Weidle Royal Arch Chapter No. 197 was instituted on June 20, 1860 by virtue of a warrant issued from the Grand Holy Royal Arch Chapter of Pennsylvania. Companion Jacob Weidle was installed High Priest; Companion James W. Ebur, King; and Companion James J. Blame, Scribe. Companion Benjamin Parke, Most Excellent Grand High Priest presented the Charter to Weidle Chapter. All of the Charter Companions were members of Reading Royal Arch Chapter No. 152.
The initiation fee was $5.00 and the initial dues were 12 1/2 cents per month or $1.50 a year. Companion Anthony S. Ely was the first Recorder. The first Weidle Chapter member to become a District Deputy High Grand High Priest was Companion Joseph L. Lemberger in 1871. Companion Lemberger was also the Chapter Treasurer for 45 years.
The first Chapter meetings were held at the United Hall Building locate at 31 N. Ninth Street in Lebanon. In 1900 the Chapter moved to the third floor of the Shirk Building at 9th and Willow Streets ad in 1929 to the Masonic Lodge Hall at 127 N. 8th Street. When the Lodge Hall was sold in 2008 the Chapter moved its meeting place to the Masonic Village in Elizabethtown through December 2009, and then Quittie Woods near Mt. Zion through February 2012. We are now pleased to be meeting in the new Lebanon Masonic Center.
To join a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons a man must be a Master Mason in good standing in his Blue Lodge. Once you are a member of the Royal Arch Chapter you are entitled to attend meetings and activities that will expand your Masonic network and your opportunities within the fraternity. These may include educational programs relating to Masonry, social programs to build a bond between the members, or even travelling to visit other Chapters around the Commonwealth.
Whether you realized it or not, you started your Masonic Journey as a York Rite Mason. The Blue Lodge degrees that are conferred in Pennsylvania are firmly based in the York Rite. In many jurisdictions the Grand Lodge may be actively involved in maintining the York Rite traditions. This is the case in Pennsylvania as the degree of “Past Master,” which was traditionally conferred by the Royal Arch Chapter, is held for use by the Grand Lodge.
Royal Arch Chapters in Pennsylvania are unique, as they are part of the Grand Holy Royal Arch Chapter of Pennsylvania, one of very few Grand Chapters that remain unaffiliated with the national General Grand Chapter. This allows the members in Pennsylvania even more opportunities to explore and enjoy the Royal Arch.
It is often said that a Master Mason doesn’t fully grasp the whole story until he has completed his journey through the Royal Arch.