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Let’s be clear from the outset, Master Masons who are not members of the Royal Arch are missing out and it is our responsibility to help them take that step. However it raises the question what can we do, what can we say when asked about the Royal Arch and equally important, how can we say it. The messages within the Royal Arch are not always immediately apparent so our role initially is to stimulate further interest and encourage brethren to find out for themselves by joining us in the Supreme Degree. We can be most effective in this task by responding to the question in bite sized chunks or levels and avoiding the risk of overwhelming the Master Mason through our own enthusiasm.
Let’s think about the first three levels in answering the question
“Why did you join the Royal Arch.”
Level 1: “I wanted to join the Royal Arch because of its indissoluble link with the Craft, it is the completion of the journey through pure and ancient Freemasonry, the happy ending to the tragedy which is the Third Degree”
It is not difficult to imagine a response from brethren
“That’s interesting, tell me more”
Level 2: “I wanted to join for four main reasons:
- It completes our journey through pure and ancient Freemasonry
- It invites you and supports you to explore the spiritual nature of man”
- It has a beautiful Ceremony full of allegory and hidden meaning
- It takes friendship and brotherhood to an even higher level
Again it’s not difficult to imagine the response “Blimey!”
Level 3: Let me explain:
- In the beginning of the Book of Constitution it clearly states: “By the Act of Union between the two Grand Lodges of Freemasons of England in December 1813, it was “declared and pronounced that pure Antient Masonry consists of Three Degrees and no more, those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft and the Master Mason including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch” A Master Mason can only complete his journey by joining the Royal Arch
- In the Craft we learn many things about the practicalities of life. We are lead to explore ourselves and our relationship with others. We extend the boundaries of human practice and knowledge to the hidden mysteries of nature and science and ultimately in the Third Degree we are given one lesson more, we are taught how to die. However we are not merely practical creatures, there is a strong spiritual element in our make-up. Without compromising our different religious beliefs, the Royal Arch helps us explore and understand the nature of our own God and our relationship with Him. In this way we are better able to understand ourselves
- The Ceremony is considered by many as the most beautiful in Freemasonry. It has a strong historical basis and takes place 500 years after the untimely death of our Master Hiram Abif. It is thought provoking, impressive, dramatic and it will leave a lasting impression that you will remember for the rest of your life.
- We enter Freemasonry as friends and soon learn the essence of brotherhood, we refer to ourselves as brothers and engage with each other accordingly. We take obligations to support each other through thick and thin. Craft Masonry sets the standard of behaviour we must all try to live up to. The Royal Arch takes friendship and brotherhood even further – to Companionship. In the Royal Arch we became Companions on our journey together through life
NB: This is not ritual, we do not have to learn these answers by rote, you may even have different reasons for joining the Royal Arch but we can be more effective in encouraging Master Masons to join us if we are:
- Clear, confident and consistent in our answers to questions about the Royal Arch
- We don’t overwhelm people but feed them information in bite sized chunks
These answers can be given over time not necessarily all in one go but it is probably better to always start with Level 1, even if you are repeating yourself from time to time
This approach to communication is called an “Elevator Pitch” and is based on an article in Masonic Lincs Issue 11 November 16 by MEGS Graham Ives.