Warks RA has an overarching strategy managed by the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent and his executive team. The executive team comprises the Deputy Grand Superintendent, the Second and Third Provincial Grand Principals, The Provincial Grand Scribe E, ProvGDC and ProvGTreasurer together with other co-opted members from time to time.
Various functions designated “Roadshows” have been held, across the province, with the aim of communicating the nature of the order. These supplement the role of the Lodge Royal Arch Representatives. The representatives scheme has recently been revised and enhanced with more effective communication between the executive and the reps being declared a key aim. The 2ndProvGPrin is leading this aspect. The RA Province has engaged the assistance of the PGM and the craft executive team who, together with visiting officers, will assist us in monitoring the performance and effectiveness of lodge representatives.
Together with the Craft, the Masonic Pathway to be found at https://b.ugle.org.uk/sign-up has been actively publicised with a due emphasis of the inclusion, and importance, of the Royal Arch within “pure and ancient freemasonry”.
Exaltees are whenever possible welcomed into the province by a member of the executive team – it is our aim to be present at all exaltations in the province. Chapters have had suggestions as to how the Exaltation ceremony can be effectively dramatised and also enhanced – the document “Setting the Scene” is also strongly recommended to be included and is detailed in our recently revised book of ritual. The same book also offers method of sharing both the Principal Sojourners work and that of the MEZ. The presence of our senior officers at these meetings also means that, for the first time, the standard of work in chapters can be properly observed. This is useful in helping to identify those suitable for provincial office. Exaltees are also personally invited to attend our annual convocation and can take advantage of a reduced cost lunch. All exaltees are issued with a superb booklet, produced by the Metropolitan Grand Chapter, which explains many aspects of the Royal Arch, It is supplemented by a Warwickshire booklet dealing with differences in ritual and practice.
Warwickshire has an active General Chapter of Instruction/Improvement and this is open to all RA masons, they can attend as often as they wish and also take on offices for the annual demonstration of the Warwickshire Ritual. In a more recent development, the preceptor can arrange for support to be given to chapters by either discussion and demonstration or by actually providing officers to take part in the ceremonial.
We have held regular meetings for those recently exalted but found that this alone, neglects those who are about to take office for the first time or to take on an office in which they would welcome advice. We are actively considering having a workshop day that can address general issues but with a “pick and mix” option to allow sessions for, as an example, those who are about to take on an office such as DC. The hope is that this strategy, with others (particularly, Almoners acting as mentors), will reduce the number of losses due to resignation.
New third principals are issued with a booklet designed to assist them in their new role and to help them in preparing for their progression to MEZ. Additionally, they and all other principals and past principals, are invited to annual dinner. This allows them to meet with companions from other chapters and to share good practice. There is also a light-hearted quiz, focussing mainly on Royal Arch matters, and an address from the MEGS on current RA matters. The format of this event is under constant review.
Those receiving appointments to acting rank in the province are invited to a number of rehearsal evenings, organised by the ProvGDC, to prepare them for their role. This ranges from seating and processions to taking part in installation proceedings. Most of our newly appointed acting officers are given the opportunity to act as 3rdProvGPrin, to broaden their role, whilst some in higher ranks, on promotion, can continue in that role or, additionally, act as 2ndProvincialGPrin. These opportunities not only allows the officers to become more familiar with the opening ceremony, which is conducted by the provincial principals but also to process to deliver the appropriate addresses. We also designate those receiving appointments or promotions to past rank as “Officers of the Year” – those who attend installations are processed into the chapter room and also named in the proclamation given by the ProvGDC.
Linwood Chapter was established with the object of research. Its members have given presentations to our First Principals Chapter on Royal Arch Matters. This resource, together with Solomon, needs to be developed as a resource for all of our chapters. In respect of Solomon, we have not only been talking about this and delivering nuggets ourselves, but the MEGS has also recommended that all chapters have an item on their summons whereby a nugget, or another short item, be presented at each meeting of the chapter. Linwood, and others so minded may be able to add to a local pool of “nuggets” and, when requested by SGC, it may be appropriate for some to be submitted for inclusion on the Solomon pages.