Putting a best foot forward: The Welcome Project

On 28th October at Freemasons’ Hall, Skelmersdale Lodge No 1658 proudly hosted a Welcome Project special event to enable the debut delivery of the ‘Narrated Initiation’ Ceremony, creatively devised and presented by the Metropolitan Grand Stewards Demonstration Team.

The Demonstration Team conducted a first-class Initiation Ceremony, which included, at key moments in the ceremony, insights and explanations from three separate narrators, to illuminate the ceremony for the viewer. The explanations featured historical nuggets, procedural trivia and a ritual and symbolical context that not only greatly enhanced the Initiation experience for the dozen or so newly Initiated brethren in the temple, but also provided a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge for every brother present.

Over the coming months, this Demonstration Team will unveil a presentation of the ‘Narrated Raising’ ceremony.

Similarly, at Freemasons’ Hall on 24th October, Bishops Hall Chapter No.5737 received a visit from E Comp Wayne Hirst, Metropolitan Grand Inspector to witness the Exaltation of Bro Kevin Dwyer, also as part of the Welcome Project. And on 1st November, Brethren in Amity Chapter No 8630 called upon the assistance of the John Hervey Chapter No 1260’s “Modern Exaltation Ritual”  Team to Exalt Bros Shaun Kennedy and David Liddiard-Jenkin, in the presence of E Comp David Ellis, Metropolitan Grand Inspector.

The Welcome Project gives every new Initiate and Exaltee in the Metropolitan area an early opportunity to attend and observe a high-quality Initiation or Exaltation, a short period after joining, chosen by them from several especially selected Lodge and Chapter meetings. They will meet other recent joiners to London Masonry and build new friendships whilst gaining an understanding of the ceremony they have themselves recently participated in. Engagement is at the heart of the Project’s aspirations. 

The Welcome Project is administered by experienced coordinators. New members receive an email detailing the meetings available and can easily book at thewelcomeproject.co.uk.

Visiting Officers will also call new members shortly after their joining ceremony, to arrange a suitable Welcome Project meeting to attend in the company of a member of their own Lodge or Chapter. These new members will be supported in the meeting itself and at dinner afterwards by their Lodge or Chapter, and usually a Metropolitan Grand Inspector will be present.

Feedback from those new Initiates and Exaltees who have attended recent Welcome Project meetings has been very positive. They comment that booking process is seamless and it is evident that all involved are committed in ensuring that their visit was a friendly and positive experience.  

Since the summer, Craft Welcome Project events have been hosted by the following Lodges:
• Rupert Patterson No 3646
• Middlesex Imperial Yeomanry No 3013
• Royal Naval No 59
• Skelmersdale No 1658
• Kindred Arts No 5784
• Roentgen No 8980
• Duke of Cornwall No 1839

And the following Chapters have hosted Royal Arch Welcome Project events: 
• Bishops Hall No 5737 
• Brethren in Amity No 8650, hosting The John Hervey Chapter Demonstration Team.

This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 53 December 2023 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 53 here.