It was in June that the newest companion to Royal Arch Freemasonry within the Liverpool Group, became a member of its oldest chapter, when at the last meeting of the season, Lee Kelly, a member of Royal Victoria Lodge No 1013 was exalted into St John of Jerusalem Chapter No 203.
Meeting at their traditional home of the Egyptian Suite in Liverpool Masonic Hall, the chapter was opened in due form and ceremonial by Steve Roberts, ably assisted by his co-principals Dave Ullathorne and John Leisk. On completion of standard business, the ceremony of exaltation commenced with the testing of Lee Kelly, which proved in the affirmative, after which he was admitted into the chapter room. An excellent ceremony ensued, with the work of the principal sojourner Steve Dovaston, carried out to a high standard on this the first exaltation for him in his current office.
Lee was also very fortunate in that John Leisk, former group mentoring liaison officer, was in attendance and acting in the role of third principal, gave a superb and faultless rendition of the lecture necessary at an exaltation, with full explanation of the signs. Lee was also presented with the ‘little red book’ containing the Royal Arch ceremonials, and the Peterborough booklet with notes for the newly exalted companion.
The ceremony was flawless in its presentation and the candidate truly embarked on his Royal Arch chapter career in fine order. The whole evening was enhanced by the delightful company of many friends, particularly from fellow group companions from Temperance Chapter No 2714 and a number of companions from the neighbouring province of Cheshire.
Congratulations were given to three companions of St John of Jerusalem Chapter who had just received notification of promotion within Royal Arch for the West Lancashire Province. These were David Ullathorne, Geoffrey Gill and Geoffrey Cuthill. They will be invested at the provincial chapter meeting at Southport on 12 October 2017. On closing the chapter, the companions retired to the dining room to partake of an excellent celebratory festive board making the evening a truly special occasion for all present.
Noted for its hospitality, the chapter has always welcomed visiting companions, and with the accepted change to the by-laws of the meeting dates it is hoped many more will now be able to visit. The chapter will now meet on the fourth Tuesday in March, May and September (installation), giving the advantage of missing the worst of the winter weather. The first principal Steve Roberts, stated that the installation meeting would therefore be held on Tuesday 26 September 2017 and he would be more than delighted to welcome any companions from other chapters who would like to attend.
Steve also reminded everybody that the bicentenary of the charter of the chapter issued by Supreme Grand Chapter in 1824 was steadily edging nearer, and it could be beneficial to start planning for this event now. The chapter had been operating since 1792 under the old Athol (Ancient) warrant, which had been issued to what became the Ancient Union Lodge 203. However, due to the events surrounding the Liverpool Rebellion, in which the lodge was closely involved, a number of its brethren were either suspended or expelled.
The remaining companions within Lodge 203 were strongly encouraged to apply for a new charter to the recently formed Supreme Grand Chapter if they wished to continue enjoying Royal Arch Masonry. Common sense eventually prevailed and the charter for St John of Jerusalem Chapter was issued on 2 November 1824, with the chapter being consecrated on 18 July 1825, and it has met continuously ever since.
Keeping this event in mind, it was mentioned that St John of Jerusalem Chapter was not only an excellent chapter for those that wanted to become Royal Arch Mason’s, but now with the new meeting date’s, it was also the perfect choice for any companion considering joining an additional chapter.