Page 5 - Essex Mason (Issue 87) Online Version
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       a call to action

                  The Pro First Grand Principal on why more     First,  they  don’t  know  anything  about  it.  If  this  were  to  be
                  members aren’t joining the Royal Arch
                                                                the main reason, I would be very depressed, which I am not.
                                                                However, I am sure that there will be some who fall into this
                                                                category – and that is a real condemnation of those who
                                                                appoint the Royal Arch representatives in lodges. They must
             ompanions, for a long time we have been trying to   clearly be failing in their duties. Where there are no Royal Arch
             come up with good reasons why all brethren should   representatives, then senior brethren and particularly mentors
       Cjoin the Royal Arch. I think between us we have had     as well as proposers and seconders must step up.
       some success, and the percentage of brethren who are     Second, they have heard about it, but have been put off by
       members has increased almost everywhere over the last few   some aspect. Frequently I have heard people talking about
       years. Today I want to turn the question round and ask: ‘Why   how difficult the ritual is to learn. Surely our brethren should
       don’t all our brethren join the Royal Arch?’ It seems to me that   be able to make up their own minds about that and not have
       there are five main reasons, but I am sure others will come up   seeds of doubt sown in their minds without having tried it. Let
       with many more.                                          them find out for themselves, and if they are reluctant to join
                                                                the ladder, they can watch from the side until they feel ready.
                                                                The exaltation ceremony is one of the best to sit and watch.
                                                                Personally, I don’t consider it any more difficult than any other
                                                                ritual, and the main long section delivered by the Principal
                                                                              Sojourner is a good story which I have always
                                                                              found sticks in the mind reasonably well. Also,
                                    I am all for our Craft brethren joining   companions, the Principal Sojourner has two
                                    whatever other legitimate Order that      assistants. Why  should they not live up to
                                    they want, but I strongly believe the     their names and assist in the ceremony. The
                                    Royal Arch should come first              work splits naturally and gives the Assistant
                                                                              Sojourners good reason to attend. With the
                                                                              fairly recent changes to the ritual, the First
                                                                              Principal’s task has been considerably eased
                                                                by sharing much of it with the other Principals.
                                                                Third, cost. This is clearly relevant, and it is imperative that any
                                                                candidates are fully briefed on this just as they should have
                                                                been when joining the Craft. In part, this can be considered
                                                                in the same way as my fourth reason: time. Again, extremely
                                                                relevant. Many chapters only meet three times a year, but that
                                                                is still an added burden for working people to manage. Do our
                                                                lodges, perhaps, meet too often? Many meet 10-plus times
                                                                a year – along with Lodges of Instruction and rehearsals, this
                                                                is an enormous time burden on the young working brother. I
                                                                know I shall be unpopular with many, but if lodges that meet
                                                                that often considered reducing the number of their meetings,
                                                                it could possibly invigorate their chapters by saving the
                                                                brethren both time and money.
                                                                Fifth, they have joined other Orders already and have reached
                                                                the limit of the involvement in Freemasonry that they want.
                                                                If this is the case, we have again failed in our duties as Craft
                                                                Freemasons. There can be no logical masonic reason for a
                                                                Craft Freemason to join any other Order before joining the
                                                                Royal Arch, unless they don’t know about the Royal Arch, or
                                                                the reasons for joining have been poorly explained.
                                                                I must add that I am all for our Craft brethren joining whatever
                                                                other legitimate Order that they want, but I strongly believe
                                                                the Royal Arch should come first.
                                                                Companions, the Royal Arch is a wonderful Order, as everyone
                                                                knows.  I  am  extremely  proud  of  being  the  Pro  First  Grand
                                                                Principal and look forward to the day when we can boast that
                                                                more than 50% of Craft Freemasons have joined the Order
                                                                and we can then move upwards from there.

                                                                   Article Published in Issue 48 of FMT Freemasonry

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