In England, the Royal Arch is considered to be the completion of “pure ancient Masonry”. In the Craft the candidate is presented with a series of eminently practical principles and tenets. But man is not simply a practical being, he has an essential spiritual aspect to his nature. That spiritual aspect is fulfilled as the Mason is progressively led to a contemplation of man’s inevitable destiny, and becomes the central message of the Royal Arch. In that sense, “pure ancient Masonry” can be seen as a journey of self – knowledge and discovery with the Royal Arch completing the practical lessons of the Craft by a contemplation of man’s spiritual nature, not replacing but reinforcing and supporting what he has learned from his religion.
A long time ago, the Royal Arch ceremonies would be worked in a Craft Lodge. Following a major re-organisation of Freemasonry after the Union of the Grand Lodges in 1813, the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch was stated to be the completion of the Third Degree, but it is now more accurately described as the completion of the journey through “Pure, Antient Masonry.”
This is without doubt a most rewarding and enlightening step for a Master Mason to take, offering him the opportunity to fill the gaps left in Craft Masonry and enabling him to continue his Masonic journey towards a spiritual conclusion. Like Craft Freemasonry, the Royal Arch is open to men of all faiths.
Whilst there are other Masonic Orders, all of which require Craft membership as a pre-requisite, many of them also need candidates to have been exalted into the Royal Arch.
Usually a Royal Arch Chapter is attached to a specific Lodge and in the main, adopts its name and number, but not all Craft Lodges have a Chapter. It therefore follows that many Companions of a Chapter will come from different Lodges, and perhaps from different Provinces.
There are 72 Royal Arch Chapters in Sussex and all are connected to one of the Province’s Craft Lodges.
You may seek to join any of the Province’s Chapters in order, if you wish, to widen your circle of masonic friends and to meet at a different venue as may suit you best.