There’s nowhere quite like home

E Comp Richie Miller SLGCR reports

This is a story of what can be achieved when there is a will to succeed.

Chaucer Chapter No 1540 had not had an Exaltee for 11 years and, with a significantly ageing and dwindling membership, the future of the 144-year-old Chapter looked bleak with the handing in of the Charter now a distinct probability.

In November 2019, Argosy Lodge No 5181, who were without an attached Chapter, had a visit from the then Inspector W Bro Ian Clark, deputising for W Bro Lewis Bloch, their own Inspector. They brought up the matter of taking over a Chapter and, after several meetings with their VO and SVO, resolved to remedy the situation and find a ‘home Chapter’ for their brethren.

Bro Ian is responsible for Lodges which are looking for Chapters to either take over or work alongside, and he asked all the RA Inspectors to give him details of potential Chapters.

Metropolitan Grand Inspector Rob Chaproniere identified the existing Chaucer Chapter as possibly suitable for rejuvenation, but only if all parties were agreeable.

Preliminary talks began in March 2021 (conducted over Zoom during the pandemic) initially, with both Bro Ian Clark and Bro Rob Chaproniere in attendance. But then, under the guidance of SVO Bro Les Hipwell, it involved key Argosy, Chaucer and Inspectorate members. After a few meetings and some frank discussions around the future of the Chapter and the integration of new members, it was agreed to move forward with the rejuvenation of the Chapter.

Detailed negotiations then took place. The willingness of the joining members to take office and for the retiring members to relinquish their roles whilst retaining a ‘consultative’ function was key. An action plan was drawn up and agreed upon at Met Leadership and Inspectorate levels. A consensus was reached around changing the name while maintaining the traditions of the Chapter. By October, sufficient joining members had been found to fill key roles in the Chapter, with several Exaltees identified for the immediate future.

At an Emergency Meeting in October, the joiners became members of the Chapter, and on the 3rd November 2021, at the Installation meeting, members from Argosy Lodge, E Comps Richard Lloyd, Tim Sherwood and Peter Davies were installed as Principals with Comp Lee Cannon becoming 1st Asst Sojourner and Comp Rocco Miragliotta the Charity Steward. E Comp Richie Miller from the Inspectorate became DC & Mentor.

Whilst not every office could be transferred at this stage, E Comp Alvah Clark as Scribe E and E Comp Tony White as Treasurer offered to remain in their role for one further year, providing continuity and breathing space to find replacements. This had been achieved in less than two years.

The culmination of all the aspirations for the Chapter was realised on the 5th March 2022 with the Exaltation of Bro Robert Hughes in a ceremony conducted by E Comp Richie Miller and in the presence of a large number of visitors Asst Met G Supt Ian Clark presented the Exaltee’s Guide explaining the key new membership initiative ‘The Welcome Project’. The process of rejuvenation had taken off. 

Two joiners, E Comp Gary Morley and Comp Stephen Bish added to the occasion, with another two indicating they would be joining at the next meeting. There is now a succession plan which should endure up to and beyond the 150th anniversary of the Chapter in 2028, and who knows, maybe the bi-centenary as well!



This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 48 April 2022 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.

Read more articles in the Arena Issue 48 here.