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For some time Laconic Lodge have wanted to sponsor a Holy Royal Arch Chapter and during 2018 a total of 28 Founders signed the Petition and after Supreme Grand Chapter had deliberated the new Chapter with the name SPARTA Chapter No 9771 was granted a warrant which was dated 8th April 2019.  As I have been informed the basic precept of Laconic Lodge is brevity and so Sparta Chapter has continued in this vein with the motto “Per breviloquium” meaning “Through brevity of speech”

On Friday 2nd August at Bury St Edmunds on a beautiful and warm summer day in excess of 140 Royal Arch Companions gathered to witness the consecration of the new Chapter. I personally think it is highly unlikely that a consecration like this will ever been seen for some considerable time to come and those who attended will remember this for the rest of their lives.

There were seven Grand Superintendents, eight Deputy Grand Superintendents and many heads of other orders in attendance. The consecrating team was as follows: 1st Principal; Tony Henderson MEGS of Bedfordshire, 2nd Principal; James Sharpley, MEGS of Hertfordshire, 3rd Principal; John Keeble, MEGS of Buckinghamshire and Scribe N Steve Allen, MEGS of Norfolk.

David Boswell, MEGS of Suffolk was installed as founding MEZ

Ian Yeldham, PGM of Suffolk was installed as founding H and

Bill Dastur, MEGS & PGM of Cambridge was installed as founding J.

The whole ceremony was a wonderful mix of sincerity, humour and of course brevity.   

The festive board was a very dignified mix of humour, sincerity and great enjoyment. The speeches didn’t quite adhere to the motto but justifiably they acknowledged the hard work gone into getting the Chapter up and running and the support from the founders and the 120 guests who had supported this amazing consecration.  There was a candle of remembrance which was lit just after the Grace to keep those dining mindful of friends and Companions unable to be with us or whom we had lost. The candle holder was solid silver which had been purchased by Laconic Lodge and presented by the founding Scribe E, Brian Simpson, on behalf of Laconic Lodge to the Chapter during the 3rd and 4th Rising. The candle was extinguished prior to the Janitors toast.    

There are often times when, in the cold light of day, you think to your self “ is the Craft and the Holy Royal Arch really at one with each other” ? The consecration of Sparta Chapter was certainly an example of the unity in the Province of Suffolk between the Craft and the Royal Arch as well as the deep friendship shown by the support from the Rulers of seven Provinces and their willingness to help fellow Rulers in the Province of Suffolk in the consecration of Sparta Chapter.

As a mere founder myself congratulations must be given to Brian Simpson, the founding Scribe E of Sparta Chapter, for taking the challenge to get this Chapter up and running, it is no easy task and there are more hurdles than you can imagine when starting from a plain sheet of paper to receiving  the wonderful Charter of the Chapter.

Well we now have 31 Chapters in Suffolk and long may our increase in numbers be.   

Text Copyright Ray Pascoe – Photo Copyright

Families in Need

The members of Felix chapter decided at their Christmas meeting to donate a sum of £100.00 to FIND (Families in Need), this sum was further enhanced by a matching donation from the discretionary fund administered by the Grand Superintendent on behalf of the Provincial Grand Charity.

Subsequently a cheque for £200 was presented by Ex Comp Jason Flower Z of Felix Chapter to Maureen Reynel MBE founder and Chair of FIND at their current headquarters in Hinds Road Ipswich. During the Christmas period they packed sufficient boxes and individual presents to distribute to 1,000 families, groups such as YMCA and Shaftesbury, and individuals. 40 families in need in Felixstowe were recipients of support during the Christmas period and continue to be supported throughout the year.

FIND has been in existence for over 25 years and because of changing times and the every increasing need for food banks and other basic necessities of life FIND is now with the assistance of many local organisation and people embarking on a new phase of expansion and will be moving to a new home currently owned by Ipswich Borough Council. Planning permission has now been granted and many local firms have given free their services to convert and fit out this new facility. To help meet the financial challenge they have launched “FIND 50” to encourage groups and individuals both small and large to each raise or donate £2,000 for the “FIND 50 £100,000 Lifeline appeal” and over £34k has been raised so far.

Further information of the work of FIND and how you can all help is available on
March 2019

You’re a Freemason, can you keep a secret?

I was asked a similar question to that but not in the way many would expect. As Scribe of Adair Chapter one of my senior companions was reaching close to his 50th year in the Holy Royal Arch.  He had recently received his 50th year certificate for the Craft and on the 13th February 2019 he would have been a member of the Holy Royal Arch for 50years.

The Companion in question was Jeffrey Vertigen, he had been Director of Ceremonies for Adair Lodge for many years, he not only knew the Ritual and the Rubric but he knew how to command the Lodge and get the best out of the members.

His progression in Adair Chapter was a little low down on his to-do list but with some very positive encouragement from Trevor Youngs, the Director of Ceremonies for Adair Chapter, Jeffrey started to make regular attendance and progressed through the three Principals Chairs and successfully installed his successor in October 2018.

During the autumn of 2018 Most Excellent Grand Superintendant (MEGS) David Boswell said he would like to attend Adair Chapter and present Jeffrey with his 50 year certificate but in view of the programme of visits by his Executive he didn’t want to clash with any visits but did want to make a possible flying visit, present the certificate and then leave. Hmm seemed ok to me and Dave Lillis but in order for these things to go to plan you need people to do as they are told, ensure the right people are in the right place without giving anything away.

The Deputy Grand Superintendant (DGS) Dave Lillis, who like me was also in on this, was making an official visit on Wednesday 13th February 2019. He was fully up to speed with what would happen. We would open the Chapter, his ADC would make a Report, DGS Dave Lillis would be escorted in, he would be offered the Sceptre and hand it back, the Escort Party would sit down and we would proceed with the rest of the agenda. Only Dave Lillis, myself and the Chapter DC, Trevor Youngs, knew that MEGS David Boswell may arrive and present the Certificate.

We had completed the best part of the agenda and were now in the Risings;

First Rising.  “Nothing to report”  said I.

Second Rising. MEZ had just stood up when there was a heavy knock on the door. Every one looked astonished at such a heavy smash. Scribe N did his usual and told the MEZ there were two well know Companions outside who would like admission. The companions started talking amongst themselves who the hell is that said one, then in came the Provincial Scribe Nick Le-Grys followed by the MEGS, David Boswell, in his very Posh Regalia. Eyes on organ stops and Jaw dropping was followed by “oh my god no one told us about this.”

David approached the MEZ and said good evening most Excellent, he was offered the Sceptre but declined saying he an important duty to do. He asked the Chapter DC to present Jeffrey Vertigen. David then gave an excellent history of Jeffrey’s Craft career and of his steadfast determination to progress through the offices in Adair Chapter. He congratulated him on 50 years in the Craft and then presented him with a framed certificate celebrating 50 years in the Holy Royal Arch this received rapturous applause. He was then presented with a lead crystal cut glass tumbler as a personal token of appreciation for his support of the Royal Arch and Chapter.

Jeffrey gave very emotional and heartfelt thanks to MEGS for taking the time from his busy schedule to come and make this personal presentation and he was deeply honoured and he really appreciated what has been done. More applause. Jeffrey was then shown back to his seat, a little shell shocked

MEGS then turned to the MEZ, Phillip Dunnett , and Said “Most Excellent I shall now take the Sceptre” and sat down. He turned to his DGS, Dave Lillis, and said DGS please occupy the Chair of Haggai, he then looked at me and said PSGP please take the chair of Joshua.

At this point most of the companions, if not all of them were wondering what was going on.

MEGS then knocked and opened Provincial Grand Chapter.

He called his DC and said “Please bring E. Comp Jeffrey Virtegen to me”. “Jeffrey you have worked hard for this Chapter and your years, as a Member of the Holy Royal Arch, has been commemorated by the presentation of a certificate recognising 50 years but my Scribe E has another certificate for you, and I appoint you a Past Grand Standard Bearer in the Provincial Grand Chapter of Suffolk.”  Well this received wonderful applause. Jeffrey wasn’t quite lost for words but he did look a little stunned. He thanked the MEGS for the honour and he was quite overwhelmed, almost like a night at the Oscars. He was escorted to his seat with applause and just sat there looking at his certificate.

MEGS, David Boswell, closed Provincial Chapter, the Sceptres were returned to the Principals and he thanked the Principals and the Chapter for letting him take over for a short time. He wished them well for their feast at the festive board and retired from the Chapter to rich applause.

MEZ then said “well where were we before we were interrupted”. I replied that we were still in the Second Rising.

We completed our convocation and retired to the Festive Board where many of the companions were saying “Well I’ve never seen anything like that before wasn’t it great, and it’s the first time I’ve seen Jeffrey almost lost for words”

What a night to remember.

Raymond Pascoe Scribe E of Adair Chapter and Provincial Almoner/mentor.

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