Celebrating 300 years

QUARTERLY COMMUNICATION

9 DECEMBER 2009

A speech by VW Bro Graham Redman, Assistant Grand Secretary, and VW Bro John Hamill

GFR: MW Pro Grand Master and Brethren, in the early part of 1809, the Antients or Atholl Grand Lodge, apart from authorising expenditure totalling £177–6s–0d for the Erection of a Throne and presenting or resolving to present three Brethren with gold medals in testimony of their services to the Craft, seems to have been preoccupied with the arrangements for a Masonic Procession, Sermon and Festival in celebration of St. John’s Day (24th June).

 

The Church Service, procession and Festival of St John the Baptist was an annual event. In 1809 it was variously proposed that the event should take place in Islington, Hackney, Lambeth or Camberwell. The service actually took place at Camberwell Church following which the brethren processed to the Grove House, Camberwell for dinner. The Grand Treasurer reported that the day’s costs had been £210–5s–3d leaving a shortfall of £29–1s–6d to be taken from Grand Lodge Funds.

Nor was Charity neglected. In March 1809 £100 from Grand Lodge funds was voted to the Masonic Charity for Clothing and Educating the Sons of Indigent Freemasons. To this, later in the year, was added 200 guineas to celebrate the coming Golden Jubilee of King George III. This special grant would enable the Boy’s Charity to take on another ten boys, bringing the total under their care to fifty.

GFR: In September of that year the Minutes record that:

Bro Jeremiah Cranfield, Past Master of 255 again brought forward a motion presented and afterwards withdrawn at the meeting of Grand Lodge 7th June last, that a committee be appointed from the Grand Lodge to consider of and adopt such prompt and effectual measures for accomplishing so desirable an object as a Masonic .

The RW Bro Charles Humphreys, PSGW objected to the motion being received as tending to annihilate the Antient Craft. Hereon a very long debate and conversation ensued.
The RW Deputy Grand Master in the Chair, after maturely considering thereon and as at present advised and according with his duty as Deputy Grand Master conceived it incompatible with his situation in the absence of the Grand Master to receive such Motion. And thereupon the Grand Lodge was closed at past 12 o’clock at night.

In December, Bro Cranfield returned to the charge, by objecting to the adoption of the whole of the minutes of the September Communication, whereon a long and interesting debate upon the minutes of the 6th September last took place. After some time it was moved by Bro Charles Humphreys, PSGW and seconded that the said minutes be read separately and the sense of the Grand Lodge taken thereon paragraph by paragraph and the question being put thereon the same was carried in the affirmative.”

The minutes were severally read and confirmed unanimously except for the last minute and the motion therein mentioned and moved by Bro Cranfield for a Committee to be appointed to consider and adopt prompt and effectual measures for accomplishing a Masonic .

Upon this the debate recommenced and thereon it was moved by Bro Charles Humphreys and seconded that the said motion made by Bro Cranfield and refused to be put by the Deputy Grand Master be expunged from the minutes of the RW Grand Lodge and the question being thereon put passed in the negative.

Afterwards Bro Cranfield’s motion of the 6th September was again read and the question thereon put the same was carried in the affirmative.

JMH: This momentous resolution, brethren, I shall return to in a few moments.

GFR: In February 1809, the Moderns Grand Lodge was opened in due form and – as usual – the Laws relating to the behaviour of Masons in Grand Lodge were read.

The Special Committee appointed in November 1808 to enquire into the charges preferred against the Royal Naval Lodge reported. A number of Brethren had laid eleven charges against the Master, Officers and Brethren of the Lodge, then numbered 57 and now No. 59, and three charges against one of its members, Bro Francis Columbine Daniel. The charges included unjustly and unconstitutionally erasing the names of two of the complainants from the Lodge books without their consent and thereby terming them expelled members; not keeping a set of Bye Laws in the Lodge for the internal government thereof; not regularly registering the members and the Brethren initiated there in the books of the Grand Lodge; not regularly and justly paying the Liquidation fee at the Grand Lodge; irregularly admitting a joining Member who had on a former Lodge night been black balled by nine; and publishing and inserting false statements concerning the transaction of the Lodge. Apart from his having been implicated in several of the charges against the Lodge, and in particular the last, the principal complaint against Bro Daniel was that he illegally presided over the Lodge under the assumed title of ‘Acting Master’.

The members of the Committee had found themselves hampered in their investigations, particularly that into the non-payment of fees to Grand Lodge, by a lack of co-operation on the part of the Lodge. The matter was deferred to the April Communication, then to November and eventually stood over to the following year.

JMH: The tribulations within the Royal Naval Lodge took up an inordinate amount of the time not only of the premier Grand Lodge itself but of its Committee of Charity (which in addition to its charitable function worked as a sort of Board of General Purposes) and the special Committee set up to investigate the charges laid against members of the lodge. The reason Grand Lodge took such an interest was money. The premier Grand Lodge had large debts resulting from the building of the first Freemasons’ Hall in 1775 and its later extension and renovation. To reduce the debts they introduced a Liquidation Fund and required lodges to pay a levy to the fund in respect of each of the members of their lodge. The investigation committee found that Royal Naval Lodge owed £168 – 4s – 6d in registration fees to Grand Lodge, had paid nothing into the Liquidation Fund in the years 1799, 1805 or 1807 and had made no returns of names or monies since April 1807.

As so often happens, the problems in the lodge centred around one character: Francis Columbine Daniel. A successful surgeon and apothecary, Daniel was a strong minded character of decided views who brooked no opposition. He was a member of lodges under both the premier and the Antients Grand Lodge and had a great interest in charity. He persuaded members of the Royal Naval Lodge to set up and fund a charity to clothe and educate the sons of indigent or deceased Freemasons, which in 1816 united with the similar charity under the Antients Grand Lodge to become the Royal Masonic Institution for Boys. Outside Freemasonry, Daniel is remembered for two things: inventing an inflatable life vest for sailors, which won him gold medals from both the Royal Humane Society and the Royal Society of Arts, and gaining a knight hood by accident. Attending a garden party at Buckingham Palace he joined what he thought was a queue waiting to be presented to the King and was somewhat amazed when he was asked to kneel and had each shoulder tapped with a sword! Having been dubbed he could not be “un – dubbed” but his accident caused a major review of the procedures for the installation of future knights.

GFR: At the April Communication another topic was raised:

The minutes of the Committee of Charity were read and confirmed, whereupon it was resolved that the Grand Lodge do agree in opinion with the Committee of Charity that it is not necessary any longer to continue in force those measures which were resorted to in or about the year 1739 respecting irregular Masons and do therefore enjoin the several lodges to revert to the Ancient Land Marks of the Society.

JMH: Reporting of Masonic meetings in the press in the 1720s had led to great public curiosity about Freemasonry. This, in turn, led to enterprising journalists producing articles and pamphlets claiming to reveal the secrets and rituals of Freemasonry. In 1730 one Samuel Prichard produced a pamphlet entitled “Masonry Dissect’d” which for the first time gave details of all three of the Craft degrees. He must have been reasonably accurate as a significant number of individuals used his work to gain access to lodges and make claims on the lodge charity box. This panicked the premier Grand Lodge which, in the late 1730s, to catch out these impostors, reversed the first and second degree pillar words. Unfortunately they appear not to have informed the Grand Lodge of Ireland of the change, which was to have a significant effect on English Freemasonry.

In the 18th century, as today, there was a significant Irish population in London. Many of them had become Freemasons before leaving their native land but after the ritual change in the late 1730s were rejected as impostors when they attempted to visit lodges. After a decade of such rejections, on the basis that if you cannot join them beat them, a group of mainly Irish brethren in 1751 met at the Turks Head Tavern in Greek Street, Soho, and formed themselves into a Grand Committee until such time as a noble brother could be elected to serve as their Grand Master. Thus was the Antients Grand Lodge born. They were proud to accept the epithet Antients as they claimed that the original Grand Lodge had departed from the ancient landmarks and they alone were working “Masonry according to the ancient institutions”.

The decision by the premier Grand Lodge to reverse the 1730s changes was the first step towards negotiating an equable with the Antients. In October 1809 they set up a special Lodge of Promulgation whose brief was to ascertain that their ceremonies were in accord with those practised in Ireland, Scotland and lodges over the seas and to establish the landmarks of the Order. That was the public reason, the reality was that they wished to bring themselves more into line with the practices of the Antients lodges to ease the road to .

My co–presenter referred a few moments ago to Brother Cranfield’s motion in the Antients Grand Lodge to form a committee to look at a possible . It rather begs the question of why a simple Past Master rather than a senior member of the Antients Grand Lodge should raise such an important resolution. Cranfield was a member of Oak Lodge No. 255 (still in existence as Oak Lodge No. 190). Another member of that Lodge was one Francis Columbine Daniel, whom we have seen was active in both Grand Lodges. Daniel was well known to Thomas Harper, who despite being Deputy Grand Master of the Antients Grand Lodge was also active in the premier Grand Lodge and like Daniel had served as a Grand Steward and was a member of the Grand Stewards Lodge. Harper and Daniel were both advocates of a of the two Grand Lodges. Would I be laying myself open to accusations of being a conspiracy theorist were I to suggest that Cranfield was possibly a stalking horse acting for Harper and Daniel?

GFR: We now fast-forward one hundred years to 1909. In March, after the adoption of various reports, the Pro Grand Master declared:

Brethren, I have been sorry to hear within the last few days that the Resolution which I have now to propose is giving rise to difference of opinion, and even in some quarters, I grieve to hear, to a feeling which almost approaches resentment, but I trust that the explanation which I have to offer will succeed in removing misunderstanding, for it is to misunderstanding, I venture to think, that difference of opinion is due.

The resolution proposed by the Pro Grand Master, which followed the grant of an honorarium to the Grand Registrar of 1,000 Guineas in 1906, was:

“That in view of the Resolution of the 6th June, 1906, affirming the principle that the duties of the Grand Registrar ought not to be rendered gratuitously, and in view of the great and growing importance to Grand Lodge in her relations with the colonies and with foreign countries of the correct and authoritative interpretation of Masonic Law, it is desirable that the remuneration of the Grand Registrar should take the more satisfactory and regular form of an annual retaining fee of such an amount as may fairly be tendered to distinguished counsel.”

The Motion was seconded by a Past Grand Chaplain, but opposed by the Vice-President of the Board of General Purposes. The Deputy Grand Master spoke in support of the motion, concluding his remarks with:

I am convinced that whenever the time comes … for a new Grand Registrar to beappointed, if we are to have the man we ought to have, we shall have to pass this Motion. I do submit it would be much more graceful and gracious to pass it now.

The Motion was put and declared to be lost.

JMH: When one looks at the Grand Lodge finances and sources of income in 1909 it is not surprising that the suggestion that the Grand Registrar be paid a retainer of at least 500 guineas was negatived. Grand Lodge’s income came from registration fees for new and joining members, fees for warrants, patents, dispensations and appointments to Grand Rank, rents for the use of Freemasons’ Hall and from the Tavern and investment income. Lodges paid quarterage in respect of each member but this went to the Fund of Benevolence. Grand Lodge dues as we know them were not introduced until 1930! There was also the matter of principle. If the Grand Registrar were to be remunerated what about the Grand Superintendent of Works, who freely advised Grand Lodge on all property matters, and even the Grand Director of Ceremonies who was regularly called on to rule on matters of protocol and ceremonial?

The debate was – to be polite – robust, despite the motion having been proposed by the Pro and supported by the Deputy Grand Master. When the Rev JT Lawrence rose to support the motion there were cries from the floor of “Time, Time”!

GFR: How different from the proceedings of the Grand Lodge in the 21st century!

This time last year we left off at that part of our history which mentioned the problems with the Freemasons’ Tavern. In December 1909, the Board of General Purposes which had been giving progress reports throughout the year reported that the work connected with the reconstruction and enlargement of “Freemasons’ Tavern,” hereafter to be known as “The Connaught Rooms, Freemasons’ Hall,” is approaching completion, and will be ready for occupation by the end of the year.

The Board has concluded an arrangement with Bro George Harvey, at one time a manager of the Hotel Cecil, for granting him a lease of the premises for seven, fourteen, or twenty-one years; and looking to the high esteem in which he is held by very many members of the Craft, to whom he is well known, and to his great experience in connection with establishments of a similar character, the Board confidently believes that the arrangement is one which will be as beneficial to the Craft as it hopes it will be to Bro Harvey.

The greater part of the building has been entirely re-modelled. The principal Banqueting Hall has been enlarged to an extent sufficient to accommodate 800 diners. Additions and improvements have been made to the smaller dining rooms, and the kitchen and service arrangements have been entirely reconstructed, greatly enlarged, and in every way adapted to the most modern requirements.

JMH: When last December I quipped that “like the poor, problems with the Connaught Rooms were always with us” I had no knowledge of what would happen next door during 2009! In 1809 and 1909 problems with the Freemasons’ Tavern were happily settled and with the installation of new managements lengthy periods of good management and service to Freemasonry followed. With the installation of the Harvey family in 1909 the Tavern became the Connaught Rooms, as a compliment to the then Grand Master. A Brother Lewis Ferguson queried the rents and the costs of the refurbishment. The President of the Board informed him that the rent was £500 for the first year rising by increments to £3050 and the refurbishment of the building had cost Grand Lodge nearly £30,000. The present Board of General Purposes did rather better. As the President announced in September the new lessees, Principal Hayley, were to invest in excess of £5 million refurbishing the Connaught Rooms and a commercial rent was being paid to Grand Lodge. We can only hope that the new incumbents will have the same flair and care as the Harvey family in 1909 and that the Grand Connaught Rooms will live up to its new name!

Published in Speeches
Minutes
The Minutes of the Regular Convocation of 30 April 2009were confirmed.

Committee Meetings 2010
23 March, 28 September and 1 December.

Petitions For New Chapters
Petitions were granted for a new Chapter to be attached to Edward Holiday Lodge No. 7997, to be called Edward Holiday Chapter No. 7997, Dewan Freemason, 15 Jalan 18/16, Taman Kanagapuram, 46000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia (Eastern Archipelago); for a new Chapter to be attached to Lodge of Enlightenment No. 9550, to be called Chapter of Enlightenment No. 9550, Masonic Hall, Deyncourt Gardens, Upminster (Essex).

Charters of Confirmation
Charters of Confirmation were granted for the following Chapters, the original Charters having been either lost or destroyed: Commercial Travellers Chapter No. 2795 (London); Amicus Chapter No. 3772 (London); Mount Kenya Chapter No. 5638 (East Africa) and Square Mile Chapter No. 9352 (London).

Centenary Charters
A Centenary Jewel has been granted to Hauley Chapter No. 797 (Devonshire), Sir Watkin Chapter No. 1336 (North Wales), Eldon Chapter No. 1755 (Somerset), Chiswick Chapter No. 2012 (Middlesex), Astley Chapter No. 2997 (Northumberland, Fairfax Chapter No. 3255 (Yorkshire, West Riding).

Transfer
Grants of transfer were approved as follows: Peace and Friendship Chapter No. 7414 (London) to be detached from Peace and Friendship Lodge and attached to Highgate Lodge No. 1366 (London) and be known as Highgate Chapter No. 1366.

Amalgamations
The following Chapters have surrendered their Charters: Imperial Vitruvian Chapter No. 87, in order to amalgamate with WilliamPreston Chapter No. 766 (London); Fraternity Chapter No. 1697 and Cribden Chapter No. 7285, in order to amalgamate with Chapter of Fidelity No. 274 (East Lancashire); London Scottish Rifles Chapter No. 2310, in order to amalgamate with Scots Chapter No. 2319 (London);Cavendish Chapter No. 2620, in order to amalgamate with Æsculapius Chapter No. 2410 (London) and Israel Chapter No. 6824, in order to amalgamate with Carnarvon Chapter No. 1735 (South Africa, Western Division).

Erasures
The following Chapters have surrendered their Charters: Acacia Chapter No. 1309 (Middlesex), Addiscombe Chapter No. 1556 (London), Guelph Chapter No. 1685 (London), Raymond Thrupp Chapter No. 2024 (Middlesex), Shurmur Chapter No. 2374 (Essex), Concordia Chapter No. 2685 (South Africa, North), Eltham Palace Chapter No. 2980 (London), Chapter De Aar No. 3198 (South Africa, Central Division), Chapter Puerorum, No. 3377 (London), Seymour Bell Chapter No. 3635 (Northumberland), St Ann's Chapter No. 3691 (London), Georgian Chapter No. 6752 (Hampshire and Isle of Wight), White River Chapter No. 7082 (South Africa, North), Thomas Telford Chapter No. 8029 (Staffordshire) and Centre Chapter No. 8568 (Middlesex). The Chapters have been erased from the register of Grand Chapter and the Charters cancelled.

'Lest We Forget'
Some thoughts for Armistice Day on Freemasonry in the First World War and the Masonic Peace Memorial of those who fell, was given by D.W. Burford and J.M. Hamill.

Meetings of Supreme Grand Chapter
Future Convocations will be held on 29 April 2010, 10 November 2010 and 28 April 2011.
Published in SGC
Wednesday, 11 June 2008 01:00

Pro Grand Master's address - June 2008

QUARTERLY COMMUNICATION
11 JUNE 2008
AN ADDRESS BY THE MW THE PRO GRAND MASTER THE MOST HON THE MARQUESS OF NORTHAMPTON, DL

On the nineteenth of July, this very fine building – created as a Masonic Peace Memorial – will be seventy-five years old. At the June Quarterly Communication in 1933, held seventy-five years ago last Saturday at the Central Hall Westminster, Lord Ampthill, the then Pro Grand Master, thanking Lodges for their generous response to the appeal for the erection of this building said that, “it would be an outward sign of our pious memory of the Brethren who fell in the Great War and, at the same time, a fulfilment of the duty we owe those who came after us.”

I believe that the building remains today as a fitting memorial for the Brethren who fell in the Great War. And a fitting fulfilment of the duty the planners and builders owed to those who came after them. I am confident that that fulfilment will continue for many generations of future Masons.

Referring to the building the then Pro Grand Master continued, “it is a duty we owe to the cause of Masonry, and to Freemasons all over the world, that the headquarters of the English Constitution should be worthy of the honour and reputation that we enjoy, and that the place of assembly of the Grand Lodge of England should be fully significant of our faith and cause, our confidence in the future, and our determination to make Freemasonry more and more a potent influence for the good in national life.”

Shortly afterwards, the Grand Master, His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn held an especial meeting in connection with the dedication of this Masonic Peace Memorial at the Royal Albert Hall, followed the next day – 19 July 1933 – by the dedication itself, here at Great Queen Street. So, the first Quarterly Communication was held here on 6 September 1933. To commemorate that, at our next Quarterly Communication in September, I have asked Brother John Hamill, Director of Communications, to talk about the history of the building.

Towards the end of last year I launched a survey of Lodge and Chapter records. This survey will be an important building block for the book on Masonic history which we are planning to publish in 2017 as part of the Tercentenary celebrations of the formation of the first Grand Lodge. Undertaking this survey within an organisation of this size and age is ambitious. But I am confident that, with your help, it will be successful and that the results will also be important in encouraging further research into our history.

I have been following the results very closely and I am pleased that the project has been enthusiastically supported. All our Provinces have now appointed a volunteer co-ordinator to organise the survey. Most of these co-ordinators have taken the opportunity to attend a briefing meeting here at Freemasons' Hall, and have already started the survey in their Provinces. We hope to have completed the survey by the summer of 2009.

At the end of May the Deputy Grand Master opened the Women and Freemasonry Exhibition in the Library and Museum. It covers the development of Freemasonry for Women in the early years of the last century. At the preview guests included lady representatives from the various women’s organisations including the Order of Women Freemasons and the Honourable Fraternity of Antient Freemasons. We maintain our independence from the women’s organisations and they are happy to maintain their independence from us. Apart from the historical interest, the Exhibition has a valuable public relations benefit. It will help to dispel the commonly held myth, among non-Masons, that there are no women in Freemasonry! I commend the Exhibition to you.

The Hampton Court Flower Show in July will feature a garden with a Masonic theme which I hope will encourage some of you to visit, if you have an interest in gardens. It is sponsored by the Metropolitan Grand Lodge and twelve Provinces in the south of England. I am looking forward to attending and the dates and details can be found on the UGLE website. Brethren, returning to the words of the Pro Grand Master in 1933, and comparing those words with the situation today: this fine building is fully significant of our faith and cause; we have confidence in the future and we remain determined to make Freemasons more and more a potent influence for good in our national life. In fact, I believe that the Craft is in a much stronger position now than it has been for many years, and I end my remarks by wishing you and your families a very happy summer.

Published in Speeches

Alan Englefield, the Grand Chancellor, addresses Grand Lodge on his new role in external relations

From time immemorial – or from at least the 1750s! – Grand Lodge’s relations with our sister Grand Lodges have been managed by a combination of the Board of General Purposes (and its predecessors), the Grand Master’s advisers and the Grand Secretary.

For much of the period up to the late 20th century external relations was a gentle art which took up little time. Occasionally there were explosions of activity such as the decision in 1876 by the Grand Orient of France to drop the requirement that candidates must have a belief in a Supreme Being. 

Then there was the decision to remove all references to the Great Architect from their rituals and the proliferation of new Grand Lodges in Europe with the redrawing of the map of Europe after the cataclysm of the First World War. 

But, in general, it was simply a case of occasionally having to decide whether or not a new Grand Lodge met our standards of regularity and could be recognised as part of the world wide family of Freemasonry. 

After the Second World War the map of Europe was again re-drawn into the Eastern and Western blocs, leading to a reduction of Freemasonry in Europe when it was forced underground in the Eastern bloc countries. 

At the same time, in what was becoming an increasingly politicised world, there was a growth of irregular Freemasonry with bodies springing up claiming to be Masonic. 

But they did not accept our basic principles, in particular the bar on Grand Lodges or brethren in their Masonic capacities making public statements on matters of religious, political or social policy. 

As the oldest Grand Lodge, we have had thrust on us the role of being the guardians of regularity and in many ways are expected to police what is regular and what is not. 

Those are not roles that we have sought and we cannot be an international policeman solving problems within and between Grand Lodges. 

This role came very much to the fore in the 1990s after the demise of the Eastern bloc, the return of democratic institutions in those areas and the very welcome reestablishment of dormant, and making of new Grand Lodges there. 

This alone brought heavy pressure on the Grand Secretary. For example, in 1989 we recognised 17 regular Grand Lodges in Europe, today we recognise 34 with another four under consideration! As a result, the office of Grand Chancellor was created. 

The Chancellor’s main roles are to chair the External Relations Committee, to advise the Rulers, the Grand Master’s advisers and the Board of General Purposes. He must ensure that Grand Lodge’s policy on external relations is carried through, and to ensure that all correspondence in this area is dealt with in a timely fashion. 

As the Grand Chancellor is not a full time employee, I shall be assisted by John Hamill, Director of Communications and Peter Roberts, our long-term External Relations Adviser. 

The Grand Chancellor will also assist the Grand Master and the Rulers in representing Grand Lodge on formal visits to sister Grand Lodges and at international gatherings of regular Freemasonry. With the revolution in fast communication systems and the ease and reasonable cost of travelling today, the Masonic world is coming closer and closer together and inter-visitation and the regular exchange of information can only be good for the future of regular Freemasonry in general. 

External relations cover our relations with other Constitutions outside our own and are my responsibility. England still has over 800 Lodges meeting outside these islands under District Grand Masters, Grand Inspectors or being governed directly from London. 

Although many of them are separated from us by great distances, they are still very much an important part of the United Grand Lodge of England and will continue to come under the jurisdiction of the Grand Secretary. 

Normally, when they are visited by a Ruler, the Grand Secretary will accompany them, not the Grand Chancellor. He has already visited Ghana and in the autumn he will accompany the Pro Grand Master when he visits our Districts in India. 

There are also areas where the Grand Secretary and Grand Chancellor will work together. During the summer we had our usual tripartite meeting with Ireland and Scotland. Because that meeting involves both practical matters of Craft administration and jurisprudence as well as the discussion of relations between the Home Grand Lodges and other Grand Lodges, both the Grand Secretary and I were present. The same applies with the annual meeting of the European Grand Secretaries and Grand Chancellors. Co-operation between the two of us becomes even more important in those areas overseas in which we share territory not only with Ireland and Scotland, but also with a local sovereign Grand Lodge. 

External relations are crucial to the future harmony and stability of Freemasonry on a global level.

 

Published in UGLE

Four good reasons to join this Order are put forward by John Hamill

In line with the fashion of the day, I should perhaps begin with a declaration of interest. At the age of 23, and only three months after becoming a Master Mason, I was exalted into the Royal Arch. That is something I have never regretted.

On joining the Grand Lodge Library staff in August 1971 like all keen young historians I looked for a subject on which little work had been done. Knowing the seniority of the Royal Arch and its indissoluble link with the Craft I was amazed to find that little was available on its origins, history and development and I spent a fair amount of my 28 years in the Library and Museum trying to repair that loss.

In the best sense of the word, I am an enthusiast for the Royal Arch and find it difficult to understand why more brethren do not seek membership in it.

Why should anyone join the Royal Arch rather than any of the other Masonic degrees and Orders available to us? My first reason would be that indissoluble link, which is peculiar to English Freemasonry.

For historical reasons, when the two Grand Lodges came together in 1813 to form the United Grand Lodge of England they adopted a definition of “pure ancient Masonry” which stated that it consisted “of three degrees and no more, viz., those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft and the Master Mason, including the Supreme order of the Holy Royal Arch.”

As a result the two became indissolubly linked administratively and thematically.

Unfortunately that definition was open to misinterpretation and until relatively recently the general view was that the Royal Arch was the completion of the Master Mason degree. Indeed, so widely held was that view, that in the ritual the candidate was informed that he must not think that he had taken a fourth degree but that he had completed his third.

I always had a problem with that statement. It was both illogical and rather insulting to those who remained solely in the Craft. Illogical, because the Third Degree is complete in itself, and insulting in that it implied that those who did not go into the Royal Arch were somehow incomplete or second class Master Masons.

Completion in a different form would be my second reason for joining. Our progress through Freemasonry is a journey of selfdiscovery and self-knowledge. In the Craft we are presented with eminently practical principles and rules which, if we follow them in our lives, we would hope to live a life of service to our fellow man and pleasing to God, however we worship Him.

But we are not simply practical beings.

We have a vital spiritual aspect to our natures which is addressed in the Royal Arch. In essence the Royal Arch, without transgressing the bounds of religion, invites the candidate to consider the nature of God and his relationship with Him.

In that way the Royal Arch completes the man by leading him from the practical to the spiritual, and the Craft and Royal Arch form “pure ancient masonry”.

My third reason would be the ceremony and the ritual itself. Done well, the exaltation ceremony is one of the most beautiful and thought-provoking in Freemasonry.

More dramatic than the Craft, the climax of the ceremony forms a vivid memory for all who go through it. Done “by the book” the ritual lays a heavy burden on the principal officers. Sadly, that has been used in the past to deter candidates from coming forward, suggesting that they should concentrate on getting through office in the Craft before joining the Royal Arch.

That should no longer be the case, as for more than 20 years Supreme Grand Chapter has been encouraging Chapters to share the work. This has three advantages: it lessens the burden on the principal officers, it enables more Companions to take part in the ceremony rather than sitting as spectators, and it allows newer members to learn the ritual at their own pace and to fit in with what they are doing in the Craft.

My fourth reason would be companionship and enjoyment. It is rare for a Chapter to draw its membership from only one Lodge. By joining a Chapter you will increase your Masonic acquaintance beyond the membership of your own Lodge, which, in turn, can lead to an increase in your Masonic experience and knowledge.

But, above all, joining the Royal Arch should increase your enjoyment of Freemasonry. It brings with it new experiences, new insights and new Companions, all of which add to our pleasure and our enjoyment of Freemasonry.

Published in Features

Nigel Brown, the new Grand Secretary, is interviewed by John Hamill

With Grand Lodge agreeing the resolution empowering the Grand Master to appoint a Grand Chancellor to oversee Grand Lodge’s Masonic external relations, the role of the Grand Secretary has been freed up to enable him to concentrate primarily on the huge task of administering the Craft and the Royal Arch both at home and in our Districts, Lodges and Chapters overseas.

With the central administration for over 283,000 brethren in 8,357 Lodges (of which 792 are overseas) organised in 47 Provinces, 33 Districts and five Groups under Grand Inspectors to oversee, to say nothing of the organising of Grand Lodge meetings and those of the Board of General Purposes, Strategic Working Party, ad hoc and permanent committees (and their equivalents in the Royal Arch) as well as organising and co-ordinating the paperwork for each, ensuring that the Rulers and Board members are properly briefed on all topics of the day, and dealing with questions from Metropolitan, Provincial and District Grand Masters and their secretaries, the Grand Secretary’s role is no sinecure!

Nigel Brown, appointed Grand Secretary from 1st February, brings a wealth of professional and Masonic experience to his new office. Born in Lusaka, in what was then Northern Rhodesia, he was educated in Southern Rhodesia before entering the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, from which he was commissioned into the Grenadier Guards in which he served for ten years, retiring as a Captain.

Then followed 15 years in senior management in which he earned a high reputation for his administrative and planning skills and attention to detail, leading to his setting up a consultancy advising clients on winning competitive global tenders.

Although not the first in his family to be involved in Freemasonry, it was through his Service connections that he entered the Craft, being initiated in the Household Brigade Lodge No. 2614 in 1985. After being Master, he continued to serve the Lodge as Director of Ceremonies, Charity Steward and, currently, Secretary.

He has also been active in Prince of Wales’s Lodge No. 259 and other Lodges and Chapters. His liking for ritual and ceremonial brought him to the attention of the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his appointment in April 2005 as a Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies.

The GDC and his Deputies are key players in serving the Grand Master and the Rulers, and in maintaining the high reputation that the United Grand Lodge of England has in the Masonic world for the excellence of its ceremonial at Grand Lodge and other major Masonic gatherings.

The new Grand Secretary sees close co-operation between the centre and the Metropolitan, Provincial and District authorities as being vitally important to the good administration of the Craft and Royal Arch.

Over the last few years pressures from other areas – particularly foreign relations and dealing with the outside world – have led to there being less of a focus on Freemasonry at home and in our overseas Districts and Groups, but the Grand Secretary sees the strengthening of ties between the centre and the Metropolitan, Provincial and District Grand Lodges as his first and ongoing task.

'I am very much looking forward to the end of April when I shall have the good opportunity of informally meeting the Metropolitan, Provincial and District Grand Masters when they attend the Pro Grand Master’s business meeting.

'As a Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies I have had the privilege of visiting a number of Provinces as part of the Grand Lodge team for the installation of a new Provincial Grand Master or Grand Superintendent and have begun to get a feel for how a Province works.

'Equally, I look forward, with my senior management team, to my first meeting with the Provincial and District Grand Secretaries and Scribes E when we get together on the morning of the Annual Investiture. Later in the year I shall be accompanying the Pro Grand Master when he meets the Provinces in groups for more detailed discussions.

'I sincerely hope – if invited – that over a period I shall be able to attend the annual meetings of the Metropolitan and Provincial Grand Lodges. Communication is of vital importance and should be a two-way process from which we can all learn and benefit the Craft as a whole.

'The same thoughts apply to our Districts, Groups and Lodges overseas, though there is the additional dimension of distance involved. However, just as with groups at home, communication is the key. With the ease of today’s electronic communications I believe that ‘distance’ should not be a problem in providing a high quality of service from the centre.

'Thought is being given as to how we can increase personal contact, possibly by once again meeting Districts in groups as was done a number of years ago, and of striking a balance between visits to our own people overseas and those to foreign Grand Lodges and major international Masonic gatherings.

Published in UGLE

With Grand Lodge agreeing the resolution empowering the Grand Master to appoint a Grand Chancellor to oversee Grand Lodge’s Masonic external relations, the role of the Grand Secretary has been freed up to enable him to concentrate primarily on the huge task of administering the Craft and the Royal Arch both at home and in our Districts, Lodges and Chapters overseas.

With the central administration for over 283,000 brethren in 8,357 Lodges (of which 792 are overseas) organised in 47 Provinces, 33 Districts and five Groups under Grand Inspectors to oversee, to say nothing of the organising of Grand Lodge meetings and those of the Board of General Purposes, Strategic Working Party, ad hoc and permanent committees (and their equivalents in the Royal Arch) as well as organising and co-ordinating the paperwork for each, ensuring that the Rulers and Board members are properly briefed on all topics of the day, and dealing with questions from Metropolitan, Provincial and District Grand Masters and their secretaries, the Grand Secretary’s role is no sinecure!

Nigel Brown, appointed Grand Secretary from 1st February, brings a wealth of professional and Masonic experience to his new office. Born in Lusaka, in what was then Northern Rhodesia, he was educated in Southern Rhodesia before entering the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, from which he was commissioned into the Grenadier Guards in which he served for ten years, retiring as a Captain.

Then followed 15 years in senior management in which he earned a high reputation for his administrative and planning skills and attention to detail, leading to his setting up a consultancy advising clients on winning competitive global tenders.

Although not the first in his family to be involved in Freemasonry, it was through his Service connections that he entered the Craft, being initiated in the Household Brigade Lodge No. 2614 in 1985. After being Master, he continued to serve the Lodge as Director of Ceremonies, Charity Steward and, currently, Secretary.

He has also been active in Prince of Wales’s Lodge No. 259 and other Lodges and Chapters. His liking for ritual and ceremonial brought him to the attention of the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his appointment in April 2005 as a Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies.

The GDC and his Deputies are key players in serving the Grand Master and the Rulers, and in maintaining the high reputation that the United Grand Lodge of England has in the Masonic world for the excellence of its ceremonial at Grand Lodge and other major Masonic gatherings.

The new Grand Secretary sees close co-operation between the centre and the Metropolitan, Provincial and District authorities as being vitally important to the good administration of the Craft and Royal Arch.

Over the last few years pressures from other areas – particularly foreign relations and dealing with the outside world – have led to there being less of a focus on Freemasonry at home and in our overseas Districts and Groups, but the Grand Secretary sees the strengthening of ties between the centre and the Metropolitan, Provincial and District Grand Lodges as his first and ongoing task.

“I am very much looking forward to the end of April when I shall have the good opportunity of informally meeting the Metropolitan, Provincial and District Grand Masters when they attend the Pro Grand Master’s business meeting.

“As a Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies I have had the privilege of visiting a number of Provinces as part of the Grand Lodge team for the installation of a new Provincial Grand Master or Grand Superintendent and have begun to get a feel for how a Province works.

“Equally, I look forward, with my senior management team, to my first meeting with the Provincial and District Grand Secretaries and Scribes E when we get together on the morning of the Annual Investiture. Later in the year I shall be accompanying the Pro Grand Master when he meets the Provinces in groups for more detailed discussions.

“I sincerely hope – if invited – that over a period I shall be able to attend the annual meetings of the Metropolitan and Provincial Grand Lodges. Communication is of vital importance and should be a two-way process from which we can all learn and benefit the Craft as a whole.

“The same thoughts apply to our Districts, Groups and Lodges overseas, though there is the additional dimension of distance involved. However, just as with groups at home, communication is the key. With the ease of today’s electronic communications I believe that ‘distance’ should not be a problem in providing a high quality of service from the centre.

“Thought is being given as to how we can increase personal contact, possibly by once again meeting Districts in groups as was done a number of years ago, and of striking a balance between visits to our own people overseas and those to foreign Grand Lodges and major international Masonic gatherings.

“Even in the short time I have been in office I have experienced the warmth of welcome received overseas, when the GDC and I joined the MW The Grand Master in Ghana for a brief Masonic meeting whilst he was representing The Queen at the 50th anniversary celebrations of Ghana’s independence.”

The Grand Secretary will continue to lead the Communications team at Grand Lodge and would like to see a more pro-active policy.

“Openness and a steady flow of good, factual information about Freemasonry are key to restoring Freemasonry to its proper place in society, and the Craft at all levels has a vital part to play in the process. The Grand Lodge team and the network of Provincial Information Officers have made significant changes to public attitudes over the last few years and we need to build on their successes.

“We need to find ways of giving individual brethren the tools and the confidence to talk about Freemasonry with their families, friends and colleagues and, above all, with potential good candidates.

“I have no doubt that negative public attitudes have had an effect on potential candidates and that in some professions joining Freemasonry has not been seen as a smart career move. These are attitudes we must change if we are to continue to attract professional men.

“Talking about Freemasonry is not always easy, as I have found from recent experience! Before becoming Grand Secretary, at social events, when the conversation inevitably turned to what people did, I would talk about my various business and personal interests.

“Now, as Grand Secretary, I am having to learn how to talk succinctly and clearly about Freemasonry! Talking about something which we all clearly enjoy is surely one of the best ways of dispelling some of the myths that have grown up around the Craft. Enjoyment is one of the keys to the future success of Freemasonry.

“We must be efficient and professional in how we organise our Masonic affairs at all levels, but if we do not make it an enjoyable experience there seems little point in doing it. I think that whoever put together the Address to the Brethren got it so right when they exhorted us ‘to unite in the Grand Design of being happy and communicating happiness’”.

John Hamill is Director of Communications at Grand Lodge

Published in UGLE
Saturday, 01 April 2006 01:00

Public relations: hottest spot in town

Freemasonry is now receiving much better media coverage, as John Hamill reveals

In 1985, when Freemasonry seemed to be constantly under attack in the media, the writer and journalist Bernard Levin wrote two very supportive pieces on Freemasonry in his regular column in The Times. As he was not a Freemason he was invited to have lunch with a small group of senior Freemasons at Freemasons’ Hall. It proved a most valuable occasion.

He saw our problem as being that Freemasonry had been taken out of the public consciousness in the post-World War II period, resulting in the public not knowing what Freemasonry was.

As he put it – it is part of human nature to be suspicious of things we have no knowledge of, and suggested that the best way of altering public suspicion was a return to the openness of the pre-war period, to work with the media and to bring Freemasonry to the public’s notice – in a positive way – on a regular basis.

Grand Lodge took the advice to heart, but quickly realised that the centre could not deal with all the media. In the late 1980s, Provincial Grand Masters were invited to appoint Information Officers, who would have much better local knowledge than the centre, and could establish personal links with their local media.

As a result we now have a network of volunteer Information Officers who, with support from the centre and a great deal of hard work, have had an effect. In many Provinces, Freemasonry is now reported in the local press as interesting local social and charitable news.

The national media is a different game. National newspapers are only interested in stories with a 'that day news' content, which will give them an edge over their competitors. The Grand Lodge Communications Team regularly meets with journalists and have found that the Craft’s belief that there is a strong anti-Masonic element in the media is untrue.

Most journalists, like the public, have little knowledge of Freemasonry. Many of those we have met have become fascinated and keen to write, but hit the problem of their editor wanting a 'that day' news angle on which to hang the piece.

In that, Freemasonry is in a similar position to the many other voluntary organisations, such as Rotary, Round Table, Women’s Institute, Guides, Scouts etc, whose activities are rarely noticed in the national media.

That said, there have been references to Freemasonry in the national media over the last three years showing it in a positive light. As examples: The Guardian interviewed Anne Kent in the Grand Secretary’s office for their series 'Women in a man’s world'; The Independent did a two-page spread on Freemasons’ Hall as a gem of Art Deco architecture; The Times produced a half page on Freemasons’ Hall as a film location; The Daily Telegraph carries brief notices of the meetings of Grand Lodge and Grand Chapter; obituaries of major figures now include reference to their Masonic activities.

Activities with the national and local media all fulfil Bernard Levin’s advice of keeping Freemasonry in the public consciousness, but a more direct way of influencing public attitudes is by inviting them into, and to use for non-Masonic purposes, our Masonic buildings. 

In the last few issues of MQ we have reported on various non-Masonic events at Freemasons’ Hall. In addition to bringing income to Grand Lodge, these events are a major opportunity to let the public see our buildings and have an opportunity of asking questions.

Filming for television or feature films involves a lot of standing around for the actors and technicians. They get curious about the building, we are on hand to answer their questions and usually pass on to them the square booklets and copies of MQ Magazine.

When next somebody says anything to them about Freemasonry, they will have something positive to say about it. Some of the film shoots have even produced candidates.

The fashion shows, film premiere parties and other events have not only introduced a lot of people to Freemasons’ Hall who would not otherwise have visited, but have also generated press coverage.

The recent Julien Macdonald fashion show, which always gets heavy media attention, not only got Freemasons’ Hall mentioned on all the major television news channels, but also in all the reports in the next morning’s papers and in the fashion and gossip magazines.

The coverage by Sky and GMTV included stunning visuals of Freemasons’ Hall all clearly identified. Nothing was said about Freemasonry, but coverage like this gradually gets it over to the public that there is another side to what they have previously been told.

Bernard Levin warned that destroying myths and changing public opinion was a long term job. He was certainly right. But a lot of hard work has been done by a lot of people over the last 20 years and the signs are there that attitudes have changed.

The best example of that is in the local media where, on occasion, the Information Officer has not had to act when someone (usually a local politician) has had a go at Freemasonry in the local press because a local non-Mason (often one who has attended an open day) has written in to challenge what the detractor had said. That certainly is a change!

John Hamill is Director of Communications at the United Grand Lodge of England

A favourite location

Charlotte Clark, a director of Inca Productions, which staged the Julien Macdonald fashion event at Freemasons’ Hall, speaks about her love for the building as a spectacular venue:

Inca Productions has a very long history with Freemasons’ Hall. I first came through the doors to the Grand Temple in 1999 and apparently was the second woman through the doors after Princess Diana. I was instantly seduced, smitten and star struck by the space. Having worked in events for over 15 years now, it is very rare to be rendered speechless by a location, I was instantly star-struck.

The Grand Temple had the same effect on Julien Macdonald when we showed him the space for the first time. As creative director of Givenchy, he has had the opportunity to show his collections in some of the most beautiful venues in the world – he was the first designer to show in the Grand Palais after its refurbishment – in his opinion the Grand Temple is his favourite location to date.

Working in Freemasons’ Hall is a joy from beginning to end. From an event producer’s point of view it does not get much better. The space is never ending, your events team are a joy and nothing appears to be too much trouble. We were even allowed to use a glitter bomb that sent showers of gold into the air and tumbling down onto a sea of supermodels.

One of my favourite memories of Julien’s show was walking out of the Grand temple doors with Paris Hilton after the event. She climbed into her limo, rolled down the window and pointed to the building, smiled and drawled, ‘that’s hot.’ Freemasons’ Hall is now officially London’s hottest venue.

Published in Features
Sunday, 01 January 2006 00:00

Grand Lodge of Macedonia consecrated

Freemasonry is flourishing in eastern Europe, as John Hamill reports on developments in Macedonia

The Consecration of the new Grand Lodge in the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia by the Pro Grand Master, Lord Northampton, and a team of Grand Officers on 30 September was the culmination of nearly ten years work.

There had been no Masonic presence in Macedonia for nearly 80 years when a group of Macedonians approached the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) in 1996 with a request to be made regular Freemasons in Lodges in London.

They had done their research and had realised that there was both regular and irregular Masonry, and were determined that the new Masonic presence in their country would be of unimpeachable regularity.

After due diligence, the group were introduced to a number of London Lodges and, they having decided that the candidates were “fit and proper persons”, arrangements were made for each of the Lodges to have a dispensation to meet on the same day on three occasions in 1997 and the group became Master Masons under the UGLE.

Not only were they regular in their attendance at their Lodges in London, but they were also given permission to hold a Lodge of Instruction in Skopje, and a number of English brethren, in particular Brother John Matthews, regularly visited them and helped them in their work.

Regular visits to London were a major commitment in time and money, so in 2001 the brethren petitioned to have a Lodge meeting in Skopje, which was agreed, and a team went out from England and consecrated the Skopje Lodge No. 9721 on 1 October 2001.

The Lodge worked in English, which became a small problem, as many potential good candidates had no English. In 2001, Unity Lodge No. 9749 was consecrated with special permission to work the ritual in Macedonian. It was followed, in 2003, by White Dawns Lodge No. 9765, also working in Macedonian.

By 2005, the three Lodges had demonstrated that they were capable of running their own affairs and the decision was taken to form them into a Grand Lodge.

The Consecration was one of the largest international Masonic meetings in Europe this year, in which 15 Grand Lodges were represented, 11 by their MW Grand Masters in person, the remaining four by special representatives.

The new Grand Master for Macedonia, Brother Vladimir Sukarov, in his address, paid special tribute to the Pro Grand Master and his team not only for the superb ceremony, but also for all the support and fraternal affection that had been shown to his Brethren from their first coming to England.

The new Grand Lodge had been granted prospective recognition by England at the Quarterly Communication on 14 September, which became effective immediately the Consecration was complete. It was accorded immediate recognition by a number of the Grand Masters present at the ceremony and is now seeking recognition throughout the regular Masonic world.

The Consecration was followed by a Festival Banquet, to which the ladies had been invited. It was a fitting end to a very happy and exciting day. As Lord Northampton remarked in proposing the Toast to the new Grand Lodge, the day had been the culmination of nearly ten years of hard work, but the real work would begin the next day when they would begin to set the standards and traditions of the Grand Lodge of Macedonia.

John Hamill is Director of Communications at the United Grand Lodge of England

Published in International

Michael Baigent speaks with John Hamill and Christopher Connop

The masonic "Week of Action" next summer which will highlight the benefits Freemasonry brings to the community, is drawing ever closer.

Provincial organising committees have been formed, ideas for events are being compiled, masonic websites around the country are flagging local events, and a central "Command Centre" at Freemasons’ Hall in London has been set up to coordinate efforts, answer queries, send out information, compile a database, and deal with the Press. Remember the date: 26th June to 2nd July 2002. Once the idea for the "Week of Action" was approved, a group was formed at Freemasons’ Hall, London, to plan and inspire events: the Central Steering Committee. Chairman is John Hamill, Director of Communications, and secretary is Christopher Connop, Media Manager. Other members are the Grand Secretary, Jim Daniel; London representative, David Wilkinson, member of the General Council; Provincial representative Keith Madeley, Chairman of the Yorkshire West Riding media committee; Ben White, Information Officer Province of Somerset; Jane Reynolds, former Chief Executive of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution together with MDA Public Relations chief, Col. Mike Dewar and his colleague, Liz Sokoski. The function of the Central Steering Committee is, in the words of John Hamill, "to facilitate, offer advice, and to make sure that the central programme happens…". This central programme is the heart of "Week of Action" and opens, on Wednesday 26th June, with a concert in the Grand Temple at Freemasons’ Hall, London, centred around nineteen cathedral choristers, all of whom receive bursary assistance from the Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys. On Saturday 29th June there will be an "open house" at various masonic meeting places in London, all will have displays and other events. The week will finish on Tuesday, 2nd July when Freemasons’ Hall is hosting the Annual General Meeting of the London Topographical Society; a demonstration to them of how the building is part of the London community. On every other day there will be a free lunch-time public lecture on an aspect of Freemasonry held in one of the lodge rooms. There will be two exhibitions at Freemasons’ Hall, the Library and Museum plans a display showing the community aspects of Freemasonry, while, in conjunction with the Royal Photographic Society and George Eastman House in New York, there will be a display of the extraordinary photographs of Freemason, Alvin Langdon Coburn. Outside London, events are being prepared by provincial committees and all have nominated local coordinators. John Hamill explained that, "We are not asking for anything new but for all to draw together, in this one week, events which would normally be done during the course of a year. This week is not a fund-raiser". 

Planned events 
Many masonic Provinces plan open days and local thanksgiving services. Some will be held not only in Churchs, but also in Synagogues, Mosques and Hindu Temples with multi-faith services based around hymns and readings from the Holy Books of several faiths, in the presence of leaders of those faiths. Every Province will hold events involving local charities to show the general public how often Freemasonry contributes to their general benefit and how often masonic buildings are used by the public. Masonic Centres will be inviting local civic and business leaders to a lunch or dinner so that they will have the opportunity to meet Brethren and learn more about Freemasonry and its contribution to the community. Concerts and theatrical events are planned – one Province will have an "evening" with actress Prunella Scales. Many original ideas are being mooted: a masonic centre in the west country is sponsoring a photographic and art competition among school children on the theme of the local community. There will be twelve winners; each winner will have his or her art-work published in a masonic calendar which will be sold for charity. Freemasons in another Province have the agreement of all local public libraries to mount an exhibition in each during this week. Media coverage is another avenue to be explored: the Provincial Grand Master or Information Officer could do a "phone-in" on local radio or interviews with local Press. Charitable events, usually spread across summer, could be drawn together in this week: days out for disadvantaged children, or a funfair set up in the grounds of a Masonic Centre. A lunch could be held for the elderly, for war veterans, a variety show might be performed, evening concerts arranged, even a disco for the young teens at a Masonic hall! Sports events can be arranged, especially at secondary schools – a "Masonic Cup" could be donated for the winner. Masonic exhibitions might be arranged in the local museums – how many Brethren and Lodges have antique regalia and jewels which could very easily and effectively be loaned for an interesting display? 

The profile of Freemasonry 
The purpose of this week is to raise the profile of Freemasonry. Both John Hamill and Christopher Connop stressed that they did not believe that there is a public opposition to Freemasonry, rather, they felt, the general public know very little about us. The aim then, is to demonstrate to the public that we are not only an interesting organisation but that we make a very positive contribution to the local community. One major change observed over the last year or two is the increasing amount of favourable coverage which Freemasonry is getting from local newspapers. Many are running supportive articles and many Provincial Information Officers are now forging good relationships with the regional Press. Christopher Connop noted that, "We are beginning to be seen as interesting local news in provincial newspapers". Building upon this evident goodwill, Information Officers need to ensure that the newspapers to know about the events planned for this week, and for them to be well briefed so that they might cover them sympathetically and with interest.

Published in Initiatives & Clubs
Page 8 of 9

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