ISSUE 10, July 2004
John Pine: A sociable craftsman
Jumping for Joy: Skydiving for charity
Quarterly Communication: Speeches of: the Grand Master, the Pro Grand Master and, Report of the Board of General Purposes
Supreme Grand Chapter: Address of the First Grand Principal and Report of the Committee of General Purposes
Royal Arch: Cheshire gives a lead
  Walking with the greats: Bath Masonic Hall
Motoring in style: Classic Vehicle Club
Masonic education: A daily advancement and Events for your diary
Travel: Portugal
Library & Museum of Freemasonry
International: A warm welcome in Malta
Masonic ritual: Spoilt for choice
Public relations: Sheffield; Dorset; Chelsea Flower Show; Freemasons' Hall
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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I make no apology for mentioning the Royal Arch at this annual Craft Investiture. I know that tomorrow the Most Excellent the First Grand Principal will be talking about the suggested changes which, it is proposed, will be voted upon at Supreme Grand Chapter in November (see page 22).
     I would, however, like to make two points which I think are particularly relevant to the Craft. If the proposals are accepted, the Royal Arch will no longer be explained to potential candidates as the completion of the third degree and I know that this is a concern to many of you.
     However, this change does not mean that it stops being the completion of pure Antient Freemasonry. The Provincial Grand Chapter of Nottinghamshire has published a flyer on Royal Arch Masonry which explains its relationship to the Craft very clearly.
     It says: “In Craft Masonry, a Brother acknowledges a belief in a Supreme Being, yet this relationship is never explored. In the Royal Arch, the Mason continues and completes his education and knowledge of Craft Masonry and is invited to consider his relationship and dependence on God. Therefore it may justly be claimed to be the climax of Freemasonry and no Brother can consider his Masonic life complete until he has joined the Royal Arch.”
     Many Companions have pointed out that the proposed changes will not help to recruit candidates, but that was never the primary object of these proposals.
     The Strategic Working Party was originally tasked with looking at ways of promoting the Royal Arch and defining its relationship with the Craft.
     Subsequently, a ritual sub-committee was formed to consider whether more could be made of the most important and dramatic parts of the ceremony.
     It went on to look at the lectures and, as a result of its deliberations, has tried to make them shorter and more understandable without losing their essential message. The recruitment of new candidates is a matter for individual members, and whether they are successful or not will depend on their own enthusiasm for the Order.
     However, the importance of the Royal Arch is a message we should all stress to Master Masons, because until they take that final step their Masonry will always remain incomplete.
     Brethren, on your behalf, I would like to thank the Grand Secretary and all those who work in this building for the efficient way they run our organisation, particularly those who are responsible for today’s investiture, which entails a considerable amount of extra work.
     I would also like to express our thanks to the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his team for the very professional way they handle our ceremonial work. And finally, Brethren, to all of you who have attended today and made this such a happy and special occasion.