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The East Lancashire Royal Arch Presentation Team is a group of Royal Arch Masons who have performed various pieces of ritual and other presentations throughout the Province and beyond since 1992. EComp John Cavanagh has led the Team since 2010 and EComp Mike Williams became his Deputy in January 2013, and they are supported by a group of very enthusiastic, dramatic and colourful companions.
EComp John Cavanagh PProvGSN is a Past First Principal in the Chapter of Friendship, being numbered 44, which is the spiritual home of the Presentation Team. He has previously served as the Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah for the Province in 2014 and was the District Officer for the Royal Arch in the Audenshaw District. EComp Mike Williams was also the Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah in 2013. He too has served as DORA, serving for six years in the Ashton & Mossley District. Mike is soon to retire as deputy leader and to be replaced by EComp Dennis Heskett, a well known Royal Arch Companion from Clitheroe
Shown in the photograph: Centre – RWBro Stephen Blank, Provincial Grand Master of Cheshire with, on his right, the WM of Concord – WBro Mike Keightley PProvJGW and APGP. The ELRAPT Team are (From top, clockwise) EComps Russell Pike, David Clayton, Greg Casson, Richard Johnson, John Cavanagh (ELRAPT Bookings Clerk and Administrator), Grahame Rawlinson, Ray Degg, A couple of hangers – on, Dennis Hesketh (Team Leader) and Tony Freemont, Terry Bailey, Another hanger on and Chris Cunliffe (Deputy Team Leader)
Yet again the Companions of the East Lancashire Royal Arch Presentation Team were invited to travel to Foreign Parts, taking our own brand of enlightened Royal Arch Trivia and Merry Making with us. On this occasion we went south, leaving the safety and security of the Province of East Lancashire behind us, we sojourned into the deep South, far from civilisation. (Well, okay, we went visiting to Stockport, but it sounds much more exciting the other way.)
On Wednesday 26thSeptember a dozen Companions of ELRAPT, together with one or two hangers on) visited the Lodge of Concord No 323 at its base of operations in the Stockport Masonic Guildhall. Concord is over 200 years old, starting its life as a normal Masonic Lodge, in recent years, following an amalgamation with another Cheshire Lodge it has become a Lodge of Installed Masters.
On the night there were more than 60 brethren present to see what ELRAPT could do. The principal guest of honour was another East Lancs Mason, in the person of VWBro Stephen M Blank, the Provincial Grand Master of the Province of Cheshire. He was accompanied by a full Provincial Delegation as it was only days before Provincial Grand Lodge would meet and terms of office would come to an end. But it all made for a jolly fine company.
If you haven’t seen ELRAPT perform “Crafty Companions” then all I can say is, “Shame on You”. As usual, the Team attend, regaled as RA Masons, and stay outside the Lodge. The main business is concluded and the Lodge is Called Off before the performance begins. Crafty Companions tells the stories of several characters of whom we know little more than their names, but who all have solid back stories if you take the time to research them. There are heroes, villains, jokers and one solid lunatic. ELRAPT was set up to share the joy of Royal Arch Masonry and to spread the message that Masonry is FUN! Wednesday’s audience was most receptive and joined in with the cheering, booing, and general mayhem of the evening.
A great time was had by all.
Text and Photographs are by, and © Kevin Hall (Comms Officer).
Individual photographs are available for download from the EL Cloud PhotoGallery at the following address: Lodge of Concord 323 Gallery
The profile of the East Lancashire Royal Arch Presentation Team continues to be raised throughout the Province. The Most Excellent Grand Superintendent, Sir David Trippier and his Royal Arch Officers fully support the continuing work of the team, which is reflected in the fact that Sir David is the President and the Deputy Grand Superintendent, Paul Rose, is the Deputy President. All the Assistants to the Provincial Grand Principals, Excellent Companions, Paul Aspinall, Eddie Barlow, Len Hayes, David Basger and David Dunn are the Vice Presidents. Each of the APGPs represent and introduce the team when performing one of their presentations at a Chapter within their area. The Second Provincial Grand Principal, David H Thompson, also continues to give both support and encouragement especially when visiting Chapters in other Provinces by providing the introduction prior to their presentation. Indeed support is still received from both the past Presidents and past Vice presidents on many occasions.
The team have an extensive repertoire, including a presentation of the “Passing of the Veils” which we can perform annually, along with a special version of the Exaltation Ceremony, showing how Chapters can divide that ceremony between many Companions. It is an exciting and worthy example of a wonderful Exaltation. The team also perform self-written presentations which bring the characters, places and events from our ritual to life. These lively presentations vary from witty to serious performances with a commentary intended to help Masons understand more about our history.
The overriding intention of the team is to have fun, and to pass on to Companions old and new, the pleasure we derive from the Royal Arch. But especially to highlight the Royal Arch and encourage Master Masons to join the order, additionally to reinvigorate those Companions whose interest has waned. It is the intention of the team to see a continuing expansion of the range of presentations along with more East Lancashire Masons to join us.
If you would like the ELRAPT to visit your Lodge or Chapter then please contact us through the team leader below. We do not charge for our attendance and we pay for all our meals and expenses. However we do ask for a donation to our Chapter Charity account of a minimum £150. Indeed the Chapter of Friendship (the home of the team) is a Grand Patron of the 2015 Festival.
Finally, the work of the team is simple – to facilitate improvement in our knowledge and understanding of Freemasonry, especially the Royal Arch, by bringing together Brethren and Companions at special evenings that will ensure the future and enjoyment of Freemasonry in the Province of East Lancashire.
EComp John Cavanagh PProvGSN
Tel 0161 249 3336
Home 01625 530459
Mob 07921 330381
or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We believe in the following verse which was discovered by one of our members Graham Rawlinson
The practises we follow are not meaningless and odd,
They are ancient and significant,
Lets us keep them, and let us explain them.
I joined Prince Edwin’s Chapter as I was keen to learn about the Royal Arch. I have found the history and tradition of the order absolutely captivating, my exaltation was incredible, so much colour, drama and historical ritual, which has left me feeling utterly privileged to be a part of something very special.
At the age of 28 and just over a month of becoming a master mason, I was exalted into the Royal Arch. That is something I haven’t regretted. Having gone through my craft ceremonies, I felt a piece of the jigsaw was missing, and wanted to complete my final step to becoming a “complete Freemason”.
Chapter has brought with it new experiences, new insights and new Companions, all of which add to our pleasure and enjoyment of Freemasonry.
I planned to pass through the chair before joining Chapter but newly exalted companions from my lodge recommended that I join because it would complete my masonic journey. After 4 years in craft I decided to join chapter and have enjoyed the experience ever since.
Andrew Matvi Korolczuk
As I spent more time in my lodge I was keen to further my Masonic journey. Everyone suggested the Royal Arch to complete the Third Degree. The new appearance of a chapter was a surprise. The story was enlightening and put a new perspective on my Masonic understanding.
Christopher Noel Hegarty
I became a member of the Chapter following in the steps of my brother Warren who died at 39. I really enjoy the diversity between the Craft and Royal Arch the banners, candles, and robes etc,. I would recommend all Brethren to join the Royal Arch.
I decided to expand my Masonic knowledge. By joining a chapter where a number of my lodge brethren were members. My Exaltation was a wonderful experience for me being full of colour. I would recommend the Royal Arch to any Master Mason.