Ending of the Suspension of Masonic Activity.

In March, the Most Worshipful Grand Master suspended Masonic activity in England and Wales until 17th July 2020. Having consulted the Grand Registrar, Sir John Chadwick, who has studied the UK Government’s advice (in particular the guidance for safe use of multi-purpose facilities), we are content that there is presently no requirement to extend the suspension in England, and accordingly Masonic meetings may begin again from this date. We recognise that, excluding emergency meetings which some Lodges and Chapters may wish to hold under appropriate dispensation, the vast majority of meetings will not begin again until September.

The Welsh government guidance is such that, at the present time, Masonic meetings would not be legal in Wales.

Ending of the Suspension of Masonic Activity in Districts will be dependent on local government regulations permitting.

Meetings may only be held in obedience to prevailing National Guidance, local rules from Hall and Venue Companies, and in conformity with the General Guidance given, jointly with Mark Masons' Hall, below.
Please click to read the letter.

At the instruction of the Pro Grand Master / Pro First Grand Principal, temporary alterations have been made to the ceremonies of Initiation and Passing, and to the Opening and Closing of a Royal Arch Chapter as well as their respective ceremonies of Installation. . These are to be observed by any Lodge or Chapter that wishes to meet and perform such ceremonies until Lockdown restrictions are eased to permit normal working.

At the present time, the Ceremony of Raising should not be performed until Lockdown Restrictions ease to allow it to proceed without alteration.

More information maybe found, by reading the 3rd edition of the First Rising
Please click to read the 3rd Edition of the First Rising.

Royal Arch Procession

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Grand Superintendent’s Address- 19th September 2019

Distinguished Guests and Companions. It is a great honour for me to be able to address you again as Grand Superintendent in and over the Royal Arch Province of Essex at this Annual Essex Convocation – it is now four years since I was installed as your Grand Superintendent and Provincial Grand Master and I have enjoyed every minute in both those roles.

I have already welcomed our Official guests from Supreme Grand Chapter, from other Provinces and from the Metropolitan Grand Chapter – may I now extend a warm welcome to all the Companions here today and I thank you all for supporting our Annual Meeting here in the Grand Temple in such numbers. Warmest congratulations to those Companions whom I (or my Deputy) have had the privilege of investing today. This is your day and I hope it will be a happy and memorable one for you. Provincial honours are, of course, in part a reward for past efforts but they also reflect an expectation of future service for your Chapter, your Masonic Centre or the Province itself. It is, of course, an especial privilege for us all in Essex for me to be able to welcome to our Meeting the Pro First Grand Principal. Sir, we really do appreciate the leadership you have consistently and amply demonstrated to both the Royal Arch and the Craft in general and to Essex in particular. Your predecessor, the Marquess of Northampton, did conduct the proceedings for the installation of my predecessor in 2005 but this is the first occasion that the Pro First Grand Principal has ever attended an “ordinary Essex Provincial Convocation” and we are truly grateful bearing in mind the enormous demands upon your time.

Furthermore your kindness, support and understanding, together with all the members of the Essex Executive, and of so many Freemasons in Essex and the Provinces beyond, during my recent illness and treatment has been outstanding and uplifting for me and my wife and family. Thank you so much for reinforcing to me personally part of what Freemasonry is all about and what it does so well.

May I again thank most sincerely Cliff Thoms for his outstanding work for the Royal Arch as Deputy Grand Superintendent. His experience and wise counsel both in the Royal Arch and in Craft masonry has been invaluable both to me personally and to the Province as a whole. I also pay a warm tribute to Clive Rees (and wish him well in his new role in the Craft) and to Phil Campbell for their conscientious and diligent work as Second and Third Provincial Grand Principals respectively. I am sure that Nick Franklin will be an admirable successor to Cliff and that Phil and Elliott Chevin thoroughly deserve their promotions.

The Assistants to the PGPs have also done an excellent job. Ian Simpson is stepping down today as an APGP. I thank him for his hard work in that role and his continuing active involvement in the Province is very much appreciated. I am delighted to have appointed Martin Cook as APGP to succeed him and David Wilson to succeed Elliott Chevin and I wish them both well in their new roles.

May I also extend my grateful thanks to the Provincial Scribe E, Phil Lovelock and the outgoing and incoming Provincial Grand DCs Geoff Turpin and Joe Shearer and each of their teams for all their hard work and effort in ensuring that today’s meeting proceeded smoothly – as well as the outstanding support they give me throughout the year.

The Royal Arch Executive has continued to develop, borrow, and produce many innovative initiatives around the Province, primarily designed to recruit new Exaltees and to provide a better understanding of The Royal Arch. With the help of The Stewards Chapter and the ever-improving network of Lodge Royal Arch Reps, we remain an active and vibrant Royal Arch Province. A more clearly defined and broader role for the Chapter Almoner combining the duties of Craft Almoner, Mentor and Membership Officer is hugely important to the strength and well being of a Chapter and we will continue to work on this.

In the long run, the overall strength of The Royal Arch depends upon the vitality of the Craft. The new Membership Pathway Lodges in the Craft, highlight, from the very beginning, the natural progression of Core Masonry from Entered Apprentice through to Royal Arch Companion. The Craft overall is very supportive of The Royal Arch and as this Province has the same Head of both organisations, it should come as no surprise that this link is being continually reinforced in Essex!.

We also make no apologies for briefly emphasising two things. First, promotions to active or senior Provincial rank in the Craft in Essex will normally require Membership of the Royal Arch as a pre-requisite and, in turn, appointments to active or senior Essex Provincial rank in the Royal Arch require a continuing engagement with the Craft. This reinforces the indissoluble link between the two. Secondly, it is as vital that the ceremony of Exaltation is carried out well so as to give a favourable impression to the candidate for Royal Arch masonry as it is for the ceremony of Initiation in the Craft. It is pointless for the ceremony to be read (or even prompted) from the book – it completely loses its meaning and purpose - better to divide up the work and farm it out. As my old Preceptor in my Mother Lodge used to say - “Chuck the book away – it is wrong anyway !!!

I know that all the Members of the Executive appreciate the support and encouragement we receive from Chapters all across the Province and their generous hospitality whenever we make an official visit. It has been my especial pleasure and privilege this past year to serve as First Principal of Essex First Principals Chapter No 3256 and of Essex Provincial Grand Stewards Chapter No 8665 for which I am eternally grateful. Can I also pay tribute to the excellent support provided by several Essex Chapters to the 2022 Festival (as illustrated in the Report of the Committee of General Purposes) and to encourage others to follow their lead.

Thank you once again for listening to me and may God Bless you all and indeed this Royal Arch Province of Essex. As I say at the conclusion of each of these addresses, let us go forward together and walk worthily in the light which shines around.
Rodney Lister Bass, OBE

Why should you take the next step?

The preliminary Declaration in the Book of Constitutions states that:

"Pure Ancient 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."

We therefore consider that Core Freemasonry consist of four interdependent steps:

1) Entered Apprentice

2) Fellow Craft

3) Master Mason

4) Royal Arch Companion

Have you taken your fourth step by joining the Royal Arch?

Click here for the information leaflet - The Next Step In Freemasonry.