At the Gravesend Masonic Centre, under the banner of Gravesham Royal Arch Chapter No 5337, members of The Provincial Grand Stewards Chapter No 5866 recently gave the second of what will be four demonstrations of the Ceremony of the Veils.
Any companion of the Holy Royal Arch, who may wish to reinforce his understanding of the indissoluble link between the craft and chapter, is strongly recommended to try and see one of the two remaining demonstrations (details below). Many questions will be addressed and it will help to clarify the relationship between the craft and chapter.
The Gravesham ceremony was conducted before a very good audience of around 70 companions including the Deputy Grand Superintendent, the 3rd Grand Principal and, in an unofficial capacity, the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent E Comp Geoffrey Dearing.
It is of course impossible to convey details of the ceremony on this website for obvious reasons however it can be said that it was colourful, informative and Masonically very educational. It did not seem to last very long but time flies when one is enjoying oneself!
It may not be widely known that special dispensation must be obtained from Supreme Grand Chapter before the Ceremony of the Veils can be performed by any Province under the English Constitution. Even then, any dispensation normally restricts demonstrations to a maximum of one only per year. Our Grand Superintendent managed to secure permission for additional demonstrations to be conducted in our province. These have been planned to be conducted throughout the year at different regional venues so that the maximum number of companions can attend at least one of them with the minimum amount of travel or inconvenience.
The first of this series was held in Maidstone, the second in Gravesend the third in Ashford and the fourth in Sandgate.
Following this demonstration several companions asked whether they could organise a demonstration themselves within their own Chapters. Sadly the answer was “No” because all such demonstrations have to be authorised, and reported upon, by the Grand Superintendent. However if you would like to have a demonstration in your Chapter at some time in the future please contact the Scribe E of the East Kent Provincial Grand Stewards Chapter.
Some interesting statistics are that 37% of the craft in East Kent are also members of the chapter. Over the last year, taking the net figure of exaltations, joining members, deaths, resignations and so on, Royal Arch membership in East Kent fell by some 105 companions or 3.5%. With the help of meetings such as the ‘veils’ demonstrations, this decline can be reversed. Additionally, despite the Royal Arch’s commitment to the 2014 Festival, chapter members in East Kent managed to raise the staggering sum of £40,000 for the Royal College of Surgeons; an amazing achievement.
The opportunity was also taken to remind companions that the Provincial Chapter meeting will be held on Friday 16th May, 3.15pm at Margate. This will be the first time it has been held on a Friday and it is widely hoped that it will encourage good attendance. Some may wish to couple it with a weekend break with their other halves especially if there is some nice sunny weather to go with it. Good support will be greatly appreciated as, apart from many senior companions from other provinces, we will be honoured with the presence of the Most Excellent Third Grand Principal, David Kenneth Williamson.
Reports on other demonstrations of the Ceremony of the Veils in East Kent in 2011, 2014 and 2015 can be found by clicking on the links below:-