The Freemason who is interested in cementing his knowledge of True and Ancient Freemasonry by being exalted into a Royal Arch Chapter, has many opportunities to obtain information, guidance and help with his application.
Nearly all Lodges in Warwickshire have a well known Brother nominated to be the Lodge Representative for the Royal Arch. His name is usually shown on the Lodge summons and he generally reports on Royal Arch business, at Lodge Meetings, when called upon. He is an experienced Companion, well able to answer any queries that a potential member may have, and encourage him in his ambitions. He may also suggest an appropriate Chapter to join and will arrange for a proposer and seconder.
Every Companion, however, can be said to represent the Royal Arch. They are ready, able and willing to offer advice and guidance to potential members, and act as proposers and seconders for those brethren known to them. They are easily recognised in our Lodge meetings because they wear the Royal Arch Jewel pendent from a narrow ribbon on the left breast. Junior Companions are identified by a white ribbon, and more senior ones by a red or tri-coloured ribbon.
The main Officers of the Province are also to be seen frequently at meetings in other Orders and welcome an approach from Freemasons who want to learn more about the Royal Arch.
There is an annual meeting of the Lodge Representatives usually in November a report after the event will be published on the website.
Over recent years a different approach has been taken to try and maximise the opportunity for direct feedback from the Representatives, and after a brief welcome by the ME Grand Superintendent the attendees are allocated into a smaller “workshop” group, hosted by a senior member of the Province. This provies a much greater opportunity for everyone to contribute their views on the matters being considered and that they wished to discuss. The intention will be to repeat this formulae and encourage feedback from the Lodge Representatives.
The discussions can be wide ranging and will enable the views of the Lodge Representatives to be listened to on their role, the level of support required from Provincial Grand Chapter etc. It will also give the opportunity to share ideas and initiatives which may have been successful in promoting the Royal Arch and recruiting members.
Here you may find answers to many questions asked about the Royal Arch. These questons vary in style greatly. Should you have aparticular question to raise please contact us. We will make every effort to assist you.
Greater lifestyle choices and increased career commitment have lead to busier and more varied lives and Freemasonry is required to compete with an ever broadening spectrum of alternative leisure pursuits.
The order of the Royal Arch stands as the climax of pure Antient Masonry and yet the Order remains undersubscribed and unexperienced by the majority of our brethren.
The fortunes of Royal Arch Masonry have always been interdependent with those of the Craft and any variation in recruitment in the Craft will necessarily affect the potential number of candidates available for exaltation. Nevertheless, with approximately two out of three Masons, in this Province, failing to take the final step in pure Antient Masonry, we cannot yet claim to have exhausted our recruitment opportunities.
Over a number of years figures have shown a slight down turn in recruitment figures (although there was an increase in 2009 and 2010), as well as a general diminishment in the retained membership of the Order. Recruitment, although the starting point for the future, must be paralleled by a steady attendance thereafter if growth in Royal Arch Masonry is to be achieved and it is the responsibility of every Chapter to consider what initiatives it might undertake to encourage a happy retained membership.
A canvass of views from around the Provinces by Supreme Grand Chapter has enabled them to access a considerable breadth of experience and has revealed a wealth of initiatives and ideas. Some of those ideas are detailed in this handbook which is designed to give the Lodge Royal Arch Representatives some suggestions to aid their very important role. I do hope that you will read these carefully and seek to implement these ideas within your own Lodges. It is clear that understanding an individual's circumstances as well as being flexible to his needs are the keys to building a happy and successful future for Royal Arch Masonry.
Companions, I can do no better than to echo the words of the Pro First Grand Principal and urge you to continue to enjoy yourselves in this very special Order, as nothing will attract candidates more successfully than a happy and enthusiastic membership.
Yours sincerely and fraternally, E.Comp. John L. Saint, Grand Superintendent.
A Master Mason who has not yet been Exalted can be compared to a person who has invested in a computer (Freemasonry). The Software of the 1 st, 2nd and 3rd Degrees comes with the computer. He is getting along well with his computer, making daily advancements in employing the full potential of the installed software. Now he hears about another software programme called "The Royal Arch". Unless he is one of those types who likes to be able to say he has every software programme available regardless of whether or not he uses it, he will want to know more about the additional programme before he invests in it.
In particular, he will want to know, from somebody whom he considers to be reliable and competent:
I hope that you will excuse the simile used above to explain the position of the Royal Arch in relation to Craft Masonry. The intention is to give a simple image which Brethren can understand and assist in encouraging them to consider membership. These guidelines are intended to help you as the Royal Arch Representative in your Lodge to:
Do please let us have your feedback and comments on how we can improve this publication - they will be most welcome.
Many of these have been adopted by other Lodges and are passed on as ideas which can be introduced within other Lodges.
Brethrens' Evenings remain one of the most effective methods of encouraging interest in the Royal Arch and the two held in November 2009 at Warwick and at Stirling Road, the latter with the full and involved support of the Provincial Grand Master, helped not only to generate interest amongst Brethren and resulted in Candidates but also gave us a model that can be rolled out to other Masonic centres in the Province. We are convinced that using Brethrens' evenings to recruit members remains an effective method and can offer full support to any Group that wishes to host an event. There is total flexibility in the method and format and we can deliver the whole event or co-ordinate a presentation with the existing members participating or taking the lead role. Do contact the Development Committee if you are interested in hosting one of these.
There are a variety of reasons which may be given for not wishing to be exalted in the Royal Arch. Do listen sympathetically to a" such reasons to show that you are not just brushing the reason aside, and then attempt, in a considerate way, to deal with the objection.
The most common objections you are likely to encounter are:
With the unions of the two rival Grand Lodges (the Ancients and the Moderns), it was necessary to take into account the sincere, but different, views held regarding the origin of the Royal Arch and its place in Pure Antient Masonry.
By a solemn Act of Union between the two Grand Lodges of England in December 1813, it was declared and pronounced that Pure Antient Masonry consists of three degrees and no more, viz those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft and the Master Mason, including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch.
Some 196 years later, in the light of increased experience and understanding, the status and place of the Royal Arch was clarified by the second paragraph of the Declaration which states the status of the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch to be "an extension to, but neither a superior nor a subordinate part of, the Degrees which precede it".
This declaration clarifies how the Royal Arch should be described. It is NOT the completion of the Third Degree. It is a continuation of a" that has been taught in the three Degrees preceding it.
Masonry is free and requires a perfect freedom of inclination in every candidate for its mysteries. This is why there is no Regulation that every Brother will go on to take the final step in Craft Freemasonry, the Royal Arch. Obviously, if a Brother does not go on to complete his Second and Third Degrees, he is not qualified to participate when the Lodge is working in those degrees and, without the Third Degree, he is not qualified to be the Master of a Craft Lodge and to progress further in Craft Masonry. However, a Master Mason who does not choose to be exalted in the Royal Arch has not yet attained all that Pure Antient Masonry has to offer. He may well go forth to practice and progress in his Craft Masonry, but he will do so without the benefit of the further knowledge and understanding of the whole system of Pure Antient Masonry which the Royal Arch can give him, and his understanding and appreciation of Craft Masonry is unlikely to be as great as it would have been if he had been Exalted.
In fact, several of the other Degrees and Orders are only open to those who come with the further knowledge of Royal Arch.
If you think about the Third Degree, the Lodge is opened with the stated intention of seeking the genuine secrets of a Master Mason. Having worked the Degree, the Lodge is closed with an acknowledgement that only substituted secrets have been found, until time or circumstances shall restore the genuine.
Exaltation in the Royal Arch is the circumstance whereby the Master Mason, now a Companion, is assisted to continue his research into the mystery brought to his attention in the Third Degree.
One should not get drawn into what could become an involved philosophical discussion. What is important is to make it clear that the genuine secrets do not solely consist of some more signs and words of recognition.
The answer is simple - expediency. The beautiful Royal Arch Ceremony requires an entirely different setting to that which a Craft Lodge can conveniently provide with its Officers and furniture. It is carried out in a Chapter with its own Officers and furniture, and regalia. This setting is required to illustrate by allegory and symbolism the ceremony of Exaltation and its teachings. The progress of a Brother to Exaltation in the Royal Arch is marked in a Craft Lodge by the wearing in Lodge of the Royal Arch breast jewel. The full Royal Arch regalia is only worn at a Royal Arch meeting.
The Royal Arch, as a part of Pure Antient Masonry, is ruled by the United Grand Lodge of England. This is why the MW The Grand Master and certain other Rulers of the Craft, provided they are Royal Arch Masons, are also appointed the Rulers of the Royal Arch.
The Royal Arch offers its own opportunities for members of merit and ability to progress in Office. To cater for this and its special needs, it has its own system of administration and management at Provincial level. The symbiosis of the Royal Arch and Craft Masonry is illustrated by the fact that, at the highest levels of Freemasonry, there may be the same Ruler in both the Royal Arch and Craft Masonry.
The Royal Arch Regulations state that no candidate shall be exalted until he has been a Master Mason for four weeks at least.
There are differing opinions as to the optimum point in time at which a Master Mason should be exalted.
One view is that it is best for a Master Mason to be exalted as early as possible. The reasons for supporting this view are that it gives the new Companion time to sit back and absorb the working of the Royal Arch before achieving the Master's Chair in his Craft Lodge. The teachings of the Royal Arch will also be of benefit to him in his appreciation and understanding of his Craft Masonry.
The other view is that it is preferable to allow a Master Mason to concentrate solely on progressing through the Offices in his Craft Lodge before he is exalted. It is for each Brother to choose the best route for him as long as over time, he joins Royal Arch!
The most sensible answer is that it all depends on the personal time which the individual has to allocate to his masonry, and his personal inclination to further his Masonic knowledge.
The relationship of the Royal Arch to religion is no different to that of the Craft. The Royal Arch is open to all Master Masons regardless of their personal religion. The teachings of the Royal Arch are distinct from material or physical values, and explore what the Master Mason has been exhorted to contemplate. Far from being solemn or gloomy, the Royal Arch unites its Companions in an enhanced and personal enjoyment and sense of fulfilment in their Freemasonry, which in turn may enable them to better develop their potential ability.
There is nothing in the Constitution which requires a Brother to be a member of the Royal Arch as a qualification for promotion in the Craft. Selection for appointment to/promotion in Provincial or Grand Rank is based on the ability and suitability of the individual to fulfil the duties and responsibilities of a particular rank.
This is probably the most difficult objection to deal with.
Ask if the individual would mind telling you why he has no interest. If his lack of interest is due to the fact that he has the wrong idea of what the Royal Arch is about, try to gently explain the basic facts.
If the individual still says that he is not interested or that at present he does not have the time or money to invest, tell him that you understand and that he is entitled to make his own decision.
Tell him that if he ever does feel inclined to reconsider the matter in the future you will always be pleased to discuss it further with him.