In early July I had the pleasure to install the new District Grand Master for Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. On the same visit I attended, with the Grand Secretary, the annual Conference of District Grand Masters of the Caribbean and Western Atlantic. This was a highly successful and constructive Conference and I was most impressed by their excellent morale and camaraderie.Our Districts in the Caribbean are relatively small in Provincial terms, but they make up for this by the enthusiasm and enjoyment with which they approach their Freemasonry.
At the end of July I attended the Tripartite meeting in Dublin, accompanied by the Grand Secretary and Grand Chancellor. The meeting was also attended by the Grand Masters of Ireland and Scotland with their respective Grand Secretaries. This annual meeting – held last year in Edinburgh and next year here in London – is an ideal opportunity to cement our close working relationship with the other two Home Grand Lodges.
It is also important to liaise with them about our Districts where the Irish and Scottish Constitutions ‘rub shoulders’ with our own. As always, good clear communication is paramount to continued harmonious relations.
Brethren, you may remember that almost two years ago we hosted a meeting of all the European Grand Masters, the first such ever to be held. We had thought that it would be a “one off” but there was considerable pressure to repeat the event. The National Grand Lodge of France agreed to host a similar meeting and the Grand Chancellor and I travelled to Paris last Friday afternoon, returning on Saturday evening.
As each Grand Lodge is sovereign such meetings cannot make any decisions or policy. But it is useful, from time to time, to meet outside the confines of our formal Masonic meetings to hear each other’s views, share experiences and offer practical assistance and advice to the many new Grand Lodges in Eastern and Central Europe, which are still having particular problems with irregular bodies trying to usurp their authority and territory.
There were 38 Grand Masters present and from what we heard in both the formal and informal sessions, Freemasonry on the Continent is in good heart and the new and revived Grand Lodges are progressing well.
It was agreed that these meetings will be continued on, at least, a biannual basis and that they will rotate around the Grand Lodges concerned.
I, like you, was pleased to hear the Grand Secretary’s announcement about the progress, in all respects, concerning the Connaught Rooms. Today’s lunch will be rather early for any judgement to be passed on the progress being made, but it is my hope that when the works are completed by the end of September, we will be supported by all the Provinces at the lunch after the Quarterly Communication in December and, if the anticipated improvement is forthcoming, at all future Communications. In any event we must all support their endeavours.In many respects, today marks the beginning of the new Masonic season. In enjoying the season remember particularly to be open about your Freemasonry and take care that your involvement in any recruiting ensures only men of quality are selected.
Brethren, as you might imagine, I always enjoy the Ceremonial in Grand Lodge and scrutinise it carefully. As usual, we should all be most grateful to the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his team for the splendid job that they have done and I am sure that they would be first to thank the Grand Secretary and his team – as should we all – for all their work behind the scenes.