The Royal Arch, which meets in Chapters, along with the better-known Craft Lodges, are the two membership organisations which together constitute what is known as, Pure, Antient, Freemasonry. Both are governed and ruled in England and Wales by the United Grand Lodge of England.
To become a member of a Royal Arch Chapter, you must first be Initiated as a Freemason in a Craft Lodge, progress through its 3 Degree ceremonies to become a ‘Master Mason’ and remain a subscribing member of a Lodge.
The Royal Arch is not a further Degree but is a ‘fourth step’ for the advancement of the Masonic knowledge of the Master Mason. When taking the 3rd Degree in a Craft Lodge, the Master Mason is told that the ‘genuine secrets of a Master Mason’ were lost. In the Royal Arch, it is revealed how those secrets were recovered, what they were and how to apply that knowledge to his morality.
For historical and practical reasons, the ceremony of the Royal Arch is not practised in Craft Lodges, nor is it obligatory to become a member. However, a full knowledge of Pure, Antient Freemasonry will not be gained without it and the journey begun in a Craft Lodge will never be completed.
Becoming a Royal Arch Mason will widen one’s circle of acquaintances and friendships, and being a member opens opportunities to become a member in a number of other Masonic Orders.
Royal Arch Masons are encouraged to support charity, and most do this as individuals through their Craft Lodge Charity Steward. Regular giving of Gift Aided donations by Direct Debit to West Riding Masonic Charities Ltd, is the most beneficial way of donating.
However, on a more ad-hoc basis, many Chapters have raffles or organise events to raise collective donations for Masonic Charities, often for specific purposes such as the Provincial Grand Master’s Fund, Teddies for Loving Care, and at times when the Province is in Festival for the central Masonic Charitable Foundation. Such donations are usually credited to the Chapter rather than the individuals, but demonstrates the extraordinary generosity of Royal Arch Freemasons and their continuing principles of caring for the welfare of their fellow creatures.
Each Council has a President, Vice-President, Secretary and elected Representatives from each of their affiliated Chapters. Their purpose is to support Chapters by encouraging visiting, attracting new members through presentations given in Craft Lodges, and communicating information
Once a year, every Council organises a Joint Chapter Meeting in one of its affiliated Chapters, to which members of the other Councils are invited. Such meetings attract many Companions from around the Province, resulting in the most enjoyable and convivial occasions. Details of these meetings are circulated to all Chapters.
How To Join the Royal Arch
If you have progressed to being a Master Mason, so long as you are still a subscribing member of a Craft Lodge, you are eligible to join the Royal Arch.
On every Lodge summons, you will find the name of your Royal Arch representative. The best advice you can get on how to join a Royal Arch Chapter is to have a chat with him. Failing that, you could ask your Lodge Secretary to put you in touch with someone who can direct you. If none of those options works for you, please fill out the form below.