Towards the end of August it was England’s turn to host the Tripartite meeting with Ireland and Scotland. It was, once again, a harmonious and productive meeting as we discussed our relations with other Grand Lodges around the world.
A week later, accompanied by the Grand Secretary, I attended the Installation of the new Grand Master of Denmark, MW Bro Hans Martin Jepsen, in their magnificent Masonic building in Copenhagen. It was a most impressive and happy meeting.
At the end of this month I will be travelling to Skopje with a large delegation of Grand Officers to constitute the new Grand Lodge of Macedonia.
The Assistant Grand Master and his wife, Margaret, have been visiting Lodges in our two Districts in New Zealand and are now in Fiji. The Deputy Grand Master is unable to be with us as he is on other business, but it is good to see RW Bro Iain Bryce filling the Deputy’s chair once again.
Brethren, I am sure you will have been as saddened as I was when the Grand Secretary read out the reasons why 11 of our brethren have been expelled from the Craft. While we are reminded by the ritual to drop a tear of sympathy over the failings of a brother, nevertheless we must be determined in our resolve to rid the Order of those who fail to live up to our high standards. They bring the whole of Freemasonry and all its members into disrepute.
Freemasonry is not some antiquated organisation frozen in time: it is a way of life which is as relevant today as it has always been. As Grand Officers, one of our duties should be to encourage brethren to practice out of the Lodge what they are taught in it.
In that way, the moral and spiritual values in our rituals can guide us in the ‘paths of rectitude’. Making a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge is not just a matter of learning something new about Masonry, it is as much about discovering something new about yourself. By following its precepts we become better people and, therefore, are able to play a more responsible role for the good of society as a whole.
Maybe we have to accept that there will always be rotten apples in our membership but, thankfully, they are few in number. We must strive to ensure that only quality candidates are admitted into the Order. Our aim should always be to make good men better through the practice of our Grand Principles – Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.
Brethren I am pleased to tell you that the Grand Charity 20th annual festival was held by the Province of Wiltshire on 18 June and raised just under £1 million. I’m sure you will join me in congratulating the Province on the great success of this festival and in particular those Masons who were instrumental in helping to make so much money for the Grand Charity.