An opportunity to fix the Sussex Fudge

Is there a value proposition for members, that under English Constitution Freemasonry,  we have a 4 part offering; Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft , Master Mason and Companion, conducted in a single craft lodge ?

In an article published in Freemasonry Today, winter 2020,  R. W. Bro. Dr Jim Daniel (UGLE Grand Secretary and Supreme Grand Chapter Grand Scribe E from 1998-2002) presented the concept of conjoining Royal Arch Chapter with Craft lodges, thus offering members a four-part process of Pure Ancient Masonry.

-Stuck with the Sussex fudge? (R. W. Bro. Dr Jim Daniel,  freemasonrytoday.com)

The article in  Freemasonry Today suggests that;

According to Douglas Burford, (Batham Royal Arch Lecture, 1995) the final form of the eventual compromise, the ‘Sussex fudge’, was not agreed until sometime between 25 November 1813, when the Preliminary ‘Articles of Union’ were signed at Kensington Palace, and 27 December 1813 when the final version was signed by the two Grand Masters.

In Burford’s view there is a distinct possibility that when Article 2 was originally drafted its first sentence read:

‘It is declared and pronounced that pure Antient Masonry consists of four degrees, and no more, viz. those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft, the Master Mason and also, the Supreme Degree of the Holy Royal Arch.’ [regards to Burford’s view, I have not found source evidence to corroborate this statement]

 

However, in the final version, that first sentence was obviously altered to read:

‘It is declared and pronounced that pure Antient Masonry consists of three [i.e., not four!] degrees, and no more, viz. those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft, and the Master Mason, including the Supreme Order of the Royal Arch.’

Jim Daniel concludes his article with:

‘But perhaps there is one institutional change that might also help. Would it not be an idea to return to an arrangement similar to that of the Ancients’ lodges where there is much closer union between the Craft and Royal Arch?

Perhaps even by allowing Craft lodges somehow to join with their chapters to work the Royal Arch exaltation ceremony.

Each lodge member would then see from the summons that on certain nights his lodge would be working the Royal Arch. He would see the order as an integral part of pure Antient Masonry and as the next natural step for him to take to complete his journey.

The Articles of Union and the Preliminary Declaration in the Book of Constitutions would continue to be honoured, work would be found for those occasions in lodge when there is no Craft work to be done, and so on.

This idea may prove to be unpopular or simply too difficult to enact, but one thing is certain: we are still stuck with the ‘Sussex fudge’, and, as my mother used to say, you can either like it or lump it.’

R. W. Bro. Dr Jim Daniel was UGLE Grand Secretary and Supreme Grand Chapter Grand Scribe E from 1998-2002.

Freemasonry Today, winter 2020 ( UGLE Members Quarterly Magazine )

https://www.freemasonrytoday.com/ugle-sgc/supreme-grand-chapter/stuck-with-the-sussex-fudge-a-piece-with-jim-daniel

Unpacking the Jim Daniel proposition there are two primary considerations. Initially, the members’ reaction. How might members’ benefit from the Royal Arch being included with the Craft and thereby, effectively, confirming the four-part process of, ‘Pure Antient Masonry’?

Secondly,  the reaction from the United Grand Lodge of England and Supreme Grand Chapter.  How might the overall Organisation benefit; the loss of some Grand Chapter offices notwithstanding?

Given, the challenges of the age, it is surely timely for the possible benefits of this  radical proposition to be fully evaluated by members’ and organisation alike.  This will require the pros and cons to be considered with equal rigour.

As the article in Freemasonry Today suggests, this is a unique situation only found in English Constitution Freemasonry.  In other jurisdictions, the Royal Arch is a totally separate degree.

Masonic membership is in global decline.

All Craft or Blue Grand Lodges from around the globe face three challenges to attract and retain new members.

The first challenge; to offer a Clear Concise and Compelling relevant value proposition. And there are many relevant value propositions.  Freemasonry is not a one size fits all.

The second challenge; is to deliver on that value proposition, because if they don’t, members will just leave, as they do.

The third challenge; is onboarding, a digital marketing strategy to deliver the right message to the right person and the right time.  This is a professional service that can be bought in.

Freemasonry under the English constitution faces three membership challenges;  attracting and retaining craft members, attracting and retaining Royal Arch members, and attracting and retaining Metaverse Lodge membership.

For those who struggle with the idea of a Metaverse Lodge, for now consider the Metaverse as just another meeting place.

Perhaps the key to the solution to these challenges are hidden in plan view, within The Articles of Union 1813.

The Articles of Union 1813, define a four-part process of Pure Ancient Masonry: Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft, the Master Mason and  Supreme Order of the Royal Arch.

The value proposition for members

(i) Efficiency savings for Organisation and members.

(ii) Ensure that progressing from the third to the fourth part would be as smooth as progressing from the first to second and then to the third.

The masonic offering needs to be fit for the purposes of the twenty-first-century.

Seemingly, the current the offer revolves around making new friendships with like-minded people.

This is nuanced towards socialising and camaraderie as demonstrated by social media images (twitter, Facebook and Instagram) abounding with of images of members drinking or eating at a festive boards.

This is not so prevalent outside the English Constitution Lodges.

The thesis for this article is that ;

The value proposition to become a Freemason could be based on participatory citizenship including both of the Nation and of the World as indicated at Initiation and realised in the Royal Arch.

Masonic principles provide the blueprint; masonry in practice would focus on leadership and self-development skills – away from a socialising dining club – to attract candidates looking for help and guidance with these skills. 

The focus is on meeting self and mutual needs; and if the value proposition is fulfilled, provides a relevance to attract and retain.  

The first launch of the UGLE Members Pathway sought to manage expectations from first enquiry to the Chair. 

Many of those leaving soon after joining do so on viewing Freemasonry as little more than a dining club, without secrets, and offers little or no discernible guidance for self-improvement. 

The rapid development of the metaverse is work in progress see: Great Architect of the Metaverse  Already, leading technology companies are building the infrastructure to host these platforms and develop the user interface.  

Freemasonry will also make its way into the metaverse with a transition period where both analogue and metaverse lodges will co-exist.

Those Surviving, will be the masonic lodges providing the best user experience along with delivering on their value proposition. 

Grand Lodges will need to employ the most advanced on-boarding techniques (membership biased digital sales and marketing applications). 

It will not be enough just to make a single value offer but to present the right tailored, fit for purpose offer, at the right time.

Having completed their Pure Ancient Masonry journey, Metaverse (digital) Freemasons will likely wish to engage in ‘real-world’ socialising and comradery, not available in the Metaverse and will look to join local (analogue) lodges. 

It will then be interesting to see if existing local lodges will admit these Metaverse Freemasons.  Or possibly, independent dining lodges confined to the major cities, are established for Metaverse Freemasons. 

At which point, English Constitution Freemasonry goes full circle; there becomes two English Constitution Grand Lodges, UGLE for the real-world Freemasons – ” the Analogues”, and the UGLM the Metaverse Freemasons – “the Digitals”.

 

to be a better citizen of the world

The Square Magazine plans a series of articles,  expanding on each of the four-parts of Pure Ancient Masonry and how each step develops on the theme of good National and World citizenship.

Next month we will address step 1; the Entered Apprentice – Preparing for citizenship, in terms of leadership and personal development skills

Article by: Nicholas J Broadway

njcholas broadway

Nicholas was initiated into Freemasonry in 1989 in Stonewell Lodge No. 9137, Essex England (UGLE) and was Master in 1995, 2011 and 2016. He also joined other UGLE craft Lodges and is a PZ in the Royal Arch Chapter. 

He acquired the title of The Square Magazine in January 2020 and oversees the technical running of the digital publication.

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