Celebrating 300 years

Kent reopening for Library and Museum

The Kent Masonic Library and Museum Trust has been reopened by Geoffrey Dearing, Provincial Grand Master for East Kent, after an extensive 18-month redevelopment

Located in the heart of Canterbury, in St Peter’s Place, just a five-minute stroll from the 11th-century cathedral, the museum was originally opened in 1933, and has probably the finest collection of masonic material in the UK outside London.

As well as masonic paintings, glassware and porcelain, the displays include unique 19th-century stained-glass windows that originally adorned the old Freemasons’ Hall in London. The solid oak entrance doors came from St Mary’s College, part of the Jesuit Monastery in Hales Place, Canterbury, which was demolished at the same time as the museum was being designed by its architect, Brother FG Haywood of Market Square, Dover.

The first change evident to visitors is a striking new entrance in St Peter’s Place that catches the eye of the thousands of passers-by. The building is open daily from 10am to 4pm and is wheelchair accessible. Entry is free of charge, with donations welcome.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012 01:00

Compassionate care in Kent

Six local hospices received cheques from East Kent Province on behalf of The Freemasons’ Grand Charity at a meeting of Maidstone’s Millennium Lodge of Charity No. 9730

Since 1984, the Grand Charity has donated £8.7 million to hospices in England and Wales, supporting the ongoing compassionate care that they give to patients and their families. Last year, £600,000 was distributed to 226 hospices, including an allocation of £100,000 specifically for services dedicated to caring for children. As well as supporting individuals who need hospice care, staff also support families and close friends during illness and bereavement.

Published in The Grand Charity
Thursday, 15 March 2012 00:00

Catching the fishing bug

Fishing days out organised by masons have been growing in popularity

The Province of East Kent members of the Masonic Trout and Fishing Club certainly rose to the occasion when the club staged its final day out of the season with rod and line for Portal School Dover at the Chart Fisheries in the Weald of Kent. For the local masons it had been a successful season of fishing arranged especially for disadvantaged young people, and the prizes and certificates of achievement for Portal School pupils were presented to the youngsters by Deputy Provincial Grand Master Roger Odd.

Thursday, 15 March 2012 00:00

NEW LEADER AT EAST KENT

Geoffrey Dearing has been installed as both Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent of the Royal Arch in the Province of East Kent by Jonathan Spence, Deputy Grand Master and Past Second Grand Principal.

The two ceremonies took place at the Winter Gardens theatre and functions building in Margate. Jonathan Spence reminded the companions and brethren that East Kent is his home Province, being a member of Pentangle Chapter and Sir Joseph Williamson Lodge, both meeting at Rochester.

Thursday, 09 February 2012 14:59

East Kent Hospice Awards

Since 1984, the Freemasons’ Grand Charity has donated £8.7 million to hospices throughout England and Wales, supporting the ongoing compassionate care (physical, social and spiritual) which they give to patients and their families. During last year a total of £600,000 was distributed to 226 hospices. This included an allocation of £100,000 specifically for services dedicated to caring for children. As well as supporting individuals who require hospice care, staff will also support families and close friends during the illness and bereavement.

These grants are awarded and distributed each year via Provinces. On Saturday, 7th January 2012, at the meeting of the Millennium Lodge of Charity, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Roger Odd, and the Master of the Lodge, Brian Monk, had the great pleasure of presenting the grants for 2011 to the representatives of 6 local hospices.

Roger said ‘Our hospices provide an invaluable service to many patients and families in times of great need and personal distress and we, the members of the Masonic Province of East Kent, are proud to help sustain this important service through our charitable giving by the Grand Charity and supported by our 2014 Festival’.

During the presentations, each representative gave a brief and informative outline of the work of their hospice and the services that they provide and paid tribute to all the members of the Masonic Province of East Kent for their unparalleled acts of charity that enables such a difference to be made to people’s lives. Dr John Reuther, a Grand Lodge Officer, also gave a talk on ‘The Changing Face of Charity’.

In concluding the awards, the Provincial Grand Charity Steward, Wayne Smith announced that the 2014 Festival had now raised £2 million, two thirds of our target.

Wayne said ‘The words ‘thank you’ are often lost in our selfless and untiring efforts to raise money for our 2014 Festival. It is therefore an honour, on behalf of the Province, for me to praise you all in the work so far and for your future efforts which I know will make the Festival a huge success’.

Hospice Grants

Hospice Received by
Demelza House Children's Hospice Pat Flanagan
Ellenor Lions Hospice (Adult) Linda Trew & Elaine Higgins
Heart of Kent Hospice Jenny Watkins
Pilgrims Hospice - Canterbury (Pilgrims Hospice in East Kent) Dr Richard Morey
Pilgrims Hospice - Thanet (Pilgrims Hospices in East Kent) Dr Richard Morey
Hospice - Ashford (Pilgrims Hospices in East Kent) Dr Richard Morey
Published in The Grand Charity
Thursday, 01 December 2011 15:50

A season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

As if we need reminding of the fact that the summer had slipped away, when the strident tones of the alarm announced the arrival of the day of the final East Kent Fishing Charity's event of the season and it was still dark - groan! However all gloomy thoughts of short days were dispelled on the journey to Chart Fisheries in the beautiful Weald of Kent as we enjoyed a morning of clear blue skies, a warming sun and pockets of mist trapped in the low ground. As my good friend Bro Len Hopkinson remarked after extensively quoting Keats - 'not even a coarse fisherman could fail to be moved by the beauty of the day'!

Yes indeed, this was to be the last of four events in 2011 in what can only be described as a highly successful season of fishing for disadvantaged young people. With a now well established and enthusiastic team, all of the usual routines had swung effortlessly into action as we prepared to receive our fishing partners from the Portal School, Dover. At the stroke of ten and promptly on cue, a group of very excited young men disembarked from their transport, each one keen to learn and anxious to get started.

 From the outset the competition was fierce to be the most successful young fisherman of the day and in barely no time at all, excited cries heralded the first of many catches of the day. The school staff in attendance were surprised and amazed in equal measure by how attentive the young people were and how they remained focussed on what they were doing. It was also heartening to witness the obvious rapport being generated between the casters and their young charges, evidence if any were needed, of the benefits of our work within the community.

We were very pleased to receive the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Roger Odd, who met with all of the young people and kindly agreed to award the certificates of achievement and prizes. In his closing address, Roger paid tribute to the members who gave their time so freely in support of such a worthwhile cause and for the happiness they generated.

Particular thanks are due to Ray Smith, Event Organiser, Len Hopson, Caster Manager, Pat Flanagan, Branch Secretary and Tim Pierpoint, Branch Treasurer - thanks guys for all your hard work in preparing for and delivering a wonderful season.

The calling notices for the Investiture meeting on Thursday 20th October were termed 'Special' and how right that proved to be. Many attending would be used to the pomp and ceremony of the annual Provincial Craft and Royal Arch Festivals, but few would have experienced the spectacle served up in the Winter Gardens at Margate that day under the ecellent direction of RWBro Jonathan Spence, Deputy Grand Master, and the careful control of VWBro Oliver Lodge, Grand Director of Ceremonies, and his team. Such a treat has not been served up since 2004 when Michael Robin Bailey was invested, and another is unlikely to be witnessed this decade.

The comment 'that's another one done' was pronounced by one of the distinguished guests on retiring to the East Room after the morning ceremony. He hadn't appreciated that he was passing a secondary staircase which was open to the Kings Hall and his remark was clearly audible to all those assembled within, to their combined amusement. It wasn't just 'another one done' as far as the members of the Province were concerned, it was their Geoffrey Gordon Dearing who had just been invested as Grand Superintendent in and over the Province of East Kent that morning and later after the lunch interval, Provincial Grand Master of East Kent.

The day was very much a Kent affair, as Jonathan Spence reminded the companions and brethren that East Kent is his home Province, he being a member of Pentangle Chapter No. 1174 and Sir Joseph Williamson Lodge No. 4605, both meeting at Gundolph Square, Rochester.

In his addresses Geoffrey Dearing gave tribute to those who had worked to make the day such a success. He acknowledged that he was not yet well known in every Centre in the Province and intended to put that right, but not all at once, so requested all to exercise patience. He remarked that he would never have believed how rapidly one could advance in Freemasonry in just six months!

Friday, 18 November 2011 11:59

Hebrew Service at Margate Synagogue

Freemasonry is not a religion, but as a precondition of membership acknowledgement of belief in a Supreme Being is required. In recent years the members of the Province of East Kent have attended Evensong Servises bi-annually at Rochester Cathedral and last year at Canterbury Cathedral. The idea of holding a service at a local synagogue (thereby underscoring the broad faith basis of the membership) having been suggested, this was arranged under the auspices of the Provincial Grand Chapter, with the kind permission of the Margate Hebrew Congregation, at the Margate Synagogue on Sunday 19th June 2011.

The day was a mixture of sun, wind and showers, with the thunderous display of the Margate Air Show overhead. The Provincial Grand Chapter Stewards ushered the 120 strong congregation to their appointed places in the Synagogue. The Provincial Grand Superintendent, Michael Robin Bailey, his Deputy, Trevor Climpson, their ladies and the Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Margate, were then processed in by the Provincial Grand Chapter Director of Ceremonies, Neil Johnstone.

The congregation were honoured by the presence of the Reverend Malcolm Weisman OBE, the Chief Rabbi's minister to small communities, who officiated at the service. Having welcomed the congregation, he gave a short introduction to explain what would follow. The order of service was printed in Hebrew with an English translation. After the Opening Ode, a thanksgiving prayer was offered by the Craft Provincial Assistant Grand Chaplain, the Reverend Howard Pashley. The Grand Superintendent read Zechariah Chapter 4, verses 1 to 7. Later the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Roger Odd, read Genesis Chapter 49 verses 1 to 12 and the Deputy Grand Superintendent continued the readi to verse 28.

The Ark was opened by a Synagogue member and local Freemason, Jon Lloyd and a Scroll taken out by David Gradus, the Secretary of the Margate Hebrew Congregation. Prayers were offered for the Royal Family and peace in the world before the Scroll was replaced and the Ark closed. The Reverend Malcolm Weisman then gave an outstanding address, in the course of which he made particular reference to his appreciation of the common beliefs of the Hebrew faith and Freemasonry.

The service was brought to an end with the Closing Ode and National Anthem, the singing being led by Companion Tony Eldridge.

The Officiating Minister, Provincial Executive and distinguished guests then retired in procession to the ante-room, where they were joined by the rest of the congregation and provided with kosher wine and challah bread.

The Grand Superintendent thanked everyone in general for making this special occasion such a success and the Margate Hebrew Congregation in particular for making the East Kent Freemasons so welcome. He concluded by presenting David Gradus with a cheque for £250 as a contribution towards the Synagogue's building fund.

Pentangle Lodge, No. 1174, has become the 36th member of the Grand Lodge Universities Scheme and the second such lodge in the Province of East Kent, responsible for the recruitment of masons from the several universities in Medway. Among the distinguished visitors were Assistant Grand Master David Williamson, Dr. Richard Lewin, President and Founder of the Universities Scheme and regional co-ordinator in south-east England, and Michael Bailey, East Kent Provincial Grand Master. The Rochester meeting was supported by St. Augustine Lodge, No. 972 (Canterbury), the fi rst Universities Scheme lodge in the Province. To cement the relationship between the two lodges, James Joyce and Milan Antonijevic of St. Augustine Lodge, were jointly passed by Peter Daniels, Master of Pentangle Lodge.
Published in Universities Scheme
Wednesday, 01 September 2010 16:44

Evensong at Canterbury Cathedral

The Province of East Kent has two cathedrals, enabling the biennial masonic evensong to be held at either of them. In recent years the service has been held at Rochester Cathedral, but this year Canterbury Cathedral provided the venue after an absence of many years.

The Lord Mayor of Canterbury, Councillor Pat Todd, a Past Master of Graystone Lodge, No. 1915, the Lady Mayoress, Mrs Barbara Todd, and the Provincial Grand Master of East Kent, Michael Bailey, with his wife, Mrs Sandra Bailey, were among a congregation of more than 800.

The Dean of Canterbury, The Very Reverend Dr Robert Willis, led the service and delivered a sermon and the Provincial Grand Master read an Old Testament lesson, taken from Isaiah 44.

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