A Royal Arch Welcome to Provincial Grand Lodge

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ra-4-steps-1Our Provincial Grand Master R.W. Bro Gordon Robertson arranged a colourful entrance to this year’s Provincial Grand Lodge meeting, which was held at Grand Lodge in London, with Royal Arch Masons in their regalia at the entrance to the Grand Temple welcoming brethren, with banners and information on Freemasonry consisting of four interdependent steps.

1          Entered Apprentice,

2          Fellowcraft,

3          Master Mason,

4          Royal Arch Companion.

The Royal Arch companions and the display was well received and generated much interest:-

The Royal Arch – The Next Step in Freemasonry

Who is eligible to join the Royal Arch?

A Master Mason may join a Royal Arch Chapter four weeks after being raised to the Third Degree. It is the natural and traditional next step in freemasonry on the journey from Initiation to Exaltation.

What is the Royal Arch?

Many years ago the Royal Arch degree would have been worked in Craft Lodges.  After the Union of the Grand Lodges in 1813, the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch was stated to be the completion of the Third Degree, but it is now more accurately described as the completion of the journey through pure, ancient Masonry. It is a most rewarding and enlightening step for a Master Mason to take. It offers him an opportunity to fill the gaps left in Craft Masonry after the Third Degree and to continue his Masonic journey towards a spiritual conclusion.

Why should I join?

The Royal Arch has a unique position as part of the mainstream of Freemasonry, so that it and the Craft are totally complementary and are together described as forming the whole of “pure, ancient Masonry”. There are other Masonic Orders, all of which require Craft membership as a pre-requisite; many of them also requiring candidates to have been exalted into the Royal Arch.

How is it organised?

The close affinity of the Craft and the Royal Arch is further emphasised by the fact that the Grand Master is automatically the First Grand Principal of Supreme Grand Chapter and the Grand Secretary is also Secretary of the Royal Arch. The Royal Arch Regulations are within the Book of Constitutions of Grand Lodge.  Chapters meet less frequently than Lodges, commonly three or four times a year. Joining Fees and Annual Dues are usually less than those of the Craft. The members are known as “Companions”. Companions who become one of the three Principals of a Chapter (who collectively act as the equivalent of Worshipful Master) are known as “Excellent Companions”.

 What are the Royal Arch Ceremonies?

Apart from the annual Installation Ceremony, there is only one ceremony in the Royal Arch ritual, that of the ‘Exaltation’ of a new Companion. After the darkness of the Third Degree, it is a colourful, enlightening and memorable ceremony, with profound, challenging, allegorical significance. The story told, which contains some of the most delightful lines of Masonic ritual, concerns the building of the second Temple after the exile of the Israelites.

What next?

Every Lodge in Buckinghamshire has a Royal Arch Representative named on the Summons, but there will always be many Brethren who can be recognised in a craft lodge by their Royal Arch jewel, to give advice about joining the Royal Arch and make the necessary introductions.

If you would like further information please visit our website: www.buckspgc.org