Delivered to London Transport in January 1952, the bus was selected as one of three similar vehicles to represent London Transport on a tour of the US and Canada to promote travel to Britain and the purchase of British products.
At the show, the club launched a major series of classic vehicle runs – Classic 300 – which will take place throughout England and Wales this year to commemorate 300 years of Freemasonry.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - NO. 38 SUMMER 2017
WE WILL REMEMBER
Having received spring’s magazine and opening the first page, I was returned to my military time in Germany, 1956. The photo of the London bus took me back to my visit to Berlin on the same type bus, which took a party of members belonging to the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and 17th/21st Lancers to Berlin for bank-holiday weekend. I am now 80 and a proud mason of 45 years. I wonder if any other masons of today may have been on that trip?
Phil Holmes, Liverpool Mercantile Lodge, No. 4319, Liverpool, West Lancashire
Giles Cooper by arrangement with Metropolitan Grand Lodge presents Sunday Night at the London Palladium
A night of variety to celebrate 300 years since the formation, in London, of the world’s first Grand Lodge and in aid of the Royal Variety Charity
Hosted by BRADLEY WALSH, this night of variety will feature a host of stars from the worlds of music, comedy, theatre and dance. Artists confirmed include, MARY WILSON from THE SUPREMES (the USA’s biggest selling vocal group of all-time) Motown legends MARTHA REEVES & THE VANDELLAS, ground-breaking electric string quartet ESCALA, a Britain’s Got Talent tribute featuring COLLABRO (Winners of BGT 2014), LANCE CORPORAL RICHARD JONES (Winner of BGT 2016), GEORGE SAMPSON, (Winner of BGT 2008) and BGT Finalists STAVROS FLATLEY and RICHARD & ADAM. There will also be exclusive performances by keyboard virtuoso and rock music legend RICK WAKEMAN, 80’s pop icon NICK HEYWARD, West-End musical star SOPHIE EVANS, comedy from JOE PASQUALE and a special appearance by ventriloquist ROGER DE COURCEY. Classical music is represented by the Number 1 Album selling soprano-mezzo LAURA WRIGHT, as well as a performance by Slovakia’s renowned violin ‘dueling’ virtuosos, VLADMIR & ANTON. ‘Old School’ variety comes in the shape of critically acclaimed specialty act SLIGHTLY FAT FEAURES and there will be an exclusive performance by the world famous SYLIVIA YOUNG DANCERS.
All proceeds to the Royal Variety Charity (Charity Reg No. 206451) and the Metropolitan Masonic Charity's Tercentenary Appeal. Promoter has the right to change line-up.
Sunday 25th June 2017 at 7pm (doors open 6pm)
London Palladium Theatre
Tickets, which include booking fees, are priced at £18 - £159.50 and available in advance from the London Palladium’s Box Office (the show is under “S” for “Sunday night at the Palladium”)
Transmission date of unprecedented documentary on Freemasonry revealed
Very excited to officially announce that the first episode of the forthcoming Sky 1 documentary series ‘Inside the Freemasons’ will air on the 17th April at 8pm
Emporium Productions, who were commissioned by Sky to produce the series, have this to say on their website: 'Welcome to one of the oldest social networking organisations in the world; a fraternal order that welcomes members regardless of their status, creed or political persuasion – Freemasonry.
'With unique and unprecedented access to the Freemasons, ‘Inside the Freemasons’ asks who are Freemasons and what do they do? As the United Grand Lodge of England celebrates its tercentenary in 2017, we go beyond the myth and legend to discover what it means to be a Freemason today through the words and lives of Freemasons themselves.
'While most of us are familiar with the concept of Freemasons, few can describe who they are and what they do with any confidence or accuracy. What has motivated generations of men to join its ranks? What does the symbolism mean? How does public perception differ to reality? And what does Freemasonry have to offer men and society in the 21st Century?'
UGLE invites young artists to explore Freemasonry during Tercentenary year
The United Grand Lodge of England will host an exhibition of emerging artists’ work this June, to mark this year’s Tercentenary celebrations. All artwork will be created on site at Freemasons’ Hall during the residency, with artists observing and capturing contemporary masonic life and being given unprecedented access to the building and organisation.
The initiative will be led by UGLE’s first ever officially appointed Artist in Residence, South African artist Jacques Viljoen, 28, who has a background in both classical painting and contemporary art.
The new works will capture some of the key initiatives taking place in 2017 and bring different perspectives of Freemasonry to life through a variety of artistic mediums and techniques.
Hosted in partnership with the Library and Museum, the Director Diane Clements commented: 'The residency is a unique and exciting initiative to mark this milestone year and open up the world of Freemasonry in an educational and creative way to young people and the wider public. We are proud to support young talent and are excited to see what the artists produce.'
14 December 2016
An address by VW Bro His Honour Judge Richard Hone, President, and David Innes, Chief Executive
Richard Hone: Pro Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master and brethren, I am delighted to address Grand Lodge for the first time, as President of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, and I am very proud to be the first person to hold this position.
The launch of the Foundation marks a new era in the long and proud history of masonic charity that has been built on the increasing collaboration between the four charities over recent years.
Our new charity, which has been formed following the consolidation of the four central masonic charities, opened for business in April this year. The work necessary to establish the Foundation is now largely complete and it has been a significant undertaking to bring together four charities that have operated separately for many years, in some cases since the 18th century.
In recent times, the predecessor charities have supported 5,000 Freemasons and their family members each year, at an annual cost of around £15 million, and we anticipate operating on this scale, or hopefully higher, for the near future.
But behind these statistics, there are thousands of stories about Masonic families across England and Wales, whose lives have been blighted by unexpected distress. Each story is unique – some are affected by financial hardship, others by ill health, disability, or just plain old age! Some stories are brief, whilst others extend for many years.
But every story has three things in common. The first is that everyone involved is a Freemason, or his wife, widow, partner, child or even his grandchild. The second is that all of them have experienced some kind of challenge that has made their lives difficult. And the third is that we at the centre have supported them. It is this third commonality that, I believe, has been the main driver for establishing the Foundation and the area where the greatest benefit will be felt. With a single charity, it is now much easier to understand and access the support we provide.
An additional advantage, and one that is particularly beneficial to the reputation of Freemasonry as a whole, is that bringing the charities together has created a sizeable organisation within the UK charity sector. This will help us to raise our public profile and allow us to have a significant voice of influence within the sector.
Through the work of the previous charities, Freemasons provided support amounting to over £100 million in recent years to charities and medical research projects across England and Wales.
The Foundation is continuing this legacy and since our launch in April, 350 grants totalling over £3 million have been awarded to non-masonic causes, and more are planned before the end of the financial year.
Next year, in addition to our main grant-making programme, we will help celebrate the Tercentenary by awarding 300 additional grants totalling £3 million to local charities operating across England and Wales. Over the past two months Metropolitan and Provincial Grand Lodges have been nominating charities for these Community Awards. In January, we will be asking the selected charities to submit formal bids outlining the purpose and size of the grant they would like. Once the submissions have been reviewed and confirmed, we will be inviting everyone – both the masonic community and the general public – to vote for those charities that have been put forward.
Freemasonry will therefore be helping more charities than ever before during this important year and by involving the public in the voting process, many people will learn about the charitable nature of our fraternity.
Bringing the charities together has also allowed us to improve the way we communicate with those who make our work possible: Almoners, Charity Stewards and many others.
Last month, we hosted our first Provincial Grand Almoners’ Conference in Manchester under the MCF banner. One of the key themes was to provide guidance and training to those who are most closely involved in the application process. Similarly, we held a Festival Forum here at Freemasons’ Hall – a one-day conference, which brings together those running appeals so that they can share ideas, learn from one another and, as a result, raise more funds for our cause.
Whilst part of our yearly income comes from the Annual Contribution, the MCF, like its predecessor charities, will continue to rely on the festival system for the majority of its income. For the next few years, festivals are still in place for the separate charities and this year the Provinces of Norfolk, Cumberland and Westmorland, Cheshire, and Hampshire and Isle of Wight have all successfully concluded appeals, with the latter setting a new record of £7.7m raised. A remarkable achievement!
This year, the first appeals for the MCF have been launched in Essex – who I’m told have Hampshire’s total in their sights, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, with West Lancashire and Worcestershire to follow very soon in the New Year.
We are extremely grateful to all our donors and fundraisers and I hope that, at the end of this short presentation, you will agree with me that these donations are being well spent and carefully managed.
Whilst it is my privilege to be able to represent the MCF as its President here today, I cannot claim credit for the work that has taken place to get the new charity off the ground. Led by my Deputy President and Chairman, the Trustees and, of course, the staff of the MCF have taken on much of that responsibility.
They have all worked very hard over the last year or more and have achieved an enormous amount, as you will hear from David Innes shortly.
Looking ahead, I believe that we have – to all intents and purposes – realised our vision of creating a single charity that can support the next generation of Freemasons.
To tell you more about Foundation’s work so far this year and our plans for the future, I’m delighted to hand over to its first Chief Executive, David Innes.
David Innes: Pro Grand Master, brethren all – good morning. It is a huge privilege for me, as the MCF’s first Chief Executive, to helping to shape the next chapter in the proud history of masonic charitable support and I’m really enjoying the challenge.
At the time of my previous address to Grand Lodge in March, Leicester City sat at the top of the Premier League, David Cameron had no intention of leaving No. 10 this year and Donald Trump seemed far from securing the Republican nomination, let alone winning the Presidential race! Clearly a lot can happen in 9 months and that has certainly been the case within the MCF.
Back in March, you may recall that I spoke about a three-phase consolidation process to create the Foundation during this year.
The first stage was ensuring that the required legal and governance foundations were in place to underpin a new, integrated organisation with the appropriate structure and systems for the future. I’m pleased to report that this phase, which also involved the transfer of all CMC staff to the MCF and RMBI staff to the new RMBI Care Co, was completed successfully on 1 April.
The second phase, which took place during the summer months, was the actual reorganisation itself and the physical relocation of staff into their new teams, albeit in temporary locations. Again, this has been completed successfully and all staff are now in their new posts with new contracts.
The final phase is still ongoing and involves a period of bedding in, during which the policies and procedures of the MCF are being finalised and the necessary systems needed to run the charity are becoming fully operational, such as our new grant-management software. We have also undertaken a major job evaluation exercise to ensure that every employee, irrespective of their former charity, is paid on a fair and equal basis, and that salaries are set in line with the sector.
I am delighted with the way all our staff have approached this potentially unsettling process. They quickly grasped the concept of what we were trying to achieve, and have willingly embraced new ways of working. Several members of the team have worked for the charities for over 20 years and many more in excess of 10 years, and I’m pleased that we have been able to retain so much experience and expertise as the new organisation takes shape. The bottom line is that they have been fantastic!
From my own perspective, I handed over responsibility for RMBI Care Co to the new Managing Director, Mark Lloyd, in October. Since then, I have been able to focus fully on the MCF. I have formed a Senior Leadership Team comprising directors and heads of department which meets monthly to assist me in running the charity. The majority of the day-to-day management for grant-making and fundraising lies in the very capable hands of Les Hutchinson, our Chief Operating Officer.
We have recently appointed our first Finance Director, Charles Angus, who brings a great deal of experience and is settling in very well. Charles has taken over from our Interim FD Chris Head and, Pro Grand Master, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Chris for all that he has done to help get the MCF up-and-running during the past 10 months.
The finance function was undoubtedly the most complex to integrate and, together with the Finance Committee, chaired by Mike Heenan, the team has put in a huge amount of work to create a unified accounting system that is both fit for purpose and statutorily compliant.
The only major element of phase three outstanding is the reconfiguration of our office accommodation, most of which is two storeys directly below us. During this two month project, which began on Monday, we have set up temporary office accommodation in the Gallery Suite on the Ground Floor of Freemasons’ Hall, but plan to move back downstairs in early February.
The refit will further remove barriers – both physical and psychological – and enable the staff to work together far more efficiently within a shared culture and working environment. It has also served as an excellent spring-cleaning exercise!
At the current time, the Trustees and staff are working hard to ensure that everyone is aware of the changes that have taken place, and to firmly entrench the single charity concept and our new brand into the consciousness of the Craft.
Many visits have been made to Provinces by our Trustees and senior management to spread the word, and we are extremely grateful to all those PGMs who have given us the opportunity to speak in their Provinces.
All of us involved in the consolidation process have stressed that there should be no adverse effect on the charitable services we provide to those in need. As far as we are aware, that has been the case. Indeed, following our launch, enquires for support have increased with over 1,200 received within the last three months alone.
Looking to the future, the Foundation will continue to provide its wide range of grants for Freemasons and their families experiencing a financial, health or family need as we have always done. But having a single charity with broad objects provides us with opportunities that go far beyond just financial grants. We now have the chance to adapt our charity to be more responsive and to offer new services to meet the needs of the masonic community, now and in the future.
Whilst the Craft will spend much of next year celebrating the remarkable milestone of the Tercentenary, our thoughts are already turning to the longer-term – as we look to build a new charity for a new generation.
Now that the Trustee Board and the Committees that serve it are up and running and working well, over the next few months they will be looking to formulate a forward-looking strategy for the Foundation that will dictate the direction of travel during the next five years.
We are keeping a very open mind about what we could do better to support those in need and are willing to explore all manner of proposals, however radical they may appear.
I would like to reassure you that the views of the Craft will be sought and represented in our discussions. Our first members’ meeting and AGM takes place later today, at which two nominated members from each Province and London will be provided with an update about our work, and the opportunity to comment and question our activities. We are looking forward to welcoming the Deputy Grand Master.
We plan to share an overview of our strategy with the Craft towards the middle of next year and this should provide you with a sense of what the Foundation will look like in the future.
For now though, and with only the final few weeks of the year remaining, I am delighted with where we are and am confident that your charity is well placed for the future.
Brethren, on behalf of everyone at the Masonic Charitable Foundation, I wish you a happy Christmas and thank you for all that you are doing to support our work.
14 December 2016
An address by the MW the Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes
Brethren, our December meeting is always one of the best attended and I am really encouraged to see so many of you here today. In particular well done to Lincolnshire with over 100 members travelling here; 40 from Wiltshire; 20 all the way from Yorkshire, West Riding and, I believe, that there are 16 newly installed Masters from Oxfordshire. Since we changed the rules to allow Master Masons to attend Grand Lodge we have had an excellent display of light blue aprons and they are very much in evidence again today. Bearing in mind work commitments and the eccentricities of our transport system it is a tremendous effort.
I have recently received a copy of the Report of the New and Young Masons Clubs’ Conference and was delighted to learn just how well the clubs are progressing with over 30 established across London and the Provinces. This is a fantastic achievement and I would encourage those new masons in Provinces without such a club to consider setting one up. You would have our full support and I am sure you would be greatly encouraged by your Provincial hierarchy. Indeed, I have asked RW Bro Gareth Jones, Provincial Grand Master for South Wales and Third Grand Principal to act as the focal point here for the movement. It really is a splendid initiative and I congratulate all those involved.
We have heard a lot about charity during the course of today and I have frequently said how proud we should be of all our charities, and not just the big four. They all do tremendous work. You have already heard that during the course of this year the astonishing sum of £14.5m was raised through the hard work of our brethren. The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Festival total of nearly £7.75m is the highest total ever. I can’t believe, brethren, that it was all down to me having moved into Hampshire last year. I suspect that is purely coincidental. Across the board the money raised per capita by all four Provinces in Festival during 2016 was extraordinary and of a similar level. Brethren, your generosity is not taken for granted and is greatly appreciated.
You have also heard from the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) about their scheme to give to your local charities £3m next year in recognition of both their own formation and, of course, our Tercentenary. This not only shows your generosity but is also aimed at promoting our involvement in the community.
Brethren, I know that some of you have become frustrated at not being able to get hold of a Tercentenary Jewel. Please be assured that there are now plenty available in the Letchworth’s shop. Unfortunately, initial demand far outstripped supply. In spite of your frustration, may I ask you to beware of cheap imitations. Sadly they do exist and are being offered at a very reduced price, but they are unauthorised and unlawful copies. We are working closely with the Provinces to get them all removed.
The Deputy Grand Master mentioned that the Sky documentary titled Inside Freemasonry would be shown in January. However this has been put back to the Spring. I have seen three of these so far – there are five in all – and have been most encouraged at the sensitive way that we have been portrayed by Emporium, the makers of the film. I would like to thank those Provinces, lodges and, perhaps most of all, those individuals who have so willingly participated.
This gives us a great opportunity in the early part of the year to capitalise on the publicity being generated and we anticipate that other high profile events throughout the year will keep us in the public eye and produce some really positive results. These are exciting times and let us celebrate in style by showing our pride in and talking about our membership. I am absolutely certain that we will all enjoy a splendid year in 2017.
In the meantime, I thank you all for what you have done for Freemasonry in preparing for next year. Keep the enthusiasm going and have a very happy Christmas.
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 test of time
Deputy Grand Master Jonathan Spence discusses how the tenets of Freemasonry have provided a firm foundation over the past 300 years
Many of you will be aware of the excellent work undertaken by the Membership Focus Group (MFG) over the past two-and-a-half years. I hope that you are all still referring to the UGLE strategy, which was a significant development resulting from the group’s work.
We have now moved on to ensuring the timely implementation of the strategy and the MFG has been superseded by the Improvement Delivery Group (IDG). This group will, rather like a well-known wood treatment product, do ‘exactly what it says on the tin’.
The IDG’s remit is to facilitate the delivery of change in order to secure a successful future for Freemasonry by meeting the needs of modern man while retaining our traditional standards. It is chaired by the Assistant Grand Master, the Third Grand Principal is Deputy Chairman, and membership is drawn from London and all the regional groups of Provinces. The IDG will be reporting to Grand Lodge at the Quarterly Communication in September 2017. There is a considerable amount of work to do and we wish them all well in their endeavours.
‘The principles of the Craft are as relevant today as they were then.’
Marking a milestone
The Tercentenary celebrations have already begun and I am very pleased to see the variety and breadth of events that are planned to mark this significant milestone in our history. Events are being planned throughout the English Constitution.
So far, well over 100 events are scheduled, ranging from cathedral services, race meetings, classic car rallies, family fun weekends and supporting youth activities through to dinners and balls. This includes The Grand Ball, which will take place in Freemasons’ Hall next September and will see the Grand Temple converted into one of the largest dance floors in London.
As the premier Grand Lodge, it is appropriate we also celebrate this achievement with the other Sovereign Grand Lodges around the world, which we will do with the event at the Royal Albert Hall. I very much hope there will be a full cross section of our membership, including Master masons, from London, Provinces and Districts and elsewhere overseas attending.
As you are all aware, 2017 will start with the broadcast in February of the Sky observational documentary. I have been fortunate enough to have been part of the small group who have seen all the programmes and while, for confidential reasons, I am unable to say more about their content, I can assure you our privacy has been respected entirely for those matters that ought to remain private for our members.
It has become very noticeable that the times in which we live are described by some as ‘uncertain’. This word is used to describe many aspects of our national life, almost as a default mechanism. In many ways our predecessors, who were there at the foundation of the Grand Lodge, would have felt a certain affinity and seen possible parallels with their own time, although they would probably have used the word ‘turbulent’ to describe the second decade of the 18th century.
In their case, the uncertain times included a new ruling dynasty following the accession of King George I in 1714, a significant rebellion from supporters of the old dynasty defeated in 1715, and an incipient share scandal with the South Sea Bubble. In those and the intervening uncertain times of the subsequent 300 years, the principles of the Craft have withstood the test of time and are as relevant today as they were then. We may now restate them in more modern language as integrity, honesty, fairness, kindness and tolerance, but their essence is unchanged and we should all be justly proud of them and, needless to say, act in accordance with them.
To finish, I quote King Frederick II, or The Great, of Prussia who said his support of the Craft came from its objectives being ‘the intellectual elevation of men as members of society and making them more virtuous and more charitable’. I do not think that his view can be bettered.
A sense of optimism
With planning for the Royal Albert Hall celebrations well in hand, Coordinator of Tercentenary Planning Keith Gilbert looks forward to the expanding calendar of events in the Provinces and Districts
The team of volunteers planning the central Tercentenary events is growing. In addition to myself, we have Tim Pope, the secretary of the Planning Committee; Ian Chandler, who is responsible for organising the transport for our distinguished guests over three days, as well as our own brethren, from the Royal Albert Hall (RAH) to Battersea Evolution (BE); and Gerry Hann, who is masterminding the major celebration at the RAH.
Taking on coordination of aspects of the three-day central events are Marc Wentworth (Mansion House), Stephen Finch (BE), John Clark (streaming the RAH across the country and the world) and Bob and Darren Upton (Grand Connaught Rooms).
Places at the RAH and BE have been allocated to Metropolitan, Provinces and Districts, who are now considering best practice for distribution among their brethren. Recent successes, such as the tickets for the Grand Ball selling within a short time of release and the sale of Tercentenary Jewels already passing 14,000, gives me a total sense of optimism.
The number of enquiries about dining places at BE means that we would be able to fill the venue twice over. Feedback from 2017 Provincial and District representatives on interest in their events suggests large numbers will be attending, and leads me to feel that 2017 will be a highlight in our masonic lives.
Spreading the word
Another success was the distribution of the Tercentenary Sticker in a copy of Freemasonry Today. What a great opportunity to show people we Freemasons have a very important birthday to celebrate.
John Parry, the organiser of the Met’s contribution to the Lord Mayor’s Show, set up the hashtag #tercentenarychallenge on Twitter and started using the tagline ‘Where will you stick yours?’ Just five days after launching the challenge, it had 1,000 hits a day, and by day 15 it had more than 22,600 impressions on Twitter.
But you can help us get more. Just put your Tercentenary Sticker, which would have come with your previous copy of Freemasonry Today, in an interesting or fun place, take a photo and tweet it to @JohnMetevent. Use the hashtag #tercentenarychallenge and you could win a prize for the best idea, most unique photo or largest number of retweets.
From the Grand Secretary
It does not seem possible that I have already completed my first six months as Grand Secretary. I am extremely grateful for the first-rate support I have received from all the staff at the United Grand Lodge of England and the encouragement I have been given from all those who provide such tremendous support in their own time to make Freemasonry such a vibrant and relevant organisation.
We are in the process of preparing a comprehensive Communications Plan to ensure that we capitalise on the unique opportunity presented by our Tercentenary celebrations.
We start 2017 with the five-part Sky television documentary Inside The Freemasons. We then have a vast number of events planned throughout the Metropolitan, Provincial and District areas, indicating the tremendous enthusiasm that this milestone has generated.
Sense of continuity
In this issue of Freemasonry Today, Keith Gilbert discusses the precision planning going into the Royal Albert Hall and Battersea events that will be part of the central Tercentenary celebrations, with a 2017 calendar giving a flavour of the many activities taking place at a local level. Also marking our 300th year, we report on the opening of the Library and Museum of Freemasonry’s newest gallery, which explores three centuries of masonic history to show how our values of sociability, inclusivity, charity and integrity have stood the test of time.
With Sir Thomas Lipton best known as the man who brought tea to the British masses, our piece on this famous Freemason explores how he improved the lives of the tea blenders and pickers with increased wages. We find out why Lipton set sail in his steam yacht during World War I to report on the devastation wrought by the typhus epidemic in Serbia and how he helped to set up
a trust to provide meals to the poor of London.
Our profile of Wayne Ingram illustrates how the core masonic values typified by the likes of Sir Thomas Lipton are still alive and well. From organising charity football matches in a war zone through to a 13-year crusade to give a boy life-changing facial surgery, Wayne is a serial fundraiser who thinks nothing of putting other people’s welfare before his own. ‘I don’t really think about my involvement,’ he says of the many causes he’s supported. ‘I’m just glad it happened.’
As a new generation takes Freemasonry forward, we meet 26-year-old Alex Rhys, who has just conducted his first initiation. While keen to explore new ways of recruiting and retaining members, Alex believes that it is the sense of continuity found in Freemasonry that appeals to younger masons, who enjoy tapping into a tradition that stretches back to 1717.
I hope you enjoy our winter edition and wish you and your families a wonderful festive season.
‘I am extremely grateful for the first-rate support I have received from staff at UGLE.’