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
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
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