30 April 2009
An address by the ME The First Grand Principal
Companions, let me begin by saying a very warm welcome to everyone attending our Royal Arch meeting today and I want especially to congratulate those whom I have had the pleasure of investing with their new ranks. Whether you have been promoted or appointed this morning, you will I know be aware that your rank brings with it certain responsibilities. In particular, I shall rely upon you to encourage members of the Craft to join this beautiful degree and then, once they have been exalted, to mentor and support them through their journey as Royal Arch Masons. You will also be expected to play a major role in helping them to clearly understand the meaning of the ritual.
As you heard earlier, on the eleventh of March I invested Most Excellent Companion Peter Lowndes as Pro Grand Master in the Craft and, on that day, he also became Pro First Grand Principal. It was therefore with great pleasure that I had the opportunity to formally invest and install him this morning. I know you would wish to join me in congratulating him on this important role. I also want to acknowledge the enormous contribution that the Past Pro First Grand Principal, Lord Northampton, made to the Order, for example, in creating an alternative ritual that has been adopted by many Chapters and is helping more of you take an active part in the ceremony. The result is that the work is shared with as many Companions as possible which is vital for the health of a Chapter. And it makes the ceremony more enjoyable for everyone.
Most Excellent Companion George Francis continues as Second Grand Principal, as does Most Excellent Companion Neil Collings, as Third Grand Principal. Many of you will know that Most Excellent Companion Collings has suffered from ill-health for some time, and we all wish him continued progress with his recovery.
You should all be aware that there are several initiatives under way for the good of the Royal Arch. I give you three examples of these. First, the Committee of General Purposes will shortly distribute a booklet entitled A Guide to Chapter. This will go a long way to explaining what the Royal Arch is all about.
As I mentioned earlier, I consider the Royal Arch a most beautiful degree – the culmination of the candidate’s journey through pure Antient Masonry – the climax of Craft Masonry. The booklet will explain the wonderful balance between the serious Mason’s degree, against at the same time the great friendliness of this degree.
Secondly, I am delighted that the majority of Lodges now have a Royal Arch Representative who can encourage those interested to complete their pure Antient Masonry. This is a very positive step, and I hope that such Representatives will also take responsibility for retaining new members once they have been exalted.
And thirdly, the Committee of General Purposes will soon agree a Royal Arch tie which, with the approval of the Board of General Purposes, you will also be able to wear in Craft Lodges.
So, Companions, with your help and the support of initiatives such as those I have just mentioned, recruiting will, I am confident, increase, and the Order continue to thrive.
Finally, I would thank the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his Assistants for conducting an excellent ceremony; and Grand Scribe Ezra and his dedicated team for organising this successful meeting.