Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge
14 December 2016
Report of the Board of General Purposes
The Minutes of the Quarterly Communication of 14 September 2016 were confirmed.
HRH The Duke of Kent KG was nominated as Grand Master for the ensuing year.
Annual Investiture of Grand Officers – 26 April 2017
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.
Masonic Year Book
The next edition of the Masonic Year Book, 2017–2018, will be available next summer. The charge will be £14 per copy, plus postage and packing where appropriate. It is not proposed to produce a new edition of the Directory of Lodges and Chapters during 2017. Copies of the 2015 edition will still be available from Letchworth’s shop.
Every lodge will receive one copy of the Masonic Year Book 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.
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 2017
The Board has considered applications for the delivery of the official Prestonian Lectures in 2017 and has decided that these should be given under the auspices of the following:
Lodge of the Grand Design, No. 6077 (Surrey)
Worcestershire Installed Masters' Lodge, No. 6889 (Worcestershire)
Old Elizabethans’ Lodge, No. 8235 (East Lancashire)
The London Grand Rank Association
The Lecturer, Dr J.W. Daniel, states that the title of the Lecture will be: The Grand Design.
Standard of dress
The Board has on a number of occasions considered the standard of dress (including ties) to be worn by Brethren at lodge meetings, and believes that it will be helpful if the guidance given previously is brought together, largely unchanged, under a single heading.
The Board is conscious that it has become common in many, if not most, Provinces as well as in London for a “Provincial tie” or a “Metropolitan tie” to be promoted – even stipulated – by the Provincial or Metropolitan Grand Master, often as part of fund raising for a charity Festival. After wide consultation some years ago the Board concluded that there should be some relaxation in the rules relating to the ties to be worn by Brethren, and commissioned – as an alternative to a plain black tie – the Craft tie, which was suitable for wear both at masonic meetings and in everyday life. To this tie must now be added the rather similar new Craft tie incorporating the logo recently adopted by the United Grand Lodge of England, and also, for those who are qualified, the Royal Arch tie adopted in 2010.
The Board accordingly recommended that:
(a) in Grand Lodge Brethren must wear either one of the two versions of the Craft tie, or a plain black tie (without any emblem, whether in the weave or as a coloured design);
(b) on all other occasions, as an alternative to one of the Craft ties or a plain black tie, the relevant authorised Metropolitan, Provincial or District tie may be worn, as may the Royal Arch tie except that Brethren attending a lodge in an official capacity on behalf of the MW The Grand Master or their respective Metropolitan, Provincial or District Grand Master should wear the appropriate Craft tie or a plain black tie.
The Board wishes to remind Brethren, however, that when visiting a lodge in London, a Province or District they should wear one of the Craft ties, the Royal Arch tie or a plain black tie, unless the particular Metropolitan, Provincial or District Grand Master permits other Metropolitan, Provincial or District ties to be worn (a permission which should not be assumed to have been given).
In the case of a meeting of a Metropolitan, Provincial and District Grand Lodge the Board considers that it should be left to the discretion of the individual Metropolitan, Provincial or District Grand Master which tie should be worn and by whom, but hopes that the wearing of the Royal Arch tie will not be discouraged.
Regimental, College or School, Hospital, Livery and similar ties may continue by established custom to be worn in lodges associated with regiments etc. to which they relate.
The Board strongly reaffirms that, unless it is the custom of a lodge to meet in evening dress, traditional morning wear or dark lounge suit, with black shoes, continues to be the appropriate dress. Shirts must have a plain white collar and, if not completely white, should be of a restrained pattern or hue.
The Board also recommends that at other functions where masonic regalia is worn in the presence of non-masons the same standard of dress must be adhered to.
Freemasonry and the media
With the approach of the Tercentenary of the Grand Lodge, the Board considers it appropriate to remind Brethren of the guidance on Freemasonry and the Media approved by the Grand Lodge in September 2005:
There has recently been a revival in interest in Freemasonry on the part of the broadcast media. The Board believes it timely to remind Brethren of the general advice given on this subject on previous occasions. Whilst it has no desire to prevent Brethren from voicing their views, the Board believes that participation, at both the national and local levels, in broadcast debates on Freemasonry is best left to spokesmen who have the background knowledge and experience to participate in such events, and, preferably, have been duly authorised in advance.
Any Brother who is approached to take part in a broadcast should seek guidance either from the Communications Department at Freemasons’ Hall or the Communication Officer appointed by his Metropolitan, Provincial or District Grand Master. It follows also that Brethren, other than those authorised, should not voluntarily approach the media to solicit coverage.
In the view of the Board, that guidance is no less appropriate today and trusts that the Grand Lodge will endorse its view.
Erasure of Lodges
The Board has received a report that twenty-four Lodges have closed and have surrendered their Warrants. The Lodges are:
Mariners’ Lodge, No. 249 (West Lancashire), Huyshe Lodge, No. 1099 (Devonshire), Hamer Lodge, No. 1393 (West Lancashire), Runymede Lodge, No. 2430 (Buckinghamshire), Sir Walter Raleigh Lodge, No. 2432 (London), Trinity Lodge, No. 2595 (Devonshire), Golden Hope Lodge, No. 3059 (Orange Free State), Mildmay Coronation Lodge, No. 3536 (Middlesex).
Tower of Sir Francis Drake, No. 3583 (West Lancashire), Eddystone Lodge, No. 3925 (Devonshire), Fidelity Lodge, No. 4902 (Northumberland), St Nicholas Lodge, No. 5298 (East Kent), Bond Stone Lodge, No. 5364 (London) and Bancroftian Lodge, No. 5619 (London).
St Patrick’s Lodge, No. 5742 (Middlesex), Ionic Lodge, No. 6344 (Northumberland), Sutton Lodge, No. 6580 (Devonshire), Odendaalsrus Lodge, No. 7229 (Orange Free State), Vale of Caterham Lodge, No. 7316 (Surrey), Croydon Millenary Lodge, No. 7745 (Surrey), Knott End Lodge, No. 8674 (West Lancashire), Mwana Lodge, No. 8706 (Zambia), Churston Ferrers Lodge, No. 8779 (Devonshire) and Pride of Surrey Lodge, No. 9167 (Surrey).
The Board recommended that they be erased and a Resolution to this effect was approved.
The Masonic Charitable Foundation
The meeting receive a talk by the Masonic Charitable Foundation.
List of new Lodges
Warrants have been granted to the following Lodges showing the dates from which their Warrants became effective, date of Warrant, location area and number and name of Lodge:
14 September 2016
9935 Lodge of Restoration (Birmingham, Worcestershire)
9936 Scoutcraft Lodge (Bristol, Bristol)
9937 Aedificandum Lodge (Droitwich, Worcestershire)
9938 David Kenneth Williamson Lodge (London, London)
9939 Hampshire and Isle of Wight Motorcyclists Lodge (Farnborough, Hampshire and Isle of Wight)
9940 Middlesex Armed Forces Lodge (Twickenham, Middlesex)
9 November 2016
9941 Columbanus Lodge (Somerset)
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, 8 March 2017. Subsequent Communications will be held on 14 June 2017, 13 September 2017, 13 December 2017 and 14 March 2018.
The Annual Investiture of Grand Officers takes place on the last Wednesday in April (the next is on 26 April 2017), 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 given 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 on 27 April 2017, 8 November 2017 and 26 April 2018.
Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge
9 December 2015
Report of the Board of General Purposes
The Minutes of the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge of 9 September 2015 were confirmed.
Annual Investiture of Grand Officers (27 April 2016)
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.
Masonic Year Book
The next edition of the Masonic Year Book, 2016–2017, will be available next summer. the charge will be £14 per copy, plus postage and packing where appropriate. It is not proposed to produce a new edition of the Directory of Lodges and Chapters during 2016. Copies of the 2015 edition will still be available from Letchworth’s Shop.
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. As in previous years copies will be dispatched direct to Secretaries of lodges.
Prestonian Lectures for 2016
The Board has considered applications for the delivery of the official Prestonian Lectures in 2016 and has decided that these should be given under the auspices of the following:
Zetland and Hong Kong Lodge No. 7665 (London)
Bristol Installed Masters Lodge No. 8168 (Bristol)
Temple of Athene Lodge No. 9541 (Middlesex)
The lecturer, W Bro Dr R.A. Berman, states that the title of the lecture will be: Foundations: new light on the formation and early years of the Grand Lodge of England.
The Masonic Charitable Foundation
The MW The Grand Master has approved the name “The Masonic Charitable Foundation” as the title for the new umbrella organisation under which the existing main masonic charities will operate from 2016. He has also agreed that the President and Deputy President of the new charity should take precedence among the Grand Officers immediately after Past Grand Chancellors. The Board accordingly recommends a number of amendments which will be required to the rules in the Book of Constitutions and to the plates in the Appendix. The Board has also noted several existing anomalies particularly in the numbering and descriptions of the plates and recommends that the present opportunity be used to correct these.
Notice of Motion to amend the Book of Constitutions accordingly appeared on the Paper of Business.
It has been brought to the attention of the Board that many lodges are less meticulous than was formerly the case in recording, and subsequently preserving, minutes of their meetings. Rule 144 of the Book of Constitutions requires every lodge to keep a minute book and lays upon the Master or the Secretary the duty of regularly entering the names and particulars of all candidates, together with the names – and, in the case of visitors, their lodges and masonic ranks – of all those present at each meeting, and minutes of the business transacted. Any deficiency in this respect will inevitably have an impact on those who in later years may be charged with the duty of writing lodge histories and may even in an extreme case prevent a lodge from being able to establish its entitlement to a Centenary or Bi-Centenary Warrant. The Board therefore trusts that the Grand Lodge will endorse the following guidance which, apart from being largely a matter of common sense also draws in some respects on previous edicts of the Grand Lodge.
1. Every care should be taken to ensure the permanence of minutes or other records. In the present context a “Minute Book” is a permanently bound volume in which the particulars required by Rule 144 are entered either in handwriting or by affixing sheets by means of permanent glue or gum (and not by means of adhesive tape, which deteriorates over time and loses its effectiveness). A loose-leaf folder or binder is not a suitable substitute for a bound book and the Board recommends, for the avoidance of any doubt, that such folders and binders be not used.
2. Rule 144 is not complied with by keeping minutes exclusively or partly in electronic form. The Board feels impelled to point out that, apart from the inherent risk of corruption of electronic data, the software necessary to read an electronic document is liable to become obsolete within a relatively short time.
3. Where minutes are handwritten, record ink or some other permanent ink should be used.
4. No valid objection can be raised to the use of a typewriter or a word-processor, provided that each typed or printed sheet is irremovably affixed to the Minute Book and initialled by the Secretary before being submitted for confirmation by the lodge. Care should, however, be exercised in ensuring that the ink or other printing medium used in producing such sheets is itself permanent in nature and is not liable to deterioration in the conditions in which Minute Books are stored.
5. Similarly, loose attendance sheets may legitimately be used to record the signatures of members or visitors present at lodge meetings in numbers beyond the capacity of the normal signature or attendance book. The Board is of opinion that the requirements of the second part of Rule 144, Book of Constitutions, are met if these sheets are irremovably affixed to the minutes of the meeting to which they refer, provided that each sheet is initialled by the Master or secretary. In stating this opinion the Board does not wish to encourage the use of loose sheets to the exclusion of signature books, which serve a useful purpose as a record of the attendance of officers and distinguished visitors. The use of a signature book, however, does not obviate, and never has obviated, the need for the names and details of all those present at a meeting to be entered into the Minute Book: it cannot be too heavily stressed that all names appearing in the signature book must continue to be recorded in the body of the minutes.
6. Lodges are advised to take steps for the permanent housing of lodge records which have ceased to be of day-to-day use. The Board suggests that in order to ensure that future office holders or historians are aware of where the records have been deposited, a comprehensive list be placed in the current Minute book and transferred to its successor when its turn comes to be laid up in safe-keeping.
The Board has received reports that the following lodges have resolved to surrender their Warrants:
(a) Bergnet Lodge, No. 6841, in order to amalgamate with Mimmine Lodge, No. 4932 (Hertfordshire); and
(b) Shrewsbury Lodge, No. 7211, in order to amalgamate with Wentworth Lodge, no. 1239 (Yorkshire, West Riding).
The Board's recommendation that the lodges be removed from the register in order to effect the respective amalgamations was approved.
Erasure of lodges
The Board has received a report that seventeen lodges have closed and have surrendered their Warrants. The lodges are:
Lodge of Perseverance, No. 371 (Cumberland and Westmorland), Unity Lodge, No. 1637 (Middlesex), Bushey Hall Lodge, No. 2323 (Hertfordshire), Amatole Lodge, No. 2406 (South Africa, Eastern Division), Robert Mitchell Lodge, No. 2956 (Middlesex), Unity Lodge, No. 3044 (South Africa, Eastern Division) Vulcan Lodge, No. 3181 (London), Rebunie Lodge, No. 4279 (South Africa, Western Division), St Richard’s Lodge, No. 4469 (Sussex), Dulwich Lodge, No. 4616 (Surrey).
Beverley Lodge, No. 5006 (Surrey), Septem Lodge, No. 5887 (Surrey), Lodge of the Open Road, No. 5983 (London), Lodge of Meditation, No. 6747 (London), Perfect Ashlar Lodge, No. 6951 (Surrey), Legion Lodge, No. 8634 (Northumberland) and Harbour Lights Lodge, No. 8770 (Sussex).
The Board's recommendation that they be erased was approved.
Quarterly Communication meetings
9 March 2016, 27 April 2016 (Annual Investiture), 8 June 2016, 14 September 2016, 14 December 2016 and 8 March 2017.
Supreme Grand Chapter meetings
28 April 2016, 9 November 2016, 27 April 2017.