25 visiting brethren attend 300th meeting of Prodesse Lodge No. 8678
The visiting brethren included Tony Bent, Stanley Oldfield, Wigan Group chairman Malcolm Taylor, Geoffrey Porter, Stanley Brown and Stewart Blagg. All were present to witness the initiation of a fourth generation mason.
Also present was Jack Lyon, the first candidate to be initiated after Prodesse Lodge was consecrated in 1975.
The worshipful master Brian Rollins opened the lodge and after the minutes were confirmed the two remaining founders - Alan Davies and Eric Draper were proposed for honorary membership.
Brian then asked the lodge secretary Jim Miller if he would assist him and occupy the WM’s the chair in order to carry out the main business of the meeting which was to initiate Jim’s son James.
Jim carried out the initiation ceremony in an excellent and sincere manner, it was clear to all that Jim took great pride in initiating his son into Freemasonry.
At the festive board when proposing the toast to his son, Jim said that the candidates great grandfather and great great grandfather had been members of Sincerity Lodge No. 3677.
Sincerity Lodge is unique in several ways, it celebrated its centenary earlier this year but has worked continuously since 1786. Formerly the Lodge of Sincerity No. 486, it joined the Liverpool and Wigan masonic rebellion. The Liverpool rebellion effectively started in March 1823 when United Grand Lodge (after much correspondence) expelled 26 brethren from several lodges, including some brethren from the Lodge of Sincerity, stating that they had been found guilty of various acts of insubordination against the authority of the Grand Lodge.
The inaugural and the second meeting of the rebel Grand Lodge took place in Liverpool, their next meeting was held in Wigan on 1 March 1824. Lodge of Sincerity was amongst the lodges in Lancashire which revived the Antients Grand Lodge which became eventually the Grand Lodge in Wigan, with the Lodge of Sincerity at its head as Lodge No. 1.
James Miller was to witness the end of the Grand Lodge of Wigan, as the last surviving lodge being isolated and alone, and, as a relic of the Antients of the eighteenth century, it was not recognised by other local masonic lodges. Col JD Murray from Provincial Grand Lodge was approached to facilitate Lodge of Sincerity’s transition back into the fold of United Grand Lodge in 1913. After acceptance, the number of the lodge was changed from No. 486 to No. 3677 and James's great grandfather (who was originally initiated in 1908) was along with all the brethren of the lodge re-initiated, passed and raised to the degree of master mason.
Sincerity Lodge No. 3677 is unique in several ways. It has just celebrated its centenary but has actually worked continuously since 1786, that is what makes it unique in English masonic history
Formerly the Lodge of Sincerity No. 486 under the Moderns Grand Lodge it joined the Liverpool and Wigan masonic rebellion of around 1818 and was amongst the lodges in Lancashire which revived the Antients Grand Lodge which became eventually the Grand Lodge in Wigan with the Lodge of Sincerity at its head as Lodge No 1.
The story is a fascinating one which went on for 90 years, but eventually with the wise council of Col James Murray, a Past Grand Treasurer of United Grand Lodge and a Wigan mason, the lodge was re-constituted, all the members re-obligated and it returned to United Grand Lodge on 26 September 1913.
Since then it has continued to work in the Wigan area and now meets at Bryn Masonic Hall, in Ashton in Makerfield, where it is proving to be quite successful with two Fellowcrafts and three Entered Apprentices currently amongst its membership.
The centenary was presided over by the Provincial Grand Master, Peter Hosker, who opened a special meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge for the occasion, assisted by Howard Jones, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master and Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Tony Bent along with Mark Matthews, Provincial Senior Grand Warden, and Joe Hall, Provincial Junior Grand Warden, and 16 other acting Provincial grand officers.
The Provincial Grand Secretary, Peter Taylor, read the centenary warrant. It was then presented to Ian Dawson the Worshipful Master of Sincerity Lodge by the Provincial Grand Master who remarked that he was delighted to be able to do so on the unique occasion, the like of which we are unlikely ever to see again - that is until the bi-centenary of the lodge.
Peter also presented Alan with a centenary medal which he said could now be worn by all the member of the lodge who were Master Masons.
An oration was then given Rev Graham Halsall by the Provincial Grand Chaplain, who delivered and interesting insight into Lancashire’s boundary changes that had taken place during the lodges history and the effects they had upon the members.
Graham then gave a prayer of rededication.
The evening’s celebrations were rounded off by the promotion of Malcolm Irving Bell Snr to the rank of Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden for his work both in Freemasonry and out of it, especially in the Scout movement. Peter praised Malcolm for his outstanding commitment and hard work in the Craft and the community and said his promotion was very well deserved.
Peter then closed the meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge and returned the gavel to Ian. Ian thanked Peter and the acting Provincial officers for attending the meeting and making it such a special evening. He then presented Peter with a cheque to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity for the sum of £3,677.
After the lodge was closed nearly 100 brethren sat down a very pleasant festive board. Which was followed by the usual toasts. In his response to the toast to his health proposed by Howard Jones, Peter said he was very aware he was following in the footsteps of the previous 15 Provincial Grand Masters since 1826 who had held that office. He said he had looked at the service of Sir Arthur Stanley, who presided at the consecration of the lodge in 1913 and he listed some of his work both in the Craft and the community and said that he hoped that the lodge would celebrate 200 years as a part of the United Grand Lodge of England and that the PrGM who presided over the ceremony would be able to say that the work by Freemasons both in the Craft and community had continued in the tradition set by Sir Arthur Stanley.
Peter concluded by congratulating the members of the lodge on their centenary and said he hoped they would continue their lodges fine traditions, as he firmly believed that we will all be judged by the way we live and the work we do in the community.
Tony Bent then proposed the toast to Sincerity Lodge No. 3677, which was fully supported by all those present.