Celebrating 300 years

A photo gallery of Freemasons up and down the country paying their respects on Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day 2014

Published in More News

Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, visited the Royal Hospital Chelsea to open a newly refurbished berth funded by a £50,000 donation from the Grand Charity made in 2009

This grant was approved by the Grand Charity in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the installation of the Duke as the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, who also serves as Grand President of the Grand Charity.

The Duke opened the berth prior to taking part in the Chelsea Pensioners’ 322nd annual Founder’s Day Parade on 5 June as Reviewing Officer – an event  that commemorates the founding of the Royal Hospital by King Charles II in 1682. 

‘I was most interested to learn of the enormous efforts made to establish the Royal Hospital as a beacon of excellence in the domain of care,’ said the Duke. ‘Most impressive are the new berths in the Long Wards, which now enable In-Pensioners [full-time residents] to enjoy accommodation that’s been built to the highest modern specifications, and yet remains in keeping with its historic surroundings.’

The Chelsea Pensioner who will reside in the ‘Freemasons’ berth’ is 77-year-old Gordon ‘Sandy’ Sanders. ‘I’ve been moved from the 17th to the 21st century,’ he said. ‘My new accommodation is nothing short of fantastic!’ 

Freemasons have contributed to the Royal Hospital Chelsea charity over a number of years, including donations for the recently opened Margaret Thatcher Infirmary, which provides 24-hour nursing care. 

‘I was most interested to learn of the enormous efforts made to establish the Royal Hospital as a beacon of excellence in the domain of care.’ Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent

Published in The Grand Charity

Good examples 

HRH The Duke of Kent explains why recruitment and retention should be your responsibility, whatever your rank 

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. 

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.

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 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 there is no better example than the help given to the victims of the recent floods, especially in the West Country. This good work was supported when I had the opportunity to visit two Provinces – in Gloucestershire, where I also attended their annual service in Gloucester Cathedral, and in Cornwall. I was impressed by the enthusiasm of the members I met in both.

Published in UGLE

Grand Master’s  historic visit  to Gloucester  Cathedral

Paying his first ever visit to Gloucester Cathedral, the Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, was made welcome among local brethren at their annual church service. 

The Grand Master first lunched at the masonic hall in Stroud, accompanied by Dame Janet Trotter, Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, and the High Sheriff, the Hon Hugh Tollemache. They were hosted by Provincial Grand Master Adrian Davies and his wife Angela. 

Following a further civic engagement at Brockworth, the Duke arrived at the cathedral with the Mayor of Gloucester, together with county and civic leaders. The congregation was welcomed by the Dean, the Very Reverend Stephen Lake, and lessons were read by Deputy Provincial Grand Master Tim Henderson-Ross and the PGM. The Grand Master presented the Dean with a cheque for £20,000 towards the cathedral restoration fund, representing £10,000 each from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity and Gloucestershire Freemasons.

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

Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge 
12 March 2014 
Report of the Board of General Purposes 

Minutes

The Minutes of the Quarterly Communication of 12 December 2013 were confirmed.

HRH The Duke of Kent KG was unanimously re-elected Grand Master.

VW Bro Sir David Hugh Wootton, PGSwdB, was installed as Assistant Grand Master.

Grand Lodge Register 2004–2013

The tables below show the number of Lodges on the Register and of Certificates issued during the past ten years.

Register - Mar 2014

Charges for Warrants

In accordance with the, Book of Constitutions, the Board recommended that for the year commencing 1 April 2014 the charges (exclusive of VAT) shall be as follows:

Fees - Mar 2014

Amalgamation

Baltic Lodge, No. 3006 had resolved to surrender its Warrant in order to amalgamate with City of London Lodge, No. 901 (London). A Board recommendation that the Lodge be removed from the register in order to effect the amalgamation was approved. 

Erasure of Lodges

The Board had received a report that 33 Lodges had closed and surrendered their Warrants. They are: Grosvenor Lodge, No. 938 (Warwickshire); Earl of Chester Lodge, No. 1565 (Cheshire) Cholmondeley Lodge, No. 1908 (Cheshire); Concordia Lodge, No. 2685 (South Africa, North); Coronation Lodge, No. 2922 (Yorkshire, West Riding); Perseverance Lodge, No. 3197 (Yorkshire, West Riding); Anglo-South American Lodge, No. 3623 (London); Litherland Lodge, No. 3676 (West Lancashire); Prince Edwin Lodge, No. 4519 (Durham); Kingston-upon-Thames Lodge, No. 4568 (Surrey); Old Worden Lodge, No. 5366 (West Lancashire); Newark Priory Lodge, No. 5396 (Surrey); Lodge of United Endeavour, No. 5497 (Cheshire); Radiant Star Lodge, No. 5776 (Surrey); Lodge of Vigilance, No. 5946 (Surrey); Natal Scriveners’ Lodge, No. 6120 (KwaZulu-Natal); Tudor Oak Lodge, No. 6263 (Surrey); Aston Manor Lodge, No. 6323 (Warwickshire); Old Caldeian and Greasby Lodge, No. 6661 (Cheshire); Canis Minor Lodge, No. 7113 (Cheshire); Alexandra Lodge, No. 7245 (West Lancashire); Mayflower Lodge, No. 7350 (Essex); Stone Lodge, No. 7490 (Middlesex); Channelsea Lodge, No. 7842 (Essex); Ponteland Lodge, No. 8026 (Northumberland); Moorside Lodge, No. 8732 (Cheshire); New Temple Lodge, No. 8898 (West Kent); Air Vectura Lodge, No. 8924 (Middlesex); Isando Lodge, No. 8955 (South Africa, North); Branxholm Lodge, No. 9069 (Cheshire); Transvaal Nomads Lodge, No. 9519 (South Africa, North); Stockport Lodge of Installed Masters, No. 9562 (Cheshire) and Per Diem Lodge, No. 9638 (Northumberland).

List of New Lodges for which Warrants have been Granted

9891  Trident Lodge (Pattaya, Eastern Archipelago)
9892  Lodge of Construction (Uffculme, Devonshire)

Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge

A Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge is held on the second Wednesday in March, June, September and December. The next will be at noon on Wednesday, 12 June 2014. Subsequent Communications will be held on 10 September 2014, 10 December 2014, 11 March 2015, 10 June 2015.  

The Annual Investiture of Grand Officers takes place on the last Wednesday in April (the next is on 30 April 2014), and admission is by ticket only. 

Convocations of 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 1 May 2014, 12 November 2014, 30 April 2015 and 11 November 2015.

 

Published in UGLE
Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00

Grand Secretary's column - Spring 2014

From the Grand Secretary

For any of our members to celebrate fifty years in the Craft is a great achievement, and one that is usually commemorated with fellow lodge members and the acknowledgement of the Province or District. However, when our Grand Master celebrated his fifty years in Freemasonry in December 2013, it was an occasion marked by the whole English Constitution. You will, I am sure, be interested to read more about this important event further on in this issue of Freemasonry Today.

Many of you will know that, at the March Quarterly Communication, Sir David Wootton succeeds David Williamson as Assistant Grand Master. We all thank David Williamson for his tremendous contribution during the thirteen years that he has held the role, and wish David Wootton every success in his new appointment. David Williamson’s address at the December 2013 Quarterly Communication is well worth reading.

Now that 2014 is underway and with only three clear years to our tercentenary, I take this opportunity to remind us all of our values of integrity, kindness, honesty, fairness and tolerance. These values apply internally as well as externally. Remember too, above all, that Freemasonry is to be enjoyed.

In this issue, you will read about how Freemasonry enables its members to explore their hobbies and interests while also making new friends. Our profile of Connaught Lodge reveals a community that has been uniting dog lovers, Freemasonry and The Kennel Club for more than one hundred years. We also report on the University Lodges’ Ball, which saw one thousand Freemasons and members of the public come together for a fantastic night that recalled the grand balls of yesteryear.

A feature on Freemasonry Cares shows another side to membership. For David Blunt, accepting that he needed support, after illness left him severely disabled, was a challenge. Encouraged by his lodge Almoner to call the Freemasonry Cares hotline, David now has a new scooter that has given him the freedom to live his life. At the other end of the age spectrum, we look at the work of pregnancy and birth charity Tommy’s and how the masonic charities are supporting its research.

I believe that the breadth and depth of stories in this issue shows an organisation that can hold its head high as we count down to our three hundredth anniversary.

Nigel Brown
Grand Secretary

‘In this issue, you will read about how Freemasonry enables its members to explore their hobbies and interests while also making new friends.’

 

Published in UGLE

In good company

Royal Alpha Lodge celebrated the Grand Master’s fifty years in the Craft at an historic occasion in Freemasons’ Hall

His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent was initiated into Royal Alpha Lodge, No. 16, on Monday, 16 December 1963 at a meeting held at the Café Royal. The then Grand Master, the Earl of Scarbrough, was his proposer and his seconder was Lord Cornwallis, Provincial Grand Master of Kent.

Although the Master was the Marquess of Zetland, it was the Assistant Grand Master, Sir Allan Adair, who took the chair for the ceremony. Adair was both a famous soldier and a well-known mason; not only had he heroically commanded the 4th Guards Armoured Division in World War II, he also went on to become Deputy Grand Master.

Fifty years on, members celebrated the anniversary at the December 2013 installation meeting of Royal Alpha Lodge. Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes presented His Royal Highness with a framed collage of pictures of past royal Grand Masters surrounding a picture of the current Grand Master. The Pro Grand Master pointed out that Earl Cadogan, who was present when he was Viscount Chelsea, had acted as Junior Deacon at the ceremony. Also in attendance was Sir John Welch whose father had also been present on that day.

The meeting was held in the Grand Secretary’s Lodge Room at Freemasons’ Hall, followed by dinner at Lincoln’s Inn, where His Royal Highness is the Royal Bencher. The members were delighted that the Grand Master was able to attend his lodge on this historic occasion and his health was drunk with much enthusiasm.

Published in UGLE

The Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, has opened the RMBI’s fully refurbished, state-of-the-art care home at James Terry Court in Croydon

Also at the ceremony were the Mayor, Cllr Yvette Hopley, residents of the home, and guests and volunteers from the masonic community.

The Duke toured the home, joined by Surrey Provincial Grand Master Eric Stuart-Bamford and Deputy PGM Derek Barr. Also present were RMBI President James Newman, former President Willie Shackell, who presided during the rebuild, and Chief Executive David Innes. 

Following the £10 million refurbishment, James Terry Court can now house 76 residents and has 13 apartments for independent living. Surrey masons have generously supported the redevelopment: Springfield Lodge, No. 6052, donated £75,000; a local ‘Buy a Brick’ campaign raised more than £25,000; and The Grand Stewards’ Lodge donated £20,000. The Association of Friends of James Terry Court also provides substantial support each year. 

Published in RMBI

Troop leader

Fellowship, harmony and shared moral values – the parallels between Freemasonry and Scouting have been explored by Tony Harvey in his Prestonian Lecture. He speaks to Andrew Gimson about what the two organisations can learn from each other

Few speakers can have prepared themselves so thoroughly, or over so many years, as Tony Harvey did for his Prestonian Lecture, ‘Scouting & Freemasonry: two parallel organisations?’ It was through talking to a fellow Scouter in the 1980s that Tony’s interest in the Craft was awoken: ‘That conversation led to my initiation as a Freemason – while in Scout uniform – into Pioneer Lodge, the Scout lodge of Derbyshire, at the age of thirty-one.’ Now fifty-three, the lectureship has given him a chance to explore ideas that have been germinating since he was a boy. He takes the opportunity not only to explore the close historical links between Scouting and Freemasonry, but to stimulate a wider debate about how they can inspire and assist each other in the future.

Between February 2012 and June 2013, Tony delivered his lecture no fewer than forty-eight times to lodges in many different parts of England and Wales, as well as the Isle of Man, Iceland, South Africa and the US. He has ten more appearances booked, stretching out to September 2014, and is ‘very optimistic’ that people are already ‘taking up the challenge’ of what he has to say. He would like to take the lecture to all the Provinces in England and Wales.

Learn by example

In particular, Tony hopes Freemasonry will learn from the recent revival in Scouting, with which he has been closely involved: ‘Freemasonry’s numbers are in decline. It is experiencing what Scouting went through fifteen to twenty years ago. What Scouting did in the late 1990s was first to conduct a widespread consultation exercise (every member had the opportunity to contribute) and then to act on the feedback. It decided that the core of Scouting – its principles, values and purpose – should not change. But in order to make it more relevant and attractive to people in the twenty-first century, there was a need to simplify the way the organisation operates.’

The modernisation of Scouting saw it modify its youth programme and change its age ranges – an approach that has led to a growth in membership of between four and five per cent each year for the past seven years. ‘Scouting is still about citizenship and the outdoors, offering everybody everyday adventure, but it now has a structure and a programme much more attuned to today’s young people. We involve more volunteers to do smaller things, rather than a few volunteers to do a lot of things.’

The promise of change

The challenge for Freemasonry, Tony believes, is likewise to protect its core – its landmarks and its ritual – while making itself more flexible to suit the needs of someone still in their working life. ‘Meetings that start in mid-afternoon are not very accessible to the man in his forties who is still making his career.’

For the past four years, informal lunch meetings have been held at a national level between senior members of both organisations. Tony hopes to see such co-operation at local level, with lodges fostering links with local Scout groups, including those formed with start-up money from the Grand Charity: ‘What if every Freemason who ever took the Scout Promise gave a couple of hours back to Scouting?’

The Prestonian Lecture, the only official lecture given under the authority of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), is held in memory of William Preston (1742-1818), the greatest masonic educator of his day, and is intended to ‘instruct and entertain a general lodge audience’. Tony dispels the misconception that he had applied to deliver it: he was nominated without his knowledge.

Service to others

Tony is well qualified to be the Prestonian Lecturer. Within Scouting he has held roles at national and local level for thirty years and is a national volunteer with The Scout Association. Masonically, he has been Master of three Scouting lodges and is the Provincial Grand Mentor for Derbyshire. In May 2011, after his appointment, he began by writing his lecture in book form. It is published by Carrfields Publications and begins with the parallels between the organisations: ‘The first and foremost membership requirement of each organisation is that those who join must profess a belief in a Supreme Being. Freemasonry was originally specifically Christian, but de-Christianised over the hundred years following the formation of the first Grand Lodge. Scouting has never been specifically Christian. By not requiring the Supreme Being to be specifically the Christian understanding of God, both Freemasonry and Scouting became attractive to people from around the World. Each also became a place where people of different faiths could meet in fellowship and harmony, with shared moral values, despite their religious, social, cultural and national differences.’

The second moral principle the organisations share is service to others. Both confer awards for valued service, keep out of politics and are voluntary. In the UK, both have, in a senior position, HRH The Duke of Kent, who is Grand Master of the UGLE and president of The Scout Association. He follows other royal Freemasons who have also held senior positions in Scouting.

Tony recognises that there are key differences between the two organisations. Scouting is a youth movement, open to both boys and girls, while Freemasonry under the UGLE requires its members to be of mature age, and is open only to males. But it would be a mistake to give the impression that either the book or the lecture are unduly theoretical. Both are full of fascinating historical material, including a number of illustrations.

The largest audience for one of Tony’s lectures, just over two hundred people, was during his visit to South Africa. More typically he draws an audience of one hundred to one hundred and twenty. He speaks for about forty minutes and then takes questions, so that the whole event takes no more than an hour. Tony describes the reception he has received as ‘warm, engaged, enthusiastic, with good questions’, and was gratified when one member of the audience said to him: ‘I was absolutely fascinated and I sat through all two hours of it.’

Was Baden-Powell a Freemason?

The front cover of Scouting & Freemasonry: two parallel organisations? is adorned by a fine portrait of Robert Baden-Powell, the hero of Mafeking (the town that under his leadership withstood a siege of two hundred and seventeen days in 1899-1900), who founded the Scouting movement in the years from 1907. 

Tony examines in detail whether Baden-Powell was a Freemason. 

It is certainly the case that many of Baden-Powell’s friends and collaborators were. Rudyard Kipling, for example, whom he met in Lahore in the early 1880s, was initiated as a Freemason into Hope and Perseverance Lodge, No. 782, in India in 1886. As Tony points out, ‘Baden-Powell used Kipling’s Jungle Book as the basis for the Wolf Cubs when he and Percy Everett created Scouting’s junior section in 1916. Kipling also created the Grand Howl and defined how it should sound. He held an appointment as a commissioner for Wolf Cubs and was a member of the Scout Council.’

In a letter appealing to masons for funds, Baden-Powell said of Scouting: ‘Our principles are closely allied with those of the Freemason, being those of Brotherhood and Service.’ But Tony demonstrates that Baden-Powell never himself became a Freemason, partly for fear of offending Roman Catholic Scouts. He also shows that, despite this, Baden-Powell thought well of the Craft.

More than £30,000 has so far been raised from sales of the book, proceeds from which are being divided between two charities, the Masonic Samaritan Fund and The Scout Association’s archive development project. 

The book can be purchased via www.prestonian2012.org.uk

Published in UGLE
Page 6 of 12

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