Not that we are concerned simply about the past, we must continue to get the message across that Masons play an important role in their communities, and that Masonry encourages its members to live by high principles in their everyday lives.
Prominent among these are our charities. Every year we raise tens of millions of pounds for our several charities, and a substantial proportion of this is directed towards non-Masonic causes, many of which are for the long-term benefit of society.
Following the substantive changes made three years ago in the administration of the Craft, the Pro-Grand Master is shortly to chair a new strategic working party which will review those changes and no doubt make further recommendations.
Another important development concerns London, and the proposed formation of the Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London, together with a similar structure in the Royal Arch, which is actively being considered by all relevant bodies. I am pleased that it has already been recommended that London Grand Rank and Senior London Grand Rank will be retained, even though some active Metropolitan Grand Ranks will be needed to carry out the ceremonial aspects of this new structure.
I hope that by now you will all have received your copies of our new magazine, MQ. I think it is worth pointing out what a huge undertaking it has been to produce and distribute this magazine.
For the first time, Grand Lodge has contacted, directly, the 300,000 or so Masons who are ranged under its banners.
You may or may not like the actual format, but before you condemn it, please take time to reflect on the positive aspects of this new venture.
It is a major step forward for the centre to be able to contact directly all its members and to present aspects of our Order in an interesting and informative way.
MQ is not intended to be a scholarly research magazine, or a magazine to explore some of the more esoteric branches of Masonry.
The idea is that this should be a magazine of more general interest, with a Masonic content. And when you have finished with it, perhaps you will pass it on to your non-Masonic friends or even leave it in a dentist's waiting room. In other words, it could be a wonderful means of disseminating news and information about our Order to the wider world.
When it comes to preventing discrimination against our members, we have had some notable successes recently.
The Ministry of Defence was persuaded to withdraw its Defence Council Instruction over a year ago. The Welsh Assembly have also withdrawn their insistence that we, alone, should be singled out.