Iron Bridge Lodge No. 9897 had cheering news in December 2016
Its newest Initiate, Bro Richard Slack, and his wife Becci, were blessed with their fifth child just before Christmas. Abigail, Megan, Maya and Harvey were joined by their new brother: 7lb 11oz Mason! We send congratulations to the family, and are sure that the choice of name will arouse comment.
Jokes about stepping off with the left foot not welcome yet...
On the second last Friday in September, Longmynd Lodge No. 4877 in Church Stretton hosted an unusual Third Degree ceremony as it assisted Iron Bridge Lodge No. 9897 from Telford in Raising Bro Thomas Perring to the sublime degree of a Master Mason.
The team, led by WM David Heywood, performed to a high standard and a good time was had by all – but the ceremony nearly didn't happen as Tom had suffered a painful accident and injured his shoulder earlier in the month, while W Bro Heywood (also acting Organist) had hurt his hand.
All was well in the end, however, as Tom was determined to enjoy his special night, and David (a music teacher with the Shropshire Music Service) brought his tuba to accompany the singing from the south-west corner instead.
And, please... no jokes about the password leading from the Second to the Third Degree...
From the Grand Secretary
Welcome to the spring 2016 issue of Freemasonry Today. With 2017 fast approaching, we thought it timely to have an interview with the Tercentenary Planning Committee Coordinator to give the latest brief on the rationale and planning for the celebrations. What a joy to be a member of such an illustrious organisation that has adapted to the many social changes over 300 years, ensuring that we are still relevant in today’s rapidly evolving society.
On the topic of keeping relevant, the Membership Focus Group has, among many other initiatives, been looking at what Freemasonry has to offer in the 21st century.
In an insightful article you will read about image, recruitment, retention, understanding, and supporting those who lead at all levels.
Also in this issue of the magazine, we interview the Masonic Charitable Foundation’s Chief Executive, David Innes, to learn how bringing the four central masonic charities together will improve the service they give to beneficiaries. He also explains how the new charity will give a stronger voice to the causes that the masonic community cares about.
On the subject of charity, members of Thorpe Bay Lodge in Essex reveal the origins of Lest We Forget, a special bitter they have been brewing to raise funds for the Royal British Legion and military charity SSAFA. While the project’s goal was to fundraise for good causes, the brewers all agree that it has had a wider effect for Thorpe Bay Lodge, improving members’ morale by trying something new.
The emotional as well as financial support that Freemasons give is the subject of a profile piece on Paula Kilshawe-Fall. The wife of a Freemason, Paula has managed to get back on her feet thanks to the almoner network in West Lancashire. Her story reveals some of the core values of Freemasonry: that of pastoral care and the desire to help those in your community.
The Iron Bridge Lodge in Shropshire is ensuring that it stays true to Freemasonry’s traditional values. However, it also wants to provide a meeting place that accommodates modern life in order to recruit and retain the next generation of masons. By drawing upon social media and streamlining its ceremonies, the lodge is now attracting younger masons who are not only bringing ideas of their own but also introducing new members into the fold.
As we look forward to the Tercentenary, I think you will find so much in this issue that shows why Freemasonry is as meaningful in society today as it was 300 years ago.
‘What a joy to be a member of such an illustrious organisation that has adapted to the many social changes over 300 years.’
Iron Bridge Lodge No. 9897 was founded earlier in 2015 as Shropshire’s first Universities Scheme member, and the first to be consecrated as such. In September more than 50 masons, including Shropshire’s Deputy Provincial Grand Master Roger Pemberton, a representative of the scheme and a brother from Canada, gathered to witness a double initiation of two young men – the first to claim 9897 as their mother lodge.
True to the modern principles of this new assembly, the start time was 7 pm and the work (which was of a fine standard) was shared among many members. An excellent buffet followed before the brethren gathered again for a reduced toast list. The meeting ended in good spirits at 9.40, and while some brethren headed for home, others repaired to a local source of refreshment.
Although the length of the meeting was short, there was no sense of rush: the ceremony was delivered in full and with feeling. Andy Delamere, the Worshipful Master, toasted Her Majesty The Queen who only a few hours before had become the longest-reigning monarch of this country. A generous cheque was presented to Teddies for Loving Care, and the lodge was able to report that its donations to Shropshire’s 2019 Grand Charity Festival were advancing well.
The two initiates were very much the focus of the evening. Brother Perring discovered that the Provincial Webmaster was a third cousin whom he had never met, while Brother Greatrex won a prize in his first masonic raffle… One later tweeted that two days later he was still ‘waiting to come down’.
VW Bro Roger Pemberton, DepPrGM later said '[The] evening’s meeting was one I shall always remember for several reasons but principally for a ceremony which came as close as possible to the very heart of what I believe is at the core of Freemasonry. The brethren who delivered parts of the ceremony, the Deacons, the Chaplain, the WM, all spoke with a genuine understanding of the work and feeling for the heart of the ritual and what it is we are “all about”.'
The traditionally peaceful masonic month of August has been enlivened by the announcement that the Most Worshipful Grand Master has agreed to the Petition for a new lodge for Shropshire, to be called the Iron Bridge Lodge No. 9897
This lodge, named after Shropshire's iconic Iron Bridge near to Telford, will be the 34th on Shropshire's list, and the first to be consecrated since the West Mercia Lodge No. 9719 in 2000.
The Petition includes the names of 42 aspiring Founder members, including the Worshipful Master Designate, W Bro Andy Delamere. It was presented in open lodge at the regular meeting of Forester Lodge No. 7211 in April, in the presence of RW Provincial Grand Master, Peter Allan Taylor, and signed by Forester Lodge's Worshipful Master Jim Brown and his Wardens, Peter Smith and Andrew Gordon.
The Petition now having been sanctioned by Grand Lodge, Shropshire hopes to see the Consecration late in 2014 or early in 2015. It is also hoped that the new lodge will be accredited under the Universities' Scheme, so that it may become the first – or one of the first – to be founded as a member of that scheme. Members of other university lodges are to be invited to the Consecration.
The Provincial Grand Master congratulated the Founding Committee, including W Bro Delamere and the Secretary W Bro Ray Dickson, for the huge amount of energy and time they had devoted to the project. The Worshipful Master of the intended Mother Lodge, Forester 7211, presented the Founding Committee with a set of silver square and compasses to mark the event.