Greetings Friends & Companions,
Before we begin I’d like to congratulate Companion William Green on being made an honorary member of Washtenaw Chapter No. 6, Royal Arch Masons. His work with the chapter has been greatly appreciated and I hope he enjoys further adventures with us as he takes part in future degrees and continues his journey through the York Rite.
With June here and the warm weather it brings it seems that there is something going on every weekend keeping all the brethren as busy as possible. For me the most notable are Milan Lodge No. 323’s First Annual Feast of St. John the Baptist Featuring Worshipful Brother Andrew Hammer which takes place on June 11th at the Comfort Inn Chelsea; the Belleville National Strawberry Festival on June 17th-19th where my blue lodge, Myrtle Lodge No. 89 will be selling the best strawberries and strawberry shortcake in town; and the 4th Annual Detroit Windsor International Film Festival which is hosted at Wayne State University on June 22nd-26th. Throw Father’s Day in there on June 19th and it makes for a very busy month.
But with all these activities going on I hope you find the time to come visit us on June 20th at Calvary United Methodist Church for our monthly business meeting. We have a small meal at 6:30pm and we open at 7:00pm, and we have all sorts of events to plan out! Currently we have three petitioners for the capitular degrees, four for the cryptic degrees and 3 for the chivalric orders. It’s a lot of work, and a lot to prepare for but with the help of our members and those from the other York Rite bodies in the area I’m sure we can give these brothers and companions a great experience in the York Rite!
As some of you may know my wife’s family is up in Toronto and as such I take several trips up there a year. This last trip I took in May was particularly special because it allowed me to visit King Solomon’s Chapter No. 8, Royal Arch Masons of Canada in the Province of Ontario. It happened to be election night that evening and I was able to witness Excellent Companion Obafemi Adiete elected as First Principal, the equivalent of High Priest. It was a great experience and I was able to learn a little bit about how Royal Arch Masonry operates in Canada. One specific thing I paid particular attention to was the Companion’s Jewel worn by all Royal Arch Masons in Canada.
The jewel itself is wrought with symbolism, some of which your average American Companion would be well aware of, but some of which they would not and it’s best explained in a video the Royal Arch Masons of Canada produced which can be found at http://jointheroyalarch.com/?page_id=72. While I have a great appreciation for Masonic symbolism and feel it should never be overlooked, the jewel’s intrinsic symbolism isn’t what I’d like to talk about today. What really interested me is the symbolism of how and when it’s worn. See when you receive this jewel not only is it to be worn at all convocations of your Chapter but it is also permitted and expected to be worn in Blue Lodge as well. This was very surprising to me given the fact that in Michigan while from the standpoint of ritual Royal Arch Chapters and Craft Lodges are irrevocably intertwined there is a firm disconnect in administration separating the Royal Arch as if it was any other appendant body. The Royal Arch degree in fact is the completion of the 3rd Degree and I think through a subtle use of regalia the Canadian system better represents that truth. The Companion’s Jewel serves as a badge of honor for those who continued seeking light not satisfied with a substitution and traveled the rough road to find the right. It begs the new brother to question, and motivates them to wonder leading them on a journey to find answers.
But as we are in Michigan and have no such jewel to wear and show our connection to Capitular Masonry so can we do? Well we can talk about it. Talk to your brothers about the Royal Arch, and the process of completing their 3rd Degree. Let them know that the story is not yet over and they still have much to learn. Spark their curiosity and try to deeper build the connection between us and the Craft Lodges leading our brethren to further experiences, and greater light.
Well I hope I’ve been able to pass on a bit of light I picked up from a foreign jurisdiction, and hope a little insight on their unique ways have motivated you the way it has motivated me. Once again keep in mind we do have a number of candidates ready to continue their journey and could use all the help we can get, and as always we’ll be at Calvary United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor every third Monday, and would love to have you.
Brandon Mullins, HP