I have so many thanks to communicate for your recent support and assistance but also to all of you here now. I will express those in more detail this afternoon and hope to see you in Provincial Grand Lodge later.
Before addressing other business, may I extend my most sincere thanks to the Pro First Grand Principal, Most Excellent Companion Jonathan Spence, and to his team who have worked especially hard to ensure that today’s ceremony was seamless and as perfect as it was.
It is fair to say that for the last few months, the event-horizon has been today, preparing for this ceremony and what is to happen after lunch. But from today, we are about to enter a very exciting time in the Royal Arch – but, before I expand on that, I must address an important point head on.
It cannot be denied that some in the Province would have liked to have seen the offices of Grand Superintendent and Provincial Grand Master kept distinct. After all, Suffolk has for some time been a strong, growing Provincial Royal Arch with just over 40% of our Master Masons being in Chapter. However, we have lost members in recent years and today we are an organisation of fewer than 1,000 individuals.
It is a fact that the provinces where the Grand Superintendent and the Provincial Grand Master are the same person have the highest proportion of Royal Arch membership and Chapter engagement. This inevitably leads to closer collaboration between it and the Craft, creating a virtuous circle.
By bringing the Grand Superintendent and PGM together we bring the Orders and our membership closer. It is quite possible that as well as the Grand Superintendent and PGM, other offices become ‘double-headers’ too, with members being just as likely to play active roles in one Order as in the other. We are after all one organisation.
But today I represent change, and for those who may need time to reflect on such things before making up their minds, I remind you that change is inevitable but also reassure you that a change in structure does not mean a change of the foundation. That foundation is predicated on the Royal Arch being the fourth and ultimate stage which enriches and completes one’s masonic journey.
Many of you are senior members of Chapter, and indeed within the Craft. To which end I hope that you are all familiar with the Strategy for Freemasonry 2022 and beyond. If not, may I encourage you to visit the UGLE website where it is easily found?
A key part of the strategy is that the Craft and Royal Arch has to work seamlessly at all levels as one organisation. In line with that strategy, we must remind ourselves of the need to educate our members about the value of the Royal Arch and its benefit, and use Chapter in more practical ways to engage and retain our members who are so vital for our future.
When someone is made a Freemason, he should be aware from the very start that his journey consists of three degrees (and no more); those being of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft and the Master Mason including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch.
As Freemasons we will cement our reputation as a force for good in our societies at large, and as a thriving, growing organisation which people aspire to join, and we will achieve this from a foundation that relies very much upon the Royal Arch.
What better way to keep a Master Mason -or even a Past Master – engaged and interested in his Lodge and in Freemasonry than by bringing him into a Chapter? And by the way, there are over 120 Past Masters in Suffolk who have not yet been exalted. Masonry will not fail to be kept interesting and engaging if we ensure Chapter ritual is delivered well that we are organising our chapters sufficiently that we are meeting and dining in good numbers.
Encouraging and inviting more of our brethren to become Companions not only strengthens the Royal Arch but also the Craft. This sentiment will be one expressed by me, as well as by the Deputy Grand Superintendent and the Provincial Grand Principals whenever we visit Chapters and Lodges. By so doing, we intend to increase the profile of the Royal Arch within Suffolk Freemasonry and inspire interest and engagement in the Order. I very much hope that you will be doing the same.
These are indeed exciting times to be a Companion of this Supreme Order and I look forward to experiencing these positive changes with you over the coming months and years.
Thank you Companions.
SUPREME GRAND CHAPTER
WEDNESDAY 8 NOVEMBER
The next Convocation of the Supreme Grand Chapter will be held at Freemasons Hall in London on Wednesday 8th November.
I intend to book tables at the Punjab Indian Restaurant in nearby Neal Street for our traditional “Suffolk Chapter” gathering afterwards. The price of the meal with a drink is around £30.
Please let me know if you or members of your Chapter would like to join us at Supreme Grand Chapter and the Punjab and I will ensure that you have a place reserved for lunch.
I intend to travel by train from Stowmarket (via Ipswich) and I will be catching the 08.32 from Stowmarket to Liverpool Street arriving at 10.00 (SGC opens at 12:00) and return on the 17.30 arriving Stowmarket at 18.50. Single standard ticket each way is cheapest at present, current total return advance booking price is £44.00 or £27.00 with a railcard.
If you might be interested in making up a group of Suffolk Companions on the 8th November let me know by return please. Please feel free to ask other Suffolk Companions who might be interested. You do not need to be a Past (or present) Principal to attend.
Kindest regards and best wishes
Sincerely and fraternally
Festive Board at the Provincial Grand Chapter Meeting held May 2023
Suffolk Freemasons are a friendly and welcoming group and this is particularly so of the Royal Arch. We are pleased to have as our Deputy Grand Superintendent, E Comp T. J. McCormick who puts enjoyment and enthusiasm at the heart his Masonry and Chapter in particular. We are a small Province of 32 Chapters (every one with a different ritual) and incredible enthusiasm for our work.
This site is intended to be something for everyone whether interested in Royal Arch in general, whether thinking of joining, want to research further, find other Chapters to visit or just want to browse.
If you have any comments or contributions to make to the site we shall be pleased to receive them.
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