12 September 2012
Statements by the President of the Board of General Purposes and the Grand Chancellor concerning Grande Loge Nationale Française (GLNF)
The President of the Board of General Purposes, RW Bro Anthony Wilson:
MW Pro Grand Master and brethren, I believe that there is nothing in the Board’s Report that calls for comment, except for the paragraphs relating to the National Grand Lodge of France, and even they are largely self-explanatory. Since this Grand Lodge suspended relations with the GLNF twelve months ago the Board has continued to monitor the situation. It is clear that the GLNF is not in full control of its own affairs. For well over a year its administration and finances have been under the control of a Court appointed administrator, Maitre Legrand. She, although not a Freemason or a member of the GLNF, is currently organising the nominations for and election of a new Grand Master.
To complicate matters further, we understand that at the end of April a group of members of the GLNF and their Lodges broke away and formed a new Grand Lodge which now claims over 10,000 members and more than 500 Lodges. It has just been announced that a further group has broken away and is intent on forming yet another Grand Lodge. It is, therefore, becoming impossible to know who are and who are not bona fide members of the GLNF, which at this moment remains the only Grand Lodge in France recognised by this Grand Lodge.
The Board is aware that, if its recommendation is accepted by Grand Lodge, a number of our members who have joint memberships will need to decide with which constitution they will remain. The Board regrets this but it has a duty to have regard to the best interests of the whole English Craft and in the present circumstances believes those interests will be best served by withdrawing recognition from the GLNF. One hundred years ago members of this Grand Lodge were materially involved in the formation of the GLNF and the return of regular Freemasonry to France: for this and other reasons, the Board’s recommendation was not reached lightly but only after considerable discussion and consultation.
It is important to emphasise that in making this recommendation the Board is not stating that the GLNF or its members are in any way irregular, nor will the withdrawal of recognition of itself make them so. They will, however, become unrecognised though capable of being re-recognised at some future point. For that reason the Board has not entered into discussion with any of the other bodies claiming to represent regular Freemasonry in France nor does it have any intention at the present time of recommending to this Grand Lodge the recognition of any other Grand Lodge in France.
Indeed, we have just learnt that in the last few days a candidate for the Grand Mastership has been nominated. His name will go forward for approval by a General Meeting of the GLNF. The Board will continue to monitor events in France and hopes that this may be the first step – and I emphasise the words “the first step” - towards normalising relations between our two Grand Lodges. In the meantime, however, this event does not change the Board’s recommendation to withdraw recognition.
The Grand Chancellor, VW Bro Derek Dinsmore:
MW Pro Grand Master and brethren, in moving the resolution standing in my name at item 3 of the Paper of Business may I add to the President’s comment on the regularity of the GLNF. Although it has serious internal problems we believe that the Lodges and members of the GLNF are working in a regular manner. Withdrawal of recognition will not of itself affect the GLNF’s regularity and it will be capable of re-recognition. There is a long established, fundamental principle of Masonic international relations that where Freemasonry exists within a territory, whether or not it is formally recognised, that territory is closed to other Grand Lodges, and the latter should not set up lodges there. Despite the growing number of Grand Lodges which are withdrawing recognition from the GLNF, France remains closed territory and this Grand Lodge would not look kindly on any other Grand Lodge which attempted to invade French territory by setting up Lodges there or taking into its jurisdiction Lodges warranted by the GLNF.
MW Pro Grand Master and Brethren, for the reasons given in the Report of the Board of General Purposes, I move that recognition of be withdrawn.
Grand Lodge subsequently voted to approve the motion that recognition be withdrawn from the Grande Loge Nationale Française (GLNF) with immediate effect.
HRH The Duke of Kent explains why transparency is critical for Freemasonry and urges an active spirit of openness
Our concern must be for the future, especially with the approach of our three-hundredth anniversary in 2017. In planning for this great anniversary, I believe these times demand innovation, and imaginative thinking, while retaining our principles.
In this I make no apology for again reminding everyone of the need truly to demonstrate transparency, and to work towards regaining our enviable reputation in society. To do this we have to show how and why we are relevant and to concentrate on the positive aspects of Freemasonry, in particular our generous tradition of giving to a wide variety of causes.
In regards to transparency, we still have some way to go in dispelling the myths that remain deep rooted in many people’s minds, not least the media. Very considerable progress has been made in this direction already, but challenges remain, and there is still work to do to overcome prejudices and misconception.
I am very pleased that we have already achieved two firsts of some importance in tackling this challenge. The first of these was the commissioning of the first ever independent, third party report, written by non-masons, on the Future of Freemasonry. This report has been highly successful and has itself acted as the catalyst for the second of our two innovations, namely the first media tour, conducted by the Grand Secretary.
I recommend that you all take advantage of this active spirit of openness to talk with equal frankness to your family and friends. I think that if you follow this advice, you may well be surprised by the positive reception you will gain.
I want to congratulate all those whom I had the pleasure of investing. To attain Grand Rank in the Craft is a very high accolade of which you can feel justly proud. This promotion does, however, come with an obligation always to set the highest example in standards of integrity, honesty and fairness wherever you are.
Among those I have appointed to acting office are the new Grand Chancellor, the president of the Grand Charity and the Deputy President of the Board of General Purposes, and I want to take this opportunity of thanking their predecessors.
First of all, Brother Alan Englefield, who as the first Grand Chancellor, has made an invaluable contribution to bringing us closer to other Grand Lodges around the world, as well as to maintaining our position as the Mother Grand Lodge. Secondly to Grahame Elliott, who as president of the Grand Charity, as well as presiding over the Grand Charity itself, was instrumental in the successful move of the four charities into this building and thirdly, to Michael Lawson who has given a long and dedicated period of service on the board since 1988. To all three brethren we owe a considerable debt of gratitude.
CRAFT ANNUAL INVESTITURE
25 APRIL 2012
AN ADDRESS BY THE MW THE GRAND MASTER HRH THE DUKE OF KENT, KG
Brethren, I start by congratulating most warmly all those whom I have had the pleasure of investing today. To attain Grand Rank in the Craft is a very high accolade of which you can feel justly proud. This promotion does, however, come with an obligation always to set the highest example in standards of integrity, honesty, and fairness wherever you are.
Among those I have appointed to acting office are the new Grand Chancellor, the President of the Grand Charity and the Deputy President of the Board of General Purposes, and I want to take this opportunity of thanking their predecessors. First of all, Brother Alan Englefield, who as the first Grand Chancellor, has made an invaluable contribution to bringing us closer to other Grand Lodges around the world, as well as to maintaining our position as the Mother Grand Lodge. Secondly to Brother Grahame Elliott, who as President of the Grand Charity, as well as presiding over the Grand Charity itself, was instrumental in the successful move of the four Charities into this Building and thirdly, to Brother Michael Lawson who has given a long and dedicated period of service on the Board since 1988. To all three Brethren we owe a considerable debt of gratitude.
Brethren, today our concern must be for the future, especially with the approach of our three hundredth anniversary in 2017. In planning for this great anniversary, I believe these times demand innovation, and imaginative thinking, whilst retaining our principles. In this I make no apology for again reminding Brethren of the need truly to demonstrate transparency, and to work towards regaining our enviable reputation in society. To do this we have to show how and why we are relevant and to concentrate on the positive aspects of Freemasonry, in particular our generous tradition of giving to a wide variety of causes.
In regards to transparency we still have some way to go in dispelling the myths that remain 'deep rooted' in many people's minds, not least the media. Very considerable progress has been made in this direction already, but challenges remain, and there is still work to do to overcome prejudices and misconception.
I am very pleased that we have already achieved two firsts of some importance in tackling this challenge. The first of these was the commissioning of the first ever independent, third party report, written by non-Masons, on the future of Freemasonry. This Report has been highly successful and has itself acted as the catalyst for the second of our two innovations, namely the first media tour, conducted by the Grand Secretary, and which achieved a reach of more than 117 million people.
I recommend that you all take advantage of this active spirit of openness to talk with equal frankness to your family and friends. I think that if you follow this advice, you may well be surprised by the positive reception you will gain.
Today's has been a memorable gathering and its undoubted success has been achieved by a great deal of careful planning and hard work, so that on your behalf, I want first of all to thank the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his Deputies for the skill and precision with which the ceremony has been conducted, and secondly the Grand Secretary and his staff for their long hours of planning which have 'borne fruit' so excellently this afternoon.
It’s probably fair to say that Freemasonry in Monaco has been low-key for a number of years, following its conditional acceptance by the Monégasque authorities in the first half of the twentieth century.
The Port of Hercules Lodge was formed in 1924 under the English Constitution, and many Monégasques who wished to become Freemasons sought membership outside the principality. In more recent years, three lodges were formed under the German Constitution, but it became apparent that the Monégasques who had joined lodges in France would like one of their own. Accordingly, the first steps were taken three years ago to establish a Grand Lodge in Monaco, and this meticulous planning came to fruition on 19 February in Monte Carlo.
The Grande Loge Nationale Regulière de la Principauté de Monaco was formed by seven lodges, one formerly meeting under the English Constitution and three each under the German and French.
The consecrating officer was Pro Grand Master, Peter Lowndes, assisted by the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Germany, Rüdiger Templin, as Senior Warden; and the Past Grand Master of the National Grand Lodge of France, Jean-Charles Foellner, as Junior Warden. The ceremony was directed by Oliver Lodge (Grand Director of Ceremonies) with the help of Nick Bosanquet and Sebastian Madden (Deputy Grand Directors of Ceremonies) and Malcolm Brooks (Grand Tyler). The team from UGLE also included Nigel Brown (Grand Secretary), Alan Englefield (Grand Chancellor), Reverend Dr John Railton (Grand Chaplain) and Ron Cayless (Grand Organist).
The consecration ceremony proceeded without a hitch, and included the unveiling of the lodge boards, the familiar scriptural readings from the Bible, the symbolic use of corn, wine and oil, and the censing of the lodge and its officers. It was conducted almost entirely in English, but the Rulers-designate took their obligations in their own languages. Jean-Pierre Pastor was installed as the first Grand Master, and he then appointed and installed Claude Boisson as Deputy Grand Master, and Rex Thorne, Knut Schwieger, Renato Boeri and John Lonczynski as Assistant Grand Masters.
Other Grand Lodges were represented by more than a hundred delegates and many presented gifts to the newly installed Grand Master, including a magnificent ceremonial sword from the United Grand Lodge of England. The new Grand Master appointed and installed his officers, before the UGLE team withdrew, leaving the Grand Master and his new team to complete essential business. Monaco’s Grand Lodge had been launched in splendid style.
Andrew Montgomery Looks at the Need for this New Office
Those of us who study the Communications of the Grand Lodge may have noticed that, from last September, we have had a new Grand Chancellor – new in every sense, for Alan Englefield is the first man to hold that office. We may wonder why another Senior Grand Officer is required, the Craft has managed to get by without a Grand Chancellor for over two hundred and fifty years, so why do we need one now? Given that the title of Chancellor is difficult to pin down: it can refer to the German Head of State, the Finance Minister of the United Kingdom or the honorary head of a university, Grand Chancellor sounds suspiciously like another example of ‘Jobs For The Boys.’ It isn’t.
How many Freemasons does it take to change a lightbulb? Change!? Things have changed and they’ve changed for the better. It is good to be able to report that, globally, Freemasonry is on the rise!
For two centuries, the business of managing Grand Lodge’s relations with her sister Grand Lodges was overseen by a triumvirate that comprised the Grand Secretary, the Board of General Purposes and the Grand Master’s advisers. Up until the Great War, “external relations” were handled in a gentle and gentlemanly manner. Emergencies, such as the defection of the Grand Orient of France, in 1876, were few and far between. It was largely a case of deciding on the regularity of new Grand Lodges, and until the drastic redrawing of the map of Europe following the collapse of the old empires after 1918, there weren’t very many new Grand Lodges to worry about.
After the Second World War there was another period of creative cartography. The suppression of Freemasonry in what was now the “Eastern Bloc” led to masonic activity going underground – though the light was never extinguished – and an increase in bodies styling themselves “masonic” though wholly irregular by the standards of the United Grand Lodge of England. The infamous Italian ‘P2’ affair is an example that many of us will recall with a shudder.
The Increase in Grand Lodges
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, masonic lodges that had met in secret reemerged and dormant Grand Lodges were re-established. In 1989, Grand Lodge recognised seventeen regular Grand Lodges in Europe; today thirty-six are recognised and one is under consideration.
The total number of overseas Grand Lodges recognised by the United Grand Lodge of England is now a hundred and sixty-seven, in seventy-five countries This statistic, which at first appears a paradox, is explained by the fact that the States of America have individual Grand Lodges.
There are also Lodges overseas, which remain part of the United Grand Lodge of England, are governed directly from London, and remain under the jurisdiction of the Grand Secretary. It is obvious that External Relations – dealing with Grand Lodges recognised by Grand Lodge but working under Constitutions other than our own – now require a full time office and a dedicated officer.
Our First Grand Chancellor
Alan Englefield may accurately be described as a dedicated officer. Born in 1940, he was educated at Thame Grammar School, under the headmastership of Hugh Mullins who later became headmaster of the Royal Masonic School at Bushey. Though never a Freemason himself, he was clearly sympathetic to the values that the Craft seeks to inculcate. He was far more concerned with a boy’s ability to behave like a young gentleman than in his academic ability or his prowess on the sports field. He was, in every sense, of the Old School. The Grand Chancellor will not, I am sure, mind being similarly described.
Alan’s career in the Police Force, in his native Oxfordshire, spanned thirty two years. He was 35 and already a Police Inspector when, on a Police College scholarship, he won a place at Worcester College, Oxford to read Law.
The college council, in that inimitably indirect, Senior Common Room way, expressed its concern that the policeman in their midst, should he detect the scent of some particularly exotic cheroot at a party on college premises, might see fit to report the matter to his law-enforcement superiors.
Their fears were quickly put aside. Alan Englefield assured them that, in his view, the maintenance of college discipline was a matter for the college authorities. This little anecdote reveals an important facet of the Grand Chancellor’s character; one vital in the holder of that office. He is not a man given to interfering in areas that are not his direct concern!
He was initiated into Icknield Way Lodge, No. 8292, in the Province of Oxfordshire, in 1971. He is also a member of the Apollo University Lodge (Oxford), No. 357. On the completion of his Constabulary duties, he worked for nine years for the Ministry of Defence.
Alan was Provincial Grand Secretary for Oxfordshire from 1988 to 1993. From 1997 to 1998 he was Assistant Provincial Grand Master but left that post on being appointed Grand Secretary General of the Supreme Council - the governing body of the Ancient and Accepted Rite for England and Wales and its Districts and Chapters Overseas - which rules Chapters Rose Croix. Between 2002 and 2007 he was Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent for Oxfordshire, and in 2007 he was appointed Grand Chancellor.
Representing the Craft
As Grand Chancellor, one of his duties is assist the Grand Master and the Rulers of the Craft in representing Grand Lodge on formal visits to recognised Grand Lodges overseas and at international gatherings of regular masonic bodies.
It is abundantly clear, taking into account the proliferation of new Grand Lodges and the great number of long-established ones already detailed, that the role of maintaining close, fraternal relationships is one of vital importance, but Brother, formerly Inspector, Englefield is all-too-well aware that the purpose of the Grand Chancellor’s Office is not to act as a form of Masonic Interpol
Despite that fact that United Grand Lodge of England is the world’s premier Grand Lodge, it is not in a position to ‘lay down the law’ to others, nor does it seek so to do, for that is the route to resentment, schism and ruin. Grand Lodge, via the Grand Chancellor’s Office, can offer support and guidance based on centuries of experience, but it is determined ever to recognise the distinction between advising and interfering.
All Grand Lodges, like College Councils, are sovereign bodies and do not take kindly to outsiders - even when they’re insiders - meddling in their internal affairs.
The Grand Chancellor is a not a full time employee, though one imagines that his spare time must be in rather short supply. He is chairman of the External Relations Committee; to keep the Rulers, the Grand Master’s Advisers and the Board of General Purposes up to date on dealing with recognised Grand Lodges there is much correspondence to be dealt with! He works in close collaboration with John Hamill, Grand Lodge’s Director of Communications, and with Peter Roberts, External Relations Adviser.
He is responsible for ensuring that Grand Lodge’s policy concerning External Relations is properly adhered to whilst encouraging the exchange of information and views from across the world, thus drawing the masonic family ever closer together.
Alan Englefield, the Grand Chancellor, addresses Grand Lodge on his new role in external relations
From time immemorial – or from at least the 1750s! – Grand Lodge’s relations with our sister Grand Lodges have been managed by a combination of the Board of General Purposes (and its predecessors), the Grand Master’s advisers and the Grand Secretary.
For much of the period up to the late 20th century external relations was a gentle art which took up little time. Occasionally there were explosions of activity such as the decision in 1876 by the Grand Orient of France to drop the requirement that candidates must have a belief in a Supreme Being.
Then there was the decision to remove all references to the Great Architect from their rituals and the proliferation of new Grand Lodges in Europe with the redrawing of the map of Europe after the cataclysm of the First World War.
But, in general, it was simply a case of occasionally having to decide whether or not a new Grand Lodge met our standards of regularity and could be recognised as part of the world wide family of Freemasonry.
After the Second World War the map of Europe was again re-drawn into the Eastern and Western blocs, leading to a reduction of Freemasonry in Europe when it was forced underground in the Eastern bloc countries.
At the same time, in what was becoming an increasingly politicised world, there was a growth of irregular Freemasonry with bodies springing up claiming to be Masonic.
But they did not accept our basic principles, in particular the bar on Grand Lodges or brethren in their Masonic capacities making public statements on matters of religious, political or social policy.
As the oldest Grand Lodge, we have had thrust on us the role of being the guardians of regularity and in many ways are expected to police what is regular and what is not.
Those are not roles that we have sought and we cannot be an international policeman solving problems within and between Grand Lodges.
This role came very much to the fore in the 1990s after the demise of the Eastern bloc, the return of democratic institutions in those areas and the very welcome reestablishment of dormant, and making of new Grand Lodges there.
This alone brought heavy pressure on the Grand Secretary. For example, in 1989 we recognised 17 regular Grand Lodges in Europe, today we recognise 34 with another four under consideration! As a result, the office of Grand Chancellor was created.
The Chancellor’s main roles are to chair the External Relations Committee, to advise the Rulers, the Grand Master’s advisers and the Board of General Purposes. He must ensure that Grand Lodge’s policy on external relations is carried through, and to ensure that all correspondence in this area is dealt with in a timely fashion.
As the Grand Chancellor is not a full time employee, I shall be assisted by John Hamill, Director of Communications and Peter Roberts, our long-term External Relations Adviser.
The Grand Chancellor will also assist the Grand Master and the Rulers in representing Grand Lodge on formal visits to sister Grand Lodges and at international gatherings of regular Freemasonry. With the revolution in fast communication systems and the ease and reasonable cost of travelling today, the Masonic world is coming closer and closer together and inter-visitation and the regular exchange of information can only be good for the future of regular Freemasonry in general.
External relations cover our relations with other Constitutions outside our own and are my responsibility. England still has over 800 Lodges meeting outside these islands under District Grand Masters, Grand Inspectors or being governed directly from London.
Although many of them are separated from us by great distances, they are still very much an important part of the United Grand Lodge of England and will continue to come under the jurisdiction of the Grand Secretary.
Normally, when they are visited by a Ruler, the Grand Secretary will accompany them, not the Grand Chancellor. He has already visited Ghana and in the autumn he will accompany the Pro Grand Master when he visits our Districts in India.
There are also areas where the Grand Secretary and Grand Chancellor will work together. During the summer we had our usual tripartite meeting with Ireland and Scotland. Because that meeting involves both practical matters of Craft administration and jurisprudence as well as the discussion of relations between the Home Grand Lodges and other Grand Lodges, both the Grand Secretary and I were present. The same applies with the annual meeting of the European Grand Secretaries and Grand Chancellors. Co-operation between the two of us becomes even more important in those areas overseas in which we share territory not only with Ireland and Scotland, but also with a local sovereign Grand Lodge.
External relations are crucial to the future harmony and stability of Freemasonry on a global level.
Alan Englefield has become the first Chancellor of Grand Lodge
At the Annual Investiture on 25th April, RW Brother Alan Englefield was invested as the first Grand Chancellor of the United Grand Lodge of England.
Since the early 1990s, Masonic international relations have become something of a growth industry. That is partly a result of the rebirth of Freemasonry in East Europe, the Balkans and Baltic States.
It is also partly because the ease and speed of both communications and travel have resulted in much more communication and inter-visiting between members at all levels within regular Grand Lodges around the world.
When the Pro Grand Master’s Strategic Working Party was considering the role of the Grand Secretary in the 21st century it was decided that such were the demands of his responsibilities to the English Craft and Royal Arch, both at home and in our Districts overseas, that another officer was required to carry out Grand Lodge’s policy in relation to external relations and to share with the Rulers the honour of representing the Grand Master on formal visits to sister Grand Lodges.
Brother Englefield brings a wealth of experience in international relations to the new role. As Grand Secretary General of the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Rite he gained a firm grounding in the complexities of international Masonic affairs. On retiring from that office he became a member of both the Board of General Purposes and the External Relations Committee, succeeding Sir John Welch as chairman of the latter.
The office of Grand Chancellor is not a full-time, salaried post within the administration of Grand Lodge. Brother Englefield will be backed up by a secretariat consisting of John Hamill, Director of Communications, and Peter Roberts, who has been for many years the Administrative Assistant on External Relations.
The creation of a new office required the design of a new emblem and jewel. The globe symbolises Masonry Universal and the clasped hands fraternal relations and brotherhood.
Brother Englefield commented: 'I am delighted and honoured to have been appointed as the first Grand Chancellor. External Relations is a complex subject but, with the support of my team, I look forward to carrying out my new duties, not least the pleasure of assisting the Rulers and the Board in cementing and maintaining the warm relations we have with our old friends around the world and in developing close relations with the newer members of our world wide fraternity.'