Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge
14 December 2016
Report of the Board of General Purposes
The Minutes of the Quarterly Communication of 14 September 2016 were confirmed.
HRH The Duke of Kent KG was nominated as Grand Master for the ensuing year.
Annual Investiture of Grand Officers – 26 April 2017
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.
Masonic Year Book
The next edition of the Masonic Year Book, 2017–2018, will be available next summer. The charge will be £14 per copy, plus postage and packing where appropriate. It is not proposed to produce a new edition of the Directory of Lodges and Chapters during 2017. Copies of the 2015 edition will still be available from Letchworth’s shop.
Every lodge will receive one copy of the Masonic Year Book 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.
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 for 2017
The Board has considered applications for the delivery of the official Prestonian Lectures in 2017 and has decided that these should be given under the auspices of the following:
Lodge of the Grand Design, No. 6077 (Surrey)
Worcestershire Installed Masters' Lodge, No. 6889 (Worcestershire)
Old Elizabethans’ Lodge, No. 8235 (East Lancashire)
The London Grand Rank Association
The Lecturer, Dr J.W. Daniel, states that the title of the Lecture will be: The Grand Design.
Standard of dress
The Board has on a number of occasions considered the standard of dress (including ties) to be worn by Brethren at lodge meetings, and believes that it will be helpful if the guidance given previously is brought together, largely unchanged, under a single heading.
The Board is conscious that it has become common in many, if not most, Provinces as well as in London for a “Provincial tie” or a “Metropolitan tie” to be promoted – even stipulated – by the Provincial or Metropolitan Grand Master, often as part of fund raising for a charity Festival. After wide consultation some years ago the Board concluded that there should be some relaxation in the rules relating to the ties to be worn by Brethren, and commissioned – as an alternative to a plain black tie – the Craft tie, which was suitable for wear both at masonic meetings and in everyday life. To this tie must now be added the rather similar new Craft tie incorporating the logo recently adopted by the United Grand Lodge of England, and also, for those who are qualified, the Royal Arch tie adopted in 2010.
The Board accordingly recommended that:
(a) in Grand Lodge Brethren must wear either one of the two versions of the Craft tie, or a plain black tie (without any emblem, whether in the weave or as a coloured design);
(b) on all other occasions, as an alternative to one of the Craft ties or a plain black tie, the relevant authorised Metropolitan, Provincial or District tie may be worn, as may the Royal Arch tie except that Brethren attending a lodge in an official capacity on behalf of the MW The Grand Master or their respective Metropolitan, Provincial or District Grand Master should wear the appropriate Craft tie or a plain black tie.
The Board wishes to remind Brethren, however, that when visiting a lodge in London, a Province or District they should wear one of the Craft ties, the Royal Arch tie or a plain black tie, unless the particular Metropolitan, Provincial or District Grand Master permits other Metropolitan, Provincial or District ties to be worn (a permission which should not be assumed to have been given).
In the case of a meeting of a Metropolitan, Provincial and District Grand Lodge the Board considers that it should be left to the discretion of the individual Metropolitan, Provincial or District Grand Master which tie should be worn and by whom, but hopes that the wearing of the Royal Arch tie will not be discouraged.
Regimental, College or School, Hospital, Livery and similar ties may continue by established custom to be worn in lodges associated with regiments etc. to which they relate.
The Board strongly reaffirms that, unless it is the custom of a lodge to meet in evening dress, traditional morning wear or dark lounge suit, with black shoes, continues to be the appropriate dress. Shirts must have a plain white collar and, if not completely white, should be of a restrained pattern or hue.
The Board also recommends that at other functions where masonic regalia is worn in the presence of non-masons the same standard of dress must be adhered to.
Freemasonry and the media
With the approach of the Tercentenary of the Grand Lodge, the Board considers it appropriate to remind Brethren of the guidance on Freemasonry and the Media approved by the Grand Lodge in September 2005:
There has recently been a revival in interest in Freemasonry on the part of the broadcast media. The Board believes it timely to remind Brethren of the general advice given on this subject on previous occasions. Whilst it has no desire to prevent Brethren from voicing their views, the Board believes that participation, at both the national and local levels, in broadcast debates on Freemasonry is best left to spokesmen who have the background knowledge and experience to participate in such events, and, preferably, have been duly authorised in advance.
Any Brother who is approached to take part in a broadcast should seek guidance either from the Communications Department at Freemasons’ Hall or the Communication Officer appointed by his Metropolitan, Provincial or District Grand Master. It follows also that Brethren, other than those authorised, should not voluntarily approach the media to solicit coverage.
In the view of the Board, that guidance is no less appropriate today and trusts that the Grand Lodge will endorse its view.
Erasure of Lodges
The Board has received a report that twenty-four Lodges have closed and have surrendered their Warrants. The Lodges are:
Mariners’ Lodge, No. 249 (West Lancashire), Huyshe Lodge, No. 1099 (Devonshire), Hamer Lodge, No. 1393 (West Lancashire), Runymede Lodge, No. 2430 (Buckinghamshire), Sir Walter Raleigh Lodge, No. 2432 (London), Trinity Lodge, No. 2595 (Devonshire), Golden Hope Lodge, No. 3059 (Orange Free State), Mildmay Coronation Lodge, No. 3536 (Middlesex).
Tower of Sir Francis Drake, No. 3583 (West Lancashire), Eddystone Lodge, No. 3925 (Devonshire), Fidelity Lodge, No. 4902 (Northumberland), St Nicholas Lodge, No. 5298 (East Kent), Bond Stone Lodge, No. 5364 (London) and Bancroftian Lodge, No. 5619 (London).
St Patrick’s Lodge, No. 5742 (Middlesex), Ionic Lodge, No. 6344 (Northumberland), Sutton Lodge, No. 6580 (Devonshire), Odendaalsrus Lodge, No. 7229 (Orange Free State), Vale of Caterham Lodge, No. 7316 (Surrey), Croydon Millenary Lodge, No. 7745 (Surrey), Knott End Lodge, No. 8674 (West Lancashire), Mwana Lodge, No. 8706 (Zambia), Churston Ferrers Lodge, No. 8779 (Devonshire) and Pride of Surrey Lodge, No. 9167 (Surrey).
The Board recommended that they be erased and a Resolution to this effect was approved.
The Masonic Charitable Foundation
The meeting receive a talk by the Masonic Charitable Foundation.
List of new Lodges
Warrants have been granted to the following Lodges showing the dates from which their Warrants became effective, date of Warrant, location area and number and name of Lodge:
14 September 2016
9935 Lodge of Restoration (Birmingham, Worcestershire)
9936 Scoutcraft Lodge (Bristol, Bristol)
9937 Aedificandum Lodge (Droitwich, Worcestershire)
9938 David Kenneth Williamson Lodge (London, London)
9939 Hampshire and Isle of Wight Motorcyclists Lodge (Farnborough, Hampshire and Isle of Wight)
9940 Middlesex Armed Forces Lodge (Twickenham, Middlesex)
9 November 2016
9941 Columbanus Lodge (Somerset)
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, 8 March 2017. Subsequent Communications will be held on 14 June 2017, 13 September 2017, 13 December 2017 and 14 March 2018.
The Annual Investiture of Grand Officers takes place on the last Wednesday in April (the next is on 26 April 2017), 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 are given in this Paper of Business.
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 27 April 2017, 8 November 2017 and 26 April 2018.
The centenary meeting of Tower of Sir Francis Drake Lodge No.3583 was held in the magnificent Corinthian Suite at Liverpool in the presence of the Provincial Grand Master Peter Hosker, who opened a meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge for the purposes of the ceremony.
The lodge was formed in January 2004 following the amalgamation of Tower Lodge No.3583, which had been consecrated on 26 April 1912, with Sir Francis Drake Lodge No.8109, and there were 71 members and guests present to celebrate this special centenary meeting.
The Master of the lodge, Eric Wilson, had the pleasure of welcoming the Provincial Grand Master, who entered the lodge room accompanied by his full entourage of officers in a magnificent and colourful procession.
Eric ceded the gavel to Peter who took the Chair and nominated his Provincial officers for this special opening of Provincial Grand Lodge. These included Howard Jones, Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Stanley Oldfield, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Paul Renton, Senior Warden, Ian Sanderson, Junior Warden, Rev Graham Halsall, Chaplain, Geoffrey Lee, Provincial Grand Secretary, Keith Kemp, DC, Neil McSymond, Deputy DC, Paul Rattigan, Sword Bearer, Eric Hart and James Cartledge, Deacons, John Stanfield and John Breakwell, Standard Bearers, Frank Kennedy, Pursuivant, and Alan Locke, Tyler. They were preceded by Stewards Geoff Cuthill and Robb Fitzsimmons and accompanied by other Grand officers.
The Liverpool Group was represented by chairman David Hawkes, deputy chairman Sam Robinson, vice chairman Roy Ashley and secretary Roy Cowley.
Peter said: “I am delighted to be here with my Provincial team. Lodge 3583 has prospered and it's members can be justly proud of what has been achieved.” He then called upon the Provincial Grand Secretary to read the Centenary Warrant issued by the Grand Master. This warrant also gives lodge members permission to wear a special Centenary jewel. Peter then presented the Warrant to Eric who promised that it would be preserved, unsullied as he now received it.
Peter then called upon the Rev Graham Halsall to deliver an oration to the lodge. What followed was truly an oration of such quality, eloquence and erudition which held the assembled brethren spellbound. Graham commenced with a condensed history and origins of the lodge gleaned from the few lodge records which had survived the wartime blitz and other ravages of time. He went on to compare the physical properties of a tower being the image of strength, durability, security and fortitude; these being qualities to which Freemasons should aspire and to demonstrate. At the conclusion, Graham was congratulated by Peter for his well-researched and well-rehearsed oration. The assembled brethren concurred with extended applause.
The ceremony then took an unexpected turn when the Provincial Grand Master announced that he had decided to take advantage of this special Provincial Grand Lodge to confer a promotion on 85 years old member of the lodge, Bill Gallagher, to the high rank of Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden. This surprise promotion is well deserved as Bill has been WM of the lodge on four occasions in 1996, 1999, 2009 and 2010. Previously a member of the now defunct Skelmersdale Lodge No 1380, Bill was WM on no less than seven occasions and was also that lodge’s almoner. He was appointed to the rank of PPrSGD in 2003. A strong Royal Arch Mason, Bill has also been the first principal of Skelmersdale Waterloo Chapter No.1380 five times and has been appointed to the rank of PPrGSoj. Peter directed Geoffrey Lee to read the patent before investing him with the collar and jewel of his office. Peter said: “I congratulate you on 25 years of outstanding Masonic service made more remarkable by virtue of your advanced years.” A surprised Bill replied that he was grateful to accept the honour on behalf of the lodge and thanked Peter accordingly.
Next followed a prayer of rededication, led by Rev Graham Halsall and the closure of Provincial Grand Lodge. Peter returned the gavel to Eric who resumed the WM’s chair. It was remarked that Eric had conducted the proceedings in a most efficient and dignified manner despite medical problems.
Eric then rose and thanked the Provincial Grand Master for the wonderful and enjoyable ceremony. He then presented Peter with two cheques both for substantial donations to the West Lancashire Freemasons' Charity and to the Liverpool Masonic Hall Fund. Peter thanked the lodge members for their generous contributions to these most worthwhile causes.
The Provincial party then retired in an equally magnificent and colourful procession to a sumptuous festive board.
Nobody present could fail to be impressed by the dignified and stately manner in which this important and historic landmark had been celebrated by the Provincial Grand Master and his officers and by the officers and brethren of Tower of Sir Francis Lodge No 3583.