First Principal's Messages

From the Z's Sceptre

The First Pincipal's summons messages are presented here. Please feel free to contact him using the Contact Us link, or by Email




Regular Convocation of Tuesday, June 1, 2010

    Once again we had the honour of introducing three new Mark Master Masons to Capitular Masonry. With Ex.Comp. James Crawford leading the way, there was an exemplary degree, and three members of Wellington Lodge 635, Maple, W.Bro. John Imreibe, W.M., W.Bro. Nick Jubran, P.M., and Bro. Paul Benazzi, W.M. Elect, were admitted into the secrets and mysteries of the Royal Arch. A number of Companions joined me in attending Wellington Lodge’s installation ceremonies a scant few days later. It was particularly pleasurable for me to have them join the Chapter, as Wellington was a part of the former District 7, as was my mother Lodge, and the brethren of that Lodge are truly family to me. We all had a wonderful evening there, and I know that these three brethren will bring the benefit of their own richness and warmth to Mount Sinai. They are pillars of Wellington Lodge, and promise to bring their strength to our Chapter. Welcome, brethren, we look forward to a rich future with you in our Chapter. I can assure you that you will be very impressed with your next two steps to full participation in the Chapter, which will take place in the Fall.

    One more meeting before a change at the helm!! In June we will have our elections, and start the process of bringing in the new! We have many keen and talented Royal Arch Masons of the past few years, and we would welcome you to the first rungs of the Officers’ ladder. Please call the Scribe Ezra or me if you are interested. As well as the voting we hope to have some very interesting education material on Royal Arch Masonry. It will be an ideal time to have a loose educational forum, so should you have any questions on a Capitular subject, then will be the time to ask it. Remember the old adage, "It is better to speak up and be a fool for five minutes, than to remain silent and be a fool forever." Each one of us has things we do not know, so speak up, and let everyone benefit from and open question and answer session.

    As you will see elsewhere in the summons, the District gears up for quite a bit of activity in the Fall. However, before that you should take particular note of the summer highlight, in fact it’s become an Ontario wide highlight - the Kichikewana Chapter B.B.Q. on August 12th. Mark your calendars, and contact the Scribe Ezra NOW. He will add you to the travelling list, and make sure you are advised of our travel arrangements.

    Once again, I should like to thank Comp. Steve Connolly once again for his efforts with the catering. We all have the greatest sympathy for his loss, and the greatest admiration and respect for his spirit. We are truly there for you Steve.

    So companions, see you on the 1st. There will be no rehearsal of course, but please show up for the elections and some enlightenment, together with our regular good fellowship. Make a special effort to attend; remember I will not wheedle you again, until the Fall!

Fraternally, Ex.Comp. Gavin S. Upton, Z

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Regular Convocation of Tuesday, May 4, 2010

    Oh My! We are still basking in the warm glow of our last meeting. If you are on the Chapter’s Email distribution list, you will already have received the letter of thanks we sent out immediately following the evening. Note that if you’re not on the Email list, consider sending the Scribe Ezra your Email address to; it will be kept confidential, and be used to keep you updated on Chapter news. We hope you are in no doubt as to our gratitude to all the Companions who attended, and the stellar help from King Solomon Chapter No. 8, District 8, and all those who filled in. The initial logistics were overwhelming, but, as they say, where there’s a will there’s a way, and the collective will showed the way for a huge night. However, this ceremony just opened the gate for ten new Royal Arch Masons, and we now, Masonry being a progressive science, have to press on, and put the talents of our new companions to work. And we were honoured with the presence of the Grand Superintendents from our District, R.Ex.Comp. Michael Boland, and District 8, R.Ex.Comp. Ian Nichols, who were able to parade their colours one last time before their successors were Installed at the Annual Convocation a few days later. As well, both their elected successors, now Installed, were present, R.Ex.Comp. Fred Dimmick, District 9, and R.Ex.Comp. Edward Codack, District 8. We also had three members of the Grand Executive, R.Ex.Comps. Alan Donovan, Barry Jones and Arthur Payne, in attendance. All in all, what a smash evening!

    Our May meeting will involve the initiation of three Brethren from Wellington Lodge No. 635, being a Past Master, Ruling Master, and Master Elect. This will be a warm Mark Master Mason degree, and I know our Third Principal will do it justice. Let’s all get out to support him, and we encourage all the new Royal Arch Masons, wherever possible, to attend the practice Sunday May 2nd at 9.30 a.m. It is a great time to socialize a little, ask all those dumb questions you are too embarrassed to utter in Chapter, and hone your skills in the Ritual. It is always fun (and the breakfast doesn’t hurt either) See you there.

    Let me also take this opportunity to thank Comp. Norm Ryan, who is providing light to his brethren in Wellington Lodge, Maple When we were raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason, we were informed that important knowledge has been lost. As you know, this learning is restored to us in the Royal Arch degree. Companions, let us not forget to extend to the brethren of our Craft Lodges, especially the newly raised brethren, an invitation to complete their Masonic teaching. R.Ex.Comp. Eric Lakien has a 30 minute presentation on Capitular Masonry which he will gladly make to the Brethren in your Lodge. Please contact him to make arrangements for him to attend.

    On a very sad note, we wish to express our sympathies and condolences to Comp. Steve Connolly, who lost his life’s partner last week after a protracted illness. We all feel for Steve, who has been a stalwart in this Chapter; a true brother. We will advise you of a memorial service to be held for this much missed lady.

    Our best wishes for relief to all those who are in distressed circumstances at this time. Sadly, as Koheleth says in Ecclesiastes, "for everything there is a season"

    See you on the 4th!

Fraternally, Ex.Comp. Gavin S. Upton, Z

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Regular Convocation of Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    A meeting such as our February gathering has to be a benchmark for Masonic ingenuity and willingness to help. I am reminded of the Third Degree Traditional History lecture, "a loss so important as that of the principal architect could not fail to be speedily and severely felt ... to make known(sic) ... the utter confusion into which the absence of ... ( Scribe Ezra) ... had plunged them". We were all aware of the sad circumstances which R.Ex.Comp. Lakien was having to undergo, and had unanimous expressions of sympathy and fraternal affection expressed for him.

    But as is the case in such situations the companions responded beautifully, and the support they gave exemplified the Masonic spirit. After a shaky time during the set-up period, which reminded us all how much we depend on him, and how invaluable our Scribe E. is, things got into gear, and the R.A.M. business went perfectly. Ex.Comp. Kevin Robinson stepped up and conducted the M.E.M. degree in an exemplary fashion, assisted, expertly, as you must know, by V.Ex.Comps. Paul Nielsen, Vince Lombardo, Eric Painter and others, which led to all six candidates expressing quite vocally what a great experience it was for them. We even had a few visitors, notably Ex.Comp. Fred Dimmick, who had travelled all the way from Parry Sound to be with us. He presented the secrets of the Degree in fine style, in the absence of Ex.Comp. Dave Higgins. Let me also note, and give my congratulations to Ex.Comp. Dimmick who was elected to be our Grand Superintendent for the forthcoming year. This Chapter should be proud to have such excellent members and loyal friends.

    So now, forward, onward and upward together. Our April meeting promises to be stellar, with the reciprocal visit of King Solomon’s Chapter to Mount Sinai, where we will meet the challenge of TEN, yes I said ten, you can count ‘em, Brethren ready and eager to be exalted to the Supreme Degree. We have lined up a stellar degree team consisting of the talent of both our Chapters. In some cases we’ll even split a lecture, to enjoy a true Masonic sharing. We are all ready for our rehearsal on Sunday, April 4th. I encourage Companions from both Chapters to attend. In particular, the logistics will be reviewed to ensure the Degree is presented in an impressive and dignified manner. Given the number of Candidates, we will need extra Principal Sojourners for the degree, so let me know if you want to participate. I am reminded of Psalm 133:1-2 "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard ... "

    When you drive home after Chapter, with Comp. Steve Connolly’s repast filling the body, and the pleasure of the meeting, the degree, and our new Companions pleasing the spirit, life is indeed good!

    Our love and condolences to all our sick and infirm, we wish them well, and look forward with anticipation to sharing our Masonic journey with ten new Royal Arch Masons at our next meeting. And don’t forget that a mere two days later, the Annual Convocation of Grand Chapter takes place.

    Finally, we are just about upon Passover and Easter. The two holy days are linked inextricably, just as our Brethren are in the Craft. The best to our Companions on their observances and for their spiritual fulfillment.

    Be well, see you soon.

Fraternally, Ex.Comp. Gavin S. Upton, Z

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Regular Convocation of Tuesday, March 2, 2010

    Any of the Companions who have ever been involved in putting together a degree team will be familiar with that point in time when one wonders if it will ever actually come together. There are times when a set of unavoidable circumstances coincide to thwart ones best efforts, and the hours before the ceremony are wrought with anxiety and trepidation.

    Such was the case before our H.R.A. Degree last month, when for a series of legitimate reasons we were severely short of participants. All of which makes it very gratifying to reflect on a meeting which went perfectly, and during which we raised Comps. Robert Karras, Fred Daantos and Tim Chapchuk to the supreme degree, all of whom we now wholeheartedly welcome.

    I should like to thank ALL the companions who filled in for us, but I will mention two whose presence was most welcome, Ex. Comp. Gareth Taylor, newly installed First Principal of Lebanon Chapter, who graciously agreed to make us his first visit, and sat in for our Second Principal, who had to travel to the U.K. unexpectedly, and V.Ex.Comp Eric Painter, whose pedestal lecture is always a delight. So, apart from the new grey hairs pushed through the scalp of our stalwart Scribe Ezra, all was well, and reflected favourably on the Chapter.

    Our degree for the March 2nd meeting will be a M.E.M., and the Second Principal is assembling a team as I write. Some of our new R.A.M.’s wish to participate, and I encourage all new and even more "settled" companions to shout out if they would like to brush up their skills. It’s always great to see and hear new or well loved voices. We have six keen Candidates ready to be Received, and the onus is on us to confer a quality and meaningful Degree to enhance their experience.

    Sunday the 28th will afford us the opportunity to practice, fortified by our traditional sumptuous spread.

    We all need to thank Comp. Steve Connolly for his sterling work in preparing our banquets. He has really stepped up to the plate in that role. Thanks again Steve.

    So let’s get into the swing of things, and show our new entrants into Royal Arch Masonry what we are all about. Also, not to forget our sick and distressed. Why not just give ONE member a call, and ask how he or his loved ones are doing. It works wonders.See you all soon.

Fraternally, Ex.Comp. Gavin S. Upton, Z

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Regular Convocation of Tuesday, February 2, 2010

    Where does it all go?? A few moments ago we were saying Happy Christmas, and looking forward to the holidays, and now we are nearing the end January, wondering how time flies by so quickly. I hope everyone had a pleasurable time with family and friends, and now welcome you to look forward to the upcoming Capitular year.

    Let me dwell on the end of 2009 for a minute. What a spectacular way to end the decade, by welcoming six new Mark Master Masons in December - Bros. Steve, Savvas and Harry Xanthopoulos, Ray Parsi, Glen Paterson and Ovidiu Muresan , and with a glowing report from R.Ex.Comp. Michael Boland, G.S., in Chapter for his Official Visit. Our Brethren will continue their progress in March, hopefully completing their journey to Companion rank in April.

    I am very proud of the fact that V.Ex.Comp. Vince Lombardo, W.M. of Quinte St. Alban’s Lodge No. 620, Thornhill, has invited the Chapter to assemble a Degree team to confer the Master Mason Degree on his son, Mark, Monday, January 25th. The Scribe Ezra has put together a stunning array of our talent, representing 14 different Lodges! I have the honour is sitting as W.M. for the Degree, and we are all looking forward to a wonderful night, and an opportunity to promote the many strengths of Capitular Masonry to the Brethren of the Lodge. I would have to say being able to call such a wide array of Masons as my Companions, has to rank on top of the list!

    We are beginning the new year, with a Holy Royal Arch Degree on February 2nd, and the "crack" team has been assembled. Don’t miss it!!

    We shall be having our usual practice for the Degree, 9:30 a.m., Sunday, January 31st, and invite you all to share in our first sumptuous breakfast of 2010.

    It will be a full year, and I have two resolutions; firstly I am going to try, personally, to visit more in the Royal Arch this year, and secondly, to relieve Scribe Ezra as much as possible. (or at least not hinder him too much!!). We also look forward to hosting King Solomon Chapter in the early spring, at our April Regular Convocation.

    We keep our sick and distressed brethren in our prayers, and wish them well for the future.

    See you all on February 2nd.

Fraternally, Ex.Comp. Gavin S. Upton, Z

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Regular Convocation of Tuesday, December 1, 2009

    What’s in a name. A rose by any other name would be as sweet. When the wise Scribe Ezra began to set up our meeting with King Solomon Chapter No. 8, I am sure that none of us anticipated what a resounding success it was going to be. Masonically we always associate King Solomon’s name with wisdom, and it has become almost a mantra. But this night the combination of King Solomon and Mount Sinai really made magic. What a pleasure to sit in the East with Ex.Comp. Ray Uhrig, Z., King Solomon Chapter, and to be part of a unique double Chapter meeting.

    Congratulations to each and every companion who showed up for this meeting. That means EVERY officer and countless members. What a shining example. I have come to realize that Ezra is really an acronym for one whom Every Zerubbabel Really Appreciates. Our own Scribe E. certainly showed his mettle and organizational skills with this one; the logistics ran smooth as silk. Well done Scribe E! Congratulations to newly Received Bros. Robert Plotkin, Fred Daantos and Tim Chapchuk. Your journey to full rank in the Chapter will continue in the New Year.

    Now it is up to us to continue in this Exalted fashion, and we all look forward to our December meeting with this warm glow yet within us. It will be a very special occasion, giving us a chance to prove to R.Ex.Comp. Michael Boland, G.S., and Ex.Comp. Alan McDonald, Secretary, that Capitular Masonry is alive and well in our Chapter, and to welcome six zealous and skilled Brethren into our midst. Let’s all put out a firm effort to be there again, as we have quite a bit of housekeeping to do, as you will see from the rest of the summons.

    It has been a tragic year, with the Chapter losing a number of Companions, including some highly esteemed members of our Ruling Principals, V.Ex.Comp. Dick Gerring, Ex.Comps. William Ratcliffe, Alwin Swaffield, Richard Adams, and Ex.Comp. Glenn Cooke. We have lost some of our wise and skilled past leadership, and will rely on our newer Companions to fill the resulting void. On behalf of the Chapter, we offer our deepest condolences to all their families, and may the G.J,. spare you further grief.

    Best wishes to all our sick or infirm companions. This is our last Regular Convocation until February 2nd. On behalf of our Officers, let me wish you and your family all the best for the upcoming holiday break, in any and all ways you may celebrate it.

    Now Companions, we’re on a roll. Let’s keep it up!! I look forward to greeting you on December 1st.

Fraternally, Ex.Comp. Gavin S. Upton, Z

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Regular Convocation of Tuesday, November 3, 2009

    I can only open this message with a huge "mea culpa". I must offer my sincere apologies for being unable to attend the October meeting, due to circumstances way beyond my control, at the very last minute. I was rehearsed, prepared and rested, looking forward to the Installation, when I was cast into the maelstrom, entirely against my expectations. I understand that our long-suffering Scribe Ezra had not only my unexpected absence to deal with, but also that of the Second Principal, who had to go to England on short notice, and six or seven others who were precluded from attendance at the last minute. If there is a Job’s prize for long suffering through no fault of one’s own, it must go, without a doubt, to Scribe E.!! And let me also extend my thanks to V.Ex.Comp. Paul Nielsen for a superb job in superintending the Ceremonies of Installation and Investiture. Our Chapter is very fortunate to have committed members such as Paul and Eric to motivate, encourage and inspire us with their excellence.

    However, onward and upward. We have November to look forward to, and our visit to King Solomon Chapter No. 8, which meets at Scarborough Temple. This is indeed a unique occasion when we will be able to visit our friends in King Solomon Chapter, and conduct our Chapter, as well. We will be participating in combined Chapter M.E.M. Degree, and our Scribe Ezra has been finalizing all the details for us. This should be a fun night, and I encourage you all to attend and give our support to these companions.

    Looking ahead, briefly, in December we shall need to do some "house tidying", to regularize those items not completed at our October meeting, as well as receive R.Ex.Comp. Michael Boland, and his Secretary, Ex.Comp. Alan McDonald, for the Official Visit. I may also say that we have a number of very keen Master Masons lined up for Advancement into the Chapter.

    I should also ask you to join in our prayers for V.Ex.Comp. Mark Wiseman during his latest bout of illness. I know he is aware we are all behind him, and that he is a fighter. All our love and best wishes Mark. We also pray for Comp. Jacob Joseph, and all our brothers who are in distressed and infirm circumstances, and wish them comfort and recovery.

    Be well, and I look forward to seeing you all at Scarborough Temple on November 2nd!

Fraternally, Ex.Comp. Gavin S. Upton, Z

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Regular Convocation of Tuesday, October 6, 2009

    Where does it all go? Yesterday we were closing off our season in June, and now the chill air is beginning to creep in at night and we are preparing for the fun of another new Capitular year.

    Before I focus on what’s awaiting us as we resume our labours, let me welcome three Brethren into our midst. We worked "overtime" at our June Regular Convocation. After conducting the Election of Officers, we Advanced Bros. Robert Plotkin, Fred Daantos and Tim Chapchuk to the Honourary Degree of a Mark Master Mason. We wish you a fulfilling experience in Chapter. You were impressed with the ceremony; I can assure you the best is yet to come! Once we Install and Invest our officers, we look forward to seeing you take your next step in the Chapter, in November. We have something special planned for that meeting, as you’ll see elsewhere in this summons.

    I trust and hope that all had a pleasant and fruitful summer, and if not, that it is now behind us, and we can work towards a better time. I look forward to a second year in the Chair, and I know our Second Principal is glad of the opportunity to have a full and untrammelled year before his term as Zerubbabel, if all goes according to Hoyle!

    I also know that our Scribe Ezra has been assiduous in his efforts to ensure a successful installation, and we thank him, and V.Ex.Comp. Paul Nielsen who will helm the Ceremonies. We ask you to be sure to attend, thereby respecting his hard work, and sharing with us in the "secrets and mysteries" about to unfold in 2009-10.

    Let me also take this opportunity to hope that our Muslim Companions had a Happy Eid, with Eid al-Fitr just having ended the holy month of Ramadan, and our Jewish Companions a Happy New Year and High Holidays, with Rosh Hashannah just having occurred, and Yom Kippur ahead. As Masons, we embrace our Brothers from all faiths; it is indeed fitting that two of the world’s great faiths celebrate their time of the holy of holies so close together.

    Finally, to our ill and distressed Companions, may the G.J. watch over you and bring you back to our midst.

Fraternally, Ex.Comp. Gavin S. Upton, Z

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