• Humanitarian

    Fighting for the poor
  • Humanitarian

    Fighting for the poor
  • History

    Looking back on a long tradition
  • Ecumenical

    Bringing Christians together

Nonetheless, 62 members along with some 25 partners and guests participated - an excellent number in the circumstances. Several members took part via the live-stream facility provided for all aspects of the gathering, both secular and sacred.

A moving Vigil service on the Friday evening introduced eight postulants to the Order. This was held at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Albert Park. The Homily was delivered by the Acting National Chaplain, Canon Dr. Ray Cleary AM ChLJ OMLJ.

The Commandery Chaplains led the Meditations on the Beatitudes, followed by Canon Ray taking the Oath of Allegiance from the Postulants. This was followed by a dinner held at the Australian Club in central Melbourne.

Saturday morning was occupied by the National Chapter Annual General Meeting (AGM) and associated meetings of the Chancellor and the National Council, held in St. Joseph’s Parish Hall, Port Melbourne. An interesting private collection of ecclesiastical vestments was on show.

Highlights of the meetings were recommendations to widen the scope and functionality of the Grand Priory website and the unanimous decision of the National Council to recommend to the Grand Master that the current Grand Prior (Hon Chev Gavin Fielding AM GCLJ KMLJ) and Chancellor (Chev David Slater AM KCLJ OMLJ) be re-appointed to serve a second term in their roles. The Referendary (Hon Dame Margaret White AO DCLJ CMLJ SCrLJ) retired at the gathering and National Council has recommended that the Grand Master appoint Mr Anthony Gissing CLJ to succeed her. After nine years as Secretary-General (Chev Peter Bennison OAM KCLJ CMLJ) retired and his successor is Mrs Bernadette Azizi CLJ. Chev Dr John Donovan ED KLJ OMLJ retired as National Almoner and Mrs Margaret Heathcote CLJ has succeeded him. The financial report of the Order was presented along with reports from all office bearers and all State commanderies. The AGM raised no controversial matters and was expertly led by the Grand Prior. It was agreed that the Grand Priory of Australia would make a donation of A$10,000 to the International Hospitaller Project.

On Saturday evening the Investiture service was held at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Eastern Hill on the edge of the Melbourne CBD. This service included the Investiture of the eight Postulants, the promotion of eleven members to Commander, the promotion of five Commanders to Dame or Knight and the promotion of the Chancellor to Knight Commander. The National Chaplain was promoted to Ecclesiastical Commander. Six members were admitted to the Companionate of Merit. The sermon was delivered by the National Chaplain, the Right Rev’d Richard Hurford OAM KStJ ECLJ.

The service was followed by an excellent Chapter dinner at the Lyceum Club, where speeches were presented by the Chev John Molnar OAM KLJ OMLJ, President of the Victorian Commandery (the Host), the Grand Prior (Hon Chev Gavin Fielding AM GCLJ KMLJ), the Chancellor (Chev David Slater AM KCLJ OMLJ) and the Right Rev’d Dr Peter Hollingworth AC OBE ChLJ GCMLJ, formerly Governor-General of Australia and Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia. Also present was Grand Prior Emerita Dame Primrose, Lady Potter AC GClrLJ GCLJ DGCMLJ GCrLJ GMLJ.

Despite the constraints imposed by the pandemic, the opportunity for members to meet face-to-face and enjoy significantly delayed fellowship was much appreciated by all attendees.

Congratulations to the Victorian Commandery for organising a successful meeting in such difficult times.

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