Chapter of Perseverance No 155 extended a warm and belated welcome to Third Provincial Grand Principal Rev Harry Ross to their regular meeting in the elegant surrounding of the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool City Centre.
Having dispensed with the general business of the chapter, first principal Martin Brownlow and his co-principals Victor Charlesworth, second principal and Christopher Marsden, third principal, greeted their principal guest. On receiving the first principal’s sceptre, Harry promptly returned it with the rejoinder that he had come to listen to the work this evening! He also informed the gathering that he had been appointed to attend the chapter installation but owing to a clash with the Joint Convocation held at Leyland which demanded his presence he had been unable to attend. He had however, resolved to attend at some point and this was the first occasion where he could fulfil that promise.
Martin Brownlow then asked Ian Nairn of Wigan Chapter No 2326 to present his talk. Ian commenced his talk by giving some background to what he was going to impart to his audience. As inevitably happens when one of our brethren is called to higher service the family tends to clear out their artefacts and archives. Ian was approached by the family of one such brother and produced a hand written folder of loose leaf sheets which had belonged to the grandfather of the brother concerned. This turned out to be the ritual of his chapter and was dated around 1825.
Amongst the differences highlighted were that during the opening of the chapter all officers explained their duties. The major inclusion that has been given wide coverage in recent times and on the Royal Arch forum is that in those days the ceremony of ‘Passing of the Veils’ preceded and was integral to the ceremony of exaltation. Ian proceeded to elaborate on the work of the principals and in particular the sojourners as guardians of the ‘Veils’.
Having given his audience plenty to think about, Ian then conclude by informing the gathering that on the occasions that there was no work in the chapter the first principal was to recite ancient charges which re-affirmed the principles of the Order and reminded the companion of the basis on which Royal Arch Masonry was based. The conclusion of the lecture was greeted with loud acclamation by all present. Having been given plenty of food for thought the companions then retired to the dining room for food of a different kind.
At the dinner, in response to the toast to his health, Harry commended Ian for work and time he had devoted to researching the subject and on this occasion making it very easy for the gathered assembly to make their daily advancement in Masonic knowledge.
He also informed the companions that the demonstration team for the ‘Passing of the Veils’ ceremony would be active gain next season, venues to be announced and he commended attendance to those who had not yet witnessed that activity. Harry also took the opportunity to inform the companions that up to now 42% of Freemason’s in West Lancashire had joined the Royal Arch and it was nice to hear that another candidate was due to be taken on in the chapter.
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