By W Bro [E Comp] Jonathan Hillman PGSwdB, [PGSwdB], Assistant Metropolitan Grand Master [Assistant Metropolitan Grand Superintendent]
Engagement with Lodge and Chapter Members is one of the four key tenets of The New Members’ Pathway.
This engagement process is never more important than that at the outset of a mason’s journey, whether it is just after his initiation into the Craft or his subsequent exaltation in the Royal Arch.
The first impressions given by any organization are so important to the newcomer. Does he understand what he is getting into? Does he feel part of the team? Are they people he can talk and relate to? Does he have sufficient understanding of the ceremony he has just experienced to enable him to be both curious and informed about the future?
If you get it wrong at this stage, it can easily lead the new member to drift away.
This is where the Welcome Project can help supplement the pastorale care already being provided by the mother Lodge or Chapter and therefore enhance the experience of the new initiate or exaltee. It achieves this by enabling the new Brother or Companion to visit another Lodge or Chapter to experience a quality initiation or exaltation ceremony from the comfort of the sidelines in the company of a Metropolitan Grand Inspector and a number of their peers. And then to keep them in contact with each other by means of a WhatsApp group, enabling them to invite each other to their Lodges and Chapters. This is all part of the masonic onboarding process.
On Saturday 20th November, in the magnificent surroundings of temple 10 at Freemasons’ Hall, the Craft Welcome Project launched in style with over 45 Brethren present (including 11 Entered Apprentices). They enjoyed a superbly narrated demonstration of the 1st degree ceremony followed by an excellent festive board held in one of the stately rooms close to the Grand Temple.
Thank you to all those involved, including The Metropolitan Grand Stewards Demonstration Team, The Metropolitan Grand Lodge Ritual Support Team and The Emulation Lodge of Improvement. We must also express our gratitude to Alfred Newton Lodge No 2686, who were the perfect hosts for this new and important Initiative where new London masons are able to learn and network with other London masons at the start of their masonic journey. Similar events are planned in the near future.
The Royal Arch also held a similar superb launch event, kindly hosted Amicus Chapter 3772 on 19th October, also in the wonderful setting of temple 10.
Full details of upcoming Craft and Royal Arch Welcome Project Ceremonies can be found at The Welcome Project Website https://thewelcomeproject.co.uk. You can also book yourself online.
In their own words:
Comp. Paul – 'Apart from seeing an exaltation for the first time, meeting Companions from other Chapters who are just starting their journey in the Royal Arch is a massive plus.’
Comp Steve – 'It has given me more confidence to attend my own Chapter now.'
Comp Ollie – 'To be a part of the Amicus Chapter’s convocation was certainly one of the more awe-inspiring experiences I’ve had within Freemasonry, ensuring that we understood key aspects or had good visibility of all stages meant that I left the experience feeling genuinely impressed with my interest in Freemasonry and Royal Arch Masonry ignited further.’
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 47 January 2022 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 47 here.