Talking Heads; the next step into the Royal Arch

Royal Preston Lodge No 333 hosted a presentation of ‘Talking Heads’ the next step into the Royal Arch. The presentation was adapted from the work developed by the Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London and is intended to raise awareness of the Royal Arch to members of the Craft who have yet to take that step. The presentation takes the form of a dialogue between an experienced past master and a relatively new master Mason as they arrive to get ready for a lodge meeting. The scene is set by a narrator who goes on to interject at various points in the dialogue to add supporting information at the appropriate point.

Pictured from left to right, are the Talking Heads team: Howard Linaker, Ian Cuerden and Phil Cragg.

Pictured from left to right, are the Talking Heads team: Howard Linaker, Ian Cuerden and Phil Cragg.

For this presentation the part of the narrator was taken by Ian Cuerden, the past master by Howard Linaker and dressed as the new questioning master Mason, Phil Cragg. A screen and a projector were suitably placed in the lodge room to allow images of Royal Arch regalia and jewels to be displayed during the presentation with the projector being ably operated by Geoff Saul.

Ingol Lodge of St Margaret No 8544, who meet on the same night, were invited to attend the presentation and an invitation to the event was passed to the Preston Group lodge secretaries for the information of their brethren. On this occasion, the lodge members were honoured by the presence of grand officer Peter Elmore, who holds the position of Second Provincial Grand Principal in the Royal Arch and the Preston Group Chairman Steve Bolton.

The WM David Rhodes, duly opened the lodge and conducted the regular business of the evening in an expeditious manner following which, it was announced that the brethren of Ingol Lodge of St Margaret requested permission to enter. This being duly given, the WM David Seed duly led his members into the lodge to be formally welcomed by David Rhodes.

The presentation commenced by Ian, in his role as the narrator and in the spirit of the evening humorously introduced Howard and Phil as the participants in the dialogue that was set in the robing room prior to the commencement of a lodge meeting. After the usual greetings, Phil began by commenting about how much he had learnt in the short time he had been a Mason and how, after each meeting he had more questions to ask. Howard responded by saying he was always willing to help and encouraged Phil to fire away. Phil began by asking Howard as to the Masonic relevance of a tie he was wearing and the jewel he had just put in his breast pocket. Howard pointed out that the tie and jewel showed that he was a member of the Royal Arch, a beautiful order closely related to the Craft.

Curiosity raised, Phil continued with his questions to which Howard responded, describing how the present Royal Arch came into being as a result of the union of the two grand lodges in the early 1800’s. Further questions revealed the relevance of the Royal Arch to the Craft and elicited information regarding the background to the ritual and what was expected of a Royal Arch companion in terms of commitment, time and cost of membership. The presentation concluded with the distribution of a leaflet entitled, ‘The Next Step in Freemasonry’ and a mention of the lodge Royal Arch contacts who were always available to answer further questions.

Ian brought the proceedings to a close by saying that this was in no way to be considered a ‘hard sell’ and he hoped that the presentation had provided those brothers present, who are not members of the Royal Arch, with much food for thought. Indeed it may have furthered the Masonic knowledge of those brethren who are already members.

On behalf of all the brethren present, David thanked Ian and his team for what had been an interesting and informative presentation.

Later in the evening Peter Elmore commented that this was the third presentation of ‘Talking Heads’ he had seen and every one had been different. He hoped that the presentation had provided an insight into the Royal Arch and hopefully some encouragement to those brethren who were yet to consider taking the next step.

Pictured from left to right, are: Peter Elmore, David Rhodes, Howard Linaker, Ian Cuerden, Phil Cragg, David Seed, Geoff Saul and Steve Bolton.

Pictured from left to right, are: Peter Elmore, David Rhodes, Howard Linaker, Ian Cuerden, Phil Cragg, David Seed, Geoff Saul and Steve Bolton.