Royal Arch Investiture
28 April 2011
An address by the ME Pro First Grand Principal Peter Lowndes
Companions, this is a special day for those of you who have been appointed to Grand Rank or have been promoted. Grand rank is sparingly awarded and I congratulate you on your achievement. In recognising that the Royal Arch is the completion of pure ancient masonry, exaltation into the Order should neither be hurried nor obligatory, as not all Craft Brethren will wish to take this final step immediately upon being raised. However, it is hoped that you as Grand Officers will be able to communicate something of the colour, enjoyment and essence of the Royal Arch to committed members of the Craft.
As we move towards the bi-centenary of the Order in 2013 we have taken the opportunity to further ensure the long term future of the Royal Arch. In raising the profile to achieve this, it is important to make sure we are seen as appealing, inspiring and relevant.
To that end, a strategic working party, under the chairmanship of the Second Grand Principal, reported their nine recommendations to me in March. The first of these recommendations in their Report was that the strap line ‘initiation to exaltation’ be adopted to promote the Order.
The working party looked at mentoring and how it should align to the work being done on this in the Craft. Here it was suggested that the Craft Personal Mentor and the Royal Arch Representative actively guide a new Master Mason towards membership of the Royal Arch at an appropriate point in his Masonic journey. Also that once exalted the new Companion has a knowledgeable Royal Arch Mason to help him better understand the ceremony and meaning of the Royal Arch and how best to become involved in the Chapter.
The role of the Lodge Royal Arch Representative is fundamental to the promotion of the Order and it is recommended that Metropolitan, Provincial and District Grand Lodges continue to encourage Craft Lodges to make this appointment and to develop the role. It is also considered important that the adoption of the permitted ritual variations, introduced by the 2004 Royal Arch Strategic Working Party be encouraged in Chapters.
I am aware that the Metropolitan Grand Lodge and several Provinces and Districts are already presenting a letter to the newly made Master Mason on the merits of the Royal Arch. This practice is highly recommended by the Working Party. Efforts to improve the profile of the Order in all website contexts is underway and will help the potential exaltee to have a better understanding of the Order he is about to join.
Two clear outward ways to promote the Order are emphasised. First, the taking of wine with Royal Arch members at selected Craft Festive Boards and secondly, that the wearing of the official Royal Arch tie be further encouraged. The final recommendation is that Chapters be encouraged to re-engage with Lodges from which they have traditionally derived members.
In order to encourage a greater participation amongst all Companions, as well as lending clarity to the Royal Arch teachings, the Working Party looked at the layout of the ritual books so that the Revised and Permitted Alternative variations adopted in 2004 be encouraged as the standard. I emphasise that nothing is now being suggested which in any way enforces or changes what was introduced by Supreme Grand Chapter in 2004.
A wider participation in the ritual is clearly beneficial in encouraging a deeper understanding of the teaching and by giving the permitted variations of 2004 a greater prominence in the various printed and authorised rituals – for example, Aldersgate, Domatic, Perfect and Metropolitan – I trust more Chapters will be encouraged to adopt them and benefit accordingly. For your interest, all these are likely to be reprinted in the next eighteen months.
The celebration of the bi-centenary next year will be held on Wednesday 16 October. This earlier date will replace the November Convocation – for that year only. The planned events of the day will begin with a demonstration by the Metropolitan Grand Stewards’ Chapter Demonstration Team – in the Grand Temple – to encourage the use of the Permitted Alternative Variation that I have just referred to. This will be followed by lunch in the Grand Connaught Rooms. The main celebration will take place in the afternoon - again in the Grand Temple, followed by a dinner at the Savoy. You will appreciate that these events will be restricted by numbers. The Grand Scribe Ezra will be briefing Grand Superintendents and Provincial Scribes Ezra on the detail in good time.
The 2013 Royal Arch Appeal for the Royal College of Surgeons is progressing well – with over half a million recorded so far. This means that we are well on our way to exceeding our target, so that we can then further help the research fellowship scheme, run by the College, by financially supporting additional fellowships. I encourage you to keep up your efforts.
Finally Companions, on your behalf I congratulate the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his Deputies for the excellent way in which today’s meeting has been conducted and the Grand Scribe Ezra and his staff for their hard work in ensuring a successful Investiture.
Alan Englefield has become the first Chancellor of Grand Lodge
At the Annual Investiture on 25th April, RW Brother Alan Englefield was invested as the first Grand Chancellor of the United Grand Lodge of England.
Since the early 1990s, Masonic international relations have become something of a growth industry. That is partly a result of the rebirth of Freemasonry in East Europe, the Balkans and Baltic States.
It is also partly because the ease and speed of both communications and travel have resulted in much more communication and inter-visiting between members at all levels within regular Grand Lodges around the world.
When the Pro Grand Master’s Strategic Working Party was considering the role of the Grand Secretary in the 21st century it was decided that such were the demands of his responsibilities to the English Craft and Royal Arch, both at home and in our Districts overseas, that another officer was required to carry out Grand Lodge’s policy in relation to external relations and to share with the Rulers the honour of representing the Grand Master on formal visits to sister Grand Lodges.
Brother Englefield brings a wealth of experience in international relations to the new role. As Grand Secretary General of the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Rite he gained a firm grounding in the complexities of international Masonic affairs. On retiring from that office he became a member of both the Board of General Purposes and the External Relations Committee, succeeding Sir John Welch as chairman of the latter.
The office of Grand Chancellor is not a full-time, salaried post within the administration of Grand Lodge. Brother Englefield will be backed up by a secretariat consisting of John Hamill, Director of Communications, and Peter Roberts, who has been for many years the Administrative Assistant on External Relations.
The creation of a new office required the design of a new emblem and jewel. The globe symbolises Masonry Universal and the clasped hands fraternal relations and brotherhood.
Brother Englefield commented: 'I am delighted and honoured to have been appointed as the first Grand Chancellor. External Relations is a complex subject but, with the support of my team, I look forward to carrying out my new duties, not least the pleasure of assisting the Rulers and the Board in cementing and maintaining the warm relations we have with our old friends around the world and in developing close relations with the newer members of our world wide fraternity.'