Pro First Grand Principal's address - April 2006

Thursday, 27 April 2006


27 APRIL 2006

An address by the ME Pro First Grand Principal the Most Hon the Marquess of Northampton, DL

I welcome you all here this morning for what is surely the highlight of the year for Royal Arch Masons and I congratulate all those I have invested with their new ranks. Those of you who have just been invested for the first time will realise that the honour of being appointed a Grand Officer brings with it certain responsibilities. 

The most important of these is to promote the Order to potential candidates. The Craft initiated 8,862 men last year and all of them will soon be eligible to join the Royal Arch. The number of Grand Lodge certificates issued since the millennium has fallen on average by less than 1% per year. Unfortunately, the figures for the Royal Arch are not so good.

The number of Grand Chapter certificates issued each year since the millennium has fallen by 20%, or more than 3% per year. The Royal Arch is not for everyone – having a more intimate and spiritual ethos than the Craft – but there are many Master Masons out there who would benefit from joining us if we can only explain it to them in a meaningful and inspiring way. That is another responsibility we all share as Grand Officers. 

I am pleased to hear that many Chapters are now working the new ritual and are enjoying sharing the work among more Companions. Not only must we attract candidates, we must also put more effort into retaining them. Now that all our members are entitled to attend Grand Chapter, let us try and encourage them to attend our November meetings. I hope we can do something special to make it worth their while. 

The Second Grand Principal and the President of the Committee have been hosting a series of lunches with Grand Superintendents to discuss many different aspects of the Royal Arch. I am told that they have had some lively and constructive conversations. I said in Grand Lodge last month that I was beginning to sense a new optimism among our members in the Craft, and I hope that can soon be said for the Royal Arch as well. 

One piece of good news is the recent appointment of the Third Grand Principal as Dean of St Edmondsbury. It is not only a great accolade for him personally, it also brings much credit to pure Antient Masonry and we wish him every success in his new post. 

Finally Companions, I would like to thank the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his Deputies for their usual efficiency in ensuring the smooth running of our ceremony today; the Grand Scribe Ezra’s staff for their considerable efforts in organising this important event; and all of you for either coming to be invested with your new ranks or to support your friends who have been.

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