In the Book of Constitutions containing the “General Laws and Regulations for the Government of the Craft” there is a preliminary declaration which records: By the solemn Act of Union between the two Grand Lodges of Free-Masons of England in December 1813, it was ‘declared and pronounced that pure Antient* 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’.*An old spelling but still pronounced “ancient”.
Once a Master Mason has completed four weeks as such, he is qualified, indeed, entitled to join a Royal Arch Chapter and this would normally be by invitation from fellow members of his Lodge. If he feels they may have overlooked doing so he should approach the Royal Arch Representative of the Lodge, whose name, if one has been appointed, should appear on the Lodge summons.
To explain in simple terms, the three degrees mentioned above are worked in a Craft Lodge, whilst the ceremony of admission into the Royal Arch is worked in a Chapter. For ease of reference we usually refer to the Royal Arch as ‘Chapter’. Historically, however, in the 18th century the Royal Arch ceremony was worked in Craft lodges but later in that century its members began generally meeting not in a ‘lodge’ but in a ‘chapter’. Suffice it to say, without touching on historical events, that today Craft Lodges come under the jurisdiction of the United Grand Lodge and Royal Arch Chapters under that of the Supreme Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of England. Despite this apparent separation there remains a very close affinity between Craft and Royal Arch.
An example of this close affinity is that a Charter for a new Royal Arch Chapter is often granted on a petition from a recognised Lodge from which it almost always takes its number and name, or on a petition from a recognised Chapter. In the former case it is usually said that the Chapter is attached to that Lodge.
Indeed, this relationship is exemplified by the Herga Chapter No 2548 and we would hope that any members of Herga Lodge seeking to join Royal Arch would naturally gravitate to that particular Chapter to continue the Masonic journey they have started in the Craft. Without joining this or any other Chapter their journey through pure, antient Masonry cannot be said to be complete. Herga Chapter meets three times a year at the Harrow District Masonic Centre on the 2nd Thursday of April, June and October. The one-off fee for admission and the annual subscription, in this or any other Chapter, are generally much lower than those in Craft Lodges.
Perhaps you are already a member of Chapter but have recently moved into this area and are seeking a local Chapter where you can continue to enjoy active membership of the Order nearer to home.
On the other hand perhaps you are a Master Mason not yet committed to the idea but are considering joining.
In either case the Herga Chapter would love to hear from you, for which purpose please make first contact through the following e-mail address – [email protected] – who will put you in touch with the right person(s) at the Chapter.