The Royal Arch Welcome Project
John Hervey Chapter No 1260 exalted its newest member, Comp Peter Hesketh during a very special Welcome Project meeting at MMHon 5th June 2023, attended by E Comp Simon White PGSwdB, Assistant Metropolitan Grand Superintendent. There was a largecontingent from the Welcome Project including 11 recently Exalted companions, Welcome Project (RA) Lead, E Comp John Peters,Welcome Project Coordinator, E Comp Peter McHattie, together witha large number of recent Exaltees from the Province of Essex.
The temple at MMH was full to capacity for what was a very enjoyable evening. John Hervey Chapter practices an enhanced Exaltationceremony that involves a great variety of voice and extensive added drama with music; they also had on display a hand-painted HarrisTracing board, which was explained to all the Welcome Project Exaltees. Somewhat mesmerised, they were also all presented with theirvery own print of the Tracing Board to take home. Ifyou look closely at the photo, the eagle eyed will also see that a dog was present atthe meeting-and impeccably behaved too. 50 Companions enjoyed the Carvery, to round off a fantastic day.
The Companions of John Hervey Chapter were also to the fore atthe relaunch of Richard Eve Chapter No 2772. The lifting of restrictionsfollowing the covid pandemic provided an opportunity for many Lodges and Chapters to re-evaluate the aims and needs of their members.With the patience, guidance and support of Scribe E Gary Jeffreys, Richard Eve Chapter No 2772 re-located from the Grange White Hotelnear Bedford Square to Mark Masons’Hall.
The next stage in rejuvenating the Chapter, at its new home, was the recruitment of new members. New Scribe Ezra E Comp VladanStojanovic, successfully applied to host the Welcome Project in order to make the occasion extra special for the Chapter. With38Companions present, E Comp David Ellis OBE, PGSoj, Metropolitan Grand Inspector witnessed the Exaltation of Bro Ben Hartley,withthe support of the‘Enhanced Exaltation Team’.
Made up of Companions from John Hervey No 1260, First Artificer No 3774 and Paddington No 3267 Chapters’Enhanced ExaltationTeam, assisted by five members of Richard Eve Chapter, the unique enhanced ceremony was delivered, providing Bro Hartley with amemorable ceremony. The Chapter’s rejuvenation continued at its next meeting with the Exaltation of Bro Alessandro D’Amico.
Earlier in the year, on 25th February, Sanitarian Chapter No 3458 hosted a Welcome Project event at Freemasons’Hall, in the presenceof E Comp John Peters PGSoj, Metropolitan Grand Inspector, where Bros. Thomas White and Mark Bullock were Exalted in a Doubleceremony of the highest quality.
This ceremony was witnessed by three “New Exaltees” as part of the Welcome Project Initiative, which, adding the two Candidates, made atotal five New Companions. Respecting all protocols, it was possible to seat all these Companions near each other at the festive board atTuttons in Covent Garden, where they were able to engage in a most convivial conversation reflecting on their recent experiences, facilitatedby the “Visiting Metropolitan Team” and Senior members of the Chapter.
Feedback from the New Exaltees attending was very positive, commenting that the whole process of booking their place to attend aWelcome Project event was seamless from start to finish. It was evident that all involved were committed in ensuring that their visit wasa friendly and positive experience.
The Welcome Project gives new Initiates and Exaltees in the Metropolitan Area an early opportunity to attend and observe a high-qualityInitiation/ Exaltation within a short period after joining, chosen by them from several especially selected Lodge and Chaptermeetings.They will meet other recent joiners to London Masonry and build new friendships whilst gaining an understanding of the ceremony inwhich they have recently participated. Engagement is at the heart of the Project’s aspirations.
The project is administeredby coordinators. New members receive a letter by email from The Welcome Project detailing the range ofmeetings available via a dedicated website (thewelcomeproject.co.uk) with easy-to-follow booking instructions.
Visiting Officers will also call new members shortly after their joining ceremony to assist in arranging a suitable meeting to attend incompany with a member of their own Lodge or Chapter. The new members will be supported in the meeting itself and at dinner afterwardsby the VO/SVO of that Lodge or Chapter, and usually a Metropolitan Grand Inspector will also be present.
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 52 August 2023 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 52 here.