From the Grand Secretary
By the time you receive this issue, our Tercentenary year will be well under way and our Rulers will have already attended overseas events in Denmark, Mumbai, India, and Zakynthos, Greece, at our unattached Star of the East Lodge, No. 880. His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent has also attended a church service at Canterbury Cathedral for the Provinces of East and West Kent, Sussex and Surrey. We now await the broadcast in April of the long-anticipated Sky TV documentary Inside The Freemasons.
It is an exciting year as we build towards our showpiece event at the end of October. So far, it is likely that we will welcome around 160 Grand Lodges from around the world to celebrate with us at the Royal Albert Hall and look forward to our next 300 years. We now need to build on our successes and use this year to show ourselves as the vibrant and relevant organisation which is Freemasonry.
Looking forward to the Tercentenary in this issue of Freemasonry Today, Keith Gilbert highlights the planning and organisation of celebratory events taking place across not just the UK but the entire world. As Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes notes in his Senior Insights column, these are exciting times, so we should celebrate in style by showing our pride in being Freemasons.
When it comes to showing the best in Freemasonry, Spinnaker Lodge in the Province of Hampshire & Isle of Wight is a shining beacon. We find out how its members are encouraging younger Freemasons into the Craft with a shared interest in all things sailing. The sixth specialist lodge in the Province to be consecrated in the past four years, Spinnaker will be visiting new marinas and hosting social events at sailing clubs to raise both its own profile and that of Freemasonry in 2017.
Best foot forward
In the north-west of England, we meet a 54-strong group of Freemasons, their families and friends who trekked across Morecambe Bay. Cumberland & Westmorland Provincial Grand Master Norman Thompson and his intrepid travellers not only raised money to help victims of the Cumbria floods, but also showed how Freemasonry is connecting with local communities. The team joined some 1,000 walkers at Arnside Promenade to brave the wet and puddled sands for a memorable day that is now an annual event in the Provincial calendar.
The opportunities for Freemasonry are not just in the face we show the world, but are also in our governance, our leadership, our retention and our management of masonic halls. The Chairman of the Improvement Delivery Group, David Wootton, reports on how he and his team are leading the implementation and delivery of our agreed strategy for Freemasonry to 2020. As David notes, there is much to do but also much to enjoy.
‘We need to use this year to show ourselves as vibrant and relevant’
Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge
8 March 2017
Report of the Board of General Purposes
The Minutes of the Quarterly Communication of 14 December 2016 were approved.
Election of the Grand Master
HRH The Duke of Kent KG was re-elected as Grand Master.
Grand Lodge Register 2007-2016
The tables below show the number of lodges on the Register and of Certificates issued during the past ten years.
Charges for Warrants
The Board recommended that for the year commencing 1 April 2017 the charges (exclusive of VAT) shall be as follows:
The recommendation was approved.
The Board had received reports that the following lodges have resolved to surrender their Warrants: Totteridge Lodge, No. 6130, in order to amalgamate with Old Elizabethans Lodge, No. 7987 (Hertfordshire); and Sherborne Conduit Lodge, No. 9484, in order to amalgamate with Lodge of Benevolence, No. 1168 (Dorset).
A Resolution to this effect was approved.
Erasure of lodges
Twenty-three lodges have closed and have surrendered their Warrants. They are:
Hammersmith Lodge, No. 2090 (London); Royal Hampton Court Lodge, No. 2183 (Middlesex); Malden Lodge, No. 2875 (Surrey); Morpeth Lodge, No. 4176 (Northumberland); Plymouth Hoe Lodge, No. 4235 (Devon); Ceredigion Lodge, No. 4550 (London); Ashton Upon Mersey Lodge, No. 4654 (Cheshire); Concordia Lodge, No. 4793 (Sussex); Worcester Park Lodge, No. 5402 (Surrey); Simplicitas Lodge, No. 5704 (Surrey); Oaks Lodge, No. 5921 (Surrey); Lodge of Integrity, No. 6328 (Cheshire); Albany Park Lodge, No. 7432 (West Kent); Bywell Castle Lodge, No. 7739 (Northumberland); Lowther Lodge, No. 7809 (Cumberland and Westmorland); Warlingham Lodge, No. 7977 (Surrey); Owain Glyndwr Lodge, No. 8015 (South Wales); Huntercombe Lodge, No. 8264 (Buckinghamshire); Langdon Hills Lodge, No. 8477 (Essex); Bramble Lodge, No. 8541 (South Africa, Eastern Division); Prestbury Lodge, No. 8880 (Cheshire); Abridge Lodge, No. 9637 (Essex) and Lodge of Scribes, No. 9671 (Durham).
A Resolution to recommend that they be erased was approved.
Twelve brethren were expelled from the Craft.
For valour: Freemasons awarded the Victoria Cross during the Great War
A talk was given on this subject by Deputy Grand Chancellor John Hamill and Diane Clements, Director of the Library and Museum of Freemasonry.
List of new lodges
Warrants have been granted to the lodges below with the dates from which their Warrants became effective, date of Warrant and Location/Area and No. and name of the lodge:
14 December 2016
9942 Dorset Sportsmen’s Lodge (Poole, Dorset)
9943 Collegiate Lodge (Coventry, Warwickshire)
Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge
A Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge is held on the second Wednesday in March, June, September and December. The next will be at noon on Wednesday, 14 June 2017. Subsequent Communications will be held on 13 September 2017, 13 December 2017, 14 March 2018 and 13 June 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.
Convocations of 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.
Brethren, 2017 is without doubt a landmark year in the history of our great organisation. It provides a wonderful opportunity both to celebrate past achievements and to ‘lay schemes and draw designs’ to ensure its future.
I am very conscious that we are already three months into the year and that a number of celebratory events have already taken place.
I was particularly pleased to be able to attend the service at Canterbury Cathedral on 18 February, which was a marvellous celebration of our achievements, and I look forward to taking part in other events during the year.
I am impressed by the number and variety of events that are taking place in the Metropolitan area and our Provinces and Districts. I know how you have all worked and are working tirelessly to ensure that our Tercentenary year is both memorable and enjoyable.
I wish you every success in 2017 and, above all, strength and stability in the future.
HM The Queen's ninetieth birthday
At today's Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge, the Deputy Grand Master, RW Bro Jonathan Spence, informed Grand Lodge and the Craft as a whole of the following exchange of letters that had taken place in connection with Her Majesty's ninetieth birthday:
To Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,
On behalf of all members of the United Grand Lodge of England I send loyal greetings and congratulations on the occasion of Your Majesty's ninetieth Birthday.
[signed] EDWARD, Grand Master
United Grand Lodge of England
Her Majesty graciously replied:
To HRH The Duke of Kent, Grand Master
Please convey my warm thanks to the Members of the United Grand Lodge of England for their loyal greetings, sent on the occasion of my ninetieth birthday.
I much appreciate your thoughtfulness in writing as you did and, in return, I send my best wishes to you and all concerned.
HRH The Duke of Kent looks forward to the Tercentenary as an opportunity to show the non-masonic world how relevant Freemasonry is in modern society
The successful launch of the Masonic Charitable Foundation at the beginning of April is a very significant milestone. The new charity has been formed following a long and very thorough review of how the four central masonic charities operated and how they could work together most effectively.
A fundamental benefit of moving away from the model of four separate charities was to make the message easier to understand about what support and services are available to the many and varied stakeholders.
I congratulate all those involved in achieving this.
The Tercentenary planning is progressing well, with the Provinces and Districts organising their own celebratory events throughout 2017, culminating in the main event at the Royal Albert Hall in October 2017. There is much enthusiasm building for this great anniversary. I see it also as presenting an ideal opportunity to demonstrate to the non-masonic world how relevant the organisation is in society today and that Freemasonry has a long-term future.
After the investitures, Right Worshipful Brother Nigel Brown retired as Grand Secretary. Brother Brown has supported and encouraged my open communications policy and brought both Provinces and Districts to a much closer relationship with Grand Lodge.
He has served the office at a time of rapid change and introduced new initiatives including mentoring and communications, to name but two, aimed at ensuring the future of Freemasonry. On your behalf I wish Brother Brown good health and every happiness in the future.
‘A fundamental benefit of moving away from the model of four separate charities was to make the message easier to understand.’
Craft Annual Investiture
27 April 2016
An address by the MW The Grand Master HRH The Duke of Kent, KG
Brethren, I start by congratulating all those that I have invested this afternoon. Grand Rank is conferred not only for your past services to the Craft, but equally for the expectation of your commitment to ensuring the long term future of the English Constitution.
The successful launch of the new Masonic Charitable Foundation, at the beginning of April, is a very significant milestone. The new charity has been formed following a long and very thorough review of how the four central masonic charities operated and how they could work together most effectively. A fundamental benefit for moving away from the model of four separate charities was to make the message easier to understand about what support and services are available to the many and varied stakeholders. I congratulate all those involved in achieving this.
The Tercentenary planning is progressing well with both the Provinces and Districts organising their own celebratory events throughout 2017, culminating in the main event at the Royal Albert Hall in October 2017. There is much enthusiasm building for this great anniversary. I see it also as presenting an ideal opportunity to demonstrate to the non-masonic world how relevant the organisation is in society today and that Freemasonry has a long term future.
I congratulate the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his team for an excellent ceremonial occasion. This is the point at which every year I also express my thanks to the Grand Secretary and his staff. My gratitude to them on this occasion is no less than it ever was, but it is this time tinged with a certain sadness, since after the Investitures Right Worshipful Brother Nigel Brown will be retiring as Grand Secretary. Brother Brown has supported and encouraged my open communications policy and brought both Provinces and Districts to a much closer relationship with Grand Lodge.
He has served the office at a time of rapid change and introduced new initiatives including Mentoring and Communications, to name but two, aimed at ensuring the future of Freemasonry.
On your behalf I wish Brother Brown good health and every happiness in the future.
As Commonwealth nations mark the armistice signed to end the First World War, Diane Clements, Director of the Library and Museum of Freemasonry, traces the origins of Freemasons’ Hall
While the peace treaties after the First World War were still being negotiated in Versailles, following the armistice on 11 November 1918, the United Grand Lodge of England began preparations for its own masonic peace celebration in London. In June 1919, guests from lodges in Ireland, Scotland, America, Canada, New Zealand and England enjoyed a week of activities, including visits to the masonic schools and the Houses of Parliament. A peace medal was issued to those who attended the special Grand Lodge meeting on 27 June at the Royal Albert Hall.
The Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Connaught, was unable to attend, but he asked Lord Ampthill, the Pro Grand Master, to read a series of messages. One of these spoke of ‘a perpetual memorial’ to ‘honour the many brethren who fell during the war’. For the Grand Master, ‘The great and continued growth of Freemasonry amongst us demands a central home; and I wish it to be considered whether the question of erecting that home in this metropolis of the empire… would not be the most fitting peace memorial.’
With individual lodges considering what form their own memorials should take, the issue was raised at the Grand Lodge meeting in September 1919. Charles Goff from Fortitude and Old Cumberland Lodge, No. 12, asked if consideration had been given to other forms of memorial – particularly a fund to support Freemasons wounded during the war or their dependants. Charles also asked whether a major building project should proceed at a time of housing shortage. Although several lodges and Provinces decided to support local hospitals, Grand Lodge elected to proceed with its new temple.
In January 1920 details of the campaign to raise funds for the new building were distributed to lodges and individual members. The target was £1 million, giving the campaign its name – the Masonic Million Memorial Fund. Contributions were to be marked by the award of medals. Members who contributed at least 10 guineas (£10.50) were to receive a silver medal and those who gave 100 guineas (£105) or more, a gold medal. Lodges that contributed an average of 10 guineas per member were to be recorded in the new building as Hall Stone Lodges and the Master of each entitled to wear a special medal as a collarette. By the end of the appeal, 53,224 individual medals had been issued and 1,321 lodges had qualified as Hall Stone Lodges.
A design by architects HV Ashley and F Winton Newman was chosen and building work started in 1927. Construction began at the western corner of the new building, where houses on Great Queen Street had been demolished, and progressed eastwards.
The new Masonic Peace Memorial, as it was called, was dedicated on 19 July 1933. The theme of the memorial window outside the Grand Temple was the attainment of peace through sacrifice. Its main feature was the figure of peace holding a model of the tower façade of the building. In the lower panels were shown fighting men, civilians and pilgrims ascending a winding staircase towards the angel of peace.
In June 1938, the Building Committee announced that a memorial shrine, to be designed by Walter Gilbert, would be placed under the memorial window. Its symbols portrayed peace and the attainment of eternal life. It took the form of a bronze casket resting on an ark among reeds, the boat indicative of a journey that had come to an end. In the centre of the front panel a relief showed the hand of God in which rested the soul of man. At the four corners stood pairs of winged seraphim with golden trumpets and across its front were gilded figures of Moses, Joshua, Solomon and St George.
In December 1914 Grand Lodge had begun to compile a Roll of Honour of all members who had died in the war. In June 1921, the roll was declared complete, listing 3,078 names, and was printed in book form. After completion of the memorial shrine, the Roll of Honour, with the addition of over 350 names, was displayed within it on a parchment roll.
The Roll of Honour was guarded by kneeling figures representing the four fighting services (Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and Royal Flying Corps). By the time all these memorials were complete, the country was already in the midst of another war. Freemasons’ Hall continued to operate during that Second World War and survived largely undamaged so that it can be visited today.
From the Grand Secretary
On behalf of the members of the United Grand Lodge of England, a message of congratulations was sent to the Grand Master on the occasion of his 80th birthday. How fortunate we all are to have such a dedicated royal leader since his installation as Grand Master by the 11th Earl of Scarbrough on 27 June 1967.
Thank you to those readers of Freemasonry Today who have participated in the recent Membership Focus Group surveys. One of the results from your feedback has been the creation of a clear strategy to make sure there is a sound future for Freemasonry. This strategy has been agreed at the highest levels throughout the organisation and we now wish to share it with all our readers. You will find a copy of this strategy attached to this issue of the magazine.
I trust you will find it fascinating, and that it gives you added confidence for the future and your continued enjoyment of Freemasonry.
In this issue of the magazine, we find out how Freemasonry is helping to build confidence among our members. Our article on the first New and Young Masons Clubs’ Conference at Freemasons’ Hall reveals a support network of light blue clubs that are helping initiates get the most out of Freemasonry from day one. We look at how these clubs are giving new members an outlet for the energy and excitement that they want to put into the Craft.
The values of Freemasonry proved vital for Arthur Vaughan Williams, who, following a car accident, went from peak physical fitness to being unable to control two-thirds of his body. In our interview with Arthur, he explains how Freemasonry helped him to re-engage with society and create a new life for himself. With a reinvigorated sense of self-belief, Arthur has learned how to fly and is carving out a successful career as a television presenter.
Also in this issue, London’s new Metropolitan Grand Master Sir Michael Snyder discusses what motivated him to modernise the City, not only the way it runs but also the business buildings that populate London’s skyline. Meanwhile, our feature on deaf communications organisation Signature shows how masonic support is aiming to put British Sign Language on the curriculum and open up the education system for deaf youngsters.
I hope you enjoy our winter edition and wish you and your families a wonderful festive season.
‘We look at how light blue clubs are giving new members an outlet for the energy and excitement that they want to put into the Craft.’
Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge
11 March 2015
Report of the Board of General Purposes
Minutes of the Quarterly Communication of 10 December 2014 were confirmed.
Election of Grand Master
HRH The Duke of Kent was re-elected Grand Master.
Report of the Board of General Purposes
GRAND LODGE REGISTER 2005–2014
Tables showing the number of lodges on the Register and of Certificates issued during the past ten years.
Charges for Warrants
For the year commencing 1 April 2015 the charges (exclusive of VAT) shall be:
The Board had received a report that New Southgate Lodge, No. 5187 had resolved to surrender its Warrant in order to amalgamate with New Cross Lodge, No. 1559 (London). The Board recommendation that the lodge be removed from the register in order to effect the amalgamation was approved.
Masonic standards and values
The Board stated the rules governing masonic standards and values. They said that Freemasonry is above all a moral organisation, founded on the principles of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth – or, as it could more familiarly be put in the language of today, kindness; charity and generosity; and integrity and honesty. Those principles – if they are to mean anything – clearly require the maintenance of the highest standards of behaviour by Freemasons in both public and private life.
Electronic communication of formal documents
The Board last made recommendations to the Grand Lodge on this subject in June 2009. Since then, as reported in June of last year, the Board has set up a Committee to consider how electronic systems and methods can be used to streamline systems and produce economies. The first result has been the electronic distribution of the Paper of Business and the printed Proceedings of the Grand Lodge, which is already showing a considerable saving in costs. The Board now recommends the introduction of a new Rule into the Book of Constitutions which will specify certain documents as being of such importance that they must be transmitted only in physical form and bear original signatures. It is not intended that the new Rule should supersede the existing guidance, which will, for the time being, remain in force, but it is intended thereby to establish clearly the irreducible minimum beyond which electronic communication will not be permitted whatever relaxation may in future be permitted from the guidance given in 2009. Notice of Motion to amend the Book of Constitutions accordingly appeared on the Paper of Business.
Erasure of Lodges
The Board has received a report that twenty-eight Lodges have closed and surrendered their Warrants. They are: Prince Edward of Saxe Weimar Lodge No. 1903 (Hampshire & Isle of Wight), Sanctuary Lodge No. 3051 (London), St Aidan Lodge No. 3460 (Northumberland) Leoride Lodge No. 3585 (Surrey), Whiston Lodge No. 3614 (Cheshire) Hendon Aero Lodge No. 3895 (London), Sanderstead Lodge No. 4133 (Surrey), Abbeygate Lodge No. 4219 (Essex), Cambridge Heath Lodge No. 4506 (London), Winlaton Lodge No. 4546 (Durham), Priory Lodge No. 4671 (Yorkshire West Riding), London Nottinghamshire Lodge No. 5133 (London), Beaux Arts Lodge No. 5707 (Surrey), Windmill Hill Lodge No. 5843 (Middlesex), Edgbaston Lodge No. 5980 (Warwickshire), Observer Lodge No. 6015 (South Wales), Heworth Lodge No. 6331 (Durham), Burstow Link Lodge No. 6601 (Surrey), Lodge of Good Endeavour No. 6628 (Cheshire), Lodge of Fidelity No. 7237 (Durham), Blackpool Lodge of Loyalty No. 7332 (West Lancashire), London River Lodge No. 7595 (Surrey), Withy Lodge No. 7733 (West Lancashire), Lodge of Solidarity No. 8018 (London), Walcountian Lodge No. 8417 (Surrey) Lodge of Perception No. 8492 (Warwickshire) and Cudlow Lodge No. 8738 (Sussex).
A recommendation that they be erased was approved.
Masonic Housing Association
There was a presentation by M.C. Clarke, Chairman of the Masonic Housing Association.
List of new lodges for which Warrants have been granted by the Grand Master showing the dates from which their Warrants became effective:
12 November 2014
No. 9903 Lodge of Brevity (Eastleigh, Hampshire and Isle of Wight)
6 January 2015
No. 9904 Sir Louis Mbanefo Lodge (Onitsha, Nigeria)
No. 9905 Glaslyn Lodge of Installed Masters (Porthmadog, North Wales)
Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge
A Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge will be held on 29 April 2015 (Annual Investiture), 10 June 2015, 9 September 2015, 9 December 2015, 9 March 2016 and 8 June 2016.
Convocation of Supreme Grand Chapter
Convocations of Supreme Grand Chapter will be held on 30 April 2015, 11 November 2015, 28 April 2016 and 9 November 2016.