Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London
The first major event of our new Masonic season will be the Constitution of the Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London and the Installation of RW Bro. Lord Millet PJGW, as the first Metropolitan Grand Master.
Letchworths, the Grand Lodge shop, have sold nearly 7,000 of the new ties, realising £50,000 gross for the Library and Museum to purchase new Masonic artefacts and restore those in the existing collection.
As I have stressed before, this tie is the alternative to the black tie for all our meetings and I hope Brethren will wear it socially, as I do, to show the popular world how proud we are to be Masons.
The 1813 Declaration
I want to say something about the notice of motion given earlier by the Deputy President of the Board of General Purposes. It stems from the union of the two Grand Lodges to form the United Grand Lodge of England in 1813.
Historically, one Grand Lodge - the "Moderns" - did not recognise the Royal Arch, even though most of its senior members belonged to it, whilst for the other Grand Lodge - the "Antients" - it was worked by warranted Lodges as a fourth degree.
It was in a typically English compromise that the formula was worked out, as printed at the beginning of our Book of Constitutions, that: "pure Antient Masonry consists of three degrees and no more, viz., those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft, and the Master Mason, including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch".
If Supreme Grand Chapter and the United Grand Lodge of England agree, it is proposed to add a paragraph to the "1813 Declaration" to allow us to recognise formally that the Royal Arch is an entirely separate Order of Masonry.
The purpose of this is to try to correct the present confusion about exactly where the Royal Arch sits in relation to the Craft, and enable the Order to stand alone, in its own right, as an important - indeed necessary - part of one's Masonic development.
It is frequently said that the Royal Arch is a "completion of the Third Degree", but I am concerned with such a definition, and query whether we should be emphasising a 'completion' when the Royal Arch encourages us to extend ourselves beyond the Craft and contemplate life in the context of 'eternity'.
Pure Antient Masonry consists of several degrees, and the Royal Arch is aptly described as 'at once the foundation and keystone of the whole Masonic structure'.
The wording which we now propose to introduce has been carefully chosen, after a great deal of thought, in order not to compromise the wording devised with such care to enable the Union of the two Grand Lodges in 1813.
The Deputy President of the Board of General Purposes has invited brethren to write to the Grand Secretary with any comments they may have, so that we can consider any necessary changes before it goes to a vote in Grand Lodge in December.
I do, however, want to make one thing absolutely clear. The intention is not to change that wording which many of us consider sacrosanct, but to permit it to be interpreted in a way which will allow us the freedom to recognise the Royal Arch as a sovereign and independent Order, still indissolubly linked to the Craft as the final step in pure Antient Freemasonry.
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