Among the 9,000 or so Essex Freemasons there are over 4,200 who also enjoy being Royal Arch (RA) Masons
They are called Companions and are members of 120 Chapters in the Province which, without being informal, hold meetings called Convocations in a relaxed atmosphere at 25 centres. For many Companions the further easing of restrictions on 17th May 2021 will seem like an opportunity to return from exile, meet up again and discover once more that which was lost before Masonic meetings were suspended.
How successful this impending return from exile will be is in the hands of the Scribe E, the RA term for secretary, of each Chapter who will play a pivotal role. Although meetings of up to six Companions will be permitted the Scribe E will be checking to see how many people their centre’s risk assessment approval is for, up to the maximum of 30.
Whilst many Companions cannot wait to get back to meetings, others including some who have had their second jab, may still be wary of attending. Each Scribe E will be crucial in reassuring those Companions that there is no coercion to attend and, for those who do, ensuring the first Convocation is taken gently to let the members simply get used to being with each other again and making sure all statutory precautions are in place such as wearing masks and social-distancing.
Another essential role for a Scribe E is to ensure their Chapter members will both encourage and welcome Companions of other Chapters who may not wish to travel long distances in future to Convocations the other side of Essex, or to London, or neighbouring Provinces, so that they can continue to enjoy Royal Arch Masonry more locally to where they live and are not lost to the Order.
To get the Chapter Officers in place for the return, each Scribe E may have to resolve one or two conundrums as some Officers may have ‘marked-time’ for two years, others may have been appointed but not yet invested or had the opportunity to carry-out their roles. Royal Arch Regulations are there to help with matters beyond each Chapter’s by-laws explaining for example how Principals can be elected and installed at the first meeting after the suspension is over.
Life will soon become much easier for every Scribe E as Hermes goes live later this year but their own input is key in making the roll-out successful by assimilating Provincial communications and attending workshops. Also, in September 2021, a new Most Excellent Grand Superintendent for Essex, Paul Tarrant, and a new Deputy Grand Superintendent, Elliott Chevin will be appointed. So that Royal Arch Companions in the Province can safely return from exile and enjoy the new exiting era ahead, every Essex Chapter Scribe E is ‘Getting Ready to Get Ready’.