Pro Grand Master family connection
Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes was taken on a journey into his masonic lineage when he visited Berkhampstead Lodge, No. 504, in Hertfordshire, in which his great-grandfather, William Lowndes, was Master in 1893. A trawl through the lodge’s records by its Secretary Brian Meager revealed several documents and photographs that referred to the Pro Grand Master’s ancestor. The documents were copied and bound in a folder, which Brian presented to Peter Lowndes, who was made an honorary member of the lodge.
Masonic gift from 1883
Nearly 800 Hertfordshire masons and their families attended the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban for a service of thanksgiving and the rededication of a pulpit, a gift from English Freemasons in 1883. Most of the original funding for the carved stone pulpit came from the Province of Hertfordshire and three lodges in particular – Watford, No. 404, Gladsmuir, No. 1385, and Halsey, No. 1479.
Its £6,000 restoration, under the guidance of Hertfordshire Provincial Grand Orator and Cathedral Clerk of the Works, George Laverick, was made possible by many lodge donations, as well as three other local orders: Knights Templar, Rose Croix and Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia.
At the service, Provincial Grand Master Colin Harris and Dean the Very Rev Jeﬀrey John both referred to the relationship between the Abbey and Hertfordshire Provincial Grand Stewards’ Lodge, No. 8984, which regularly assists at major Abbey events. The restored pulpit is situated in the crossing of the cathedral, under the great Norman Tower.
The hospice has strong links with the school, as does their chairman, David Ellis of Tudor Lodge No.7280. Hospice staff, including clinicians and nurses, were available to chat with guests about their work.
Hertfordshire Provincial Grand Master, Colin Harris, said, ‘Charitable giving is a huge part of Freemasonry and hearing from hospice staff really brings home how vital their work is and just how much financial help they need. This charity supports local people from across south-west Hertfordshire free of charge, and we are honoured to be playing a part in that.’
Hospice community fundraising manager, Gill Crowson, said, ‘This evening was really a celebration of the close ties between the hospice, the lodges and the school. We are very grateful for all the support they give to the hospice. All of us care deeply about our community and are well aware of the necessity to be available to those who need our help, both now and in the future.’
Masonry is growing in Bulgaria as Chris Radmore explains
The Past Grand Master of Bulgaria, MW Bro Borislav Sarandev, is an energetic and enthusiastic Freemason. During his term of office as Grand Master he was a leading light in the process that saw the two Grand Lodges in his country combine to become the United Grand Lodge of Bulgaria and achieve recognition from the United Grand Lodge of England.
Bro Sarandev has also started the process of introducing the Royal Arch into Bulgaria and, through his efforts, suitably qualified Bulgarian brethren are being exalted into the Treaty of Uxbridge Chapter No. 8379.
There are many Freemasons within the United Grand Lodge of Bulgaria who are anxious to learn more about Freemasonry and especially how it is practised in England.
To facilitate this, Bro Sarandev asked the Grand Secretary of England if he would arrange for a team to demonstrate Emulation working to Bulgarian brethren in Sofia.
So it was that in the middle of July a party of Freemasons from Hertfordshire, lead by the Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro Colin Harris, arrived in Sofia to demonstrate the three Degrees and the Installation ceremony in Emulation working.
In front of more than 100 Bulgarian Freemasons ranging from Past Grand Masters to the newest Entered Apprentices, the Hertfordshire demonstration team opened a Lodge in the First Degree and proceeded to demonstrate that degree.
This was followed by the Charge and then the team moved seamlessly into opening the Lodge in the Second Degree and passing the 'candidate' who had just been initiated, together with a full explanation of the Second Degree tracing board.
The following morning, in the same hotel conference room in Sofia, the team opened the Lodge in all three Degrees, resumed in the First Degree and proceeded to approve the minutes of the previous evening’s proceedings, as would take place in a normal Lodge meeting.
The Lodge was then resumed in the Third Degree and the ceremony of raising was demonstrated. After lunch, the team then proceeded to install the Master-Elect, with the RW Provincial Grand Master acting as Installing Master and the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VW Bro Allan Atkinson, acting as Master-Elect.
The hospitality provided by our Bulgarian hosts was unsurpassed and the timetable had been arranged so as to allow us to visit some historic parts of Bulgaria before departing homewards.
That weekend has proved to be the hors d’oeuvre. Many of the Bulgarian brethren wish to found a Lodge under the United Grand Lodge of Bulgaria to work Emulation in English. This will be the first Lodge in Bulgaria to work any form of English ceremonial.
The consecration of this proposed new Lodge, which will be called Hiram, is scheduled to take place in Sofia on 8 April 2006. Our Bulgarian brethren have asked if RW Bro Colin Harris will undertake this task and the Grand Secretary of the United Grand Lodge of Bulgaria has asked the Grand Secretary if the United Grand Lodge of England will agree. Permission has been granted and planning for the event is now in full swing. Bro Harris will consecrate the Lodge and Bro Atkinson will install the first Master.
Chris Radmore is Masonic Assistant to the Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe E