Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge
11 June 2014
Report of the Board of General Purposes
The Minutes of the Quarterly Communication of 12 March 2014 and of the Annual Investiture of 30 April 2014 were confirmed.
The Board’s recommendation for the annual dues payable to Grand Lodge in respect of each member of every lodge for the year 2015 was approved.
The Board’s recommendation that fees (exclusive of VAT) payable for registration, certificates and dispensations should be increased in line with inflation was approved.
Contribution to The Grand Charity
The Resolution was not put.
2013: As we were seen - the Press and Freemasonry
The Lecturer, P.R. Calderwood, informed the Board that in addition to the three official deliveries to Jubilee Masters Lodge, No. 2712 (London), Bowen Lodge, No. 2816 (Buckinghamshire) and Torbay Masters Lodge, No. 8227 (Devonshire), the Lecture was also delivered on twenty-six other occasions throughout the Constitution. The Board thanked Bro. Calderwood for the considerable time and effort he has spent in this connection.
2014: 1814: Consolidation and Change
The Prestonian Lecturer for 2014 is Dr M.A. Kearsley. Three official Prestonian Lectures for 2014 have been or will be given under the auspices of The London Grand Rank Association, Egerton Worsley Lodge, No. 1213, Eccles (West Lancashire) and Temple of Athene Lodge, No. 9541, Harrow (Middlesex).
2015: The Board has submitted a nomination to the Trustees of the Prestonian Fund and they have appointed Prof R. Burt as Prestonian Lecturer for 2015. The title of his Lecture will be Wherever dispersed – the Travelling Mason.
Arrangements for the delivery of the Lectures to selected lodges will be considered by the Board in November and applications are now invited from lodges. Applications should be made to the Grand Secretary, through Metropolitan, Provincial or District Grand Secretaries.
The Board desires to emphasise the importance of these, the only Lectures held under the authority of the Grand Lodge. It is, therefore, hoped that applications for the privilege of having one of these official Lectures will be made only by lodges which are prepared to afford facilities for all Freemasons in their area, as well as their own members, to participate and thus ensure an attendance worthy of the occasion.
Traditional History of the Third Degree
In May 2011 it was brought to the Board’s attention that some lodges were working only the main part of the Third Degree ceremony, leaving the Traditional History to be delivered on a future occasion. The Board concluded that the delivery of the Traditional History of the Third Degree, containing as it does certain of the secrets of the degree, was an integral part of the ceremony of Raising. It therefore instructed the Grand Secretary not to register any Brother as having received the Third Degree until it was established that he had received the Traditional History.
Although it was the hope of the Board that as a consequence of this direction the practice of delivering the Traditional History on a separate occasion would gradually cease, this has not proved to be the case.
The practice appears to be largely unknown in London and most Provinces, and Provincial Grand Masters generally have expressed surprise that it should exist. It has been suggested (though this is not easily capable of verification) that, with fewer candidates coming forward, Lodges are ‘spinning out’ their work. If this is so, it would suggest that the practice is of recent origin; and it is, at any rate, certain that all the more commonly used rituals treat the Third Degree as a single indivisible whole. Moreover, the omission of the Traditional History saves only some ten to fifteen minutes, so that the overall length of the ceremony is unlikely to have been a significant consideration.
The Board has now reaffirmed its view that the delivery of the Traditional History of the Third Degree is an integral part of the ceremony of Raising. It therefore trusts that the Grand Lodge will endorse its recommendation that the Third Degree be given in its entirety on every occasion that it is worked.
Grande Loge Nationale Française
At its Quarterly Communication in September 2011 the Grand Lodge voted to suspend relations with the Grande Loge Nationale Française (the ‘GLNF’) in view of the widespread disharmony then existing within that Grand Lodge.
At the Quarterly Communication in September 2012 the Board reported that the situation within the GLNF had deteriorated and that the continuing turbulence within the GLNF made it impossible at that time to determine the true state of affairs. The Board, after taking advice from the Grand Registrar, had reluctantly decided that it had no alternative but to recommend that it was in the best interests of the Grand Lodge that recognition be withdrawn from the GLNF. The Grand Lodge voted to withdraw recognition.
The Board has continued to monitor the situation and notes that changes have been made in the Constitution and Rules of the GLNF, with the full support and participation of the members, which should in future prevent any individual or group of individuals usurping power, and that significant numbers of former members are returning to the GLNF. The GLNF has now submitted a request to this Grand Lodge that the Grand Lodge restore recognition of the GNLF.
The Board believes that the problems which led to the withdrawal of recognition in September 2012 have been actively addressed by the new Grand Master and his executive and that stability and harmony have returned to the GLNF. Accordingly, the Board recommends that the Grand Lodge restore recognition to the GLNF.
A Resolution to this effect was approved.
Paper of Business and Printed Proceedings of the Grand Lodge
The Board has appointed a committee which is considering how electronic systems and methods might be used to streamline systems and produce economies in the way in which Freemasonry is administered at all levels. It is expected that some of the measures which may be recommended will require amendments to the Book of Constitutions and the Board expects to give notice of motion in September to introduce the first of such amendments.
In the meantime, the Board has considered the wording of Rule 47 which requires the Grand Secretary to forward the papers of business and the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge to Grand Officers and certain others, and to send copies to all lodge secretaries. It has concluded that the Rule already permits this to be done by electronic means and accordingly proposes that, starting with the Quarterly Communication in December 2014, such papers should in future be so transmitted to those within the specified categories for whom the Grand Secretary’s office has an e-mail address, unless the Brethren concerned request otherwise. The Board wishes to stress the importance of Brethren ensuring that they inform those who will need the information of any change in e-mail address or any other relevant contact details.
The Committee will also in due course consider all other aspects of electronic systems and related technology insofar as they may be relevant to streamlining current procedures and methods.
Audit of Lodge and Other Accounts
It has been brought to the Board’s attention that both national and international professional accountancy bodies are seeking to place restrictions on their members carrying out any process described as an ‘audit’ that does not conform to the exacting regulations that they lay down. Those regulations are in general intended to govern the audit of accounts far more complex than those of masonic units, and impose a level of compliance and responsibility in excess of what is required for most masonic accounts.
The Board is concerned that Brethren possessed of useful (even though not essential) skill and expertise will be discouraged or prevented from undertaking the audit of lodge and other masonic accounts as a consequence of what it considers to be no more than a matter of nomenclature. It therefore trusts that the Grand Lodge will endorse its recommendation that whenever a Rule in the Book of Constitutions or a lodge’s, Province’s or District’s by-laws requires that accounts be audited such Rule will, in the case of an individual who is a professionally qualified accountant or auditor, be deemed to be complied with if he carries out an ‘examination’ of those accounts and certifies that he has done so.
The Board had received reports that the following lodges had resolved to surrender their Warrants:
Blackheath Lodge, No. 1320 (London) in order to amalgamate with Lodge Fidelis, No. 5405 (London); Leyland Lodge, No. 4249 in order to amalgamate with Hesketh Lodge, No. 986 (West Lancashire); Kentish Companions Lodge, No. 8483 in order to amalgamate with Hervey Lodge, No. 1692 (West Kent); and Mount Sinai Lodge, No. 8855 in order to amalgamate with Old Mancunians Lodge No. 3140 (East Lancashire). The Board recommendation that the lodges be removed from the register of Grand Lodge in order to effect the amalgamations was approved.
Erasure of Lodges
The Board had received a report that thirty-five lodges had closed and had surrendered their Warrants. They are: Lodge of Affability with Villiers, No. 317 (East Lancashire); Yarborough Lodge, No. 633 (East Lancashire); Callender Lodge, No. 1052 (East Lancashire); Starkie Lodge, No. 1634 (East Lancashire); All Saints Lodge, No. 1716 (London); St George’s Lodge, No. 1723 (East Lancashire); Radcliffe Lodge, No. 2701 (East Lancashire); Westcliff Lodge, No. 2903 (Essex); Proscenium Lodge, No. 4152 (Cheshire); Victory Lodge, No. 4157 (South Africa, North); Isthmian Lodge, No. 4566 (Essex); Halliwick Lodge, No. 4800 (London).
Aintree Lodge, No. 4906 (West Lancashire); Anglo-Dutch and Barnes Lodge, No. 4968 (London); Sphere Lodge, No. 5051 (Warwickshire); Pro Minimis and Marble Arch Lodge, No. 5180 (London); Halcyon Lodge, No. 5300 (East Lancashire); Farnworth Lodge, No. 5301 (East Lancashire); Hounslow Lodge, No. 5415 (Middlesex); Summit Lodge, No. 5944 (Staffordshire); Heber Lodge, No. 6241 (Northumberland); St Michael’s Lodge, No. 6332 (Durham); Stamford and Assheton Lodge, No. 6427 (East Lancashire).
Lodge of True Friendship, No. 6631 (London); Richard Taunton Lodge, No. 7050 (Hampshire & Isle of Wight); Dextras Dare Lodge, No. 7054 (London); Cricketers Lodge, No. 7508 (Northumberland); Monitorial Lodge, No. 7676 (London); Lodge of Fraternal Friendship, No. 7777 (London); St Edmund Lodge, No. 7945 (West Kent); Hilsea Bastion Lodge, No. 8245 (Hampshire & Isle of Wight); Lodge of Dignity, No. 8304 (East Lancashire); Tewkesbury Lodge, No. 8344 (London); Ajex Lodge, No. 8407 (London); and Hawkshaw Lodge, No. 8624 (East Lancashire).
Over recent years, the lodges had found themselves no longer viable. The Board was satisfied that further efforts to save them would be to no avail and therefore had no alternative but to recommend that they be erased. A Resolution to this effect was approved.
Fifteen brethren have been expelled from the Craft.
Grand Lodge Accounts for 2013
The Audited Accounts of Grand Lodge for the year ended 31 December 2013 were approved.
Election of Grand Lodge Auditors
The re-election of Crowe Clark Whitehill LLP, as Auditors of Grand Lodge, was approved.
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, 10 September 2014. Subsequent Communications will be held: 10 December 2014, 11 March 2015, 10 June 2015 and 9 September 2015.
The Annual Investiture of Grand Officers takes place on the last Wednesday in April (the next is on 29 April 2015), 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 will be given in the Paper of Business for December Grand Lodge.
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 12 November 2014, 30 April 2015 and 11 November 2015.