made had been circulated to all members of the Grand Council prior to the AGM, and these were proposed by Howard Doe and seconded by Penny Bell-Wright, and passed nem con. A copy of the list of changes can be found below. A copy of the revised Constitution will be sent to Grand Officers and Commanders in due course, and published on the Order’s website.
- The Service of Thanksgiving had been planned to take place in Lichfield on Advent weekend in 2020, but in view of the restrictions, this was cancelled and instead the Grand Prior produced a virtual service, which took place on the same weekend via Zoom. There had been a good turnout for this, and the GP was thanked for his work. It was decided that it was still too much of a risk to ask members to gather in a public place this year, and once again the Service of Thanksgiving will take place via Zoom, at 11am on Saturday 27th November.
- The Grand Treasurer circulated a copy of the accounts to 31st December 2020. The accounts had been independently examined by Chevalier David Gibb. The full accounts can be seen on the website. £500 donation agreed to Alzheimers Society which Brian Everett is walking for.
- Each of the three Conclave Commanders gave brief reports of their activities, and copies of the reports or events can be found on the website.
- The date for the 2022 Investiture is Saturday 14th May.
ORDER OF ST RAPHAEL
PROPOSED CHANGES TO CONSTITUTION FOR 2021
|Ref||Current text||Proposed text|
|2.18 (sub)||…. The office of Grand Prior and all other ecclesiastical positions should be held only by such persons who profess the full Faith of Christ Crucified and with the knowledge of the liturgical significance written and contained within the Ritual.||There may be exceptional occasions when the Grand Prior is unable to attend a meeting and no suitably qualified clerical members is available to deputise. In such circumstances, a lay member of the Order may stand in for the Grand Prior, but must use only authorised text in the ritual, taking care not to use wording that is reserved solely for an ordained person (i.e. Blessings, etc)|
|2.4 (sub)||The Grand Master shall at his pleasure appoint Officers to assist him in the government of the Order. He shall appoint them to such offices as he thinks fit. The present list of offices takes precedence as follows acting during the pleasure of the Grand Master:||Other than the GM, Officers marked + shall be appointed for a term of five years, subject to a maximum of two consecutive terms, officers from 6-13 for a term of three years, subject to a maximum of two consecutive terms, and the remaining ceremonial officers for a one year term, subject to a maximum of three consecutive terms. All appointments may be terminated at any time at the Grand Master’s discretion.|
|After 2.4||The Grand Master shall, at his pleasure, confer the status of Emeritus on the past Grand Master and/or Deputy Grand Master, allowing all due honour and powers except Executive status.|
|Note to 3.3||Re appointment of Conclave officers||It is recognised that Conclaves may not always be able to appoint an ordained minister to the rank of Chaplain. In such circumstances, a Lay members may be appointed to the role for Conclave meetings, but must only use wording approved by the Grand Prior for such occasions, taking care not to use wording that is reserved solely for an ordained person (i.e. Blessings, etc)|
|Each Conclave shall hold an Annual General Meeting of its members, using a standard Agenda. A copy of the minutes of the previous meeting, and financial report, shall be distributed at least 14 days in advance to all its members, with copies to the Grand Master and Grand Chancellor. In exceptional circumstances, and with permission of the Grand Master, the annual general meeting may be held remotely using video conferencing software.|
|4.2 Insert||In addition to the grades detailed in paragraph 4.1, suitable young people between the ages of ten and eighteen years may be admitted as junior members. Boys will be known as Esquires, and girls as Demoiselles.||At least one of the sponsors must be the junior member’s parent/guardian.|
|4.4 (move following points down one)||A junior member who was admitted as such prior to the age of seventeen may, if they wish, remain as a junior member until they reach their twenty first birthday. At that point they must either formally join the Order as an adult, or be placed on the inactive list.|
(move following points down one)
|Applications will normally be endorsed by an existing member of the Order known by the applicant. However, should this not be the case, then two independent character references will be sought from the applicant.|
(move following points down one)
|Prior to final approval of membership, details of the applicant will be circulated amongst the membership to see if there are any objections. Should this be the case, the Grand Chancellor will take whatever action is required, with the final decision made by the Grand Master.|
(move following points down one)
|New applicants may be interviewed by a panel of three senior members, nominated by the Grand Master. In the case of clerical applicants, the panel MUST include the Grand Prior. The interview may be conducted either in person or remotely, whichever is most convenient.|
|5.11 [NEW]||The Annual Meeting will be held at a central venue decreed by the Grand Master. In exceptional circumstances, the Grand Master may authorise the meeting to be held remotely using video conferencing software, and for members to be invested up to the rank of Commander in this way, but all admissions and promotions to the rank of Knight and Dame or higher must be deferred until the next physical meeting of the Order.|
|5.12 (NEW)||There may be occasions where a person who has previously resigned or become inactive may wish to re-activate their membership the Order. There are too many variables involved to create a specific ruling in such cases, but should such a scenario arise, the person should make a written request to the Grand Chancellor stating their case, and the Grand Chancellor and Grand Master shall together reach a decision as to how to proceed.|
|6.6 (NEW)||There may be occasions where a person who has previously resigned or become inactive may wish to re-activate their membership the Order. There are too many variables involved to create a specific ruling in such cases, but should such a scenario arise, the person should make a written request to the Grand Chancellor stating their case, and the Grand Chancellor and Grand Master shall together reach a decision as to how to proceed.|
paras 2 & 3
|The mantle is of black gabardine, lined with purple taffeta and a black velvet collar. The neck should be fastened with a gilt chain from two lion‐head clasps. On the left breast is the Cross of the Order, the 220mm Maltese Cross being in white, lined with gold. The Potent Cross will be in gold to match the outlining of the Maltese Cross. The mantle should fall to between six and nine inches from the ground. For ladies the mantle is of black velvet with a hood and arm slits, all lined with purple taffeta, the neck fastened with a gilt chain from two rose clasps. The cross is identical to that for men.||Remove reference to black velvet collar. Change taffeta to “or similar material”|
Delete paragraph as mantle is now unisex
|8 v [NEW]||The Meritorious Order of St Mark exists to reward members of the Order for work done which cannot be recognised by normal promotions within the Order of St Raphael. Grades are differenced by a small star pin, of the colour specified below. Grades of the Order are (ascending): Member, Officer, Commander, Knight or Dame, Knight or Dame Commander and Knight, Dame, or Ecclesiastical Grand Cross.|
|8w [NEW]||Insignia for all ranks in St Mark consists of a red ribbon (ladies a bow) from which is hung a pentagonal jewel depicting the image of a winged Lion of Venice holding an open book. Ranks are differentiated by a star pinned on the ribbon, coloured in the following way: MSM – no star, OSM – green, CSM – yellow, K/DSM – orange, K/DCSM – silver, K/DGC – gold|
|8x [NEW]||Knights Grand Cross in St Mark where the recipient already holds the rank of Knight Grand Cross in St Raphael will instead wear the St Mark insignia on a red collarette edged with gold.|
|8y [NEW]||In addition to awards in the Order of St Mark, additional exceptional work may be rewarded by the award of a Medal of Merit. In ascending order this is awarded in Bronze, Silver and Gold. It is expected that such awards commence at the lower level, with a minimum period of three years between elevations. The insignia is a red ribbon (same as St Mark), from which is hung the St Raphael jewel. The two higher levels are differentiated by silver and gold stars.|
|9.3||The Grand Master may, at his discretion, admit to Honorary Membership any person who he deems as being worthy of association with our Order, due to their position in life and society, or to their office in other Chivalric Orders, granting them such grade as he feels appropriate. Such Honorary Members shall not be charged any fees. However, they may elect to be treated as full subscribing members, should they so prefer.||Change the references of “Honorary” to “Life”.|
|9.3 [NEW – 9.4 to be moved down]||The Grand Master may, at his discretion, approve the issue of a Certificate of Appreciation to non-members who have shown consistent support to the Order over a period of years, but who do not wish to become members in their own right.|