L to R VPBro Bill Thompson, E&P Bro Bill Stephen MWS of
The Rose Croix District of Durham was privileged to receive a visit from the Lieutenant Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of Australia recently when VPBro. Emeritus Prof. William Thompson 33°, SGIG, Lt Gr Cmdr of the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, was paying a visit to the area where he grew up and where his sister still lives. Bill (as he is better known) was eager to explore Rose Croix Masonry in the UK, so he made enquiries of Supreme Council in Duke Street, London as to the possibility of visiting a Chapter Rose Croix while he was in Durham.
Without delay, VIllBro Paul Paterson 33° , Inspector General for the District of Durham then made suitable arrangements with Venerable Bede Chapter No.305 who were delighted to host Bro Thompson’s visit to their chapter at Durham Masonic Hall on 4th February 2015.
The members of Venerable Bede Chapter performed an excellent Ceremony of Perfection and, to the delight of all present, VPBro Bill conducted the Third Point and, afterwards at dinner, entertained all present when he responded to a toast to the visitors. The evening was all the richer for his presence, and an excellent time was had by all!
Members of Venerable Bede Chapter Rose Croix No305 with their distinguished visitors
(mouse over to zoom)
THE ORDER IN DURHAM
The Supreme Council 33º for England Wales and its Districts and Chapters Overseas, formed in 1845, is the governing body for the Ancient and Accepted Rite in England – popularly known as the Rose Croix. It consists of nine members and has been based at its headquarters at 10 Duke Street, St. James' London since 1911. It is responsible for all matters pertaining to the Order within its jurisdiction, including Ritual matters, Consecrations of Chapters, and conferring the higher degrees of the 30º - 33º during ceremonies which it carries out regularly at Convocations held at its headquarters.
In 1872 the Supreme Council decided to divide England and Wales into Districts under the direction of Inspectors General. Each District is ruled by an Inspector General who is invariably promoted to 33º. They are appointed initially for five years but may be eligible for reappointment for a further five-year term. They have certain powers delegated to them by Supreme Council, and they can be assisted by a District Recorder, but there is no District organization similar to that in the Craft, Royal Arch, Mark, Knights Templar, etc.
The District of Durham was formed in 1932, at which time there were three Chapters in the District, and VIllBro The Lord Ravensworth 33º was appointed as the first Inspector General. Since that time, the number of Chapters has increased to 20, which is considered to be quite large (the majority of Districts are much smaller). The aim is to enable Inspectors General to have a valuable and personal contact with the members of the Chapters they supervise, which could prove difficult if they were responsible for greater numbers. Presently these Chapters have around 600 members.
JOINING THE ORDER
The Order amplifies the teachings of Craft Masonry within a Christian context, for which reason candidates must profess the Trinitarian Christian Faith.
Candidates for the 'Rose Croix' must:
(a) have been initiated in a Lodge under the United Grand Lodge of England ,and
(b) have been a Master Mason for at least one full year and be in good standing within the Craft.
Nowhere in the 18º is the Candidate asked to swear an oath: all the Obligations are promises. One may presume that the word of a man of the type invited to join the degree once given, is ample bond.
Regalia for the 18th degree is both simple and spectacular and comprises a red collar embroidered in gold braid with symbols and emblems of the Degree of Perfection.
Being a progressive Order, it is the aspiration (but not a requirement) of most members to attain the Chair of Sovereign. His work, in the only degree worked in our Chapters, is not extensive because much of the ritual can be undertaken by Past Sovereigns. He is however, expected to carry out the short ceremony of Enthroning his successor. As very few Rose Croix Masons withdraw from progression, it normally takes about seven years to pass through the different Offices.