SISTER CHAPTERS REUNITED BY FORTUITOUS MEETING ACROSS THE HALLWAY
E Comp Peter Jordan reports
On Thursday 14th February 2019 only five members of Dalston Chapter No 3008 met at their Installation meeting.
The Chapter’ s future appeared bleak with illness and a lack of members, including the loss of four members the year before. It was becoming evident that the Chapter, with great sadness, should consider handing back its Charter. Across the Anteroom, Zeus Chapter No 5418 was holding an identical meeting to discuss its future.
Thanks to the intervention of the Janitor, E Comp David Mitchell, both Chapters held a brief meeting. The meeting was a catalyst for the Scribe E of Zeus Chapter, E Comp Steve Brown and the Second principal of Dalston Chapter, E Comp Ian Morrison (both of whom were living in St Albans) to arrange several meetings to plan the future and the possibility of holding joint meetings between the Chapters with the benefit of sharing Temple hire, Janitor’s fees and dining costs.
On Wednesday 17th April 2019, Dalston Chapter No 3008 and Zeus Chapter No 5418 held their first joint meeting at Freemasons’ Hall, supported by Metropolitan Grand Inspector, W Bro Grahame Lovett PGSoj, his escorting officer and twenty-two Companions. Zeus Chapter Principals opened the Convocation, with the assistance of the Dalston Chapter’s Third Principal. An excellent Exaltation ceremony followed, which was warmly received by all present. The Dalston Chapter then opened, with the assistance of the Second and Third Principals of Zeus Chapter in office. A successful ballot took place for a joining member, and the meeting concluded with an application for a rejoining member. The new arrangements have secured the future of both Chapters, and the Companions and the new exaltee enjoyed a delicious Festive Board at the Radisson Hotel in Covent Garden the first full Festive Board for many years.
The success of the inaugural joint meeting in April has helped to reinvigorate both Chapters. The second joint-meeting took place on Tuesday 1st October 2019 when Dalston Chapter opened the meeting, then balloted for and welcomed a re-joining member back into the Dalston Chapter. A further ballot proved successful for a former Senior Visiting Officer to receive Honorary Membership. The Second Principal delivered the Historical Lecture, followed by the Principal Sojourner presenting the Symbolical Lecture, this was followed by Zeus Chapter opening and giving the Mystical Lecture. Then two recent Zeus exaltees shared the Mystical Lecture. Twenty-nine Companions attended and dined.
On Thursday 13th February 2020 the Joint Meeting was opened, and Dalston Chapter declared the Principals remain in office for a further year. Zeus Chapter then installed the Third Principal before inducting the First and Second Principals. Both Chapters shared the ceremonies. Twenty- Two Companions attended the meeting On Wednesday 15th April 2020 the joint Chapters will host the Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp Simon White PGSoj and members of the Metropolitan Grand Stewards Chapter to present an ‘Explanation of the Royal Arch Tracing Boards’. The Scribe E of either Chapter can provide details. Over forty companions are expecting to attend.
The joint meeting is a success story for both Chapters by deciding to meet together but keep their identities and prevent handing in their Charters.
The benefits are proven with lower costs and increased attendance, making the preparation and learning worthwhile for each meeting. It is also easier to attract new exaltees and joining members, mainly former members who may have lost interest and become disillusioned with the poor attendance. These Chapters are looking forward to the problem of exalting two new members at the October meeting!
The final twist to the story of this chance meeting was the realisation that both Chapters have a ‘Family Tree’ to share. St. John of Hackney Lodge No 2511 is the Mother Lodge for both Dalston Lodge No 3008 and Zeus Lodge No 5418. At the end of the meeting, someone commented that “Maybe we should invite Mother to the next meeting”.