Annual Divisional Meeting 18th March 2023

The Gathering

Greenhead Masonic Hall in Huddersfield was the gathering place for the 2023 annual divisional meeting of the knights of the Red Cross of Constantine (West Yorkshire Division). The meeting was still slightly impacted by Covid-19, but this was a much-improved attendance with almost 90 knights and distinguished guests present and the excitement and anticipation was very much in evidence throughout the day.

When such an event is organised, the amount of behind-the-scenes work is considerable, and it is right that Ill. Knight Keith Tolan (Divisional Recorder) should be mentioned and acknowledged for the effort he put in. For many, the meeting started the day before when members of Centurion Conclave No.170 set up the hall with all the necessary furnishings and seating plans for the upcoming appointments and guests, not finishing until approximately 22:00, and this excluded all the necessary brass polishing of the swords and standards by the Warden of Regalia.

This, however, was not the last involvement, on the day itself, all the available members of the Centurion Conclave also assisted with car park duties, ushering guests to their respective robing areas and generally helping out wherever and whenever they could, but that’s what you would expect from a past Sovereigns conclave of knights who are really proud of their Red Cross heritage.

Rehearsal, Rehearsal, Rehearsal

With Red Cross boasting some of the most beautiful ceremonies in Masonry, there can be no doubt that practice makes perfect, and this is where the bulk of the morning preparations belong. First, our Divisional Marshall instructed all the members of the Sepulchre Guard in the finer points of swordsmanship, how to march and where to be, which sounds easy, but when there are so many elements to the meeting, it can be challenging even for the most seasoned of guards.

However, we are delighted that all the practice paid off because the Sepulchre guard were tremendous and made us all proud. For those who have never been a member, it is strongly advised to give it a go, to be part of a unique club, to accompany the Intendant General on his travels and best of all, you make friends for life. 

As the guard dared for a bit of private practice, it was time for the existing Divisional Officers and then the incoming and promoted knights to prove they were worthy of that honour and again they didn’t disappoint, all under the watchful eye of our Intendant General – Dr Raymond Charles Johnson who must have been pleased by the smile on his face.

The last instructions were issued to the distinguished guests, followed by a quick photo call then it was time to begin the meeting.














Game On

Under the guidance of the Deputy Marshal and escorted by the Sepulchre Guard, all our distinguished guests made their way into the temple to a hearty round of respect and applause. In much the same manner, the Divisional Officers, Deputy Intendant General and our Intendant General entered the temple with the music so beautifully played by Ill Knight, the Right Reverent Cooke

As befitting of the occasion, the IG welcomed all to the meeting and many references were made to God’s own county and the quality of the pork pies supplied by the IG all of which added to the atmosphere. As with every meeting there are formal things that need to be performed such as approval of minutes, accounts, and roll call of conclaves present, but one part is always especially important, that is, when the Deputy Intendant General list the Knights of the division who have departed to the Grand Conclave above. 

Following the mark of respect to departed merit, its was time to appoint and invest all those receiving honours on the day. It never ceases to amaze just how a simple hand on the shoulder and a few words from the Intendant General mean so much to so many and it was clear from the reaction of the attendees how much it meant to them too.

When the time came for the Intendant Generals address to the Knights, the key message was of recruitment and working together, be it with Conclaves joining forces for meetings, presenting at local Chapters and reaching out to potential candidates where possible. 

Finally, when all was completed, the MPS of Centurion Conclave extended an invitation to gather at the next meeting, still smiling from his surprise promotion to Past Divisional Senior General and everyone filed out through the arch of steel provided by the Sepulchre Guard.

Friends Old & New

With the formal proceedings complete, everyone made their way to the bar for a well-earned Gin and Tonic and then to the dining hall where everyone clapped in the IG and DIG to their respective seats.

The 4 course meal was delightful and friendly chatter was the background music until word got out that two of the knights present were celebrating their birthdays, so a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday accompanied the desert course.





All the necessary wine taking was completed (just before the Divisional Marshals voice gave up) and the IG gave one of the shortest speeches of the day simply saying a huge “Thank you” which if the room could have responded would have been said right back at him. And so ended another Divisional meeting of this wonderful order where we all left with the watch words so firmly planted in our hearts, In Faith, In Unity and In Zeal.

Read the IG Address Here