Celebrating 300 years

Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge

13 December 2017 
Report of the Board of General Purposes

Minutes

The minutes of the Quarterly Communication of 13 September 2017 and the minutes of the Especial Communication of 31 October 2017 were confirmed.

HRH The Duke of Kent KG was nominated to be Grand Master for the ensuing year.

RW Bro M.H. Lawson, PJGW

The Board had learnt with great sadness of the unexpected death of RW Bro Michael Howard Lawson, PJGW, who was first elected to the Board in 1988. He remained a member until 2012, having served as Vice-President from 1997 until the introduction of the office of Deputy President of the Board of General Purposes, which he held until his retirement.

Annual Investiture of Grand Officers – 25 April 2018

So that sufficient accommodation can be reserved for those Brethren who are to be invested and their friends, admission to the Annual Investiture is by ticket only. Brethren to be invested for the first time may invite to be present with them three qualified Brethren, and those to be promoted two qualified Brethren.

Allowance having been made for such an issue and for those whose presence in the Grand Lodge is essential, a few seats will remain. Written application for these seats may be made to the Grand Secretary between 1 March and 31 March by Brethren qualified to attend the Grand Lodge:

  1. Past Grand Officers;*
  2. Masters;
  3. Wardens (not Past Wardens);
  4. Past Masters qualified under Rule 9 of the Book of Constitutions.

Applications should state clearly the name, address and Lodge of the Brother concerned and under which of the four categories mentioned his application is made. If necessary, a ballot for the allocation of seats will be held in early April, and tickets will be posted to successful Brethren on or about 6 April. Brethren who have been unsuccessful will be so informed.

* Metropolitan and Provincial Grand Masters, all other Present Grand Officers, including Grand Stewards, Deputy Metropolitan and Provincial Grand Masters, and Assistant Metropolitan and Provincial Grand Masters should not apply in this way as they will be invited specifically by letter about a month before the day of Investiture and asked to indicate on a reply slip whether they intend to be present. Similar arrangements are made for District Grand Masters who are known to intend to be in the UK on 25 April and this can be extended to others, if they write indicating their wish to attend.

Possession of a ticket will not, of itself, ensure admission – Brethren who are not Grand Officers will be required to hand their tickets to the Scrutineers before examination by them in accordance with the usual practice at Quarterly Communications. Past Grand Officers should sign the Attendance Books in the Past Grand Officers’ Room, and give up their tickets before being admitted to the Grand Temple.

Grand Officers taking part in the procession will sign in the Grand Officers’ Room.

Masonic Year Book and directory of lodges and chapters

The next edition of the Masonic Year Book, 2018–2019, will be available next autumn. The charge will be £15 per copy, plus postage and packing where appropriate. It is proposed to produce a new edition of the Directory of Lodges and Chapters during 2018 at a charge of £15 per copy. Copies of the current edition are still available from Letchworth’s and may be ordered in the usual way.

Every lodge will receive one copy of the Masonic Year Book and the Directory free of charge. The Board emphasises that these copies should be available to all the members of private lodges and not regarded as for the exclusive use of the Secretary to whom, for administrative reasons, they are dispatched.

Metropolitan and Provincial Lodges

As in previous years copies will be dispatched direct to Secretaries of Lodges.

Lodges abroad

Sufficient copies will be dispatched to District Grand Secretaries for distribution to lodges in the Districts. Lodges abroad not in a District will receive their copies direct.

Prestonian Lectures for 2018

The Board had considered applications for the delivery of the official Prestonian Lectures in 2018 and has decided that these should be given under the auspices of the following: Stuart Lodge, No. 540 (Bedfordshire), Durham Lodge of Installed Masters, No. 4441 (Durham), Derbyshire Lodge of Installed Masters, No. 8509 (Derbyshire) and Berkshire Lodge of Enlightenment, No. 9946 (Berkshire).

The Lecturer, W Bro C.P. Noon, states that the title of the Lecture will be: A Good Workman Praises his Tools: Masonic Metaphors in the Ancient World.

The Board, when annually inviting applications for the privilege of having one of the official deliveries of the Lectures, invariably emphasises their importance as the only Lectures held under the authority of the Grand Lodge. The Board and the Trustees of the Prestonian Fund are correspondingly keen to ensure that Brethren come forward with potential future lectures on topics which will be of interest to English Freemasons. Brethren who consider that they have the requisite skill and knowledge are accordingly invited to submit their names to the Grand Secretary, through their Metropolitan, Provincial or District Grand Secretaries.

Metropolitan Grand Officers

It has been represented to the Board that it would be advantageous to London Masonry if the number of Metropolitan Grand Officers who may be appointed by the Metropolitan Grand Master were to be increased to correspond more closely with the number of Grand Officers appointed by the Grand Master. The Board, having considered the matter, agrees, and Notice of Motion to amend the Book of Constitutions accordingly appeared at item 7 of the Paper of Business.

Social media

In September 2016 the Grand Lodge adopted the recommendations of the Board in relation to social media and agreed a policy, available from the Grand Secretary’s office or online at www.ugle.org.uk. It has become clear recently that the policy is either not sufficiently understood or is being disregarded. The Board accordingly reminds the Grand Lodge of the policy by repeating it below, in order that Brethren may not plead ignorance of it.

Policy on Social Media

Social media platforms have become an increasingly popular channel for communication in the 21st century. They provide ways to share content with a wide audience, and as such are excellent tools for sharing information about Freemasonry and Masonic activities. However, as with any powerful tool, social media need to be used with caution, as incorrect use can have a damaging impact on Freemasonry’s public image, and therefore on Freemasonry itself. This should be a matter of common sense. This policy has been written to advise Freemasons on how to use social media within the compass of propriety.

  1. Digital Ambassadorship

It is important to note that any interactions a Freemason has on social media may be visible to anyone in the world: while it is possible to restrict the audience of one’s posts, it is not possible to control how others will react to them. A private post can easily be shared and reposted publicly by anyone who has access to it. Even if an original post is deleted or edited, someone could already have shared it in its original form. As far as social media are concerned, everything one does or says is permanently recorded, and there is no such thing as a truly private post.

Acting as an ambassador for Freemasonry online is part of a Freemason’s duty, and is within the scope of Rule 179 of the Book of Constitutions which states that a Freemason “…has a duty not to engage in activity which may bring Freemasonry into disrepute”. Rules (civil and Masonic) and expectations that apply to one’s daily conduct apply equally within the digital sphere, as comments may be taken out of context and used as representative of the views of the United Grand Lodge of England.

Below is a list of behaviours and topics to avoid when posting on social media. These apply to personal accounts, as well as to accounts that individual Freemasons may manage on behalf of a Lodge, Province, District, or other Masonic entity. They apply to any Freemason who is identifiable as a Freemason online, whether he is posting in Masonic or non-Masonic channels. This list is not comprehensive, but is intended to act as an introductory guide to topics or behaviours that are inappropriate for posting to any audience on social media.

When posting on social media platforms, a Freemason must not:

  1. Produce, link to, or refer to any content that is illegal, defamatory, or likely to offend others
  2. Cause or contribute to any hostile or unproductive arguments, or carry on any private piques or quarrels (that is to say, good-natured debate is fi ne, but one should be prepared to abandon the exchange if it ceases to be friendly)
  3. Discuss or allude to any of the Masonic Signs, Tokens, or Words
  4. Claim to speak for any Masonic body (e.g. a Lodge, a Province or District, a charity or committee, or UGLE) on whose behalf he is not expressly authorised to speak (for instance, membership of a lodge in London does not give one the authority to speak on behalf of Metropolitan Grand Lodge)
  5. Identify anyone else as a Freemason without his express consent
  6. Refer to any personal information about any Freemason without his express consent (such as address, telephone number, or anything else covered by the Data Protection Act 1998; see: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/29/contents)
  7. Attempt to use Masonic channels as a vehicle for personal profit, or for any other form of self-promotion
  8. Attack the United Grand Lodge of England or any other legitimate Masonic authority.
  1. Best Practice

A Freemason may publicly share any Masonic content that contributes to a positive public image of Freemasonry, such as charitable work and events, good causes supported by Freemasons, and information about Masonic history.

Social media channels can also be used to share information only relevant to Freemasons, but care should be exercised to use a more restricted channel, such as a closed or “secret” Facebook group. Topics that might be discussed here include:

  1. Discussions about Masonic allegory and symbolism (as long as there is no mention of any Masonic Signs, Tokens, or Words)
  2. Information about other Masonic Orders (as long as it does not ruin the experience for those who are not members)
  3. Unusual visits to other Lodges (e.g. for a special ceremony).

When posting about non-Masonic subjects, it is important to remember to adhere to the guidelines outlined in the Digital Ambassadorship section above.

Amalgamations

The Board has received reports that the following Lodges have resolved to surrender their Warrants: Hampshire Lodge, No. 3538, in order to amalgamate with Telephone Lodge, No. 3301 (London); Cheshunt St Mary’s Lodge, No. 6808, in order to amalgamate with Hoddesdon Lodge, No. 5875 (Hertfordshire); Lodge of Further Progress, No. 8380, in order to amalgamate with Veritas Lodge, No. 4983 (London) and Mallender Lodge, No. 8835, in order to amalgamate with Devonshire Lodge, No. 625 (Derbyshire).

The Board accordingly recommended that the lodges be removed from the register in order to effect the amalgamations. A Resolution to this effect was approved.

Erasure of lodges

The Board had received a report that 21 lodges have closed and have surrendered their Warrants. The lodges are: Lodge of Friendship, No. 277 (East Lancashire); Samaritan Lodge, No. 286 (East Lancashire); Metham Lodge, No. 1205 (Devon); Stanley Lodge, No. 1325 (West Lancashire); Thornhill Lodge, No.1514 (Yorkshire, WR); Portland Lodge, No.1773 (East Lancashire); Mellor Lodge, No.1774 (East Lancashire); Semper Fidelis Lodge, No. 3299 (East Lancashire); Charity Lodge, No. 3342 (East Lancashire); Achilles University Lodge, No. 4078 (Northumberland); Blackpool Lodge of Sincerity, No. 4175 (West Lancashire); Lodge of Confidence, No. 4295 (East Lancashire); Progress Lodge, No. 4848 (East Lancashire); Moreton Lodge, No. 5165 (Cheshire); Manchester Lodge for Masonic Research, No. 5502 (East Lancashire); Sursum Corda and Trident Lodge, No. 6367 (London); Vale Lodge, No. 6426 (East Lancashire); Fryent Lodge, No. 6656 (London); Pilgrim Lodge, No. 7306 (East Lancashire); Cleveleys Park Lodge, No. 7540 (West Lancashire) and Court Lodge, No. 8896 (East Lancashire).

Over recent years, the Lodges have found themselves no longer viable. The Board was satisfied that further efforts to save them would be to no avail and therefore had no alternative but to recommend that they be erased. A Resolution to this effect was approved.

Expulsions

4.30 As required by Rule 277 (a) (i) (B), Book of Constitutions, two Brethren were expelled from the Craft.

List of new lodges

List of new lodges for which warrants have been granted by the MW The Grand Master, showing the dates from which their Warrants became effective with date of Warrant, location area, number and name of lodge are:

13 September 2017

9951 Permanent Way Lodge (Evesham, Worcestershire)
9952 Pro Patria Lodge (Thornton Cleveleys, West Lancashire)
9953 Samuel Cody Aviation Lodge (Bordon, Hampshire and Isle of Wight)
9954 Hippolyto Joseph da Costa (Porto Alegre, South America, Northern Division)
9955 Goose and Gridiron Lodge (Rio de Janeiro, South America, Northern Division)
9956 Dirigentes Lodge (Uckfield, Sussex)
9957 Oxfordshire Lodge of Provincial Grand Stewards (Marsh Baldon, Oxfordshire).

8 November 2017

9958 Oldham Lodge (Singapore, Eastern Archipelago)
9959 Moses Montefiore Lodge (São Paulo, South America, Northern Division).

Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge

A Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge is held on the second Wednesday in March, June, September and December. The next will be at noon on Wednesday, 14 March 2018. Subsequent Communications will be held: 13 June 2018, 12 September 2018, 12 December 2018 and 13 March 2019.

The Annual Investiture of Grand Officers takes place on the last Wednesday in April (the next is on 25 April 2018), and admission is by ticket only. A few tickets are allocated by ballot after provision has been made for those automatically entitled to attend. Full details are in this Paper of Business.

Supreme Grand Chapter

Convocations of Supreme Grand Chapter are held on the second Wednesday in November and the day following the Annual Investiture of Grand Lodge. Future Convocations will be held: 26 April 2018, 14 November 2018 and 25 April 2019.

Published in UGLE

Hearts & Minds

For Ray Reed, past Deputy President of the Board of General Purposes and Past Provincial Grand Master of Buckinghamshire, the process of change that he helped to introduce within Freemasonry is only just beginning

What did your early career teach you?

I joined BP Chemicals straight from school and served a five-year apprenticeship as an instrument and electronics engineer before moving on to Reckitt & Colman when I was 23. The next 15 years were manic – two years after joining I was asked to set up and manage a new work-study department, followed by secondment as company negotiator with trade unions, then I became human resources director before becoming general manager.

Each move involved a new discipline and took me out of my comfort zone. I like the challenge of being thrown in at the deep end and rarely get stressed. If I had, I think I would have failed. These challenges opened my eyes to the fact most of what goes on in business management is common sense. Get a great team around you, identify what works, question what doesn’t, create a strategy and focus on improvement.

Equally, I learned that people at all levels love you to listen to and debate their ideas for improvement – it gives them confidence that they are part of the change process and makes them feel valued.

Why did you establish your own company?

By 1980 we were selling off the industrial division. Reckitt & Colman wanted me to stay but I was nearly 40 and wanted a new challenge, something completely different. Close friends thought I was mad.

My old sales director had left to do his own thing, working for an American company in psychological assessment. He asked me if I’d advise him on setting up a business, so I talked him into going to the US. Instead of working for the American company, we bought the franchise for the UK. About three years later, we found ourselves bigger than the US business, so we bought them out.

Family has been so important in the success of the business. My wife Doreen, who was a business partner, has been a vital cog from the outset and, after I retired in 2005, our son Martin has grown the business to become one of the top five assessment companies in the world. We are still a private entity and I continue to serve as a non-executive director.

What drove you to join Freemasonry?

I had been attending masonic social events from the age of 16 and always felt comfortable in the company of members. One day shortly after I married I asked my father-in-law, ‘What’s Freemasonry all about?’ I can recall his exact words: ‘I’ve been waiting for you to ask, I’ll get you a form. I can’t tell you what it’s about, you’ll have to trust me.’ In today’s fast-moving world such an approach would be laughed at, but that was the norm then.

Freemasonry was so popular in those days so I had to wait three years to be initiated, which just made me want it more. I joined Thesaurus Lodge [No. 3891] in North Yorkshire on 11 May 1967. It was the perfect lodge for me: great ceremonial, friendly and very encouraging with new candidates. I realised as a 27-year-old that while my business life was driving me into new areas and becoming ever more demanding, Freemasonry was developing me as a person, giving me a new-found confidence and a better understanding of my values in life.

Did you feel ready to become Provincial Grand Master?

No. Sadly, Lord Burnham died in office in 2005 and I received a letter asking me to take the role – not long after I had been appointed an APGM. There was no training, just a patent that told you to run the Province in accordance with the rules and regulations of the United Grand Lodge of England. And that was it, you were on your own. That suited me; it comes back to being thrown in at the deep end.

We identified member expectations through surveys, set a modernisation strategy that took account of these results, communicated them to members and then monitored the progress. Member collaboration was vital to the process – we set out to make masonic life more enjoyable, to improve our image in the local community and to market the Craft as a power for good within society.

It appears to me that succession planning is as vital at lodge level as it is at Provincial and UGLE level’

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve had as a PGM?

When I became Provincial Grand Master, the Past Pro Provincial Grand Master of Middlesex, Gordon Bourne, suggested I miss out the sweet course and coffee at the Festive Board in order to make time for talking to members. At first I thought, ‘This is a bit stupid’ – but within three months, members were coming up to me with really creative ideas to improve the Province’s image. It was a great success.

Gordon also suggested that at non-installation meeting dinners, I ask lodges to sit me with the five newest members of the lodge. That was magic; few realised the significance of the Provincial Grand Master role, so they talked openly and honestly. I heard their expectations, what they liked and did not like about their lodges and Freemasonry. The insights we collected helped convince Grand Lodge Officers to sit off the top table. It really broke so many historic barriers.

How important is the process of succession planning?

The second highest resignation levels in the Craft are those of Past Masters resigning shortly after completing their year in office. It therefore appears to me that succession planning is as vital at lodge level as it is at Provincial and UGLE level.

While there is no right or wrong approach to succession planning, lodges may well benefit from discussing the future aspirations with their lodge Masters well before they end their year in office. This should be done to ensure commitment and motivation, and in order to take any necessary steps to reduce the likelihood of resignation. One thing is for sure: if a member has an ambition toward a specific discipline – be it administrative, ceremonial or charitable – he is more likely to succeed in that discipline than in a role he has been cajoled into and does not really aspire to.

When did you become a member of the Board of General Purposes?

After a couple of years as a Provincial Grand Master I found myself sat next to Anthony Wilson, President of the Board, at a dinner. We had an enlightening discussion about Freemasonry’s past, present and future. Little did I know I had been recommended to him as a Board member and the next day I was asked to join. It was a complete shock and I embarked on another steep learning curve, but I loved being on the Board. We were all like-minded, giving our time freely and seeking to positively influence both the present and future of the Craft for our members.

How does change occur in the world of Freemasonry?

Historically, change has happened very slowly as we are a bottom-up organisation. Even small change in the past caused the shutters to go up. Members were perhaps fearful that there was a desire to change our traditions, which has never been on the agenda.Over recent years, Freemasonry has created a strategy for 2015-2020. Webinar technology has been tested and rolled out in the Provinces for member training and coaching, which can take place online at home. Even after one year of the strategy being communicated in 2015, membership loss dropped dramatically; indeed, several Provinces increased their numbers. This is a sure indication that members are getting behind the change process. We just need to win the hearts and minds of those who are yet to come to the party.

Published in UGLE
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 17:57

Grand Master's address - April 2014

Craft Annual Investiture 

30 April 2014 
An address by the MW The Grand Master HRH The Duke of Kent, KG 

Brethren, I want to start by saying a very warm welcome to you all, and to thank you for re-electing me as Grand Master at the last meeting in March. I particularly congratulate all those that I have had the pleasure of investing today.

Whether you have been appointed to or promoted in Grand Rank, I want to emphasise that two of your key tasks are recruitment and retention. It has become clear from the research carried out by the Membership Focus Group chaired by the Deputy President of the Board of General Purposes that these tasks are more important than ever before. I am particularly concerned to hear that very few members recruit at all, and that there is an unacceptably high loss rate after each of the three degrees and indeed during the first ten years of membership.

The Membership Focus Group has been formed to analyse the statistics and to make proposals to stem the loss of members. It is already clear that the Mentoring Scheme will play a vital role going forward. It is therefore important that Lodge Mentors appoint appropriate personal mentors to look after each new candidate, rather than trying to do all the mentoring themselves. I look to you all, as Grand Officers, supporting the Mentoring Scheme.

Naturally, I expect you will also be good examples to others whatever their rank – not only in your good conduct and supportive approach but also by demonstrating your enjoyment of Freemasonry.

Yesterday evening I hosted a dinner for Provincial and District Grand Masters. The support of and direction from your respective Provincial and District Grand Masters is paramount and I am pleased to hear how closely they, in turn, are working with the Centre, here at Freemasons’ Hall. This inclusive approach is core to the future of the English Constitution.

I continue to hear of the good work done by the Provinces in their local communities and no better example has been the help given to the victims of the recent floods, especially in the West Country. This good work was supported when I recently had the opportunity to visit two Provinces. In Gloucestershire where I also attended their annual service in Gloucester Cathedral and also in Cornwall. I was impressed by the enthusiasm of the members I met in both Provinces.

Finally Brethren, I want to express our thanks to the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his Deputies for the smooth running of the impressive ceremony that you have just witnessed, as well as to the Grand Secretary and his staff for all their hard work leading up to today’s investiture.

Published in Speeches
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 01:01

Principles with imagination

HRH The Duke of Kent explains why transparency is critical for Freemasonry and urges an active spirit of openness

Our concern must be for the future, especially with the approach of our three-hundredth anniversary in 2017. In planning for this great anniversary, I believe these times demand innovation, and imaginative thinking, while retaining our principles.

In this I make no apology for again reminding everyone of the need truly to demonstrate transparency, and to work towards regaining our enviable reputation in society. To do this we have to show how and why we are relevant and to concentrate on the positive aspects of Freemasonry, in particular our generous tradition of giving to a wide variety of causes.

In regards to transparency, we still have some way to go in dispelling the myths that remain deep rooted in many people’s minds, not least the media. Very considerable progress has been made in this direction already, but challenges remain, and there is still work to do to overcome prejudices and misconception.

I am very pleased that we have already achieved two firsts of some importance in tackling this challenge. The first of these was the commissioning of the first ever independent, third party report, written by non-masons, on the Future of Freemasonry. This report has been highly successful and has itself acted as the catalyst for the second of our two innovations, namely the first media tour, conducted by the Grand Secretary.

I recommend that you all take advantage of this active spirit of openness to talk with equal frankness to your family and friends. I think that if you follow this advice, you may well be surprised by the positive reception you will gain.

I want to congratulate all those whom I had the pleasure of investing. To attain Grand Rank in the Craft is a very high accolade of which you can feel justly proud. This promotion does, however, come with an obligation always to set the highest example in standards of integrity, honesty and fairness wherever you are.

Among those I have appointed to acting office are the new Grand Chancellor, the president of the Grand Charity and the Deputy President of the Board of General Purposes, and I want to take this opportunity of thanking their predecessors.

First of all, Brother Alan Englefield, who as the first Grand Chancellor, has made an invaluable contribution to bringing us closer to other Grand Lodges around the world, as well as to maintaining our position as the Mother Grand Lodge. Secondly to Grahame Elliott, who as president of the Grand Charity, as well as presiding over the Grand Charity itself, was instrumental in the successful move of the four charities into this building and thirdly, to Michael Lawson who has given a long and dedicated period of service on the board since 1988. To all three brethren we owe a considerable debt of gratitude.

Published in UGLE

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