On Thursday 22nd March the Rochdale Chapter of First Principals No 9211 hosted a Royal Arch Workshop which was presented by EComp Peter Mason PGSwdB Dep GSupt of Cumberland and Westmorland. The members were delighted to be supported on the evening by a large number of Officers from Supreme Grand Chapter including EComp Paul Rose PGSwdB Deputy Grand Superintendent, EComp Harvey Basger PAGSoj 2nd Provincial Grand Principal, EComp David Halford PGStB 3rd Provincial Grand Principal, EComp Peter Hewitt PGStB APGM and also Rochdale District Chairman EComp Peter Rhodes PProvDepGSwdB together with a District Delegation.
EComp Mason began his presentation by referring to the Bible and taking the Chapter through the history of the rebuilding of King Solomon’s Temple. He then explained how this section of the Bible has been represented in Royal Arch Chapter Ritual.
He continued by describing features of the Chapter, their significance and location. In particular, he said the pavement, unlike that in the craft, should be considered a depiction of an underground vault. He explained that the candles should traditionally be set out around the pedestal in the form of 2 equilateral triangles rather than, as seems to be common at the moment, of setting them out together at the south east of the pedestal. He went on to point out that the banners should be arranged around the pedestal as this represented the position of the encampment of the 12 tribes of Israel when guarding the Arc of the Covenant.
EComp Mason was congratulated on a very interesting presentation which raised questions as to our understanding of the layout of a Chapter. He suggested that in most cases companions adopt a particular layout because “we’ve always done it that way” or “because somebody said that was the correct way”. He encouraged those present to be prepared to question their knowledge and understanding with a view to establishing why we do what we do.

The 61 companions present at the social board all agreed that the meal was an excellent conclusion to a very informative evening of Masonic fellowship.

Report by Ken Rowlatt