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How Rudyard Kipling is Helping Essex Freemasons

Rudyard Kipling in his mid 20s


The Royal Arch –  and the underlying question asked by many Freemasons ‘What’s in it for me?’

Almost 40% of Essex Freemasons are members of the Royal Arch. They all have their own reasons for joining. The vast majority benefit from increased enjoyment and membership of the Royal Arch that strengthens their commitment to Freemasonry in general.

On 28th June 2024, four experienced Essex Royal Arch Masons were seated together at the Colchester Combined Chapter Convocation Banquet. They were John Singh, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals (APGP) and Provincial Grand Membership Officer for the Royal Arch; David Branch, a Past APGP and Scribe of Grey Friars Chapter; APGP elect, Jim Wolfe; and the Scribe of the oldest chapter in Essex, Patriotic, Tony Terry.

On behalf of the 60% plus of Essex Freemasons who are not members of the Royal Arch, they were asked:  In the First Degree, we are taught the importance of our role in our own world and to our creator; in the Second, we contemplate our role in society and in the Third the inevitable destiny of us all – death.  So, what further benefit does a Freemason get by joining the Royal Arch? 

In other words, What’s in it for me?

The answers included:

  • The Royal Arch follows on from the three Craft Degrees by discovering more about the spiritual and the physical side of personal development
  • The Royal Arch is the completion of your Masonic journey in pure and ancient Freemasonry
  • Ask yourself, ‘Are you happy doing your Craft and not being in the Royal Arch?’
  • The new maxim of One Journey, One Organisation, One Fee
  • You get to find out the genuine secrets
  • The work can be split

Tony Terry also emphasised many of the points he made one year ago in Why did I join the Royal Arch? – A personal view by Tony Terry ( in which he explained why he joined Patriotic Chapter – and why he stayed!

APGP John Singh said,

“It is all about everyone enjoying their Freemasonry. It is not about badges and honours.”

Approachable, hardworking and unpretentious, John takes his responsibility for the Province’s Royal Arch Membership portfolio very seriously.  

As an admirer of Rudyard Kipling, who was Initiated into the Lodge of Hope and Perseverance in Lahore, John particularly likes ‘The Mother Lodge’, a poem which captures the friendship in Freemasonry as it rises above different backgrounds, religions and political persuasions. John enjoys visiting Lahore and the surrounding area. It is also where his family originated from.  

Essex is fortunate to have John Singh as the Membership Officer for the Royal Arch.  The Provincial Executive was wise to choose him. In addition to his many qualities, John Singh naturally exudes, to everyone he meets, another important answer to the question: The Royal Arch - what’s in it for me?

That important answer is also the essence of John’s favourite poem about Freemasonry: ‘Friendship’.

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