Stewards of Pure Ancient Masonry A Daily Advancement

For many of us who are members of the Royal Arch, we can sometimes question why we become companions of this Order. 

Is it because the genuine secrets of a Master Mason are lost in Craft masonry, but rediscovered in the Royal Arch? Is it the rich and beautiful colours of the regalia? or just the intriguing story which links to so many answers, well for whatever reason that tempted you to become a member, one thing is for sure, we stay members because we thoroughly enjoy the Order and the indissoluble link to Craft Masonry, but you may question why.

On Tuesday 18th October 2022 at Essex Provincial Grand Stewards’ Chapter No. 8665, members and their guests received a presentation from E.Comp Michael (Mike) Ramos, a very knowledgeable Californian Mason, who is also a proud Freemason of the Province of Essex. The presentation was entitled “Stewards of Pure Antient Masonry – A Daily Advancement in Making a Difference”, answering the question, why.

Over 60 Royal Arch Masons and members of the Essex Provincial Grand Stewards Chapter, including the Deputy Grand Superintendent, the Chapters First Principal, E.Comp Elliott Chevin; the Provincial Grand Treasurer the Chapters Second Principal, E.Comp John Hoeffler; and the Provincial Grand Charity Steward, the Chapters Third Principal, E.Comp Chris Hicks, sat fully captivated throughout the presentation, and I didn’t see one eye close.

The presentation was designed to provoke food for thought and encourage further conversations between the members, guests and their wider Chapters, valuable content even for the more experienced workman. When Mike was creating the content, he wanted to ensure it was relevant to this current moment in time, regardless of rank or title, but also to emphasise the Royal Arch being the pinnacle of pure and ancient masonry, hence the title of the presentation “A Daily Advancement in Making a Difference” and it sure did feature the difference we, as Royal Arch Masons, are making.

Now you would be forgiven in thinking the format of this presentation, whilst extremely interesting, and presented exceptionally well, was a standard presentation; with a mason standing in the Chapter and delivering the content; however, this would be very far from reality, in fact about 5,500 miles to be exact. Yes, this presentation was delivered live from the United States of America directly into the temple at Braintree Masonic Centre. A truly innovative way of providing content for a meeting that was stimulating and thought-provoking.

After the Presentation the Deputy Grand Superintendent, Essex Provincial Grand Chapter Stewards 1st Principal, thanked Mike for an outstanding presentation full of content that certainly enthused the attendees, and presented Mike with a generous cheque to be applied to Mike’s chosen charity. However, being an Essex Mason at heart, promptly transferred this donation to Teddies for Loving Care (TLC).

After the meeting the members and guests were greeted by a unique festive board, however, sadly, as Mike was in California, he was unable to join us. But still, many members were sending him pictures of the banquet adorned in an American theme, the Stars and Stripes draped from the walls. As the Principals entered the festive board in a traditional manner, accompanied by Bruce Springsteen (playing in the background), the members and guests were greeted by an amazing menu that screamed American Elegance, an incredible fresh crab salad with avocado, followed by a juicy beefburger, fries and dips, ending with pancakes, syrup and ice cream with a caramel sauce….

As you looked around the festive board the presentation delivered by Mike Ramos came to life, as the smiles and conversations reminded us all, why we joined the Royal Arch, it may well have been because its the next logical step, the discovery of the genuine secrets, or even the intriguing story, but for us in that moment, it was the camaraderie, companionship and the enjoyment we got from being together.

The next meeting of Essex Provincial Grand Chapter will be the installation of our Most Excellent Grand Superintendent, Paul William Tarrant as the First Principal of the chapter, with Neil Beverly and Martin Cook as 2nd and 3rd Principal Elect, and one thing is guaranteed, the festive board is going to be something very different.