Celebrating 300 years

Above and beyond

Sharing a core belief in the importance of mutual respect and helping others, Freemasons are supporting The Scout Association as it takes its message to more young people, as Peter Watts discovers

When Carlos Lopez-Plandolit took stock of his work-life balance and decided to volunteer for his local Scout group in East London, he initially planned to drop in for an hour each week. But, he explains, ‘I quickly got sucked in and within two weeks ended up leading the group. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.’

Lopez-Plandolit’s group is located in a struggling inner-city borough, and these are precisely the areas the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB) will target with its substantial new grant to The Scout Association. ‘We are giving a three-year grant of £211,200 to the Better Prepared initiative, which funds and sustains Scout groups in 200 of the most deprived parts of the UK,’ explains Les Hutchinson, CEO of the RMTGB. 

The Scout Association plans to start 468 groups in these areas, and the RMTGB grant will get 66 of them started. Funds will pay for premises, uniforms, equipment, membership fees and training volunteers. Each new unit will receive £3,200, reflecting the greater level of support needed in areas identified as being deprived for reasons of poor health, education and crime by the Index of Multiple Deprivation. 

With the first RMTGB-funded groups launching by the end of 2015, the grant follows a donation of £500,000 in 2008 to The Scout Association from the Grand Charity in a partnership that lasted six years. The money was used to encourage more young people to join the Scouting movement, providing start-up and activity grants. In total, more than one million young people received new materials and equipment paid for by the Grand Charity’s grant, with over 1,600 new Scout sections formed and 23,500 young people becoming involved across England and Wales. 

For Hutchinson, the masonic funding is creating new opportunities: ‘The Scout Association has evidence that the skills Scouting provides can help with education and employment. Scouting really helps develop qualities that can make a difference later in life.’

Preparing for the future

Paul Wilkinson, the Better Prepared project manager, explains the strong educational thread that runs through The Scout Association. ‘Essentially, we’re trying to help young people grow and develop,’ he says. ‘We’re trying to help them take an active place in society, to learn to act with integrity, to be honest, trustworthy and loyal. We encourage them to have respect for other people and for themselves.’

Although Robert Baden-Powell was not a mason, the Scout movement he founded in 1907 has a strong overlap with the principles of Freemasonry. While some parallels are cosmetic, such as the use of signs, ranks, uniforms and regalia, others are intrinsic. Tony Harvey’s 2012 Prestonian Lecture focused on the connections between the two bodies. With both open to all – regardless of faith, race or background – Tony explained in the lecture how these two membership organisations share the same core values. 

IN GOOD COMPANY

‘Our mission is to change young people’s lives for the better,’ says Wilkinson, ‘and we are pleased to be working in partnership with Freemasonry across the UK. The masonic community shares our vision to deliver life-changing experiences to all young people, no matter what their background.’

Hutchinson echoes Wilkinson’s sentiments: ‘The key aspects of Scouting are respect for your fellow man, having a strict moral code and doing the right thing. That’s a large part of Freemasonry too.’ Non-mason Lopez-Plandolit, meanwhile, attributes the appeal of Scouting to one key factor: ‘What I love about it is that it seems to focus on the common denominators across all religions; it is about being kind to the environment, to your friends and family. They are very pure, these principles.’

Despite the leisure opportunities available to children today, The Scout Association has found that once it establishes a local group, children flock to it. The next challenge is to establish groups in areas where poverty has been a barrier to joining or volunteering. ‘We appeal to young people,’ says Wilkinson. ‘We know that if we go in with the right messages, young people are relatively easy to recruit and some are desperate to join.’ 

Lopez-Plandolit sees first-hand how young people respond to joining. The Beaver Scouts, who are the youngest section of the Scouting family at six to eight years old, describe their meetings in East London as the highlight of their week, relishing activities such as kayaking and climbing. Lopez-Plandolit’s young group are multinational and this is something he celebrates through activities such as cooking: ‘The children cook something from their parents’ country and everybody has to taste it and say what they like.’

The masonic grant for the Better Prepared project marks a major commitment for the RMTGB. ‘It is a significant undertaking,’ Hutchinson admits. ‘While the shape of the Trust will change as the four masonic charities come together, this grant will leave a lasting legacy of support for children from deprived backgrounds – our remit is to support children in the wider sense, not just children of masons, and this will enable us to reach out to those who most need our help in a very effective way.’ 

‘The Scout Association’s mission is to change young people’s lives for the better, and the masonic community shares our vision.’ Paul Wilkinson

MAINTAINING SUPPORT

The RMTGB will keep a close eye on the project as it develops. ‘Part of the reason we are donating in three instalments is so we can maintain some control,’ says Hutchinson. ‘We will receive regular reports so we can see the impact of the funding, and discover publicity opportunities to raise the profile of the masonic charity and Freemasonry in general. We also want to ensure the grants are evenly spread across England and Wales.’ 

The final instalment from the RMTGB coincides with the 300th anniversary of the United Grand Lodge of England in 2017, and Hutchinson hopes that Freemasonry will take pride in the achievements of the initiative as it celebrates this important milestone. ‘We want to learn from each other,’ he says. ‘The Scout Association has a wealth of experience in working with children and will have practices we can use in our charitable work, now and in the future.’

While masonic contributions are being made at a national level, individuals can donate their time on a local level. An accountant, for example, could audit the books for their local group one night a year. The rewards are extolled by Lopez-Plandolit, who enthuses about his time as a volunteer with the Beaver Scouts. ‘They surprise you so much and are a constant reminder of how we should look at things as if it’s for the first time – to ask lots of questions,’ he says. ‘It’s a great outlook to have around me. I learn so much from them.’

Everyday Scouting

From cooking on open log fires through to building shelters and geocaching, there’s rarely a dull moment at the 2nd East London Scout group (pictured). Based on the Isle of Dogs, the group meets at least three nights a week to play games, set challenges and prepare for their annual scavenger hunt, which this year saw Scouts from across the county raising money for Nepalese aid projects. With 130 members in the 2nd East London group, each night caters to a different age range. ‘We are Scouting every day of the week,’ says Vicky Thompson, Scout leader. ‘Our kids never need to hang out on the streets because, with the Scouts, there’s always something to do.’

Letters to the Editor - No. 32 Winter 2015

Scout’s honour

Sir,

I picked up your magazine today and the picture on the front moved me. I have been involved with the Guide association ever since my daughter attended Rainbows, and both my boys attended the movement from Beaver through to Scout. Your picture has captured everything there is to say about Scouting. I am hoping that it has brought a cheer to many more faces while they flick through your magazine. Well done.

Marion Bell, wife of Stephen Bell, Legheart Lodge, No. 6897, Welling, West Kent


Sir,

Can I thank you for the article on Scouting in the latest issue of Freemasonry Today magazine? I have been involved with Scouts since I joined as a Wolf Cub in 1957, now serving as an assistant commissioner for the Lincoln district, as well as being a Past Master of two Scouting lodges.

Scouting greatly helped me after becoming disabled in 1974 following a horse riding accident. The Scouts did not mind ‘Skip’ having a wonky leg and helped me overcome my disability. Today I think there is much I can give back; after all, I get as much fun as the kids do out of it.

You don’t have to be a uniformed leader to help the organisation. Uniformed leaders run the day-to-day programmes but need the support of executive committees to look after the management side of Scouting. As many Freemasons have good life skills, they could be useful at group, district or county level. My own district meets every other month for a couple of hours to deal with mixed issues, from starting new groups to controlling the budget and various district events.

Scouting is expanding and in Lincoln we have started two new groups within a year, with two more in the planning. 

If you feel you might be interested in giving some time to Scouting, then you can look them up on their website. 

Hugh Sargent, Rudyard Kipling Lodge, No. 9681, Horncastle, Lincolnshire

Published in RMTGB

Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge

10 June 2015
Report of the Board of General Purposes

The minutes of the meetings of the Quarterly Communication of 11 March 2015 and of the Annual Investiture of 29 April 2015 were confirmed.

Annual Dues 2016 

A resolution was approved that a Board recommendation that the annual dues (including VAT) payable to Grand Lodge in respect of each member of every Lodge for the year 2016 shall be:

Dues 2015

Fees 2016

A resolution was approved that the Board recommendation that the fees (exclusive of VAT) payable for registration, certificates and dispensations should be increased in line with inflation to:

Fees 2015

Contribution to Grand Charity

A resolution was approved that the Council of the Grand Charity’s request that for 2016 the annual contribution remain at £17 in respect of each member of a Lodge in a Metropolitan Area or a Province, or in England and Wales that is unattached, was approved. 

Prestonian Lectures

2014: 1814: Consolidation and Change

The Lecturer, Dr M.A. Kearsley, had informed the Board that in addition to the three official deliveries to The London Grand Rank Association; Egerton Worsley Lodge No. 1213, Eccles (West Lancashire); and Temple of Athene Lodge No. 9541, Harrow (Middlesex), the Lecture was also delivered on 46 other occasions throughout the Constitution. The Board expressed its thanks to Bro Kearsley for the considerable time and effort he has spent in this connection. 

2015: Wherever dispersed – the Travelling Mason

The Prestonian Lecturer for 2015 is Prof R. Burt. Five official Prestonian Lectures for 2015 have been or will be given under the auspices of: Royal Standard Lodge No. 398 (Montreal and Halifax); Shepherd's Bush Lodge No. 1828 (London); Warwickshire Installed Masters Lodge No. 4538; (Warwickshire) Torbay Masters Lodge No. 8227 (Devonshire) and Worthing Lodge of Installed Masters No. 9860 (Sussex).

2016: The Board has submitted a nomination to the Trustees of the Prestonian Fund and they have appointed Dr R.A. Berman as Prestonian Lecturer for 2016. Dr Berman states that the title of his Lecture will be: Foundations: new light on the formation and early years of the Grand Lodge of England.

Arrangements for the delivery of the Lectures to selected Lodges will be considered by the Board in November and applications are now invited from lodges. Applications should be made to the Grand Secretary, through Metropolitan, Provincial or District Grand Secretaries.

The Board desires to emphasise the importance of these, the only Lectures held under the authority of the Grand Lodge. It is, therefore, hoped that applications for the privilege of having one of these official Lectures will be made only by lodges which are prepared to afford facilities for all Freemasons in their area, as well as their own members, to participate and thus ensure an attendance worthy of the occasion.

Amalgamation

The Board had received a report that King Oswald Lodge No. 3306 had resolved to surrender its Warrant in order to amalgamate with Bank Terrace Lodge No. 462 (East Lancashire). A resolution that the 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 thirty-five Lodges have closed and have surrendered their Warrants. The Lodges are: Lodge of Sincerity No. 292 (West Lancashire); Architect Lodge No. 1375 (West Lancashire); Marlborough Lodge No. 1620 (West Lancashire); Beckenham Lodge No. 2047 (London); Mitcham Lodge No. 2384 (Surrey); Randle Holme Lodge No. 3261 (Cheshire); Murdoch Lodge No. 3480 (Warwickshire); Lodge of Amity No. 3845 (Warwickshire); Milton Lodge No. 3849 (Yorkshire, West Riding); Gordovic Lodge No. 4061 (Cheshire); Garrick Lodge No. 4246 (Cheshire); Hanwell Lodge No. 4676 (London); Tadorne Lodge No. 4735 (Surrey); Linacre Lodge No. 4823 (West Lancashire); Lombardian Lodge No. 4887 (West Lancashire); Caxton Lodge No. 5093 (Warwickshire); Wansbeck Lodge No. 5171 (Northumberland); St Cuthbert Lodge No. 5294 (Cumberland and Westmorland); West Twyford Coronation Lodge No. 5674 (London); Grey Friars Lodge No. 6080 (Warwickshire); Optima Lodge No. 6101 (West Lancashire); Abbey Lodge No. 6425 (Cumberland and Westmorland); Chedelintone Lodge No. 6508 (Oxfordshire); Maghull Lodge No. 7190 (West Lancashire); Bromley Lodge of Good Fellowship No. 7242 (West Kent); The Forester Lodge No. 7503 (Worcestershire); Cherrywood Lodge No. 7530 (Surrey); Lodge of Orleans No. 7955 (Middlesex); Arthur Hollins Lodge No. 8785 (Middlesex); Ernehale Lodge No. 8806 (Nottinghamshire); Tenwarden Lodge No. 8858 (East Kent); Sure and Steadfast Lodge No. 9326 (West Lancashire); Chypping Walden Lodge No. 9617 (Essex); St George and St Andrew Lodge No. 9677 (Cumberland and Westmorland) and Lodge of Renaissance No. 9724 (Warwickshire)

A resolution that the Board recommendation that they be erased was approved.

Grand Lodge Accounts for 2014

The Audited Accounts of Grand Lodge  for  the year ended 31 December 2014 were approved.

Election of Grand Lodge Auditors

The re-election of Crowe Clark Whitehill LLP, as Auditors of Grand Lodge was approved.

The Freemasonsʼ Fund for Surgical Research

A talk was given by J.A.H. West, Chairman of the Trustees of the Fund.

Expulsions from the Craft

Fifteen brethren were expelled from the Craft.

List of new lodges for which Warrants have been granted

11 March 2015

9906 Musket Pike and Drum Lodge, Staffordshire
9907 Universities Lodge of Staffordshire, Staffordshire
9908 Albert Edward Court Lodge of Research, South Wales
9909 Newent Daffodil Lodge, Gloucestershire
9910 Spirit of Rugby Lodge, Durham

30 April 2015

9911 Lodge of Uniformed Services, Cumberland and Westmorland
9912 Bundle of Sticks Lodge , Sussex
9913 Nigeria Centenary Lodge, Nigeria

Quarterly Communication

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, 9 September 2015. Subsequent Communications will be held on 9 December 2015, 9 March 2016, 8 June 2016 and 14 September 2016. 

The Annual Investiture of Grand Officers takes place on the last Wednesday in April (the next is on 27 April 2016), 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 will be given in the Paper of Business for December Grand Lodge.

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 11 November 2015, 28 April 2016 and 9 November 2016.

Published in UGLE

Scout’s honour for Prestonian Lecture

Tony Harvey’s 2012 Prestonian Lecture, ‘Scouting & Freemasonry: two parallel organisations?’ has raised more than £50,000 in three years. He has delivered the lecture 66 times, with the funds raised donated to the Masonic Samaritan Fund and The Scout Association. So far, each charity has received over £20,000. Tony (pictured above) will continue to deliver the lecture throughout 2015 and 2016, raising funds for The Scout Association and the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys

The first united year

Dr Mike Kearsley was the honoured guest at Swinton masonic hall to give the Prestonian Lecture for 2014, ‘1814 Consolidation and Change: the first year of the United Grand Lodge of England’. The lecture, hosted by Egerton Worsley Lodge, No. 1213, Province of West Lancashire, is about the union of two rival English Grand Lodges that combined to become the United Grand Lodge of England.

The talk is seen through the perspective of three individuals who each played an important role in the union. They were HRH Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, the first Grand Master; William White, the first Grand Secretary; and Sir John Soane, the first Grand Superintendent of Works.

Published in More News

Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge

10 December 2014 
Report of the Board of General Purposes

Minutes

The Minutes of the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge held on 10 September 2014 were confirmed.

Nomination of Grand Master

HRH The Duke of Kent was nominated as Grand Master for the ensuing year.

Annual Investiture of Grand Officers: 29 April 2015

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.

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: Past Grand Officers; Masters; Wardens (not Past Wardens); Past Masters qualified under Rule 9 of the Book of Constitutions.

Masonic Year Book

The next edition of the Masonic Year Book 2015–2016, will be available next summer. The charge will be £13 per copy, plus postage and packing where appropriate. It is proposed to produce a new edition of the Directory of Lodges and Chapters during 2015 at a charge of £13 per copy. Copies of the current edition are still available from Letchworth’s shop 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 2015

The Board has considered applications for the delivery of the official Prestonian Lectures in 2015 and has decided that these should be given under the auspices of the following: Royal Standard Lodge, No. 398 (Montreal and Halifax); Shepherd’s Bush Lodge, No. 1828 (London); Warwickshire Installed Masters Lodge, No. 4538 (Warwickshire); Torbay Masters Lodge, No. 8227 (Devonshire) and Worthing Lodge of Installed Masters, No. 9860 (Sussex). The Lecturer, W Bro Professor R. Burt, states that the title of the Lecture will be: Wherever dispersed – the Travelling Mason.

Assistant Grand Chancellor

The Board considers that it would be beneficial to the administration of Grand Lodge’s external relations if the Grand Master had the power to appoint a second Assistant Grand Chancellor, thereby mirroring his power in respect of Assistant Grand Secretaries. Notice of motion to amend the Book of Constitutions appeared on the Paper of Business.

Resignations from Private Lodges under Rule 183

Rule 183 sets out a clear procedure to be followed if a Brother wishes to resign from a lodge (as opposed to resigning from the Craft). The first proviso to the Rule allows a Brother twenty-one days within which to withdraw his resignation if so desired by a majority of the members present when the resignation is communicated or notified to the lodge at a regular meeting. It has been represented to the Board that the period of twenty-one days may, under modern conditions, be unduly restrictive. London and many Provinces now operate a system of ‘exit interviews’ with the aim of ascertaining whether a resignation is owing to a general disillusionment with Freemasonry, or is related to the particular lodge of which he is a member. In the latter case it is often possible for the Metropolitan or Provincial authorities to find a more convenient or congenial lodge for the Brother to join so that his masonic career is not interrupted. The Board considers that a period of sixty days would be more helpful in the process of retaining a Brother in the Craft and a Notice of Motion that Rule 183 be amended accordingly was on the Paper of Business. The Board also gave guidance on the operation of the Rule and the measures that may be taken when a resignation is received.

Recognition of a Foreign Grand Lodge

On 24 December 1885 a group of lodges in the State of Vera Cruz in Mexico (which had been regularly consecrated by two Grand Lodges in Mexico which no longer exist) united to form the Grand Lodge of the State of Vera Cruz. This Grand Lodge already recognises the York Grand Lodge of Mexico, which recognises, and shares territorial jurisdiction within Mexico with the Grand Lodge of the State of Vera Cruz and which has stated that it would have no objection to our recognising the latter.

The Grand Lodge of the State of Vera Cruz  having shown that it is regular in origin and that it conforms to the Basic Principles for Grand Lodge Recognition, the Board has no reason to believe that it will not continue to maintain a regular path and recommends that it be recognised. A resolution will be moved accordingly and appears at item 6 of the Paper of Business.

Amalgamations

The Board had received reports that the following Lodges had resolved to surrender their Warrants: (a) Lodge of Hospitality, No. 1697, in order to amalgamate with Lodge of Tranquility, No. 274 (East Lancashire); and (b) Langtree Lodge, No. 6166 and Norley Lodge, No. 7319, in order to amalgamate with Lodge of Antiquity, No. 178 (West Lancashire).

The Board recommendation that the lodges be removed from the register in order to effect the amalgamation was approved.

Erasure of Lodges

The Board had received a report that nineteen lodges had closed and surrendered their Warrants. The Lodges are: Liverpool Dramatic Lodge, No. 1609 (West Lancashire); Semper Vigilans Lodge, No. 3040 (London); Aquarius Lodge, No. 3113 (London); Victory Lodge, No. 3986 (Northumberland); Sir Francis Drake Lodge, No. 4375 (London); Prometheus Lodge, No. 4977 (London); Lyonsdown Lodge, No. 5477 (Hertfordshire); Woxenden Lodge, No. 5672 (London); Lodge of St Christopher, No. 5999 (Warwickshire); Lodge of Four Virtues, No. 6275 (Hertfordshire); Montem Lodge, No. 6687 (Buckinghamshire); Alcedo Lodge, No. 7073 (London); Lodge of Aviation, No. 7210 (London); Birmingham Old Edwardian Lodge, No. 7115 (Warwickshire); Star of Hackney Lodge, No. 7272 (London); St. Barbara Lodge, No. 8724 (Middlesex); Albion Lodge, No. 8876 (KwaZulu-Natal); Northumberland Park Lodge, No. 8916 (Hertfordshire) and Steadfast Lodge, No. 9654 (London).

The Board recommendation that they be erased was approved.  

Expulsions

Ten Brethren were expelled from the Craft.

Our Yesterdays

A presentation was given on the Proceedings of Grand Lodge of two hundred and one hundred years ago by J.M. Hamill, Assistant Grand Chancellor and G.F. Redman, Deputy Grand Secretary.

New Lodges

List of new lodges for which Warrants have been granted by the Grand Master showing the dates from which their Warrants became effective:

25 September 2014

No. 9899 Motorcycling Lodge of West Kent (West Kent)
No. 9900 Combined Services Lodge (Berkshire)
No. 9901 Thornbury Lodge (Gloucestershire)
No. 9902 West Surrey Installed Masters Lodge (Surrey)

Quarterly Communication 

A Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge is held on the second Wednesday in March, June, September and December. The next will be on 11 March 2015. Subsequent Communications will be held on 10 June 2015, 9 September 2015, 9 December 2015 and 9 March 2016. 

The Annual Investiture of Grand Officers takes place on the last Wednesday in April (the next is on 29 April 2015), 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 30 April 2015, 11 November 23015 and 28 April 2016.

Published in UGLE
Wednesday, 05 November 2014 21:13

Egerton Worsley Lodge hosts Prestonian Lecture

Prestonian Lecture held in West Lancashire raises money for dermatology charity DEBRA

Dr Michael (Mike) Kearsley was the honoured guest at Swinton Masonic Hall to give a presentation of the union of two rival English lodges, known as the United Grand Lodge of England, through the perspective of three individuals who each played an important role in the union. They were Frederick Augustus, Duke of Sussex, the first Grand Master; William White, the first Grand Secretary and Sir John Soane, the first Grand Superintendent of Works.

The emergency meeting was held by special dispensation and was hosted by Egerton Worsley Lodge No. 1213. On the nomination of the Board of General Purposes, the trustees of the Prestonian Fund appointed Mike as the Prestonian Lecturer for 2014. The subject is, ‘1814 Consolidation and Change: the first year of the United Grand Lodge of England’.

Mike is a former student of Liverpool University and he is the new editor of The Square masonic magazine, as well as being the Provincial Grand Orator for Middlesex. Since his appointment in January Mike has travelled to Israel, Portugal, Greece, Bermuda, New Jersey and New York to present his lectures and is planning to visit South Africa, Gibraltar, Sweden, Canada and hopefully his homeland of New Zealand.

Eccles Group Chairman Dave Walmsley greeted Mike along with grand officers, Stuart Shae, Ven Alan Wolstencroft, David McCormick, Tony Edden and Alex Neilson. Mike was welcomed into the lodge by IPM Frank Woodcock who was standing in for the worshipful master John Tooley, who was recovering from a hip and knee replacement who had sent his personal apologies to Mike.

The brethren were held for more than an hour by Mike with what can only be described as an impeccable presentation delivered in a professional manner. On conclusion of his presentation, Mike produced his book about the Prestonian Lectures and requested that if any brethren wished to have a signed copy that they offer a donation to Mike’s chosen charity DEBRA.

DEBRA is the national charity that supports individuals and families affected by Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). Epidermolysis Bullosa is a group of rare genetic skin conditions, which is characterised by extremely fragile skin and recurrent blister formation, resulting from minor mechanical friction or trauma. It is referred to as the worst condition you've never heard of.

The skin has two layers: the outer layer is called the epidermis and the inner layer the dermis. Normally, there are 'anchors' between the two layers that prevent them from moving independently from one another. In people with EB, the two skin layers lack the anchors that hold them together and any action that creates friction between the layers, (like rubbing or pressure), will create blisters and painful sores. Sufferers of EB have compared the sores to third-degree burns.

The event was attended by over 80 brethren who were all magnetised by the very informative presentation delivered with lots of knowledge, a hint of humour and held the attention of the brethren who were fortunate to witness this special event.

At the festive board, in his toast to Mike, Ven Alan Wolstencroft paid homage to a wonderful evening provided by Mike and one that he was privileged to bear witness to and thanked him on behalf of all the brethren.

Mike responded saying that he has two responses, a short one and a long one: 'The first one is thank you and the second one is thank you very much.'

Group chairman Dave Walmsley presented Mike with the traditional Eccles cakes and expressed that he would always be welcome to visit Eccles sometime in the future. Mike thanked Dave and also his thanks to Stuart Shae and Godfrey Calcutt for organising the event and to all the brethren for their hospitality.

Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge

11 June 2014 
Report of the Board of General Purposes

Minutes

The Minutes of the Quarterly Communication of 12 March 2014 and of the Annual Investiture of 30 April 2014 were confirmed.

Annual Dues 

The Board’s recommendation for the annual dues payable to Grand Lodge in respect of each member of every lodge for the year 2015 was approved.

Fees

The Board’s recommendation that fees (exclusive of VAT) payable for registration, certificates and dispensations should be increased in line with inflation was approved.

Contribution to The Grand Charity

The Resolution was not put.

Prestonian Lectures

2013: As we were seen - the Press and Freemasonry

The Lecturer, P.R. Calderwood, informed the Board that in addition to the three official deliveries to Jubilee Masters Lodge, No. 2712 (London), Bowen Lodge, No. 2816 (Buckinghamshire) and Torbay Masters Lodge, No. 8227 (Devonshire), the Lecture was also delivered on twenty-six other occasions throughout the Constitution. The Board thanked Bro. Calderwood for the considerable time and effort he has spent in this connection.

2014: 1814: Consolidation and Change

The Prestonian Lecturer for 2014 is Dr M.A. Kearsley. Three official Prestonian Lectures for 2014 have been or will be given under the auspices of The London Grand Rank Association, Egerton Worsley Lodge, No. 1213, Eccles (West Lancashire) and Temple of Athene Lodge, No. 9541, Harrow (Middlesex). 

2015: The Board has submitted a nomination to the Trustees of the Prestonian Fund and they have appointed Prof R. Burt as Prestonian Lecturer for 2015. The title of his Lecture will be Wherever dispersed – the Travelling Mason.

Arrangements for the delivery of the Lectures to selected lodges will be considered by the Board in November and applications are now invited from lodges. Applications should be made to the Grand Secretary, through Metropolitan, Provincial or District Grand Secretaries.

The Board desires to emphasise the importance of these, the only Lectures held under the authority of the Grand Lodge. It is, therefore, hoped that applications for the privilege of having one of these official Lectures will be made only by lodges which are prepared to afford facilities for all Freemasons in their area, as well as their own members, to participate and thus ensure an attendance worthy of the occasion.

Traditional History of the Third Degree

In May 2011 it was brought to the Board’s attention that some lodges were working only the main part of the Third Degree ceremony, leaving the Traditional History to be delivered on a future occasion. The Board concluded that the delivery of the Traditional History of the Third Degree, containing as it does certain of the secrets of the degree, was an integral part of the ceremony of Raising. It therefore instructed the Grand Secretary not to register any Brother as having received the Third Degree until it was established that he had received the Traditional History.

Although it was the hope of the Board that as a consequence of this direction the practice of delivering the Traditional History on a separate occasion would gradually cease, this has not proved to be the case.

The practice appears to be largely unknown in London and most Provinces, and Provincial Grand Masters generally have expressed surprise that it should exist. It has been suggested (though this is not easily capable of verification) that, with fewer candidates coming forward, Lodges are ‘spinning out’ their work. If this is so, it would suggest that the practice is of recent origin; and it is, at any rate, certain that all the more commonly used rituals treat the Third Degree as a single indivisible whole. Moreover, the omission of the Traditional History saves only some ten to fifteen minutes, so that the overall length of the ceremony is unlikely to have been a significant consideration.

The Board has now reaffirmed its view that the delivery of the Traditional History of the Third Degree is an integral part of the ceremony of Raising. It therefore trusts that the Grand Lodge will endorse its recommendation that the Third Degree be given in its entirety on every occasion that it is worked.

Grande Loge Nationale Française

At its Quarterly Communication in September 2011 the Grand Lodge voted to suspend relations with the Grande Loge Nationale Française (the ‘GLNF’) in view of the widespread disharmony then existing within that Grand Lodge.

At the Quarterly Communication in September 2012 the Board reported that the situation within the GLNF had deteriorated and that the continuing turbulence within the GLNF made it impossible at that time to determine the true state of affairs. The Board, after taking advice from the Grand Registrar, had reluctantly decided that it had no alternative but to recommend that it was in the best interests of the Grand Lodge that recognition be withdrawn from the GLNF. The Grand Lodge voted to withdraw recognition.

The Board has continued to monitor the situation and notes that changes have been made in the Constitution and Rules of the GLNF, with the full support and participation of the members, which should in future prevent any individual or group of individuals usurping power, and that significant numbers of former members are returning to the GLNF. The GLNF has now submitted a request to this Grand Lodge that the Grand Lodge restore recognition of the GNLF.

The Board believes that the problems which led to the withdrawal of recognition in September 2012 have been actively addressed by the new Grand Master and his executive and that stability and harmony have returned to the GLNF. Accordingly, the Board recommends that the Grand Lodge restore recognition to the GLNF.

A Resolution to this effect was approved.

Paper of Business and Printed Proceedings of the Grand Lodge

The Board has appointed a committee which is considering how electronic systems and methods might be used to streamline systems and produce economies in the way in which Freemasonry is administered at all levels. It is expected that some of the measures which may be recommended will require amendments to the Book of Constitutions and the Board expects to give notice of motion in September to introduce the first of such amendments.

In the meantime, the Board has considered the wording of Rule 47 which requires the Grand Secretary to forward the papers of business and the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge to Grand Officers and certain others, and to send copies to all lodge secretaries. It has concluded that the Rule already permits this to be done by electronic means and accordingly proposes that, starting with the Quarterly Communication in December 2014, such papers should in future be so transmitted to those within the specified categories for whom the Grand Secretary’s office has an e-mail address, unless the Brethren concerned request otherwise. The Board wishes to stress the importance of Brethren ensuring that they inform those who will need the information of any change in e-mail address or any other relevant contact details.

The Committee will also in due course consider all other aspects of electronic systems and related technology insofar as they may be relevant to streamlining current procedures and methods.

Audit of Lodge and Other Accounts

It has been brought to the Board’s attention that both national and international professional accountancy bodies are seeking to place restrictions on their members carrying out any process described as an ‘audit’ that does not conform to the exacting regulations that they lay down. Those regulations are in general intended to govern the audit of accounts far more complex than those of masonic units, and impose a level of compliance and responsibility in excess of what is required for most masonic accounts.

The Board is concerned that Brethren possessed of useful (even though not essential) skill and expertise will be discouraged or prevented from undertaking the audit of lodge and other masonic accounts as a consequence of what it considers to be no more than a matter of nomenclature. It therefore trusts that the Grand Lodge will endorse its recommendation that whenever a Rule in the Book of Constitutions or a lodge’s, Province’s or District’s by-laws requires that accounts be audited such Rule will, in the case of an individual who is a professionally qualified accountant or auditor, be deemed to be complied with if he carries out an ‘examination’ of those accounts and certifies that he has done so.

Amalgamations

The Board had received reports that the following lodges had resolved to surrender their Warrants: 

Blackheath Lodge, No. 1320 (London) in order to amalgamate with Lodge Fidelis, No. 5405 (London); Leyland Lodge, No. 4249 in order to amalgamate with Hesketh Lodge, No. 986 (West Lancashire); Kentish Companions Lodge, No. 8483 in order to amalgamate with Hervey Lodge, No. 1692 (West Kent); and Mount Sinai Lodge, No. 8855 in order to amalgamate with Old Mancunians Lodge No. 3140  (East Lancashire). The Board recommendation that the lodges be removed from the register of Grand Lodge in order to effect the amalgamations was approved.

Erasure of Lodges

The Board had received a report that thirty-five lodges had closed and had surrendered their Warrants. They are: Lodge of Affability with Villiers, No. 317 (East Lancashire); Yarborough Lodge, No. 633 (East Lancashire); Callender Lodge, No. 1052 (East Lancashire); Starkie Lodge, No. 1634 (East Lancashire); All Saints Lodge, No. 1716 (London); St George’s Lodge, No. 1723 (East Lancashire); Radcliffe Lodge, No. 2701 (East Lancashire); Westcliff Lodge, No. 2903 (Essex); Proscenium Lodge, No. 4152 (Cheshire); Victory Lodge, No. 4157 (South Africa, North); Isthmian Lodge, No. 4566 (Essex); Halliwick Lodge, No. 4800 (London).

Aintree Lodge, No. 4906 (West Lancashire); Anglo-Dutch and Barnes Lodge, No. 4968 (London); Sphere Lodge, No. 5051 (Warwickshire); Pro Minimis and Marble Arch Lodge, No. 5180 (London); Halcyon Lodge, No. 5300 (East Lancashire); Farnworth Lodge, No. 5301 (East Lancashire); Hounslow Lodge, No. 5415 (Middlesex); Summit Lodge, No. 5944 (Staffordshire); Heber Lodge, No. 6241 (Northumberland); St Michael’s Lodge, No. 6332 (Durham); Stamford and Assheton Lodge, No. 6427 (East Lancashire).

Lodge of True Friendship, No. 6631 (London); Richard Taunton Lodge, No. 7050 (Hampshire & Isle of Wight); Dextras Dare Lodge, No. 7054 (London); Cricketers Lodge, No. 7508 (Northumberland); Monitorial Lodge, No. 7676 (London); Lodge of Fraternal Friendship, No. 7777 (London); St Edmund Lodge, No. 7945 (West Kent); Hilsea Bastion Lodge, No. 8245 (Hampshire & Isle of Wight); Lodge of Dignity, No. 8304 (East Lancashire); Tewkesbury Lodge, No. 8344 (London); Ajex Lodge, No. 8407 (London); and Hawkshaw Lodge, No. 8624 (East Lancashire). 

Over recent years, the lodges had 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

Fifteen brethren have been expelled from the Craft.

Grand Lodge Accounts for 2013

The Audited Accounts of Grand Lodge for the year ended 31 December 2013 were approved.

Election of Grand Lodge Auditors

The re-election of Crowe Clark Whitehill LLP, as Auditors of Grand Lodge, was approved. 

Quarterly Communications

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, 10 September 2014. Subsequent Communications will be held: 10 December 2014, 11 March 2015, 10 June 2015 and 9 September 2015. 

The Annual Investiture of Grand Officers takes place on the last Wednesday in April (the next is on 29 April 2015), 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 will be given in the Paper of Business for December Grand Lodge. 

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 12 November 2014, 30 April 2015 and 11 November 2015.

Published in UGLE
Thursday, 05 June 2014 01:00

The Craft in black and white

Pressing matters

In his Prestonian Lecture, Paul Calderwood traces Freemasonry’s faltering relationship with the press throughout the twentieth century. Andrew Gimson finds out why things have started to improve

Why did Freemasonry’s public image change so much for the worse during the twentieth century? This question struck Paul Calderwood many years before he delivered the 2013 Prestonian Lecture on the subject. He became a Freemason in the early 1970s and towards the end of that decade began to notice the declining tone of newspaper coverage: ‘By the 1980s, it was pretty dire. I was amazed at the things I read in newspapers. These reports didn’t match my experience.’ 

On investigating the image of Freemasonry, Paul found that it had ‘a very positive profile in newspapers in the late nineteenth century. It was very much part of the public sphere’. How and why did things go wrong? On retiring from business, Paul decided to conduct a scholarly inquiry into this question, and enrolled at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he researched and wrote a doctoral thesis, which has now been published.

‘Throughout 1900-1940, the largest part of the fraternity’s press profile was derived from the strong involvement of the Royal Family, which played a key role in the administration of the Order,’ explains Paul. ‘Three of the four kings of twentieth-century Britain were Past Grand Masters of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) – as were kings of Sweden and Denmark. They provided Freemasonry with publicity on a lavish scale.’ 

Thanks to its royal favour, Freemasonry drew eminent people from many different walks of life. Archbishops, aristocrats, government ministers, judges and mayors flocked to become Freemasons, commending the fraternity as ‘the key to model citizenship’.

But Paul has identified another, less obvious factor that contributed to the positive image: the openness of Freemasonry itself. ‘There can be little doubt that the raised masonic profile between 1916 and 1936 was directed by the most senior members of UGLE,’ says Paul. ‘The nature of the press coverage – its detail, frequency and, above all, volume – are clear indications that the in-trays of the leaders of the Order were being officially scanned on a daily basis for news items.’ During those twenty years, the number of masonic articles in the national press increased fourfold. Indeed, there were times when as many as four articles appeared on the same day in the same newspaper.

‘Throughout 1900-1940, the largest part of the fraternity’s press profile was derived from the strong involvement of the Royal Family.’ Paul Calderwood

News outlets including the Press Association, The Times and The Daily Telegraph employed masonic correspondents. Lord Ampthill, who in 1908 became Pro Grand Master of UGLE, had a high opinion of journalism, while Alfred Robbins, who in 1913 became President of the Board of General Purposes, was a well-known journalist. Robbins knew exactly what journalists needed, and he had a network of contacts through whom it could be supplied. Freemasonry in these years did not fear the press; it embraced it. Paul, who himself worked in public relations, sees UGLE as a pioneer of these methods that we now take for granted.

A step backwards

So what went wrong? Robbins died in 1931, but his network continued to function for a few years. Ampthill’s death in 1935 led to the decisive change: ‘There was a change in leadership at Grand Lodge, to people with a very different attitude to communications, and they effectively withdrew from the public sphere.’

The abdication in 1936 of King Edward VIII showed that publicity ‘can be a two-edged sword’. The high profile of Freemasonry had been maintained by his active participation during his years as an immensely popular Prince of Wales, and now, in Paul’s words, ‘his reputation went into free-fall, and an asset proved more of a liability’. The rise of fascism on continental Europe, with Freemasons facing persecution, was taken in England as confirmation of the wisdom of keeping a low profile.

In the years after World War II, Freemasonry in England continued to grow substantially in numbers, only levelling off in the late 1970s and then, in common with most membership organisations, going into decline. But the press no longer carried masonic stories. Paul observes that news values had changed; editors were less interested in printing reports about such bastions of the establishment as Freemasonry. 

Some of the churches, too, having once welcomed Freemasonry as an ally, now began to see the Order as a rival. But the greatest single factor in the decline in coverage was the decision by Freemasonry itself not to make news available, and to be an organisation that jealously guarded its privacy.

‘Many members of the public saw a secretive organisation that did nothing to rebut the conspiracy theories that multiplied around it.’

Addressing the damage

Even when Freemasonry came under attack, no reply was made. ‘Critics had the field to themselves,’ explains Paul. ‘They were able to fill the vacuum with their insinuations.’ In the 1980s, a ‘witch-hunt’ developed, and for a long time no attempt was made to counter these stories. 

As Paul explains, the attitude of many Freemasons was: ‘Let them think what they want. We know we’re right.’

The problem with taking the high road was that many members of the public saw a secretive organisation that did nothing to rebut the conspiracy theories that multiplied around it. At length, the need for a policy of greater openness was seen. According to Paul, this was ‘quite controversial’, even though it was a return to the greater openness of 1916-1936. 

With so little material published about Freemasonry in the twentieth century, Paul has broken new ground both with his book and his lecture – which he has now given about thirty-six times in England and Wales: ‘There is a lot of interest in the subject of our public image and what can be done to improve it.’ Provinces in England and Wales have appointed publicity officers, who are trying to communicate better with the media, and many are also successfully using social media.

As a young man, Paul read history at the University of Leicester before qualifying as a journalist and working for a short time on local newspapers. He understands journalism and, from his days in public relations, has absorbed the lesson that ‘the prelude to understanding is communication’. What a pity it is that having learnt this lesson earlier than many other organisations, Freemasonry then forgot it for half a century.

To order a copy of the 2013 Prestonian Lecture, ‘As we were seen: The Press & Freemasonry’, from Amazon, visit http://tinyurl.com/prestonianlecture 

Scouting and masonic  parallels

Mirfield Masonic Hall in West Yorkshire was packed to capacity when Woodsmoke Lodge, No. 9317, which is a member of the Kindred Lodges Association, hosted an additional presentation of the 2012 Prestonian Lecture by Tony Harvey.

The lecture, ‘Scouting and Freemasonry: two parallel organisations?’, was adapted to allow non-masons to be present and among the audience of more than 100 were 40 non-masonic members of the Scout movement.

Among those who attended the event were David Pratt, Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding and Mayor of Kirklees, and a Grand Officer, Cllr Martyn Bolt.

Published in UGLE

Press talk comes to Beaconsfield

Bowen Lodge, No. 2816, which meets at Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, has hosted the 2013 Prestonian Lecture, ‘As we were seen: The Press & Freemasonry.’ Given by journalist and academic Paul Calderwood, the lecture was an historical account of Freemasonry’s relationship with the press over nearly three centuries. The event raised around £900 for various charities, including the National Autistic Society.

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