Chapter Chat: Queen’s University outreach aims to target a younger audience for Royal Black

The sovereign grand master has been reaching out to university students in a bid to help promote the institution with a younger audience.

Sovereign Grand Master Rev William Anderson on parade

Rev William Anderson was delighted to be asked by the Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) Orange Society to explain his role as leader of the Royal Black.

His article – which also set out his vision for the loyal order, at home and overseas – was then posted online on the society’s Facebook page.

“It was a pleasure to take part in this initiative by the QUB Orange Society,” said Rev Anderson.

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“They are a fantastic group of intelligent and industrious young people who do an excellent job at promoting the Orange tradition at one of the UK’s top universities.

“I trust that my article gave members of the QUB Orange Society – and their followers on Facebook – a meaningful insight into the work of the Royal Black Institution.”

In his article, Rev Anderson pointed readers to the institution’s mission statement, which affirms that the Royal Black exists to give its members the opportunity to: study Holy Scripture; increase knowledge of the Reformed Faith; engage in Christian and charitable outreach; continue and further develop social and responsible citizenship.

“Therefore, the role of sovereign grand master is more than just attending meetings, parades, and church services, important as these are, but it is about ensuring that our institution not only teaches the Reformed Christian Faith to our members but expresses the need to increase their charitable outreach, therefore encouraging themselves and others to become better citizens,” said Rev Anderson.

“Enabling others is an important part of the sovereign grand master’s role.”

Being a worldwide organisation and a registered charity, and whose members are all volunteers, Rev Anderson must ensure that the institution complies with all the necessary regulatory rules. It is through this work that the sovereign grand master encourages sir knights “to use their skills to build a better way of operating and communicating that will enable our Institution to grow, even in a hostile, secular environment”.

“Therefore, I see the role of the sovereign grand master as one that guides and supervises the operation of our institution to the benefit of our members, as well as increasing our influence on wider society,” said Rev Anderson.

Since his election to the post in June 2018, a main feature of Rev Anderson’s operational strategy has been to “constantly review and plan to ensure that we can face the future with confidence”.

In December 2019, he presented his ‘Vision Plan’, which states that the institution must seek to “shape the future by preserving our heritage through a confident institution ready to share the Reformed Christian Faith with the world”.

Rev Anderson has also been focused on how best to develop and grow the institution both at home and across the world.

“Currently within the Royal Black Institution, we have experienced some growth in the USA, the south west of England and Scotland,” said Rev Anderson.

“More is possible, but we need to be able to sustain and develop further growth in these and other geographical areas.

“Having purchased a property in the village of Loughgall, our institution is building for the future. This development will enable our institution to have a purposely designed administrative centre. Focus will also be placed on the increased use of technology to enable online meetings, training and help to be available for not only home jurisdictions, but also with our various overseas jurisdictions.”

The sovereign grand master – who said that daily prayer and Bible study is crucial to his work, faith, and practise – concluded that he hopes to build “an excellent operating model that will enable our institution to look expectantly to the future, remembering that Almighty God has placed us here for a purpose”.

“What greater joy could we experience than to fulfil that purpose through helping the Royal Black Institution, a Christ-centred and Bible-based organisation, to tell others of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross at Calvary,” said Rev Anderson.

To read the sovereign grand master’s full article, visit the QUB Orange Society’s Facebook page.