Around the Province
Barn Dance Report
Harry takes the Chair
In the Beginning Lecture
“Barn Dance Report”
On the evening of September 29th, Group 3 organized a lively Barn Dance event, with the proceeds dedicated to two noble causes: the 2025 Chairman’s Challenge and the Sittingbourne and Sheerness Helping Ukraine charity. This heartwarming gathering attracted a turnout of 71 enthusiastic participants, all converging at the Woodcoombe Sports and Social Hall in Sittingbourne.
The evening’s main attraction was the talented musical ensemble, the “Famous Potatoes,” an eight-piece band hailing from Southend on Sea. The festivities commenced with a couple of introductory folk songs by the band, setting the perfect mood for an evening of communal celebration.
The Barn Dance itself kicked off with two spirited rounds, and even those who were unfamiliar with this traditional dance style quickly caught on, thanks to patient instructions and the infectious spirit of the event.
What made this evening truly special was the presence of several attendees who hailed from war-torn villages in Ukraine. For many of them, the concept of a Barn Dance was entirely foreign. One family, in particular, had arrived in England that very day, initially bearing anxious expressions. However, as the night unfolded, those apprehensive looks transformed into smiles and a sense of relaxation. It was heartening to witness how, for a few precious hours, the Ukrainians in attendance could set aside their personal struggles and immerse themselves in the joy of the occasion.
As the night wore on, the dance floor came alive with numerous other vibrant performances. A raffle added an extra layer of excitement, with a plethora of prizes up for grabs. Many left the event with cherished souvenirs and fond memories.
The evening reached its crescendo at 11 pm when everyone in the hall came together for a final “Docey Do,” concluding the festivities on a high note. WBro David Mantle, Chairman of Group 3, and Michelle Heath, the dedicated founder of the Sittingbourne and Sheppey Helping Ukraine Charity, expressed their heartfelt gratitude to all the attendees and the generous lodges that contributed to making this heartwarming evening a reality.
In a heartwarming ceremony that took place last night at Bearsted Lodge No 6069, we witnessed the installation of WBro Harry Pendleton as the Worshipful Master, an event marked by brotherhood, tradition, and enthusiasm.
The evening was graced by the presence of WBro Peter Smith, who stepped in as the new Visiting Officer, representing WBro Graeme Wyles, who was regrettably unable to attend. The inclusion of WBro Peter Smith added an extra layer of significance to the proceedings, underscoring the supportive nature of the Freemasonry community. It had been 30 years since Peter had visited Bearsted Lodge, when he was a regular visitor to their Lodge of Instruction.
A highlight of the evening was the warm welcome extended to numerous visitors and esteemed guests, who enriched the event with their presence. Several of these distinguished individuals actively participated in the installation ceremony, infusing the proceedings with a sense of unity and shared purpose.
The event was punctuated by a harmonious blend of tradition and camaraderie, creating an atmosphere that was both enjoyable and memorable. This camaraderie is expected to set a positive tone for the year ahead.
As Bearsted Lodge No 6069 looks to the future, the focus remains on building upon this sense of unity and dedication to Freemasonry’s core principles. The Worshipful Master, WBro Harry Pendleton, expressed optimism about the upcoming year, with a particular hope of attracting new members who share the Lodge’s values and ideals.
Maidstone Masonic Hall’s Festive Board once again lived up to its reputation for excellence. The raffle successfully raised £160, and the top prize, a year’s supply of toilet rolls, went to Steve Fletcher – a unique signature prize of the Charity Steward WBro Chris Byron.
Two Photos: W Bro Peter Smith + W Bro Harry Pendleton
In The Beginning
The Royal Arch St Augustine Chapter No 972
The Holy Royal Arch has a varied history in England. Recognised and unrecognised depending on the Grand Lodge that was discussing the Order, with rituals as varied as there were numbers of Chapters, and with Irish, Scottish, and English workings offering different evolutionary paths. Combine this with the current view that the Royal Arch degree “completes” the third degree and not being a stand-alone degree in the technical sense, makes the history of the Royal Arch an interesting one.
For their September meeting, St. Augustine Chapter No.972 had the privilege of receiving a lecture and demonstration from our own provincial demonstration team, entitled “In The Beginning – A glimpse of the early years of Royal Arch”.
The team consisting of Dennis Fordham, Bob Burns, David Pugh, Clive Manuel, Peter Bearman, Gordon Brown, and Mick Smith with the assistance of Matt Jury, gave a most entertaining and enlightening talk, history, and demonstration of parts of ancient ceremony and dress, taken from one of the oldest Chapters that still operate: Cana Chapter No.116 in the Province of East Lancashire. This chapter has operated since the 1730’s unchanged and their history shows how early Chapters dressed, operated, and met.
The lecture was well received and the attending companions, via varied questions, drew out even more information from the demonstration team. Sadly, there was not enough time to answer all questions, and this fact itself showed how interested the companions were in the evenings labour!
It is this companion’s recommendation that more members should see the lecture as part of their ongoing daily advancements, and should you wish to invite the team to your chapter, further information can be received from Dennis Fordham by emailing email@example.com
Or by visiting the Royal Arch Page on this website.