A Knight’s Tale – Reflections on the Triennial Conference 2009
As a Province we have much to be proud of, but one of the key events of the year was the participation and involvement in the Knights Templar Triennial International Conference at Winchester from 3 – 5th September. As the title implies, this is a conference which is hosted every three years by one of the Great Priories throughout the world and gives the Order the chance to share ideas, renew and make friendships and give direction for the future of the Order.
The Conference was last held in England in 1991 and therefore the chances of witnessing such an event was to be a rare and special privilege for all those who attended. The reason for the conference being held in Winchester was largely down to the tremendous efforts of our Provincial Prior, R. E. Kt. Trevor Gulliver, KCT and his Provincial Executive team who “bid” for Winchester to be the host City and therefore, by reason of geography, we would become the “host Province”. An enormous amount of planning and organization, working closely with Mark Masons Hall, enabled us to be prominent in all arrangements and events over the three days. As ever, the Province rose to the challenge and our sincere thanks must go all those who not only attended and supported the events, but worked so hard behind the scenes.
With 18 countries represented the formal part of the Conference was kept to a minimum to allow time for England to entertain those who attended.
Thursday 3rd September
In the afternoon, the thespian Knights of our Province, gave a fantastic demonstration
Each Preceptory was represented in the team and there had been many meetings and rehearsals over the previous year for this event. To say we were nervous before going “on stage” was an understatement, but once again the Province delivered and the ceremony
Bookings were taken afterwards for the Ceremony Demonstration Team to go “on tour” to other Provinces – for further details please visit the Charities section of our website, or click here.
This was followed by a short break, for lounge suits to be donned in time for a champagne reception, then dinner, with “Rat Pack” cabaret and impromptu dancing, which was enjoyed by all in the Winchester Guildhall.
Friday 4th September
The formal part of the conference was then held in the morning as hosted by our Grand Master.
In the afternoon, again in the Guildhall (such a superb setting), the Consecration of The Grand Master’s Preceptory No. 678 took place in full regalia. This is the Grand Master’s personal Preceptory and an invitation to join can only be made by him and for those Knights who hold the rank of Past Constable or above. It was a wonderful occasion and splendid ceremony; again, not many of us will be able to witness a Consecration, but we were fortunate as part of the demonstration team that we were allowed to attend.
One very special moment for the Province during the ceremony, saw our Provincial Prior invested as the Primus First Constable – an honour indeed for him and all of us and a fitting tribute for all his work in the lead up to and during the Conference.
It was then another quick change into dinner jackets to be joined by our partners for the Consecration and Celebration dinner and cabaret. This gave all of us a great opportunity to meet new friends from home and overseas.
Saturday 5th September
I had a lie in! A lazy breakfast and quick walk around Winchester before a change into full regalia to join Knights, Brethren from other Orders, our partners and friends for a special Festival Evensong at the Winchester Cathedral.
The spectacle of all those cloaked and processing into the Cathedral will long be remembered
Over 700 people filled the Cathedral and listened to a superb address by the Reverend Canon Michael St John-Channell (a former Provincial Prelate in another Province). Traditional English afternoon tea was then served in a marquee on the lawns of the Cathedral Close, which was the perfect round off to the day and event as a whole.
I arrived home that evening feeling tired but fulfilled after the three days. A very full and enriching experience, with many new friends made and one firm decision in my mind – that in three years time I will ensure I’m going to the next Conference, which will be held in France!
More Pictures taken at the Triennial
The talk on the origins of the Masonic Knights Templar in England and Wales was presented by V. E. Kt. Dr. Vivian Thomas
The dinner on Thursday evening was held in the Guildhall, with the entertainment being a “Rat Pack” cabaret, including a look-a-like ‘Sinatra’ – which encouraged impromptu dancing!
Supreme Grand Master, Leslie Felgate Dring, GCT, arrived with his escort at the Cathedral for the Evensong celebration on Saturday afternoon
Grand Masters from around the world, together with their escorts, were led down the Cathedral’s centre aisle by members of the Provincial Bodyguard, displaying the national flag of the respective delegation.
Our very grateful thanks are extended to our Conference photographers – Dru Furneaux and Paul Hurst