Solomon the teacher: Fostering curiosity – developing understanding
The launch of Solomon, an online learning resource, is making daily advancement a reality in the Craft and Royal Arch
Sir David Wootton, Assistant Grand Master and Chairman of the Improvement Delivery Group, wrote in the last issue of FMT that the requirement to learn ritual by rote and then present it without any attempt at providing the most basic of context and understanding fails the candidate, because it overlooks the important messages that lie within.
Member surveys have highlighted learning as a major unmet need and a potential reason why members leave. Solomon has been created as an accessible online resource to stimulate interest and meet current and future needs.
WHO IS SOLOMON FOR?
Solomon will support the wants and needs of at least three groups:
- Those who want to learn more about their masonry.
- Those with programme planning or member development responsibilities in a lodge or chapter.
- Provincial or District Officers charged with promoting and providing learning resources and activities.
Solomon will support personal inquiry or study, irrespective of experience or prior knowledge. It brings together material from many sources to help answer common questions and improve masonic knowledge and understanding. The online resource can be accessed on multiple platforms such as smartphones, tablets and computers and currently contains more than 350 items.
Solomon is also designed to support the interests and requirements of lodges and chapters. The Lodge Mentor or Director of Ceremonies will be able to find material to help a member learn about or understand a topic or issue, or may introduce learning content into regular meetings. Solomon material comprises short ‘nuggets’, papers and demonstrations, as well as longer items for presentation and discussion. A regular presentation of these nuggets at meetings will stimulate a desire to learn more.
Solomon materials will complement material collected locally by Provinces and Districts and will guide and support them in the advancement of their learning.
WHAT WILL I FIND?
Solomon is devoted to the Craft and Royal Arch. It is organised into three categories:
- Seek & Learn: for individual exploration or presentation.
- Share & Encourage: for use by lodges and chapters.
- Support & Promote: for Provinces and Districts.
The first two categories have eight modules covering the Craft, the Royal Arch and more general areas, such as symbolism and history. This arrangement will enable users to focus and drill down to individual nuggets, papers and presentations. It will also help to confine the inquirer to those areas appropriate to his masonic progress.
Once registered, you can login and enrol in one or more modules and explore Solomon to your heart’s content. It is intuitive and has been designed to foster curiosity and draw you in to seek answers. You can use various search tools to find and refine your inquiry. You may then read or download as much or as little as you wish. With smartphone access, Solomon can readily provide an answer to a question at a Lodge of Instruction.
Solomon provides a range of interesting material that will complement or even replace a ceremony
HOW WILL SOLOMON BENEFIT A LODGE OF CHAPTER?
Solomon complements the Members Pathway and individual mentoring programmes. These encourage a personalised approach to development. This approach should be extended to develop the interest and enjoyment of all members, enabling them to benefit from a deeper understanding of our ritual and traditions. The result will be improved performance of ceremonies, better mentoring and greater confidence in explaining Freemasonry to others.
Solomon provides interesting and accessible material that, if well chosen and well delivered, will complement or even replace a ceremony. It is designed to be popular, boosting attendance and interest. Ideally, learning activities will become an appreciated and regular feature of lodge and chapter meetings.
A ‘nugget’ is a five to ten-minute item of interest that can be presented by a member. It will easily fit into a meeting; perhaps to set the scene, or to act as a conclusion, or even when the candidate retires. It is also suitable for personal study and can be a resource for lodge quizzes. It may also lead to a presentation that expands on a topic of interest.
While there may be some who feel there is no time at a meeting, it’s hoped that by making time for learning, the benefits will become clear and members will increasingly value time devoted to it. A well-organised lodge or chapter will have a programme that reflects the needs and interests of all its members, one which they enjoy and which encourages them to attend. Learning may also extend beyond the regular meeting to a Lodge of Instruction or special masonic events.
HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?
As the success of the UGLE Learning and Development programme depends on local support, the Programme Support Team wishes to work collaboratively with Craft and Royal Arch Provinces and Districts. Solomon therefore includes resources to support local development.
In launching Solomon to Provinces, Stuart Hadler, the Programme Lead, emphasised the key importance of presenting and delivering material in an understandable and engaging way. This takes skill and so Provinces are being asked to identify suitable members to be presenters, to develop their skills and to promote their use. The skilled presenter will draw attendance and overcome the negative stereotype of the boring lecture.
The team also wants to share good examples; these include specialist lodges and working with light blue clubs. A collaborative approach between the Craft and the Royal Arch is encouraged.
Solomon is still in its early stages and will expand in volume, range and diversity. There will always be a need to commission and source new and credible material and the team looks forward to receiving the views and suggestions of Solomon users. For able members eager to write material for inclusion, Solomon provides guidance on the style and other format requirements.
Early feedback on Solomon has been positive from new and experienced masons alike. David Pratt, Provincial Grand Master for Yorkshire, West Riding, remarked that the nuggets are ‘solid gold’, packed with interesting topics to educate even experienced Freemasons. ‘They are so easy to access and use. Any lodge member can lead the activity… I shall be strongly supporting and promoting the use of Solomon within my Province.’
To access Solomon, go to https://solomon.ugle.org.uk
Spa Lodge No. 7609 in the North Yorkshire town of Harrogate has celebrated its Diamond Jubilee by planting trees at RHS Harlow Carr, at a ceremony attended by leading regional civic and masonic figures
In celebration of its consecration, the lodge also donated an oak bench sited in the Lakeside Garden area, overlooking the Queen Mother’s Memorial Lake, and the newly-planted trees.
These trees form part of a new woodland area, which acknowledges Her Majesty the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy Project, which is designed to create a network of forest conservation schemes throughout the 53 nations of the Commonwealth, with Harlow Carr forming part of what was the ancient Forest of Knaresborough.
A successful application was also made to the Provincial Grand Master’s Fund, which funded an oak information lectern, together with a graphic board, part of which is in braille.
The Deputy Lord Lieutenant for North Yorkshire, Simon Mackaness, and David Pratt, the Provincial Grand Master of Yorkshire, West Riding, ceremonially planted an Acacia tree, whilst The Mayor of the Borough of Harrogate, Councillor Bernard Bateman, and Stephen Brown, Master of The Spa Lodge, planted a Red Oak tree.
The Lodge – which was founded in 1958 – is so named following a likening to the springs in Harrogate and the 'SPAW' mineral springs in Spa Belgium, and has a logo which features three heraldic emblems representing medicinal springs or watering places.
A family support room has been officially opened on Byland Ward at Harrogate District Hospital, thanks to generous donations from local Freemasons and the Friends of Harrogate Hospital and Community Charity
The Masons Suite was officially opened by the Provincial Grand Master of Yorkshire, West Riding David Pratt following a £25,000 major grant from the Provincial Grand Master’s Fund, and £5,000 from the Friends of Harrogate Hospital and Community Charity.
The new Suite will improve patient experience on Byland Ward for patients, including those with dementia and learning disabilities. It includes reminiscence features and mood lighting and will provide a comforting non-clinical environment to patients.
Tammy Gotts, Matron, who has co-ordinated the efforts to open to the Masons Suite, said: 'The project has been two years in the making and we are delighted that the Masons Suite is now open.
'Our huge thanks go to the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding and the Friends of Harrogate Hospital and Community Charity, for their generous donations. Without them, the project would not have been possible. The Suite will improve the experience of staying in hospital for the patients on the ward.'
David Pratt said: 'It was my absolute honour to officially open the Masons Suite within Harrogate District Hospital’s Byland Ward.
'The grant application to financially support this initiative was made by Knaresborough Priory Lodge, and in the coming years it will help provide comfort and to countless people from the Harrogate district and beyond.
'In Harrogate and Knaresborough there are seven lodges, and all are active within the community. It is through to the generosity of our members that we are able to fund initiatives such as this family support room with the hospital.'
Chelsea Lodge stalwart Freddie Davies compered a musical extravaganza at a Northern Masonic Variety show, which raised £10,860 for the West Yorkshire Mark Benevolent Fund
Bradfordians Lodge No. 9886 Past Master Sir David Wootton, UGLE Assistant Grand Master, attended with Yorkshire, West Riding Provincial Grand Master David Pratt at Bradford Grammar School along with Bradford Lord Mayor Clr Abid Hussain and West Yorks Lord Lieutenant Dame Ingrid Roscoe.
Artistes included internationally acclaimed vocalist Gordon Cree and electric violinist Lauren Hinds, who both produced outstanding virtuoso performances.
David Pratt, Provincial Grand Master of Yorkshire, West Riding, was a special guest at the consecration of the Britannic Lodge of Madeira No. 134 under the Grand Lodge of Portugal (Legal)
The consecration was held on 17th March 2018 at the O Lagar Restaurant in Câmara de Lobos by the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge (Legal) of Portugal Julio Meirinhos, with around 70 brethren in attendance including visitors from local lodges, the Portuguese mainland, United Grand Lodge of England, Grande Loge Nationale Française, Regular Grand Lodge of Serbia and Grand Lodge of India. This was followed by a sumptuous celebration banquet of local delicacies and wine where the brethren were joined by their families and friends.
The history of Freemasonry in Madeira goes back to 1767, and Britannic Lodge of Madeira No. 3683 was a lodge under UGLE which was consecrated in Funchal, the capital of Madeira, in 1913. The lodge moved to London in 1935 after Freemasonry had been banned in Portugal, and handed in its warrant after its last meeting in 2006. It wasn’t until 2009 that a new lodge, Zarco Lodge No. 71, was consecrated under the Grand Lodge of Portugal (Legal) – 74 years after the ban.
The new Britannic Lodge of Madeira’s founders are mainly expats, and the lodge will work in English using Emulation Ritual and meet four times a year at the Masonic Hall in central Funchal. The lodge’s badge pays tribute to its predecessor with a similar design and they have adopted the former lodge’s motto: ‘Labor Omnia Vincit’ ('Work conquers all').
David Pratt’s involvement came about from both a passion for Madeira and an inquisitive nature to discover more about the former UGLE lodge, Britannic Lodge of Madeira No. 3683 at the request of the founders.
David said: ‘The history is fascinating and I've managed to track down some of the former members who are delighted that a new lodge bearing that distinguished name is being formed. I’ve been the ‘go-between’ to research information about the former UGLE Lodge.
'The consecration was a wonderful event, and it’s fascinating that a number of the former members of the UGLE lodge travel to Madeira on holiday frequently and had no knowledge of the local masonic activity.
‘I pay tribute to the founders from UGLE lodges who are keen to promote Freemasonry as full participating members of the family of the four lodges now on the Island. Ed Barrow, Past Provincial Junior Grand Deacon (East Lancashire), the Founding Master, and Stuart Condliffe, Past Provincial Assistant Grand Superintendent of Works (Cheshire), the Founding Secretary, have worked tirelessly to create the new lodge. Octavio Sousa of the Grand Lodge (Legal) of Portugal also provided excellent support and guidance to bring about this momentous achievement.’
The lodge welcomes visitors from UGLE – please remember to contact the Grand Chancellor’s Office before visiting any foreign Grand Lodges.
David Kenneth Williamson Lodge No. 9938 held its first meeting outside of London at Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester, to conduct a quintuple Passing ceremony on behalf of the three Universities Scheme Lodges in the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland
The lodge is the Installed Masters Lodge for the Universities Scheme and whilst consecrated in London in 2016, it was agreed that the lodge meet around the English constitution to undertake second and third degree ceremonies on behalf Universities Scheme lodges.
The meeting was held in the very decorative surroundings of the Holmes Lodge Room on 4th May 2018 and was opened in due form by the Master Oliver Lodge, Grand Director of Ceremonies, with 66 Brethren in attendance, including David Kenneth Williamson, Immediate Past Master, Sir David Wootton, Assistant Grand Master, David Hagger, Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland, David Pratt, Provincial Grand Master of Yorkshire, West Riding, Peter Kinder, Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland, and Derek Buswell, Past Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland.
The five candidates David Hames of Wyggeston Lodge No. 3448, Jonathan Haslam and David Veryan Jones of Castle of Leicester Lodge No. 7767, and Marat Guysin and Steven Brian Szukielowicz of Lodge of Science and Art No. 8429 were Passed to the degree of a Fellowcraft in a superbly conducted ceremony.
Sir David Wootton, President of the Universities Scheme, provided an update on the Scheme and made mention of a recent audit undertaken of all Scheme lodges to help identify those who may benefit from extra help and support. He also highlighted the four strategic aims the Scheme was pursuing, namely:
- Providing support to lodges and producing ‘know how’ guides on topics such as lodge finance and ritual. Also suggesting to Lodge Almoners that they could focus on understanding their student members and when they have exams coming up, when they are graduating, and celebrating their successes.
- Talent transfer - how to assist members to find a new masonic home after leaving university.
- The Royal Arch – the Scheme now has five Royal Arch Chapters and is looking at how best to develop this important part of the Scheme.
- Overseas - students from districts graduation in England and helping Districts attract students in their home countries.
Also mentioned was the important work of the New and Young Masons Clubs (NYMC) and that the Scheme was increasing its engagement with NYMC both on a local and national level to ensure that with items, such as talent transfer, both groups can work together. He also referenced the links with the Association of Medical, University and Legal Lodges (AMULL).
David Kenneth Williamson, Past Assistant Grand Master, concluded: 'It was a perfect demonstration of how a multiple ceremony can be done without detriment to the candidates, and brought much credit to the lodge.'
The Brethren retired to the Holmes Lounge were they were welcomed with reception drinks before a four-course dinner.
After grace, Mo Afsa, of Old Mancunians’ with Mount Sinai Lodge No. 3140 in Manchester, presented the DKW Loving Cup to the lodge. Under the watchful eye of David Kenneth Williamson, whose initials the cup bears the name, as Founder President of the Universities Scheme, the Loving Cup circulated around the room. There being six members of Apollo University Lodge No. 357 present, Paul Grier rose to claim the Cup on behalf of that lodge and announced that the next meeting would be held on Saturday 2nd June 2018.
With the especial meeting at the Royal Albert Hall streamed online in the Grand Temple of Freemasons’ Hall, nearly 1,000 brethren and ladies – including the wives of official guests – were able to watch the ceremonies
After attending the screening, Ruth Wright from the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons commented, ‘I could feel that I was part of something very special. I cannot say how privileged I felt to be part of your special day. You could have heard a pin drop as everyone watched with great interest and when, spontaneously, most of the men joined in singing the hymns. It made you realise just how wonderful an organisation Freemasonry is.’
‘A wonderful meal – how on Earth could such splendid fare have been served to the thousands present with such style?’ David Pratt
The Grand Temple guests then attended a special dinner in the Grand Connaught Rooms, chaired by Earl Cadogan, who was assisted by senior members of the Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London.
Meanwhile, nearly 2,000 of the attendees from the Royal Albert Hall meeting were being bussed through London’s rush-hour traffic to Battersea Evolution for a special reception and banquet. Yorkshire, West Riding Provincial Grand Master David Pratt commented, ‘A wonderful meal – how on Earth could such splendid fare have been served to the thousands present and with such style? We then floated back to our hotel with so many stories to share. What a day.’
Harrogate and Ripon Freemasons have turned to “flower power” to help celebrate key milestones in the fraternity’s history
Three floral displays – located on Harrogate’s Montpellier Hill, within the Valley Gardens and in Ripon’s Spa Gardens – have been created by Harrogate Borough Council’s Parks & Environmental Services Department to mark the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Premier Grand Lodge and the bicentenary of the Province of Yorkshire West Riding.
The official unveiling of the beds, which feature the masonic symbols of the square and compasses and the white rose of Yorkshire, was performed by the Mayor of Harrogate, Coun Anne Jones, Ripon Mayor Coun Pauline McHardy and the Provincial Grand Master David S Pratt.
The flower beds, containing around 7,500 plants, were the brainchild of Doug Mills, Charity Steward of The Spa Lodge No. 7609, who came up with the idea that the Tercentenary of the United Grand Lodge of England and the Bi-centenary of The Province of Yorkshire West Riding, could be celebrated by a floral display in Harrogate.
He approached Harrogate Borough Council to see if they would support planting out beds to mark the two landmarks, which it readily agreed to and added Ripon to the mix.
Doug Mills commented: 'These three flower beds are simply stunning and they look absolutely fantastic. Six months ago it was merely an idea and now it is reality.'
Rt W Bro David S Pratt, who presented commemorative hand trowels to the mayors, said: '2017 is a very special year for Freemasonry in England and Wales, and in particular for our Province as we are also celebrating our 200th birthday.
'We very much welcome the support of Harrogate Borough Council, as without them Doug’s floral tercentenary and bicentenary tributes would never have seen the light of day. Thanks to the skills of the parks team, thousands of people walking in the three locations will be able to enjoy these stunning flower beds throughout the summer months.'
The Treasurer of The Spa Lodge, W Bro Peter Dodds, facilitated the manufacture and supply free of charge of four powder coated stainless steel display cases from In Stainless Engineering Ltd together with graphic boards provided by Signs Express that detail the history of the United Grand Lodge of England and the Province.
Grand announcement by Freemasons of Yorkshire, West Riding
An explosion of sound and a cascade of glitter to the background of Purcell’s music and a montage featuring activities during the festival culminated in the amazing total being dramatically revealed at an impressive banquet at the Royal Armouries in Leeds.
Some 600 brethren, their wives and partners, shared in the celebrations and delight as the outstanding result, kept under wraps until the night, was greeted with acclaim and great satisfaction by all present.
RW Provincial Grand Master David Pratt was, for once, lost for words. The £3,300,300 raised was fitting recognition to mark the 300th anniversary of the formation of the first ever Grand Lodge.
RW Bro Pratt paid tribute to all the members of the Province and their families for their contributions and support throughout the festival. He also reflected on the work of RW Bro John Clayton, his predecessor, who had launched the festival as its President in 2012, with a clear vision of how it should be managed through to a successful outcome.
VW Bro Sir Paul Williams, Chairman of the RMBI Care Company, thanked the Province for the manner in which it had supported the Festival. He commented that Yorkshire, West Riding had not only done themselves proud but also done it in style, with passion, commitment and a lot of fun along the way.
Sir David Wootton, Assistant Grand Master, in proposing a toast to the Festival President thanked everyone in the Province for their tremendous support, which had resulted in such an outstanding achievement. He is proud to be a member of the Province.
Refresh for Ripon Cathedral
Ripon Cathedral has received two grants totalling £12,500 from the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding, which will help to pay for the renewal of ancient flagstones.
The Dean of Ripon John Dobson received the two grants – one for £7,500 from West Riding Masonic Charities Limited, and a second of £5,000 from the Masonic Charitable Foundation. These were presented by David Pratt, PGM; Jack Pigott, Chairman of West Riding Masonic Charities; and Paul Clarke, APGM.