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CONSTITUTION AND CODE
of
THE GRAND CHAPTER OF ROYAL ARCH MASONS
of
DELAWARE

 

ARTICLE I  

GRAND CHAPTER

Section 1.   STYLE

The style of this Grand Chapter shall be “THE GRAND CHAPTER OF ROYAL ARCH MASONS OF DELAWARE.

Section 2    POWER  AND AUTHORITY

This Grand Chapter is a body of Royal Arch Masons, in whom is inalienably vested the government and superintendence of Capitular Masonry within its territorial jurisdiction, subject only to its obligations to the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons international. (Proceedings 1972)

Section 3.   WHO COMPOSE

This Grand Chapter shall be composed of its officers, both elected and appointed, as enumerated in Section Five of this Constitution together with all Past Grand High Priests, Past Grand Kings, Past Grand Scribes, Past Grand Secretaries, Past Grand Treasurers of this Grand Chapter, and all Past High Priests who are also members of a subordinate Chapter within this jurisdiction and the first three officers of each warranted Chapter working under the authority of this Grand Chapter or their proxies duly appointed  (Amended 1973)

Section 4.   ANNUAL CONVOCATIONS AND QUORUM

The Annual Convocation of this Grand Chapter shall be held on the Second Saturday in March at 1:00 P.M., at such place as determined by majority vote of this Grand Chapter. (Revised 1978)

The representatives of three Chapters, together with at least one of the three elective Grand Officers, shall constitute a quorum. (Proceedings 1956, page 22)

Section 5    OFFICERS AND TITLES

A.  Elective Officers

The elective officers of this Grand Chapter shall be:

Most Excellent Grand High Priest
Right Excellent Grand King
Right Excellent Grand Scribe
Right Excellent Grand Treasurer
Right Excellent Grand Secretary

(Amended 1948)

None but High Priests or Past High Priests shall be eligible to election to any elective office in this Grand Chapter. (S.R. 1907)

The elective officers of this Grand Chapter shall be chosen at each annual Convocation by ballot and by a majority of all votes cast, except that when there is but one nominee for an office, vote may be by usual voting sign of a Royal Arch Mason. (Amended 1972)

B. Appointed Officers

The appointed officers of this Grand Chapter shall be:

Excellent Grand Captain of the Host
Excellent Grand Principal Sojourner
Excellent Grand Royal Arch Captain
Excellent Grand Lecturer
Excellent Grand Marshal
Three Excellent Grand Masters of the Veils
Most Reverend Grand Chaplain
Excellent Grand Sentinel

(Amended 2001)

The appointed officers shall be selected by the incoming Grand High Priest and hold office during his pleasure; and all officers of this Grand Chapter must be contributing members of a subordinate Chapter within this jurisdiction.

Section 6.   INSTALLATION

The installation of the officers of this Grand Chapter shall take place during the Annual Convocation at which they are elected or appointed, or as soon thereafter as possible. (Amended 1972)

Section 7.   VOTES AND VOTERS

Each officer and member of this Grand Chapter is entitled to one vote and the acting Grand High Priest to an additional vote in case of an equal division. (Amended 2001)

Section 8    PROXIES

Each warranted Chapter within this jurisdiction is entitled to be represented in this Grand Chapter by its first three officers; but in case any of them cannot attend, the Chapter (or in case of its failure to do so, its High Priest, or acting High Priest) may appoint any of its other officers or members to act as their Proxy, and shall furnish said Proxy a certificate of appointment over the signature of the High Priest or acting High Priest, attested by the Secretary and under Seal of the Chapter. (Amended 2001)

Section 9.   DUTIES OF GRAND OFFICERS

A.  Grand High Priest 

The Grand High Priest shall exercise all the executive functions of this Grand Chapter during its recess and shall, at each Annual Convocation, report, in writing, a statement of official acts during the recess and recommend such measures as he may deem expedient.

The Grand High Priest at his installation should present a brief statement of his plans/goals for the year. These plans should be reduced to writing and distributed with the Annual Summary (S.R. 47) to the Constituent Chapters for their guidance. (Added 2001) 

The Grand High Priest at each regular Annual Convocation shall appoint standing Committees on Masonic Jurisprudence and Credentials. 

B. Grand  Treasurer 

It shall be the duty of the Grand Treasurer to take charge of all the funds, property, securities and vouchers of this Grand Chapter; to pay all orders duly drawn by direction of the Grand Chapter; to report annually to the Grand Chapter his receipts and disbursements, by item, and the amount of moneys and securities in his hands, as at January 31, each year. (Revised 1979)(Amended 2001) 

All moneys for current expenses belonging to this Grand Chapter shall be deposited in a bank selected by the Grand High Priest, Grand Treasurer and Grand Secretary, in the name of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Delaware, to be drawn against warrants/vouchers issued by the Grand Secretary and signed by the Grand High Priest. (S.R. No. 8, 1893, as amended 1973 & 2001) 

C.  Grand Secretary 

It shall be the duty of the Grand Secretary to record the transactions of the Grand Chapter; to keep a registry of members of Subordinate Chapters; to receive, duly file and safely keep all papers and documents of the Grand Chapter; to sign and certify all instruments from the Grand Chapter; to receive and keep a proper account of all moneys of the Grand Chapter and pay the same without delay to the Grand Treasurer, and report the same by items to the Grand Chapter annually; to report the Chapters that have neglected to render proper returns of their elections, members and dues, and to conduct the correspondence of the Grand Chapter under the direction of the Grand High Priest.

Within forty-five (45) days after the Annual Convocations of Grand Chapter the Grand Secretary shall prepare and send to the Secretary of each Constituent Chapter a Summary of the activities of Grand Chapter, and a copy of the newly-installed Grand High Priest's Program for the Year (if one has been submitted), to be read aloud in each Constituent Chapter at the Stated Convocation next following receipt of the Summary (and Program) by the Secretary. 

The Grand Secretary's Statistical Summary of Membership shall be prepared from the Annual Returns of the several Chapters, showing figures as at December 31st, while his Financial Report shall show Receipts and Disbursements to January 31 each year. (Revised 1979 & 2001) 

D.  Other Officers 

It shall be the duty of the several officers of the Grand Chapter, in addition to the duties herein specifically mentioned to perform such other duties appertaining to their offices as shall, from time to time, be directed by the Grand Chapter. 

E.  Payment of Bills 

The Grand High Priest, Grand Treasurer and Grand Secretary, collectively, are authorized to pay all bills as they come due. (S.R 38, 1925) 

Section 10.  SUCCESSION OF OFFICE 

In the case of the death, absence or inability of the Grand High Priest, or a vacancy in his office the Grand King and Grand Scribe will, in succession, succeed to prerogatives and duties for all purposes. 

ARTICLE II

SUBORDINATE CHAPTERS 

Section 1.   ORGANIZATION 

A Chapter can only be organized by the dispensation of the Grand High Priest, or the warrant of the Grand Chapter, and in each case only upon application of not less than nine regular Royal Arch Masons. 

Section 2.   DISPENSATIONS  AND PETITIONERS, HOW QUALIFIED 

No dispensation to form a new Chapter can be issued without the recommendation of the Chapter nearest to the place where the new Chapter is to be held, nor unless the petitioners therefor shall show that they are Royal Arch Masons, and in good standing as such; and no warrant shall be issued until the Chapter shall have given proof of its skill by labor under dispensation, and furnished a certificate from the the Grand Lecturer, of its ability to confer the degrees, nor shall a dispensation be issued to form a new Chapter within two months next preceding the Annual Convocation of this Grand Chapter. (Amended 2001) 

Section 3    FEE FOR DISPENSATION

The fee for a dispensation to form a new Chapter shall be Ninety Dollars ($90.00) and shall accompany the petition for the same; it shall also be accounted as payment in full for a warrant, if afterwards granted. 

Section 4. WARRANTED CHAPTERS 

Whenever a warrant shall be issued to authorize the holding of a new Chapter, the same shall be duly constituted and its officers installed by the Grand High Priest, or the duly authorized proxy, previous to which ceremony no Convocation of the Chapter can be legally held.

A warranted Chapter within this jurisdiction shall consist of: 

The High Priest
King
Scribe
Treasurer
Secretary
Captain of the Host
Principal Sojourner
Royal Arch Captain
Master of the Third Veil
Master of the Second Veil
Master of the First Veil
Sentinel

and as many members as may be convenient, congregating and working by virtue of a warrant from this Grand Chapter, and at the place designated in the warrant or by the Grand Chapter. (Amended 1973)

Section 5.   OFFICERS; WHEN AND HOW CHOSEN

The first five officers named in the preceding section shall be elected annually, by ballot and by a majority of all votes cast, at the regular Convocation of the Chapter next preceding St. John the Evangelist's Day.

Where there is but one nominee for an office, vote may be by the usual voting sign of a Royal Arch Mason. (Adopted 1972) 

The remaining officers shall be appointed by the High Priest. 

Section 6.   WHO ARE VOTERS 

Every member in good standing is entitled to one vote, and every voter is eligible to any office in the Chapter.

Section 7.   WHO PRESIDES IN CHAPTER 

The High Priest shall preside at the several Convocations of the Chapter, and in case of his absence, the King and Scribe, and no other, shall in order of rank succeed him.

Section 8.   APPEAL FROM DECISION OF HIGH PRIEST 

No appeal to the Chapter can be taken from the decision of the High Priest.

Section 9.   VACANCIES IN OFFICE 

Vacancies in elective offices can only occur by death, by resignation, by promotion at an election to fill vacancies, and by suspension or expulsion; but the first three elective offices cannot be vacated by resignation; except in the case of an incumbent High Priest who has been nominated by his District to the office of Deputy Grand Master of the M. W. Grand Lodge A. F. & A. M. of Delaware, in which case, said incumbent High Priest shall be permitted to resign his office, with the approval of the Grand High Priest.  The vacancy created by such resignation shall be filled in accordance with Article II, Section 10 - “VACANCIES; HOW FILLED”. If the vacancy is not filled with a Past High Priest, Anointing to the Order of High Priesthood may be deferred until the next meeting of the Order of High Priesthood.(Amended 1973 and   1991, Proceedings page 27) 

Section 10   VACANCIES; HOW FILLED 

A Chapter may fill vacancies in any elective office (except that of the High Priest) by ballot at any regular Convocation; but in case of a vacancy in the office of High Priest, an election can only be held at a regular Convocation (the members having been duly summoned for that purpose), and by virtue of a dispensation from the Grand High Priest, which must be applied for by the King and Scribe, and a vote of two-thirds of all members present at a regular Convocation, to be so certified by the Secretary under the seal of the Chapter. 

Section 11.  CHAPTER SEAL AND BOOKS 

Every Chapter shall have a Seal and shall also keep the following books: 

1. A Book of By-Laws, with signatures of the members.
2. A Record Book of the Proceedings of the Chapter.
3. A Register of the names of members, with the date of receiving    the different degrees
4. A Book of Marks
5. Such other books as the Chapter shall direct (Amended 1973)

Section 12.  PETITIONS AND FEES FOR DEGREES 

The degrees of the Chapter shall not be conferred for a sum less than Twenty Dollars ($20.00), all of which must be paid before receiving the Mark Master degree, and then only upon Master Masons, whose petitions shall have been duly presented in writing at a regular Convocation, reported upon by a committee of investigation, and unanimously accepted by the Chapter, and a petition for the degrees for membership shall not be balloted on before the next regular Convocation succeeding its reception except by dispensation. (Amended 1973) 

Section 12A  PLURAL MEMBERSHIP

A Royal Arch Mason holding, membership in a Chapter in this jurisdiction shall have the right of membership in any Chapter in this jurisdiction without limit as to the number of Chapters to which he may belong. 

One desiring multiple membership shall present a petition for affiliation in the other Chapter, together with evidence of good standing in his original Chapter as well as the requisite fee as fixed by the By-Laws of the other Chapter. If elected, he shall pay all Chapter and Grand Chapter dues and assessments in every Chapter of which he shall be a member as prescribed, dating from his election to multiple membership.

Within one month of his election to membership in the other Chapter, his original Chapter shall be notified of his status in the other Chapter, by the Secretary of the other Chapter. 

Each Chapter shall show his status as a dual member in their Annual Return and pay the usual Per Capita and Assessments due. 

A multiple member in good standing may voluntarily terminate his membership in any Chapter by notifying all  Chapters in which he shall hold membership of his intent of termination. Upon such notice, his name shall be removed from the rolls of the Chapter in which termination is desired. No Demit shall be issued upon termination, and he shall be listed as "Withdrawn" in the Annual Return of the terminated Chapter. 

A multiple member in good standing may voluntarily demit from membership in all Chapters in which he shall hold membership by notifying all such Chapters of his intent. His name shall be removed from the rolls of all such Chapters and a Demit shall be issued by his primary Chapter only. 

A multiple member who is Expelled or Suspended from any Chapter shall be automatically Expelled or Suspended from all Chapters. The Chapter taking the action shall notify the Grand Secretary who shall notify the other Chapters. 

A multiple member who shall have served as High Priest of one Chapter shall be listed by his other Chapters as an Affiliated Past High Priest. A multiple member who shall have served as High Priest of more than one Chapter shall be listed as such by all Chapters over which he shall have presided, and as an Affiliated Past High Priest by his other Chapters. 

A multiple member shall not be permitted to concurrently serve more than one Chapter as an elected representative, i.e. High Priest, King or Scribe. A Past High Priest of one Chapter serving as an elected representative of another Chapter shall have no vote as a Past High Priest in Grand Chapter, during his incumbency. A Past High Priest of more than one Chapter shall have only one vote in Grand Chapter. (Revised 1993 Proceedings page 30.)   

Section 13   REJECTED CANDIDATES 

A petition for the degrees having been rejected cannot again be received within the period of six (6) months, nor by any other than the rejecting Chapter without first obtaining its consent. (General Grand Chapter Proceedings, Page 81) 

Section 14.  JURISDICTION OVER CANDIDATES

A Chapter shall not act upon the petition of or confer the degrees upon a candidate who resides in another State, without the consent of the Chapter within whose jurisdiction he resides. (Amended 1973) 

A Master Mason, after six (6) month's residence in the State of Delaware, may petition for the Capitular degrees in the Chapter of his choice. (Adopted 1973) 

The request of a Chapter located in another State for a waiver of Jurisdiction over a Delaware resident may be granted by the Grand High Priest.

Section 15.  BY-LAWS 

A Chapter has full power and authority to enact By-Laws for its own government, conformably to this Constitution; and any By-Laws inconsistent therewith are absolutely void. 

Section 16.  DUES AND HOW COLLECTED 

A Chapter may make By-Laws regulating the payment of dues from its members, and provide penalties for the enforcement thereof; but no greater penalty shall be inflicted than the suspension of the Companion in arrears, which shall cease upon the payment of his dues to such time as the By-Laws shall direct. 

Any subordinate Chapter under the Jurisdiction of this Grand Chapter may suspend,  by a majority vote of the Companions present  at any regular Convocation, any Companion who shall fail to pay his dues for two (2) years; provided that no Companion shall be suspended until he shall have had at least one (1) months notice of the intention of the Chapter to take action upon his delinquency and of the penalty to which he renders himself liable by failure to liquidate his indebtedness as specified by Chapter.(S. R. No.25, 1908) 

Section 17   ANNUAL RETURNS AND DUES TO GRAND CHAPTER 

Every Chapter within this Jurisdiction shall make Annual Returns to this Grand Chapter as of December 31st each year, on forms provided by the Grand Secretary, listing its Officers and Members and giving the financial information required. 

Each Chapter shall pay into the treasury of this Grand Chapter an amount to be set by the Grand Chapter from time to time while in session by a majority of the members present and voting for each Exaltation and an amount to be set by the Grand Chapter from time to time while in session by a majority of the members present and voting plus General Grand Chapter assessments as Annual Dues for each Member on the Chapter Roll--except those Exalted during the year, and those Companions whose dues have been remitted by their Chapter, and, further, in accordance with Section 12-A as to Dual Members -- together with any Assessments levied by this Grand Chapter. 

Said sums shall be due and payable with the Annual Returns, which shall be transmitted to the Grand Secretary not later than January 31st in each year. Any Chapters whose returns are not so made shall forfeit and pay to the Grand Chapter Twenty Five Dollars ($25.00) for such neglect. 

(Proceedings 1972, page 11, Proceedings 1973, Revised 1979, Adopted 1985 and effective 1986. Revised 1992 Proceedings, page 27. Revised 1993 Proceedings, page 31.) (Amended – 2001) 

Section 17A.  INTERIM REPORTS 

On or before the fifth day of each month, the Secretary of each Constituent Chapter in Delaware shall submit to the Grand Secretary, in writing, using the form provided by the Grand Secretary, any changes in the membership status of his Chapter during the preceding month, including any candidate(s) in progress, giving the name(s) of the Companion(s) and the date of the activity. (1983) 

Section 18   MOVING A CHARTER 

A. A Chapter may not move its place of meeting from the city, town, or village named in its warrant, nor from one place to another in the same city, town or village, except by concurrent vote of two-thirds of the members present at a summoned Convocation, the object of the Convocation being stated in the summons, which must be served at least ten (10) days previous to such Convocation, and such move from the city, town or village must receive the sanction of the Grand Chapter previous thereto. (Amended  2001) 

B. A charter may be temporarily moved for a Special Convocation, Degree Work or Balloting, providing the members of the Chapter have been given due and timely notice and the Most Excellent Grand High Priest has issued proper dispensation. (Added 2001) 

Section 19.  CHAPTER; HOW DISSOLVED 

A Chapter can only be dissolved by the act of the Grand Chapter or by voluntary surrender of its warrant, pursuant to a vote of a majority of its members when duly summoned for that purpose. 

Section 20.  WARRANT; HOW FORFEITED OR SUSPENDED 

The warrant of a Chapter can be forfeited only upon charges regularly made in the Grand Chapter at its Annual Convocation, of which due notice shall be given to the Chapter, and an opportunity of being heard in defense; but it may be suspended by the Grand Chapter or Grand High Priest at any time upon proper cause shown which suspension shall not extend beyond the next Annual Convocation thereafter. 

Section 21   ACTS FOR WHICH WARRANTS MAY BE RECALLED 

The acts by which a warrant may be forfeited are contumacy to the authority of the Grand Chapter or the Grand High Priest; violation of the fundamental principles of Royal Arch Masonry or of this Constitution; neglecting to meet for one year or more; and the non-payment of dues to the Grand Chapter for two (2) years successively. 

Section 22.  CHARTER DEPRIVED OF WARRANT OR DISPENSATION 

The surrender or forfeiture of a warrant or dispensation, when adjudged by the Grand Chapter, shall be conclusive upon the Chapter and its members, and carries with it all the property of the Chapter, which becomes the property of the Grand Chapter and must, on demand, be surrendered to the Grand Chapter or its authorized agent. 

Section 23   CHARGES AND TRIALS 

If any member of a Chapter, or unaffiliated Royal Arch Mason, within this jurisdiction, shall be guilty of a Masonic misdemeanor which would subject him to discipline, charges, with distinct specifications of the offense, may be preferred in open Chapter; and it shall be the duty of the acting High Priest (except in cases of non-payment of dues), to appoint three (3) disinterested Companions as Commissioners to try the accused upon said charges and specifications, and report their proceedings thereon to the Chapter with all convenient speed, together with their conclusions and recommendations thereon, for the action of the Chapter - The decision of the Chapter shall be final, unless an appeal be taken therefrom to the Grand Chapter within six (6) months thereafter. In case of charges against a Chapter or a High Priest, or by one Chapter against another or a member of another, they shall be referred to the Grand Chapter when in session or, during recess, to the Grand High Priest. When presented to either of the latter, he shall appoint the three (3) Commissioners (who shall be High Priests or Past High Priests) from Chapters not interested in the case, and they shall hear, try and determine the matter, reporting their proceedings, conclusions and decisions thereon to the officer appointing them; and their decisions thereon, if approved by him, shall be final, unless appealed from, as above. 

Section 24.  WITNESSES AND EXPENSES OF TRIALS 

The High Priest of any Chapter may summon witnesses in any case provided for in the preceding section, and the expenses which may be incurred by Commissioners appointed under the provisions of the above section shall be borne by one or both of the parties, as the Commission may determine; and the amount of such expenses, and their decision as to who shall be chargeable with the same, shall be set forth in their report, and payment may be enforced in the same manner as Chapter or Grand Chapter dues.

Section 25.  CHARGES AGAINST HIGH PRIESTS 

Charges against the High Priest of a Chapter for official misconduct  while  holding the office of High Priest must be presented to the Grand High Priest, of the Grand Chapter, during his term in office or within one (1) year thereafter. 

Section 26.  OTHER RULES FOR TRIALS 

The Grand Chapter may establish such further regulations as to the mode and form of trials and appeals as it may deem expedient. 

ARTICLE III  - MISCELLANEOUS

Section 1.   WHO PRESENT AT ELECTION IN THE GRAND CHAPTER 

None but members of the Grand Chapter (Past or present officers of other Grand Chapters excepted) shall be present during the election of officers.(Rescinded 1986) 

Section 2    WHO MAY VISIT GRAND CHAPTERS 

No Companion shall be permitted to sit as a visitor in this Grand Chapter without unanimous consent of the members present. 

Section 3.   RESTORATION BY THE GRAND CHAPTER 

A restoration to the rights and privileges of Royal Arch Masonry by the Grand Chapter does not restore to membership in a Subordinate Chapter. 

Section 4.   GRAND LECTURER 

The Grand High Priest shall annually appoint a discreet and well-informed Royal Arch Mason as Grand Lecturer, whose duty it shall be, when required by any Chapter, to visit and instruct them in the work and lectures of the several degrees. It shall also be his duty to attend the Annual Convocation of this Grand Chapter. (Amended  2001) 

Section 5.   WAIVER OF JURISDICTION BY GRAND HIGH PRIEST 

The request of a Chapter located in another State for waiver of Jurisdiction over a Delaware resident may be granted by the Grand High Priest. (Adopted 1973)(Moved to Article II, Section l4, 1986)

Section 6.   COMMITTEES 

The Grand High Priest at each regular Annual Convocation shall appoint standing Committees on Masonic Jurisprudence and Credentials. (Amended 1973)(Moved to Article I, Section 9, 1986) 

Section 7. AMENDMENTS 

No amendment to this Constitution shall be made until it shall have been proposed at one Annual Convocation and adopted by a vote of two-thirds of all the members present at the next Annual Convocation, except as noted below. (Amended 1973) 

If any amendment proposed receives the unanimous consent of the members to consider for action at the same Convocation, it may be acted upon and adopted by a two-thirds favorable vote of all members present. (Adopted 1973) 

Collated 1900; Revised 1963; Revised 1973. Updated June 1, 1986, by
Chester C. Coffin, PGHP
C. Ray Scarborough, PGHP

Updated and Approved for Distribution By Jurisprudence 3/13/99

Donald D. Thomas, PGHP, Grand Secretary