During the course of 2015 there have been a series of presentations of an enhanced ritual for the Royal Arch degree taking place across the Province.
Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Barry Jameson has responsibility for the St Helens and Prescot, Widnes and Warrington Groups and has organized demonstrations in these groups. The first enhanced exaltation using the approved enhancements to the ceremony of exaltation took place in Urmston in a joint convocation with the South Eastern and Warrington Groups, with companions from the Eccles Group also in attendance. The ceremony was hosted by Foundation Chapter No 5394 and the Third Provincial Grand Principal Stanley Oldfield was the principal guest.
The chapter room was full to capacity as companions from many other groups were in attendance including the Eccles Group Chairman David Walmsley, Warrington Group Chairman Andy Barton and Peter Lockett Chorley Group Chairman.
The chapter was opened by the three principals: Eddie Wilkinson (first principal), Dennis Tierney (second principal) and Peter Stockton (third principal). After conducting the normal business the Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies announced that the Third Provincial Grand Principal stood outside and demanded admission. Eddie said he would be delighted to admit him. Stanley entered the temple, accompanied by Barry Jameson and Mike Adams (South Eastern Group Chairman) along with several other grand and acting Provincial grand officers.
After Eddie had welcomed Stanley to the chapter and offered him his sceptre, which Stanley accepted and promptly returned saying he was sure that Eddie wanted to take part in the in the ceremony so he would return it so that he could enjoy watching the ceremony.
Gwilym Jones, the Warrington demonstration team’s DC then asked the team to take post – John Goodrum took the office of first principal, Eddie Wilkinson occupied the second principals chair and Vic Charlesworth took the third principal’s chair. The other officers were: David Poppitt remained as Scribe Ezra, Mike Sincup remained as Scribe Nehemiah, Chris Gleave acted as principal sojourner, David Pearson acted as second assistant sojourner, Howard Carr acted as third assistant sojourner and Christopher Betts acted as janitor.
Gwilym then gave a short explanation about the proceedings by explaining that the ceremony of exaltation is one of the most colorful and emphatic ceremonies within Freemasonry. Following on from what takes place within the Craft degrees, it has potential, if well executed to inspire the candidate along with those who are watching. Gwilym said the aim is to enhance the exaltation, to improve the candidates understanding of the exaltation ceremony without changing the ritual in any way.
The team then carried out the exaltation of Paul Morton using the agreed enhancements. One of the most important enhancements is the explanation of the story that is told during the ceremony, as the candidate is informed that the ceremony he is about to undergo is set some 500 years after the dedication of Solomon’s Temple, which is referred to in the ceremony of raising. The use of lighting managed by John Gregory set the ambience perfectly at key times through the ceremony.
The readings during the ceremony were delivered by Gwilym and at the conclusion of the ceremony the signs of a Royal Arch companion were explained by Philip Rampling.
Eddie thanked all the companions who had taken part in the ceremony as it had proved to be one of the highlights in the chapters 66 year history.
Following the convocation the companions retired to the dining room where they enjoyed the company of friends at the festive board.