Bro Kts It is my pleasure to welcome you here today, both members and guests, the RE, VE, E Knights and Bro Knights. You are all essential to the success of this meeting. I hope you will all enjoy the whole day as we celebrate another year in the Province.
We heard in the requiem that we lost 8 knights which is loss enough, but that included one EP, one Registrar and one who was both Registrar & EP. We will miss them all but some will leave a larger gap in the working of the Province.
The Past Year
In the past year we had two Provincial Team Visits. First to the Robert Loyd Preceptory No 438 in February to celebrate their revival after some difficult years. Our second team visit was a special visit to Bisham Abbey Preceptory No 691 at Marlow to dedicate their Banner. Seen earlier in the Banner Parade I am sure you all admired the generous size of the new standard. That was in April and it was a splendid and moving ceremony. My thanks to our Prelate V.E.Kt Paul Franklin who gave such a splendid Oration. Now made all the more poignant after the sad loss of their EP E.Kt Keith Pauling. In all this and at the Provincial Meetings I have been well supported by our Provincial Officers, my thanks to them all. Especially to those who were here early this morning to set up for our meeting and a special mention for our VC E.Kt Paul Cawte.
Looking at the Year Ahead
My congratulations to all the new Provincial Officers who have been invested this afternoon. These knights have deservedly been honoured for their work in the Province, but it is also true that we shall be expecting more from them in the year ahead.
To those knights - I know you will enjoy being part of the Provincial Team; and whilst it may not be possible to do everything during your year as a Provincial Officer, attend whenever you can. It is well worth the effort.
We have three Provincial Team Visits noted for the year ahead. The first will be to Beaumont Preceptory No 323 at Bicester. This was originally scheduled for last year but as the Prov Sub Prior was away playing golf yet again we had to put it off until October.
Our second outing for the Provincial team we hope will be early in the New Year to consecrate a new Preceptory at Winslow. We will have full details of this in November at the Malta meeting.
Our final Team visit is yet to be finalised, for later in the season.
It will be the Provincial Church Service again next year, at St Helens Church Abingdon on Sunday 11th June 2017. This is always a splendid occasion with friends and family joining in a Service of Thanksgiving. The Preceptory Banners are all to be paraded and the Bodyguard will be out in force. So make a note of the date so you do not miss it.
We had good support for the Great Priory meeting in May and I hope it will be even better at the Great Priory of Malta in London on Tues 21st November.
Provincial Meeting Next Year
Our meeting next year will again be on the third Monday in September; that is Monday 18th Sept 2017.
St John Eye Hospital
Bro Kts, you all know I continually promote the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital and hope that every Preceptory will be able to manage a donation to the Eye Hospital each year to give a continuity to the funding of the work in Jerusalem. If you would send these via the VC so they can be recorded correctly.
One small matter for concern is that at Installations, when the EP is installed as Prior of the Malta, it seems to be treated with little regard. Bro Knights, it may be a short part of the ceremony but it is still very important to carry it out correctly. Far too often those organising the meeting seem to forget that section. The Installing Prior is caught off guard and then has to read parts or worse read it all. So I will be looking out during this year for some better preparation by Priories for the installation of Priors.
As Robert Schuller the evangelist put it;
Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation.
My usual final thought Bro Knights; do not forget that whilst we are a friendly Order and welcome visitors and enjoy visiting, at the same time, we cannot neglect our Craft Lodges or Chapters, for without them we would inevitably fade away. Thank you, Bro Knights of Oxon, Berks & Bucks for your support during the year and to everyone for their support today.
It is nearly time for us to close this meeting; so until we meet here again, may God hold you in the palm of
R E Kt Raymond E. Cochrane
Sindlesham, 19th September 2016