The brethren in the Isle of Man once again showed their hospitality when 26 visiting brethren from many Provinces in the UK, visited the island to attend the consecration meeting of Henry Callow Lodge No 9916.
The consecration of a new lodge is a fairly rare occurrence and it is considered an honour for a Provincial Grand Master to preside over. Keith Dalrymple, the Provincial Grand Master for the Isle of Man has previously acted as a consecrating officer when he presided over the consecration of the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy Lodge No 9872, three years ago and he was delighted to again be honoured by taking the office of consecrating officer for the meeting.
The meeting started with the procession of the Provincial Grand Master and his Provincial team into the lodge room in the Masonic Hall in Douglas. After opening the lodge Keith explained the purpose of the meeting. The petitioners of the new lodge were arranged in order by Roger Southern, the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies. The warrant was inspected by the consecrating officer and then read aloud to the brethren by Martin Blackburn the Provincial Grand Secretary. The consecrating officer then confirmed his intention to constitute the petitioners into a regular lodge and to consecrate it according to ancient usage.
An oration was delivered by William Ashton the Deputy Grand Superintendent for the Isle of Man, titled ‘The nature and purpose of our institution’ Bill said: “The very title of the oration, in itself, poses questions. What is this institution of ours. What is freemasonry? Is it a secret society? We answer that with the glib and hackneyed phrase, ‘not a secret society but a society with secrets‘”.
Bill continued: “Is it really? What secrets? Our ritual has been in the public domain for many years. Complete and very detailed descriptions of the degrees which we work, together with the signs and the words. So what secrets. Consider the answer to the question posed before passing to the second degree – what is Freemasonry? – a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. I would suggest that the true secrets of Masonry are to be found in the allegorical ritual and you have to find them. That is the way, and the only way, by which you will make a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge.
Masonry is a discipline of conduct and of the mind. It is also a challenge. It is a challenge we brought upon ourselves from the moment we took the obligation of an initiate. Over the years we move on to further degrees in Craft, in Royal Arch, and degrees beyond the Craft. Each one contained a particular commitment but all have similar aims ‘the love for our creator’, our love for our fellow-man, and a knowledge of ourselves. How to further that knowledge and love for the good of humanity.
In a world that is plunging into anarchy, lawlessness, man’s inhumanity to man, greed, selfishness and confusion we look to our Masonic principles and tenets for guidance. We look to our lodges where we can briefly escape the rigours of the outside and enjoy the company of our fellow Masons – like-minded men endeavouring to live by the same high principles. A virtual oasis. A normality the like of which cannot be found elsewhere.
The name chosen for the lodge throws further responsibilities on the members of the new lodge: Deemster Henry William Callow, Past Provincial Grand Master of the Province of the Isle of Man, was greatly admired and well respected. He was an honest and friendly man who openly professed his Masonic standing and allegiance to all. He was undoubtedly held in high estimation by the brethren of this and other Provinces. He justly deserves the honour bestowed on him.”
Bill concluded his oration by saying: “We are expecting good things of you and we will be observing your progress with great interest. We wish you well in all your undertakings. Remember the high standards that will be expected, obey the book of constitutions, obey your by-laws, and above all, obey the volume of the sacred law and its commandments.
Thou shalt love the lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul. And with all thy mind and with all thy strength. That is the first and greatest commandment. The second of these is - thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. If we do not live by these two great laws how can we reasonably expect to convey to the outside world the happy and beneficial effects of our ancient institution.
Martin Luther King famously had a dream, so did Robert Burns ‘For a’ that and a’ that it’s coming yet for a’ that that man to man the world o’er shall brithers be for a’ that.
A dream? Maybe, but we can and must strive towards it. We can hope and pray that come what may someday the human race will embrace these same principles and these same teachings, perhaps then the dream will become reality.”
The consecration then took place with the solemnity, and ceremonial, accompanied by music and psalms as the vessels containing corn wine and oil were carried around the lodge. The consecrating officer then sprinkled salt upon the lodge board and the founders as a symbol of fidelity, hospitality and everlasting friendship.
The consecration was followed by the installation of the Worshipful Master designate Captain Eidwin Mullan conducted by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master for the Isle of Man, Alexander Downie OBE.
This was followed by the appointment of lodge officers, which saw Fred Wright (that well-known West Lancs Mason) appointed and invested as Junior Warden.
The address to the WM was given by Keith Dalrymple. The address to the wardens was given by the Provincial Junior Grand Warden, Michael Garrett and the address to the brethren was given by Provincial Senior Grand Warden, Nigel Bowrey.
The business of the lodge was conducted this included the election of six honorary members which included the PrGM, DepPrGM, PrGSec and PrGDC.
Six joining members were balloted for, one of whom was Joeseph Williams who is a member of Croxteth United Services Lodge No 786 in the Province of West Lancashire.
At the conclusion of lodge business the lodge was closed in due form and the brethren then enjoyed a wonderful festive board, which started with the traditional starter of Manx Queenies with garlic and bacon, followed by roast beef and seasonal vegetables, followed by panna cotta with winter berries with a selection of Manx cheeses served with a glass of port.
Responding to the toast to the consecrating officer, Keith said: “I am happy and proud today as I was 45 years ago when Deemster Henry William Callow first called be a brother”
Responding to the toast to his health Eidwin thanked all the brethren that had worked hard over the last year to ensure that the new lodge could be formed, he said he never thought that he would be asked to serve as the first WM, but having been asked to do so he was honoured to do so. Eidwin then spoke about the lodge motto ‘Shereish’ or ‘Service’ which he said meant that the members of Henry Callow Lodge would be there to help any lodge in the Province, to improve Freemasonry by giving demonstrations and being there to serve when-ever they are needed.
Robert Vaughan, Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Worcestershire responded to the toast to the health of the visitors, he expressed his thanks to the brethren for their hospitality and the warmth of their welcome. He presented Eidwin with a bottle of Worcester Sauce and a Provincial Stewards Grand Lodge tie worn by the Provincial Stewards Lodge in Worcestershire and a crystal decanter for the WM and brethren of the Henry Callow Lodge to use to serve Port at their festive boards.
After midnight the brethren left to go home the visiting brethren returned to their hotels, some spending time over another glass of wine reflecting on the wonderful day they had in the Isle of Man.
The following morning offered time for the brethren to relax before flying back home.