Pause for thought
Having helped oversee the establishment of the Metropolitan Grand Lodge, Second Grand Principal Russell Race now wants to give Craft members enough time to understand the Royal Arch
What have you taken from your professional career?
I did an economics degree at Liverpool and worked initially for British Steel, then for an administrative body looking after the fishing industry. When I was 24, I went into the City as an investment analyst. I was there for the rest of my working life, for the last 20 years in corporate finance, and retired in my early 50s.
I found my enjoyment was in building good working relationships, and ultimately friendships, with colleagues and clients – which, on the corporate side, is crucial. I had around 30 clients and if you did a good job for them, they would not seek to move somewhere else for a quarter per cent on a deal. And relationships take us into Freemasonry. It’s all about working with people, interacting with them and enjoying their company.
When did you find out about Freemasonry?
I was born in Gloucester, and the first 12 years of my life were spent there. My father joined a lodge just after the war and he went into the Chair in 1956, two years before we moved to Kent, where he became a founder of what became my mother lodge in Rochester.
Lodges had a big social calendar and as a teenager I went to many lodge events with my parents. When I came back from university at 21, and was still living in Kent, my father said to me, ‘Well, you know something about masonry and you’ve met many members of the lodge, so if you’re interested in joining, let me know.’ It was a very smart psychological move. Many fathers might have said, ‘Well, I’ve got you down to join at the next meeting, now you’re back in the area,’ but mine didn’t. I took about two years, got settled in a job, and then said, ‘I’d like to join.’ It was very much my decision, rather than feeling any obligation to join.
Did joining the Royal Arch feel like a natural progression?
I was 29 when I joined the Royal Arch, again in the local chapter in East Kent. I didn’t go into it with any preconceptions and I loved the ceremony from day one – despite being on the receiving end of all three lectures on the evening of my exaltation! In those days, the Royal Arch was considered the completion of the Third Degree, which is now an area of debate. But you could also just say it was seen as the natural progression from the Craft, which is something we rightly still emphasise.
The pressure on chapters was rather less in the 1960s and 1970s, because our numbers were higher than they are today, albeit beginning to level out. Chapters were thriving with 30 or 40 members, but it’s when you get below critical mass of 20 to 15 that you suddenly start thinking, ‘What do we do?’ It’s only at this late stage that many chapters try to re-establish links with the mother Craft lodge, which may be too late.
Why did you become involved in Metropolitan?
As a member of London lodges and chapters, I was aware that Metropolitan was being set up as a separate entity, but my move to London was a complete shot out of the blue. As East Kent Deputy Provincial Grand Master, I had met the Pro Grand Master Lord Northampton for the first time at a dinner. A little later, Rex Thorne asked me out to lunch in Long Acre, and when I arrived Lord Northampton was with him. To my surprise, he asked me to move up to London to become the first Deputy Metropolitan Grand Master.
I took some time to think about it because it was a new job and I knew the time commitment would be substantial. I asked the opinion of a few close friends who were unconnected with London, and they all said the same: ‘You can’t say no. It’s a great opportunity.’ Which indeed it was, but the workload proved to be quite heavy as well.
How did you feel leaving Metropolitan to become Second Grand Principal?
I think I made it known to people over time that Royal Arch is one of my great loves. Having completed six years as Metropolitan Deputy Grand Master and six years as Metropolitan Grand Master and Grand Superintendent, I knew it wasn’t a job I was going to do forever. I had a meeting with Peter Lowndes, who asked how I would feel about taking the position of Second Grand Principal, as George Francis was retiring. I paused slightly but, on this occasion, I didn’t ask for time to think about it, I said, ‘Yes, I’d love to do it.’ The best things in life come unexpectedly, don’t they?
For my successor as Metropolitan Grand Master, Sir Michael Snyder, the intention is to perform the role in a slightly different way, which I am sure is right. It was important in the early days of Metropolitan Grand Lodge for the rulers to be seen to be out visiting lodges and chapters on a regular basis and to be visible to all London masons. I was able to do that, but it wasn’t something that necessarily needed to be carried on at the same pitch, because London now has a firmly established base and identity.
‘We should continue to celebrate the great diversity of ritual practice within the Royal Arch’
What have you inherited from your predecessor in the Royal Arch?
I think one of the important things that George Francis brought to the job was being visible to companions all around the country, visiting widely in the Provinces and London. There is no substitute for hearing people’s views first-hand. Additionally, he was a keen promoter of making the ritual more dramatic and understandable for all participants.
What I would say is that we now need a slight pause for breath to allow the changes to sink in. We have a number of initiatives going on, following on from the ritual change a few years ago, and we have to get these embedded within each Province. Although there may be minor adjustments, I don’t envisage radical changes in the near term. We should continue to celebrate the great diversity of ritual practice within the Royal Arch.
In lodges where there is no active Royal Arch representative, or the Secretary’s not particularly keen on our order, the young mason coming through may have no awareness of the Royal Arch at all. Why should he be deprived of that experience? We need to ensure that all masons have the opportunity to join. I’m not saying you’re an incomplete mason if you’ve not come into the Royal Arch, but rather that your breadth of understanding is not as full as it might be.
Imagine when somebody’s interviewed for initiation and saying to them, ‘You are beginning an exciting four-stage journey.’ If you can get that message across on day one, it’s far easier than going to them after they’ve done their Third Degree and saying, ‘Oh, by the way, there’s another step and here’s a leaflet about it.’
Even if, on a flat Craft membership, we can increase the conversion rate to 45% or 50% across the board, rather than current rate in the high thirties, that in itself will take up our membership to more acceptable levels.
Do you see your role as ambassador or enforcer?
Gareth Jones, the Third Grand Principal, and I are certainly ambassadors. I think it’s about communicating to Superintendents and their Deputies, as well as to all companions, that we’re here to help and guide them in the right direction. I sense a strong desire for consistency across the piece, and that has to come from Supreme Grand Chapter. A Province or a private chapter can’t take effective decisions about the direction in which they are going unless they have the proper information to start with. I think it’s quite compelling if you say to a Grand Superintendent that these initiatives are available, they’ve worked in other Provinces – look at the results, maybe there are lessons for you.
I mentioned before about taking a slight pause, giving yourself the time to think. I saw a very good demonstration in Freemasons’ Hall some years ago. At various stages in the ceremony they stopped and said, ‘Right, we’re about to do this. Somebody tell me why we do it this way.’ And the members hadn’t thought about it. They were just hearing the words. That was in a Craft lodge, but the moral applies equally to the Royal Arch.
Every now and again it behoves us all to stop and think, ‘What do the words mean? Why do we do what we do, for example, in terms of choreography of the ritual?’ I would like to reverse the trend in numbers, which we are beginning to do in some areas, but I believe that will only come through companions having a better understanding, and with it greater enjoyment of our unique order.
From the Grand Secretary
We have been fortunate in recent months with extensive coverage across many media outlets. The Sky 1 documentary series has now finished and the DVD will be available for purchase in Letchworth’s Shop. Viewing figures have been excellent, comments from our members supportive and reports indicate a significant interest in Freemasonry from non-masons and potential recruits.
Interest in our organisation has also been enhanced by the coverage given to the unveiling ceremony of the commemorative paving stones that honour those Freemasons awarded the Victoria Cross in the First World War. The event is covered in detail in this edition of Freemasonry Today.
This has been a splendid first half of our Tercentenary year as we approach 24 June, our founding date. Our new Grand Officers for the year have been invested and many have already been involved in various duties. They will clearly become increasingly busy in the run-up to the main event at London’s Royal Albert Hall on 31 October, which promises to be an impressive and memorable occasion.
In this issue, we report on some of the remarkable events and initiatives that are helping to mark our Tercentenary around the country. In Staffordshire, 300 masons and civic dignitaries came together for the dedication of the Masonic Memorial Garden, which has been 16 years in the making. In Canterbury, a Tercentenary Thanksgiving service was held in recognition of the cathedral’s long-standing relationship with Freemasonry. And over in the Isle of Man, six stamps have been issued that are filled with masonic references and – intriguingly – hide a surprise that is only revealed under ultraviolet light.
PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE
The Tercentenary is not just about celebrating our rich history, it is also an opportunity to look forward. Grand Superintendent of Works John Pagella sets out his objectives for UGLE’s property portfolio, as well as a broader agenda to help anyone involved in the management of a masonic building or centre. For John, while Freemasonry is a craft, managing a masonic property is a business. He is keen to encourage masons at Provincial level to ask themselves whether their buildings are not only fit for purpose today but will continue to be so in 10 or 20 years’ time.
In Yorkshire, we meet Jeffrey Long, an 85-year-old army veteran and unstoppable fundraiser who has walked 127 miles between Liverpool and Leeds, undertaken a 90-mile route that included climbing three Yorkshire peaks, and completed the entire length of Hadrian’s Wall in his 84th year. In Leicester, martial artist and cooking sensation Kwoklyn Wan shares his passion for teaching. For Kwoklyn, joining the Craft has been the perfect progression, as it echoes the values he acquired growing up: ‘You learn from a young age to respect your elders; you treat people how you want to be treated. And with the Freemasons I felt that immediately.’
'Remarkable events are helping to mark our Tercentenary around the country’
Devonshire Provincial Grand Stewards’ Chapter, No. 3924, has been consecrated at the Langstone Cliff Hotel in Dawlish Warren, led by Grand Superintendent Simon Rowe
Among more than 220 guests present were the Grand Superintendents of 11 Provinces, who witnessed Brian Meldon installed as First Principal, Tony Moore as Second Principal and Jeff Bailey as Third Principal.
Royal Arch club formed by Leicestershire and Rutland
Following the success of Craft Freemasonry social groups such as the Light Blue clubs, the Royal Arch Executive in Leicestershire and Rutland has sanctioned the creation of a similar scheme for the Royal Arch. Named after the white breast jewel worn by newly exalted companions, the White Ribbon Club will work alongside the Province’s Light Blue Club for master masons.
The aim is to attract and inspire members and to encourage retention through chapter visits and social events. Grand Superintendent Peter Kinder said, ‘It is hoped the encouragement and recruitment of many new Craft members will equally apply to the Royal Arch membership.’
Missed by many
After a short illness Iain Ross Bryce, Past Deputy Grand Master and Past Second Grand Principal, died peacefully in hospital on 30 June aged 79
Educated at Bridlington Grammar School, Iain Ross Bryce trained in accountancy, becoming a Fellow Chartered Accountant and joining Ernst & Young, where he rose to senior partner and ran the Hull office. After national service with the Royal Engineers, he enlisted in the Territorial Army, becoming colonel and earning the Territorial Decoration.
A keen yachtsman, Iain served as treasurer, chairman and president of Bridlington Royal National Lifeboat Institution and was for many years the charity’s national treasurer. A well-known and popular figure, he was involved in many community organisations in the town and was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire.
A lifelong friend commented: ‘He did a great deal for Bridlington, mostly behind the scenes. He had a very kind nature and many people in Bridlington have received his help, mostly without knowing it.’
In Freemasonry, Iain was active in the Province of Yorkshire, North and East Ridings, serving as Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent from 1984 to 1991. Appointed Deputy Grand Master and Second Grand Principal in 1991, he served for 13 years during which time he gave wise counsel and strong support to the ‘top to bottom’ overhaul of the administration of the Craft. He also did much to bring the masonic charities together, laying the foundations for the major changes taking place.
A big man in every sense, Iain had a great love for and enjoyment of life, but always said that he could not have achieved anything without the great support of his wife Jan and their family.
He will be much missed by many.
Somerset Royal Arch anniversary
To celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Royal Arch in Somerset, an especial convocation was held in Bath, where the original recorded meeting was held. The Grand Superintendent John Bennett attended and the guest of honour was Second Grand Principal George Francis. Presentations were made to the Bath Masonic Museum by the Grand Superintendent of the now retired Holy Royal Arch Banner and Past Grand Superintendent Denis Calderley.
12 November 2014
An address by the ME Pro First Grand Principal Peter Lowndes
Companions, the Second Grand Principal has just completed a series of meetings with Grand Superintendents. One of the topics of conversation was the relationship between the Royal Arch and the Craft – specifically covering two issues. First, the selection of Royal Arch representatives in Craft Lodges and secondly, the taking of wine with Royal Arch members at Craft Festive Boards.
The appointment and monitoring of the Royal Arch Representative in a Craft Lodge needs careful consideration. There has been debate as to who is responsible for this important appointment. In Provinces where the Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent are the same, there should be no issue. However, where the heads of the two orders are different I believe it essential that the Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent liaise. The appointment should never be a ‘tick in the box’ exercise.
As a member of the Royal Arch, the Representative will need to know sufficient about the merits of joining the Order and be able to work closely with the Lodge Mentor. In many instances it could be best judged that a member should be approached at the same time that he receives his Grand Lodge Certificate. I know from experience that there is a balance between judging whether someone will enjoy the Royal Arch with the right time for that individual to join. This timing is also pressurised by the concern that an individual will be approached to join one of the side orders first if there is any delay in recruitment. I continue to believe that there is a good stage to brief Master Masons on the merits of the Royal Arch, but that the actual timing of joining should be linked to each individual’s appetite for Masonic advancement and personal circumstances.
For those of you who are very involved with the side orders, please do not think that I am in any way against Craft members joining them, far from it. However I do firmly believe that the Royal Arch should be the first priority.
As for wine taking with Royal Arch members at Craft Festive Boards – I believe that this custom should be treated sensitively – if ever used. I will also be mentioning this at the Craft Quarterly Communication in December. In any event the decision should lie in the hands of each Provincial Grand Master. I can see a case for this where a Chapter is linked to a Craft Lodge – but, even so, it is recommended that this wine taking is conducted with everyone sitting down so that those who are not members of the Order are not embarrassed or – worst still – pounced on with a joining form!
Companions you will have read in the last issue of Freemasonry Today about the Membership Focus Group and their mission to stop the bleed in membership. It is clearly of the greatest importance to Royal Arch recruitment that this bleed is halted whilst recruiting and retaining men of quality and integrity. You will have read that members were asked to participate in a series of short surveys so that the Membership Focus Group could seek grass roots’ ideas about the future of Freemasonry. I would ask as many of you as possible to take this opportunity and register and so be able to give your views.
Surgeon support from Devon Royal Arch
At the Riviera International Centre in Torquay, Second Grand Principal George Francis attended the Holy Royal Arch Masons of Devonshire Annual Provincial Grand Chapter. To a packed auditorium including more than 100 distinguished guests from the Provinces, Grand Superintendent Simon Rowe announced that Provincial Grand Chapter had contributed more than £75,000 to the Supreme Grand Chapter Royal College of Surgeons 2013 Appeal.
The Royal Arch Province of Hampshire and Isle of Wight has taken an innovative approach to its fundraising for the Bicentenary Appeal for the Royal College of Surgeons Research Fellowship
The Province invited chapters to nominate an individual who has undergone major surgery, showing exceptional fortitude and bravery, to qualify for a Badge of Courage Award (BOCA).
Chapters were invited to sponsor individuals by pledging a donation of £1,000, of which £500 would be donated to the appeal with the £500 balance going to a non-masonic charity nominated by the award recipient. A gala BOCA ball was held at HMS Collingwood in Gosport, at which Grand Superintendent Alan Berman presented Second Grand Principal George Francis (pictured above) with a cheque for £80,000 for the appeal.
Eight donations of £500 each were also made to the charities nominated by the BOCA winners.
The members of Senatores Chapter of Installed First Principals No. 8966 had been looking forward to receiving members of the East Lancashire Demonstration Team who were delivering a demonstration entitled ‘The rise and fall of the twelve tribes of Israel’. Little did they know that the meeting would be the venue for the investiture of the Second Provincial Grand Principal and an Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals
Following the appointment and investiture of John Hutton as the 91st Assistant Provincial Grand Master of the Province of West Lancashire at a meeting of his mother lodge, Peter Elmore was asked to succeed him as the Second Provincial Grand Principal, with David Randerson being asked to take the position of Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals left vacant by Peter’s promotion.
The meeting date of Senatores Chapter made it the obvious meeting for the Provincial Scribe Ezra to request permission from the three principals of the chapter to host Provincial Grand Chapter in order to hold the investiture of two companions who are members of Senatores Chapter of Installed First Principals.
After the chapter was opened Ian Higham the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies announced that the Grand Superintendent Peter Hosker, demanded admission.
The first principal Derek Parkinson said he and his fellow principals would be delighted to receive him. Ian then announced the arrival of the Grand Superintendent accompanied by the Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra Peter Taylor, the Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah Stephen Brereton along with 13 grand officers entered the chapter in a very colourful procession.
After Ian introduced Peter to Derek Peter accepted the sceptre from him and occupied the first principals chair.
Peter then appointed his officers and opened Provincial Grand Chapter. Peter then explained to all the companions the reason for the meeting, saying: 'John Hutton has recently retired as my Second Provincial Grand Principal and was recently been invested as one of my Craft Assistant Provincial Grand Masters.
'Since 2007 John Hutton has served the Royal Arch Province of West Lancashire. He has occupied these offices with much credit to himself and advantage to the Province. Indeed, he has enhanced these offices with his kind and generous demeanour and his enthusiasm and dedication for the Royal Arch. I publicly express my sincere thanks for all his good work. In his place, I have invited Comp Peter George Elmore to become my Second Provincial Grand Principal.'
Peter then addressed Peter Elmore, saying: 'You became a Freemason in 1978 when you were initiated into Kirkham Lodge No. 6615, becoming its WM in 1986. In 1992, you were appointed in Provincial Grand Lodge to the acting rank of ProvGStwd, and in 1996 you were promoted to PProvDepGSuptWks. In 2001 you were promoted to be an acting ProvDGDC, an office you held with distinction for three years until 2004. In 2004, you were promoted to PProvJGW. In Grand Lodge, you hold the rank of PAGDC, which you were appointed to in 2005.
'In 1986, you were exalted into the Blackpool Chapter of Fellowship No. 7692, becoming its first principal in 1992. You are a founder of Tithebarn Chapter No. 8446. You are a joining member of Provincial Grand Stewards' Chapter No. 8516 and a joining member of Vale Chapter No. 5256. You are also a joining member of this Chapter, Senatores Chapter of Installed First Principals, becoming its first principal in 2010.
'In 1999, you were appointed in Provincial Grand Chapter to the acting rank of ProvGStwd, and in 2003 you were promoted to PProvGSwdB. In 2004 you were promoted to be an acting ProvDGDC, an office you held with distinction for three years until 2007. In 2006, you were appointed as the vice chairman of the South Fylde Group. You were vice chairman for just one year because in 2007, and you were appointed by my predecessor as AtoPrGPs, with responsibility for the North and South Fylde Groups and the Blackpool Group.
'I re-appointed you in 2008. In Supreme Grand Chapter, you hold the Grand Rank of PGStdB, which you were appointed to in 2008. During your six and half years as a Royal Arch Assistant, you have contributed much to this wonderful Order, you have been a role model for others to follow and you have been a popular leader.
'You are well qualified and experienced to become my Second Provincial Grand Principal.'
Peter Elmore then confirmed he was willing to accept the office. Peter asked the Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra to read the patent of appointment.
Peter Elmore recited the obligation, after which Peter Hosker invested Peter as his Second Provincial Grand Principal, to which the companions gave acclamation.
Peter’s Father died when he was only six years old, he attended the masonic school for boys in Bushy from 1955 to 1963. Leaving school he started work in the NHS where he worked for 37 years. When he retired he was the Deputy CEO for Corporate Affairs at Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. He is a Justice of the Peace, an office he has held for 13 years.
Peter married Rosie in 1970 and they have been happily married for 43 years. Rosie was a head teacher and enjoyed her teaching career until she was forced to retire 10 years early as she suffers from MS.
Peter hobbies and interests are varied and include: reading, gardening, cooking and entertaining and, of course, football. Peter is a Shrewsbury Football Club supporter and shareholder. He also goes to Manchester United as Rosie is an ardent supporter - she has even named her mobility scooter Fergie!
Peter says he is excited by the new appointment and looking forward to his time in office but he knows it will be challenging. Rosie said he has been floating in mid-air since he was asked if he would accept the office by Peter Hosker.
Peter then asked Ian if David Randerson was in attendance. Ian said he was and Peter asked him to place David before him, so that he could invest him.
Peter then addressed David: 'You became a Freemason in 1989, when you were initiated into Quadrant Lodge No. 8044, becoming its WM in 1998. You are a joining member of five other lodges. In 2002, you were appointed as an acting Provincial Steward, and in 2005, you were promoted by my predecessor to be acting Provincial Junior Grand Warden. In Grand Lodge you hold the rank of PAGDC.
'You were exalted into Quadrant Chapter No. 8044 in 1993, becoming its first principal in 2006. You are a joining member of this chapter, Senatores Chapter of Installed First Principals. You were appointed by my predecessor as vice chairman of the South Fylde Group in 2007, and then reappointed by me the following year. You were appointed by me as Group Chairman in 2009. You have therefore held Group Office for six and half years. Having been a group chairman myself for five years, I am well aware of the work and demands involved in this office. On the other hand, the experience of being a group chairman is extensive. I have enjoyed working with you, and your thoughtful and challenging approach to your work have made you an excellent group chairman.
'In Provincial Grand Chapter, in 2010, you were appointed to acting Provincial Grand Sword Bearer, and in 2012, you were promoted Past Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah.
'You are well qualified and experienced to become an AtoPrGPs but I must ask you in the Provincial Grand Chapter whether or not you are ready and willing to take on the duties and responsibilities of that office.' David confirmed he was willing to accept the office. Peter then invested him.
David went to Barnsley Grammar school. He then studied at Manchester University where he attained a first class honours and Master’s degrees in graphic design. Leaving University he started his own graphic design business with Manchester Business School as his first customer.
He has been married to his wife Anne for 30 years. Anne works in the family business as does Anne’s daughter Julie who is one of David’s two step children. The other is Stuart who works in a printing company based in Blackpool. They have four grandchildren and four great grandchildren which the both love to spend time with.
David enjoys caravanning and walking Bailey his black Labrador other hobbies include watching most sports although he no longer plays football he supports his home town club Barnsley and Bolton FC.
David says he is looking forward to his new role, but most of all he hopes he will have fun with the new companions he meets while doing it.
Peter then closed Provincial Grand Chapter and asked Derek if he would return to his chair and take the sceptre back. Ian formed the recession and the Grand Superintendent accompanied by his officers recessed from the chapter.
Derek carried out the rest of the chapter business which included a ballot for two joining members. He then asked John Cavanagh the East Lancashire Demonstration Team narrator to introduce the team and conduct the demonstration entitled ‘The rise and fall of the twelve tribes of Israel’.
The team then enthralled the companions with their demonstration which was delivered in a sincere but light hearted manner. Following the demonstration which lasted around 30 minutes Derek thanked the team for the skilful demonstration. He said he had learned a few things he had not known, as he was sure many other companions had as well. The temple was filled with acclamation as over 100 companions showed their thanks to the team for their wonderful demonstration.
The companions assembled in the main dining room in Cleveleys Masonic Hall for the festive board which was enjoyed by all.
Following the normal toasts after the meal Derek thanked the East Lancashire Demonstration Team again for their magnificent demonstration, saying that they undertook the work without payment and travelled to many Provinces each year to deliver demonstrations in both lodges and chapters. Derek concluded by presenting a cheque to John Cavanagh for £100. Derek also thanked the two AtoTGPs from West Lancashire - Norman Clarke and David Thornton who had travelled to Cleveleys to support the team.
In his response John thanked Derek and his co principals and companions for their hospitality and the donation, which would go towards the donations to charity made by Chapter of Friendship No 44 of which all the demonstration team are members of in East Lancashire.
John said the team had greatly enjoyed their visit to Cleveleys as it had been: 'A game of two halves, with the first half comprising the two investitures – at this point the score was two – nil to West Lancs' He continued 'the temple was full and was the largest audience the team have delivered their demonstration to and we hope they enjoyed it as we certainly did – you could say the companions got three for the price of one!'
John concluded by thanking all the companions for their kind comments and acclamation.
He said the team were giving another demonstration at Cleveleys Park Lodge No 7540 on 14 March 2014 entitled ‘The crafty Companion’.