Dining in daylight

The benefits of meeting during the daytime were extolled at a recent morning convocation of Verulam Chapter which meets at Ashwell House in St Albans. Members and their guests participated in a lively, enjoyable and novel meeting followed by a fabulous festive board and all were on their way home by early afternoon. 

Whilst this type of meeting does not suit everyone there are certain groups of people who benefit from convocations that start earlier in the day. Those who have challenges driving during the hours of darkness can enjoy a masonic event during daylight hours and drive themselves home without having to rely on others for lifts. Others who may live many miles from their masonic centre can take a leisurely drive to the meeting and will still be home at a reasonable hour. This is exactly the case for the Chapter’s First Principal, Excellent Companion Bob Shutler, who travels to St Albans from his home in Fareham near Portsmouth. Bob explained that one of the reasons that he enjoys membership of this “meridian” Chapter is that he can drive to the meeting out of the rush hour but, more importantly he does not get home in the early hours of the following morning which might be the case if the Chapter met at 6 or 7pm. Another attendee at the meeting explained that he has carer responsibilities which would preclude him from getting to an evening meeting. As he pointed out, he had spent many years enjoying evening meetings after work but as he has got older, life’s rich tapestry has presented him with alternative challenges at home and that has meant that a daytime convocation enables him to retain his membership of the Holy Royal Arch. Resignation could easily have been the alternative if he had not been introduced to meridian meetings. 

The Provincial Grand Almoner, Dr Robert Gurney, was honoured to have been invited as a guest to the recent Verulam Chapter meeting and said “Meridian meetings offer fantastic opportunities for many to enjoy membership of the Royal Arch, especially where physical infirmities or carer responsibilities prevent them attending evening convocations. Likewise, those with childcare responsibilities can enjoy their masonry earlier in the day, leaving them free to support their families when most often needed in the early evening. There are other masons who work afternoon and evening shifts, and morning / lunchtime convocations enable them to participate in the meeting and enjoy the camaraderie associated with our Order”. 

Meridian or morning masonic meetings are nothing new, and we know that during the second world war Grand Lodge empowered lodges to meet as early in the day as possible. In Hertfordshire there are nine Chapters that meet in the daytime at the masonic centres in Cheshunt, St Albans, Radlett and Letchworth 

Recognising the need to offer opportunities for everyone to enjoy Chapter Masonry, Provincial Mentor and Past Provincial Third Grand Principal Rod Kent said ” Anyone wishing to find out more about daytime meetings would be very welcome at Verulam Chapter as a visitor, candidate or joining member. You will receive a very warm welcome from companions that are passionate about the order”. 

If you are interested in finding out more about Verulam Chapter, please contact Chris Slater at cjs.slater@gmail.com

For further information about other Chapters in Hertfordshire that meet during daylight hours please contact the Provincial Scribe E, David Broomer via email at david.broomer51@gmail.com