New members of the Order welcomed in Birmingham
The Lieutenancy for England and Wales generally holds two Investitures each year, one in early summer and the other in the Fall. They are both generally held in Southwark Cathedral, London, where the Lieutenancy is based, but periodically we move out of London and hold Investitures in other cities to emphasise that we are a one nation Lieutenancy.
Three years ago we were in Liverpool and on 25- 26 June this year we were in Birmingham. We had cancelled the three previous Investitures because of the Covid pandemic and resisted doing them on-line or in small groups within the Sections, principally because although each of our eight individual Sections has a very active life, our two Investiture weekends are the only occasions when we all get together annually, and are therefore the two highlights of our year.
It was not clear for many months beforehand whether we would actually be able to go ahead in Birmingham, and we were making decisions knowing that we may be required to make changes or even cancel at very short notice. Our new Grand Prior, the Archbishop of Southwark, John Wilson, was appointed about two years ago but had never yet conducted an Investiture. He was anxious to do so and meet members for the first time, and they were also eager to meet their new Grand Prior.
We were only allowed eighty people in the congregation in the cathedral. Eleven Knights and Dames were invested in total; three Knights, four Dames and four Ecclesiastics. Over two days we celebrated with them and enjoyed their company as new friendships were formed. They had been waiting for this moment for so long, and were so grateful that their admission into the Order had finally arrived. Despite the restrictions of the pandemic, the Lieutenancy is very much alive and active in so many ways.
Article taken from a report sent by Michael David Byrne
Lieutenant for England and Wales