Kind weather allowed a full Masonic procession to the Annual Church Service at the Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick. This is a busy working church, set in the centre of the ancient town where people have worshipped for over 1,000 years, and have left evidence of their faith in the architecture and decoration of the building — one of the largest and most interesting Churches in England. Its association with Freemasonry dates back at least as far as 1728 when the Master of the first Lodge in Warwickshire was Vicar of the Church.
The present Vicar of St Mary's, The Rev Dr Vaughan Roberts, welcomed everyone to the service during which representatives of the Jewish, Sikh, Islamic, Hindu and Christian faiths offered thoughts and blessings relating to the theme of the multi-denominational service “Brotherly Love and Charity”. Conducted by the Provincial Grand Chaplain W Bro John Cowan, together with the Assistant Grand Chaplain W Bro Paul Wheeler, the service included Lessons read by VW Bro Alan Wellan, Deputy Provincial Grand Master, and the RW Bro David Macey, Provincial Grand Master, with the Provincial Choir, conducted by W Bro Roy Marshall, demonstrating its professionalism by singing moving anthems, including one in celebration of our Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, as well as a delightful Gaelic Blessing at the end to music written by the Provincial Grand Organist W Bro Peter Summers. Music before and during the service was played by the Church’s Assistant Director of Music, Mark Swinton.
The Address was delivered by the Archdeacon of London and Rector of St Bride’s Fleet Street, The Venerable David Meara, who felt honored to be taking part and enormously pleased to be back in Warwick. In his address David referred to the lifelong bond he had shared with his own twin brother Richard, which had included pleasure and joy as well as sorrow and pain, as being emblematic of true Brotherly Love.
The Second Lesson had been the parable of the Good Samaritan and gave an example of the application of Charity, which David suggested could have been interpreted differently by a first century audience as the Samaritan might have been an enemy of the traveller. But we should not embrace only those closest to us as our neighbours and brothers, extending our charity to them alone, but also to those beyond and wherever there is a need. David’s Address can be seen here.
Finally, after the National Anthem had been sung, the Provincial Grand Master and Mrs Sandra Macey were escorted to the church doorway, where they joined The Clergy in bidding farewell to members of the congregation as they departed.
Warwickshire Freemasons in procession.
(l-r) David Meara, Vaughan Roberts, John Cowan
The RW Provincial Grand Master escorted by his Sword and Standard Bearers,
under the watchful eye of the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies