Following the amalgamation of Bridgewater Lodge No. 1213, Worsley Lodge No. 1814 and Egerton Lodge No. 2216 which took place at Elm Bank earlier this year a special dispensation was acquired to hold this event at Swinton Masonic Hall to accommodate numbers. There were 140 brethren who attended the Provincial amalgamation ceremony of Egerton Worsley Lodge No. 1213
After the lodge was opened in the third degree Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Keith Kemp announced the arrival of the Provincial Grand Master, Peter Hosker who demanded admission to the lodge.
Peter was welcomed by Frank Woodcock (WM) who offered Peter the gavel, which he duly accepted. Assistant Provincial Grand Master Jon Clipsham addressed Peter requesting that he conduct the ceremony to which Peter then opened Provincial Grand Lodge.
Peter said that the ceremony would have three objectives, namely, to reflect on the joining of the three lodges, to express gratitude to the work of the three lodges and to accept the need of amalgamation of the three lodges and that this would be demonstrated by prayers, actions, music and words.
Peter then asked the Provincial Grand Secretary to read the certificate of amalgamation.
A wonderful oration delivered by Canon Godfrey Hirst who compared the ceremony of amalgamation to the analogy of that of a funeral and wedding service. He referred to the three lodges with the thread of the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater running through them and a proud history of 145, 134 and 126 years that has remained robustly healthy and stable.
He commended the glorious contribution that the lodges have given to this Province and Freemasonry as a whole. He gave thanks for the characters, personalities that have enlivened the ceremonies and enlightened individuals on their masonic journey, most moments of significance having been recorded in the minutes of each lodge. Also recorded will be the faithfulness, loyalty and service of distinguished brethren over many years for which there should be gratitude and rejoicing.
Godfrey concluded that in processions, the corn alone is carried in a golden pitcher, the wine and oil are placed in silver vessels, and this is to remind us that the first, as a necessity and the 'staff of life', is of more importance and more worthy of honour than the others, which are but comforts. This reference would become more apparent when the elements of re-consecration were explained.
Godfrey then stepped away from his rostrum and burst into song with Chris Knowles, Amos Millington and John Hindle, who in magnificent voice sang a fitting hymn for the occasion.
Peter requested that the brethren of the lodge faced the east on the pavement. He then presented the certificate to the worshipful master, proclaiming that they were now amalgamated.
Peter explained the elements of re-consecration and that the vessels containing that of corn symbolises food and nourishment, the wine as a symbol of joyful and cheerfulness, the oil as a symbol of peace and ingenuity, and the salt as a symbol of fidelity and friendship. He then went to each member of the lodge and sprinkled salt on them saying, 'May prosperity and peace attend on this lodge.'
Peter said that it was a great pleasure and honour for him and his Provincial team to attend this wonderful event and invited the worshipful master to return to his rightful place in the lodge.
The brethren were then addressed by Jon Clipsham. Peter entrusted the warrants of the three lodges and the warrant of amalgamation to the WM. He also entrusted the artefacts of the three lodges which included a special gavel that belonged to Bridgewater Lodge and a chalice that had been presented to Worsley Lodge on their golden anniversary.
The WM duly accepted and thanked Peter for entrusting the artefacts to him, stating that he would pass them on pure and unsullied to his successor, and expressed an open invitation for Peter to attend the lodge at any future time.
After the first rising Peter along with his team recessed from the lodge room. Following the second and third risings the lodge was closed and the brethren retired to the festive board to enjoy some liquid refreshment in anticipation of a seven course meal.
In response to the toast to grand officers at the festive banquet Jon Clipsham said it had been 'a privilege and a delight' to share in the lodge’s very special occasion. He compared Freemasonry to that of his second love, scouting, and how it has transformed over the last few years, stating that it was now cool to be a member of the scouts association. He went on to describe the familiarities with respect to mentoring, membership, care and development. Jon referred to the hard work that Peter had done over his years in office and that we should be proud of him as our Provincial Grand Master. He then went on to propose the toast to the health of the Provincial Grand Master.
In his response, Peter thanked Jon for his kind toast and referred back to when he was installed as the Provincial Grand Master in 2008, when Jon was the first Assistant Provincial Grand Master that he appointed. He said that Jon had progressed and is now the senior Assistant Provincial Grand Master.
Peter thanked his Provincial team for their hard work and support that they give him in his busy schedule. He commended the choir who sang in the lodge and thanked Canon Godfrey Hirst for his interesting oration. Referring to the history steeped within the three lodges, he said that they were made to be amalgamated and that should build wisely to be transmitted pure and unsullied. Peter thanked the lodge for their hospitality and expressed how he had enjoyed his visit. The brethren then rose and toasted the health of Egerton Worsley Lodge No. 1213.
In his response on behalf of the lodge, Frank Woodcock said that the lodge members are working well together and that they all get on indicating that the early signs are that the lodge will go from strength to strength.