Gareth Jones address
The Royal Arch Province of Cheshire was honoured to received the ME 3rd Grand Principal, E Comp Gareth Jones, at its Annual Convocation held at Sandbach School on 22 February.
During the course of the meeting he was invited to address the Companions and spoke on a number of themes.
He emphasised that membership of our organisation is more about quality and not quantity. To ensure potential candidates are best suited for the Lodge they are about to join. The candidate needs to be introduced to the Royal Arch during the interview process; that there is an additional step, and an expectation, for him to take once he has gone through his three degrees. When to take that next step and join the Royal Arch is down to the individual, when the time is right for him. The ME 3rd GP’s personal opinion was that it should be before the Brother goes into the Chair of King Solomon. He spoke of an occasion where a Brother had been invited to join the RA a couple of years after his initiation. However, due to his various commitments the time wasn’t right and he declined. However, no-one thought to ask him again until some 35 years later. This isn’t an one-off.
Cheshire, he said has an enviable conversion rate of Brethren who join the Royal Arch. The Province is very close to the top of the pile with a conversion rate of nearly 50%. There is clear evidence to show that joining the Royal Arch helps in retention of our members. Brethren who join the RA are less likely to resign as they have made a greater commitment. Provinces that have a good Lodge Royal Arch Representative programme tend to have higher conversion rates. The role of the Lodge RA Representative is crucial not just in encouraging Brethren to join the Roya Arch, but also at a Lodge meeting, informing the members what is happening within the Royal Arch particularly at a local level e.g. informing the Lodge which member(s) have received Provincial rank at the RA AGM.
The ME 3rd GP also expounded the benefits of sharing the work within a Chapter. An Exaltation ceremony can, with careful planning, involve up to 15 Companions thus reducing the burden of any one Companion having to learn long tracts of ritual. There is no need to present all three Lectures on the same evening as an Exaltation. As long as the signs are explained, which can be done in a simplified form, the Lectures can be explained at a future meeting(s) with the work, again, being shared between a number of Companions.
Its pleasing to note that many of the topics promoted by the 3Rd GP have already or soon will be introduced into the Province, and as a consequence Freemasonry within Cheshire can only benefit.
PGSwdB, Deputy Grand Superintendent