The usual practice, after a Nottingham Sojourner visits a Chapter, is for the visiting Sojourner to write the report. On this occasion, however, the report is written by one of the ‘audience’.
Over the last three years, the members of Annesley Chapter have been both privileged and spoiled by having an Exaltation Ceremony at every meeting (with the exception of Installations, obviously).
Monday 9th April 2018 was to be no different with both a joining member and a candidate lined up until, unfortunately, the candidate had to cancel with 4 days to go due to personal circumstances.
To say the members were disappointed would be an understatement, not only had we worked hard on the ritual to give the candidate the best possible experience but our run of good fortune had come to an end and we would not be welcoming a new companion into our fold. This disappointment was eased slightly by the fact that we would be welcoming a joining member who has recently moved into the area from Surrey, and what a wonderful chap he is – score 1 for lifting the mood.
It would have been all too easy to perform a ‘demonstration’ Exaltation – thus not wasting the time and effort put in by the Officers, but to my mind, we needed something ‘extra’ to lift our spirits and stop the meeting feeling a little flat.
It was at this point, on the Wednesday prior to the meeting, that I contacted an old friend - Excellent Companion Chris Yates - who leads the team of Nottingham Sojourners. Having explained the situation, and apologising for the lateness of my request, I asked if he could throw me a lifeline and arrange for a talk at our meeting. A few hours later Chris got back to me with the good news that he was available and would be delighted to deliver a PowerPoint presentation entitled ‘The twelve tribes of Israel’.
After a brief introduction, during which Excellent Companion Chris asked the MEZ permission ‘to rearrange your Chapter’, which I thought was real class, Chris proceeded to deliver the talk.
Starting off with a brief timeline leading up to Jacob (later to be renamed Israel) and a Nation was born. The audience was quickly engrossed as Chris talked about: Israel (the man); polygamy; two wives & two concubines; a whole tribe of male issue (pun intended!); fallings out; sons moving in and out of favour; several sons expelled from the tribe and much more. More befitting Payton Place than the Biblical Middle East – the audience was captivated!
I won’t go into any more detail about the talk – I don’t want to spoil it for those Chapters who have yet to hear it – suffice it to say that the whole affair was slick & professional, educational, enjoyable, enlightening, at times funny, but most of all engaging. All of this to a visual backdrop of images, maps, family trees, informational snippets and much, much more. To a man, we certainly covered our ‘daily advancement in Masonic Knowledge’ with enough in the bank to last for the rest of the week.
The Festive Board was like all Festive Boards, lively chatter and good humour all around. I only mention it for the fact that the Principal Sojourner echoed all our feeling with a perfect toast to our visitor eloquently expressing our thanks and gratitude to Excellent Companion Chris for a wonderful evening.
At the end I witnessed, almost to a man, everyone shaking Chris’ hand, congratulating and thanking him for a wonderful evening. When it came to my turn, I thanked my old friend for getting me out of a hole at such short notice, to which he replied: “Kev, I love doing this so much that even had you contacted me at 3 o’clock this afternoon, if I was free I would have turned up”. Not all heroes wear a cape!
Tuesday 10th April 2018