Wednesday, 11 March 2015 12:45

Pro Grand Master's address - March 2015

Quarterly Communication

11 March 2015 
An address by the MW the Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes

Brethren, the March issue of Freemasonry Today covers the results of the latest Membership Focus Group survey seeking members’ views on many aspects of Freemasonry including friendship, masonic ceremony and charity work.

5,265 members took part in the survey.

I will let you read the full results but I wanted to highlight the following four areas that scored highly. Having respect for others came first, closely followed by being with people who respected others, then meeting people with integrity followed by the ethical and moral ethos of Freemasonry. I have said often in the past that it is no surprise that Freemasonry is such a remarkable fundraiser for charity, because of our code of conduct. I suggest, brethren, that these responses simply endorse that view.

This and future surveys support the Group’s aim of ensuring that any decision about Freemasonry draws upon the views, talents and ideas of members at all levels – not least at lodge level. Talking of lodge level leads me to remind you that the next annual Mentoring Conference is to be held next week and I take this opportunity to stress the continued importance of the Metropolitan, Provincial and District Grand Mentors’ role.

I know that the majority of lodges have now appointed a Mentoring Coordinator but I still remain concerned that, in many cases, no personal mentors have been selected. Here there is a skill in matching the right personal mentor – that is to say, with the best personality characteristics and appropriate knowledge - with each candidate. This relationship will be ever changing as the candidate develops his understanding.

There can be no doubt that the early days of a candidate’s membership are the most impressionable and so it is important that the right personal mentor is assigned as early as possible after the interview stage and, at any rate, from initiation onwards. Pastoral care will always be a vital part of this relationship and it is at this early stage that the candidate should be told that it is perfectly acceptable to talk about Freemasonry and, indeed, be encouraged to do so, particularly as he becomes more experienced. In addition they should demonstrate pride in their membership to their family, friends and acquaintances.

The Metropolitan, Provincial and District Mentors have played a significant role in the running the Mentoring Scheme and I look to the lodges to support them in their important task of helping develop and retain membership at lodge level.

Published in Speeches

District Grand Masters, District Grand Superintendents, and other District Grand Officers, gathered for the Third Conference of the Central Masonic Charities and District Grand Lodges at Freemasons' Hall on Tuesday 24 April.  Due to the increasing popularity of this annual event, the setting has now moved to Lodge Room No.1 to accomodate over fifty representatives from the Districts as well as representatives from each of the four central masonic charities.

Hugh Stubbs, President, Masonic Samaritan Fund, welcomed all members on behalf of the four Central Masonic Charities, and gave an introduction before members broke for the first of the group discussions.

Walter H Scott, District Grand Master, Jamaica & the Cayman Islands, spoke on the relationship between his District and the Central Masonic Charities, which led into the second group discussion.

Following lunch, James Bartlett provided an update on the Mentoring Scheme and, in particular, the Ambassadors for Freemasonry Scheme, and a presentation was given by Nick Cripps on the selection of Personal Mentors.

Published in Freemasonry Cares

Fourth Mentoring Conference
22 March 2012
An address by the MW Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes

 

Brethren,

I would like to give you an overview of our various initiatives and how they fit together into our overall strategy. You are all very well aware of the many factors that have been affecting the Craft over the last thirty years or so. All of which resulted in a negative image for Freemasonry, discrimination against our members and despite a rise in the population as a whole a steady decline in our own numbers. Whilst we are not alone in having a declining membership, I believe that we have something special to offer and that there are many men, who if they joined would enjoy and benefit from their membership, just as we have done.

So what is our strategy and how do you and the Mentors fit into it? Our first task was to counter unfair discrimination that our members were facing mainly in public office, local government and the armed services and to promote a positive image of the Craft. You will all know that Jack Straw had to change the Government’s stance on Freemasonry and the Judiciary. Local Government has had to remove its discriminatory enquiries into membership of Freemasonry. At the same time both at a National and Local level we have been talking to the Press, Chief Constables, Local Radio and Television to counter the misunderstandings that have arisen about the Craft. We have encouraged local Masonic Halls to open their doors to the public and we have promoted this building as a venue for Films, Fashion Shows, Launch Parties and other events. Whilst it brings in welcome revenue it has also meant the last year alone 100,000 members of the general public came into Freemasons’ Hall to see for themselves that we had nothing to hide.

We have also reviewed our image on the Internet. Grand Lodge now has two sites. The Grand Lodge Website which is outwardly facing and is mainly for the use of the general public and prospective members, looking for information about Freemasonry, and the Freemasonry Today website which is for our members. This not only has copies of the latest edition of the magazine, but also other topical items of news and interest. In addition nearly every Province and District has its own website as do many Lodges.

All of this has made the Craft more accessible than ever before and is helping to dispel the myths and misinformation that have grown up about us. At the same time we have been developing the Universities Scheme. If young men become interested in Freemasonry and find it enjoyable then we are building a firm foundation for the future and they are spreading the word to the next generation.
 But the best way to show the world what we stand for and that we have nothing to hide is through our members. If we have 250,000 members of the Craft talking confidently and competently to friends and family about their membership and why they enjoy it then word will quickly spread like ripples on a pond in ever increasing circles.

Brethren - enjoyment is the key and enjoyment comes through involvement and understanding and that is where the mentor comes in. When I addressed Grand Lodge last December I said that there were three stages to Mentoring. The first two cover logistics and a basic understanding of the ritual and developing a sense of belonging. The third is how to talk about our Freemasonry to the non mason. To be able to do this confidently and competently our members must have a sense of involvement and understanding that comes from the other two stages.

I have said on many occasions that the key to our future is quality candidates, that is - men who will “come to appreciate the value of masonry” and who will indelibly imprint on their hearts its sacred dictates. But we must look after these candidates, make them feel welcome in fact treat them as we would wish to be treated ourselves. It is a simple message, the right men, properly looked after, enjoying and understanding what they have joined. We need these men to talk about their membership to others of like mind, who may then become interested enough to want to join as well.

I see pastoral care being – at the very least – eighty per cent of what mentoring is all about.  Put simply, the real test is how you would like to have been welcomed when you first joined and how you would like to have been supported from then onwards.  I do not want, nor I am sure do any of us, to have a complicated or onerous scheme – rather one that is as natural as possible yet, at the same time, allowing consistency of advice and support.

The first stage is for each candidate to understand the basic logistics that are involved in becoming a Freemason. It is really about a proper welcome.  I am not going into that in detail today – other than to say that a candidate should never feel under briefed and should be made aware of his financial and time commitment. During this stage the personal mentor answers any questions the candidate may have for him to gain a sense of belonging.  In other words, there should never be any surprises.

The second stage is to understand the basics of the ritual, especially after initiation and then passing and raising.  This understanding should lead to the ability to answer questions about the myths that non Masons have – so that right from the start, members can counter the questions about the so-called funny handshakes, the nooses and trouser leg being rolled up – all these classics. The questions on these myths need to be answered accurately and without embarrassment.  I am not talking about an in depth knowledge, but more a common understanding. The Mentor can, of course, point them in the right direction for this additional and important information as they require it.

We all understand the need to look after candidates, but it is the third stage of giving them the confidence – from the very outset – in order that they can speak to, in particular, family and friends about Freemasonry. That, Brethren, is vital to ensuring the future.  A candidate – and indeed this applies equally to the rest of us – needs to understand how to talk to the non Mason about what Freemasonry means. The aim is to have as many members as possible as ambassadors for Freemasonry.

Brethren let me repeat what I said in December that an ambassador is not a rank or office - it is a mode of behaviour. On the fundamental understanding that we recruit only people who live up to our principles – an ambassador will not only understand the basics of ritual but also, importantly will be able and willing, with our support and guidance, to talk to family and friends about their Freemasonry, as and when appropriate. We need to have confidence in them to do so competently.  To quote the Grand Master, “Talking openly about Freemasonry, as appropriate, is core to my philosophy, central to our communications strategy and essential to the survival of Freemasonry as a respected and relevant membership organisation”.

I hope that I have set in context the work you are going to do today. Firstly in helping Lodges to effectively adopt the new office of Mentor and secondly in discussing ways in which mentors can help our members become confident and competent ambassadors for Freemasonry. We at Grand Lodge will give you every support.

In a nutshell brethren our strategy is:
•    To promote a positive image of the craft.
•    To remove discrimination towards our members.
•    To encourage the right men to join.
•    To help them enjoy their membership.
•    To encourage them to talk positively about Freemasonry.
•    Thus completing the circle.

This is our strategy and you, brethren, and the Lodge and Personal Mentors are key to its success.

Published in Mentoring Scheme
Thursday, 15 March 2012 00:00

Understanding the light touch

With mentoring high on the agenda, Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes takes the opportunity to give clarity and perspective to what it means for Freemasons

You have all heard that the Mentoring Scheme is designed to eventually mentor members at all stages of their masonic progress. Initially this is especially for candidates – the next generation – during the three degrees and then to encourage them to continue their progress into the Royal Arch. London and all Provinces now have a Metropolitan or Provincial Grand Mentor who currently is responsible for liaising with the lodge mentor. For the avoidance of doubt, the lodge mentor is responsible for coordinating and selecting suitable brethren to be the personal mentors. It is most certainly not the intention that the lodge mentor should carry out the task himself – the personal mentor is best described as a friend and guide.

We all have our own ideas about what mentoring is and, for that matter, what it is not. Indeed, some believe there is no need for mentoring and some believe they are already mentoring perfectly satisfactorily. These sentiments are understandable without an explanation of what we actually mean by mentoring and what we are trying to achieve. In an ideal world, mentoring would happen naturally, everyone would be looked after as a matter of course, and this, in turn, would take care of issues such as recruitment, retention and retrieval – the three ‘Rs’.

Whatever your idea of mentoring might be, one of the aims we should all keep in mind is the promotion of an environment of belonging, understanding, involvement and enjoyment within the lodge. The skill will be to achieve this with a ‘light touch’.

three stages of mentoring

But first, let’s look at the word ‘mentoring’, which is translated in so many ways – rather like our masonry. Let me be quite clear: mentoring is not just about the Lodge of Instruction, valuable though that is for advancement in masonic ritual. Rather, it is mostly about pastoral care: seeing that the candidate is looked after, kept informed and that that support and care remains throughout each member’s masonic life.

In terms of the mentoring scheme, I see pastoral care being eighty per cent of what mentoring is all about. Put simply, the real test is how you would like to have been welcomed when you first joined and how you would like to have been supported from then onwards. I do not want to have a complicated or onerous scheme but rather one that is as natural as possible yet, at the same time, allows consistency of advice and support.

Mentoring has essentially three stages. The first two are straightforward as they cover logistics, basic ritual meaning and developing a sense of belonging. The third – how to talk about our Freemasonry to the non-mason – needs more explanation as it links in with our overall communications strategy that supports an external-facing organisation and underpins our new ambassadors’ scheme.

The first stage is for each candidate to understand the basic logistics that are involved in becoming a Freemason. Essentially, they should get a proper welcome. A candidate should never feel under-briefed and should be made aware of his financial and time commitments. During this stage the personal mentor answers any questions the candidate may have for him to gain a sense of belonging. In other words, there should never be any surprises.

common understanding

The second stage is to understand the basics of the ritual, especially after initiation and then passing and raising. But this understanding should be about the ability to answer questions about the myths that non-masons have. Right from the start, members can counter the questions about the so-called funny handshakes, the nooses and trouser leg being rolled up. The questions need to be answered accurately and without embarrassment – I am not talking about an in-depth knowledge, but more a common understanding. The mentor can, of course, point them in the right direction for this additional and important information as they require it. It is not, however, part of the new mentoring scheme.

We all understand the need to look after candidates, but it is the third stage of giving them the confidence from the very outset in order that they can speak to family and friends about Freemasonry. This is vital to ensuring our future. A candidate needs to understand how to talk to the non-mason about what Freemasonry means and we aim to have as many members as possible being ambassadors for Freemasonry. An ambassador is not a rank or office, it is a mode of behaviour. On the fundamental understanding that we recruit only people who live up to our principles, an ambassador will not only understand the basics of ritual but will also talk to others about their Freemasonry.

To quote the Grand Master: ‘Talking openly about Freemasonry, as appropriate, is core to my philosophy, central to our communications strategy and essential to the survival of Freemasonry as a respected and relevant membership organisation.’ It is with these three stages in mind that the Grand Secretary’s working party is producing succinct mentor guidelines. I see mentoring as a ‘light touch’ resulting in everyone enjoying their Freemasonry even more and feeling comfortable in talking
to their family and friends in an informed and relaxed way.

 

Letters to the Editor - FreemasonryToday No.18 - SUMMER 2012

    

Sir,
I was delighted to read the Pro Grand Master’s article, ‘Understanding the Light Touch’. I have always considered that one’s mentor should ideally be one’s proposer or seconder and not a lodge officer. In 1998, I was part of a workshop on the future of Freemasonry at Manchester Freemasons’ Hall, addressing the thorny issue of retention, which proposed a mentor as a substitute for the candidate’s proposer when the proposer was himself too inexperienced to carry out the role.I personally never needed a mentor because my proposer (my father-in-law) took me to every practice meeting of our lodge, arranged many visits to his friends’ lodges and encouraged me throughout my progression to the chair. In other words carried out the mentor’s role in full.

I believe the one-to-one relationship is essential between candidate and mentor and it is good to see the lodge mentor’s role described as ‘co-ordinating and selecting brethren to be personal mentors’. Freemasonry proved to be a strong bond between my father-in-law and myself and I have always been appreciative of the shared interest, as well as the support he gave me.


Graham Holmes
Ben Brierley Lodge, No. 3317
Middleton, East Lancs

 

 

Sir,
A couple of years ago, I invited half a dozen or so of the most junior brethren of my lodge to a very informal meeting. They came and we had a very positive meeting, followed by another in 2011, and it will be repeated later this year. As the brethren progress, I let them drop off and add newcomers. The lodge mentor joins us and we have had enjoyable as well as constructive meetings. When I was new, grand officers were not addressed until they spoke to you and then you called them ‘Sir’. I am proud to be called Ken by an entered apprentice. I intend to continue as long as the GAOTU spares me and, of course, my wife, since she provides the refreshments.


Ken Mason
Beacon Lodge, No. 5208
Loughborough, Leics & Rutland

 

Published in UGLE

QUARTERLY COMMUNICATION OF GRAND LODGE
WEDNESDAY, 14 MARCH 2012
REPORT OF THE BOARD OF GENERAL PURPOSES

The Minutes of the Quarterly Communication of 14 December 2011 were confirmed.

HRH The Duke of Kent KG was unanimously re-elected Grand Master.

GRAND LODGE REGISTER 2002–2011
The tables below show the number of lodges on the Register and of Certificates issued during the past ten years.
Lodges on the Grand Lodge Register
                             2002  2003  2004  2005  2006  2007  2008  2009  2010  2011
London                   1,581 1,570 1,556 1,552 1,532 1,489 1,458 1,433 1,397 1,374
Provincial                6,231 6,212 6,170 6,130 6,075 5,996 5,900 5,840 5,774 5,694
District and Abroad     793    791   787    784   782    768    736    731    722   724
Total                       8,605 8,573 8,513 8,466 8,389 8,253 8,094 8,004 7,893 7,792
Grand Lodge Certificates Issued  2002  2003  2004  2005  2006  2007  2008  2009  2010  2011
Issued at Freemasons' Hall         8,116 8,106 7,953 8,092 7,336 7,490 7,539 7,538 7,078 7,391
Issued by District Grand Masters   817    790    450    770    763   613    695    753    478   698
Total                                         8,933 8,896 8,403 8,862 8,099 8,103 8,234 8,291 7,556 8,089

COMMISSION FOR APPEALS COURTS
The following have been elected by the Rulers' Forum as Members of the Commission for Appeals Courts, with effect from the Annual Investiture of Grand Officers, for 2012 to 2015:
J.R. Bevan (South Wales), C.G.A. Aylwin (London), P.J. Rodd (East Kent), S.S. Howarth, (London), J.K. McLauchlan (Leicestershire and Rutland), C.C. Hodson (Nottinghamshire),
A.R.P.A. Ullstein, QC (London) and R.A. Bayliss (Surrey).
Additionally, His Honour Judge D.E.H. Edwards DL, has been elected to serve until 2014, filling the vacancy caused by the appointment of G.G. Dearing as Provincial Grand Master for East Kent.

PANEL FOR CLEMENCY
The following Brethren have been elected by the Rulers' Forum to serve on the Panel for Clemency, with effect from the Annual Investiture of Grand Officers, in addition to the President and Deputy President of the Board of General Purposes:
M.B. Davies, J. Gillyon, W.C.M. Dastur, R.B. Pemberton, D.H. Lane and .J. Burger.

MENTORS
3.4 Notice of Motion to amend the Book of Constitutions to introduce the office of Mentor was given at the Quarterly Communication in December 2011. The Notice of Motion included a description of the jewel, but no illustration was at that time available. The Board has now considered the design of the jewel, as follows:

HALL STONE JEWELS
Two versions of the Hall Stone Jewel issued to reward donations to the Masonic Million Memorial Fund, established to finance the building of the present Freemasons' Hall as a Masonic Peace Memorial are in common circulation: the individual subscriber's breast jewel, 1½" wide, in silver, engraved with the name and lodge of the Brother, which is suspended from a dark blue ribbon; and the Hall Stone Lodge Jewel, 17⁄8" wide, in silver gilt, engraved with the name and number of the lodge and date of its presentation in the Grand Lodge, which is appended to a light blue collarette, as prescribed in Plate 58 of the Book of Constitutions.
Very few Brethren indeed are left who are entitled to wear the small individual jewels, and those jewels now appear to be regarded as collectable items, which are traded quite regularly. The Board sees nothing objectionable in this.
The Lodge Hall Stone Jewels were presented to qualifying lodges by the Grand Master to mark the contributions those lodges had made. They were not, however, bought by those Lodges, and have always been the property of the Grand Master, to be returned, along with the Warrant and lodge's records if the lodge ceased to exist. Such returned Jewels have then been available as a source of replacements where a Hall Stone Lodge has lost – whether through theft, accident or otherwise – its original Jewel.
The Board is concerned both at the frequency with which Lodge Hall Stone Jewels have recently been offered for sale over the internet, and that former members of certain lodges which have been erased have refused to return the Hall Stone Jewel despite repeated requests that they do so.
The Board therefore recommends that the Grand Lodge place the matter beyond argument by declaring that a Lodge Hall Stone Jewel remains the property of the Grand Master and must be delivered up along with the Warrant if the Lodge is erased.

CHARGES FOR WARRANTS
In accordance with the provisions of Rule 270A, Book of Constitutions, the Board has considered the costs of preparing the actual documents specified in this Rule and recommends that for the year commencing 1 April 2012 the charges (exclusive of VAT) shall be as follows:
(a) Warrant for a new Lodge .......................................................... £320
(b) Warrant of Confirmation ........................................................... £800
(c) Warrant for a Centenary Jewel .................................................. £480
(d) Warrant of Confirmation for a Centenary Jewel ........................... £690
(e) Warrant for a Bi-Centenary Bar ................................................. £735
(f) Warrant of Confirmation for a Bi-Centenary Bar ........................... £735
(g) Certificate of Amalgamation ....................................................... £80
(h) Enfacement (Alterations) Fee ...................................................... £110

ERASURE OF LODGES
The Board has received a report that 35 lodges have closed and have surrendered their Warrants. The lodges are:
Ancient Union and Princes Lodge, No. 203 (West Lancashire), Blair Lodge, No. 815 (East Lancashire), Mayo Lodge, No. 1413 (Middlesex), Musgrave Lodge, No. 1597 (Middlesex),
Leopold Lodge, No. 1775 (East Lancashire), St Oswin Lodge, No. 2327 (Northumberland),
Willesden Lodge, No. 2489 (London), Friendship and Fellowship Lodge, No. 3333 (Cheshire), Gaddesden Lodge, No. 3398 (Hertfordshire), Chatsworth Lodge, No. 3430 (Derbyshire), Evening Star Lodge, No. 3644 (Cheshire), Cardiff Exchange Lodge, No. 3775 (South Wales), Camberwell Old Comrades Lodge, No. 4077 (West Kent).
St Margaret's Lodge, No. 4489 (Middlesex), Lodge of St Margaret, No. 4619 (West Lancashire), Whitton Lodge, No. 4770 (Middlesex) and Gibraltar Lodge, No. 4997 (London),
Royal Chase Forest Lodge, No. 5706 (Middlesex), Hastings Lodge, No. 6035 (Northumberland), Peace and Concord Lodge, No. 6065 (Cheshire), Forest View Lodge, No. 6588 (Essex), Old Grammarian Lodge of Waterloo, No. 6776 (West Lancashire), St Cuthbert Lodge, No. 6865 (Sussex), Albion Lodge, No. 6980 (Zimbabwe), Broad Acres Lodge, No. 7012 (Yorkshire, West Riding), Fairfield Lodge, No. 7501 (Surrey), Research Lodge, No. 8309 (Zimbabwe), New Milton Lodge, No. 8370 (Hampshire and Isle of Wight), Kymer Lodge, No. 8521 (Sussex), Cloisters Lodge, No. 8623 (East Lancashire), St Michael in Castro Lodge, No. 8838 (East Lancashire), Haven of Peace Lodge, No. 8857 (London), Naval Lodge, No. 9294 (South Africa, Western Division), East Lancashire Rotary Lodge, No. 9345 (East Lancashire) and Millennium Lodge of Research, No. 9728 (Durham).
Over recent years, the lodges have found themselves no longer viable. The Board is satisfied that further efforts to save them would be to no avail and therefore has no alternative but to recommend that they be erased. A Resolution to this effect was approved.

EXPULSIONS
3.13 As required by Rule 277 (a) (i) (B) and (D), Book of Constitutions, 12 Brethren were recently expelled from the Craft.

LIST OF NEW LODGES FOR WHICH WARRANTS HAVE BEEN GRANTED BY THE GRAND MASTER
With effect from 8 June 2011
9868 Idris Lodge (Perak, Eastern Archipelago)
With effect from 9 November 2011
9869 Lakeside Lodge (Paralimni, Cyprus)

QUARTERLY COMMUNICATIONS OF GRAND LODGE
25 April 2012 Annual Investiture), 13 June 2012, 12 September 2012, 12 December 2012, 13 March 2013 and 12 June 2013.

CONVOCATIONS OF SUPREME GRAND CHAPTER
26 April 2012, 14 November 2012, 25 April 2013 and 16 October 2013 (subject to the approval of Grand Chapter).

Published in UGLE
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 15:43

Pro Grand Master's address - December 2011

QUARTERLY COMMUNICATION
14 December 2011
An address by the MW The Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes

Brethren,

Mentoring has been high on the agenda for some time and I want to take this opportunity to give clarity and perspective to what we mean by mentoring.

You have heard today the President of the Board of General Purposes give notice of motion enabling a Master to appoint as an additional officer a Mentor, with a view to voting on this proposition at the March Quarterly Communication.  I want to stress that this is an optional office and it is up to individual Lodges as to whether or not they use it.

You have all heard previously that the mentoring scheme is designed to eventually mentor members at all stages of their Masonic progress.  Initially this is especially for candidates – the next generation – during the three degrees and then to encourage them to continue their progress into the Royal Arch.  London and all Provinces now have a Metropolitan or Provincial Grand Mentor who currently is responsible for liaising with the Lodge Mentor.  For the avoidance of doubt the Lodge Mentor is responsible for coordinating and selecting suitable Brethren to be the personal mentors.  It is most certainly not the intention that the Lodge Mentor should carry out the task himself.   The personal mentor is best described as a friend and guide.

We all have our ideas about what mentoring is and, for that matter, what mentoring is not.  Indeed, some believe there is no need for mentoring and some believe they are already mentoring perfectly satisfactorily and so on.  These sentiments are perfectly understandable without an explanation of what we actually mean by mentoring and what we are trying to achieve. In an ideal world, mentoring would happen naturally anyway and that everyone would be looked after as a matter of course, and that this, in turn, would take care of issues such as recruitment, retention and retrieval – the three ‘Rs’.  Whatever your idea of mentoring might be, one of the aims we should all keep in mind is the promotion of an environment of belonging, understanding, involvement and enjoyment within the Lodge.  The skill will be to achieve this with a “light touch”.

But first, Brethren, the word mentoring itself is translated in so many ways – rather like our Masonry! Let me be quite clear – mentoring is not just about the Lodge of Instruction – valuable though that is for advancement in Masonic ritual.  Rather it is mostly about pastoral care – seeing the candidate is looked after, kept informed and that that support and care remains throughout each member’s Masonic life.

In terms of the mentoring scheme I see pastoral care – at the very least – being eighty per cent of what mentoring is all about.  Put simply, the real test is how you would like to have been welcomed when you first joined and how you would like to have been supported from then onwards.  I do not want, nor I am sure do any of us, to have a complicated or onerous scheme – rather one that is as natural as possible yet, at the same time, allowing consistency of advice and support.

Mentoring has essentially three stages.  The first two are in many ways obvious as they cover logistics, basic ritual meaning and developing a sense of belonging and the third – how to talk about our Freemasonry to the non Mason – needs more explanation as it links in with our overall communications strategy.  A strategy that supports an external facing organisation and underpins our new ambassadors’ scheme.

The first stage is for each candidate to understand the basic logistics that are involved in becoming a Freemason. It is really about a proper welcome.  I am not going into that detail today – other than to say that a candidate should never feel under briefed and should be made aware of his financial and time commitment. During this stage the personal mentor answers any questions the candidate may have for him to gain a sense of belonging.  In other words, there should never be any surprises.

The second stage is to understand the basics of the ritual, especially after initiation and then passing and raising.  But this understanding should be about the ability to answer questions about the myths that non Masons have – so that right from the start, members can counter the questions about the so-called funny hand shakes and then the nooses and trouser leg being rolled up – all these classics. The questions on the myths need to be answered accurately and without embarrassment.  I am not talking about an in depth knowledge, but more a common understanding. The Mentor can, of course, point them in the right direction for this additional and important information as they require it. It is not, however, part of the new mentoring scheme.

We all understand the need to look after candidates, but it is the third stage of giving the confidence – from the very outset – in order that you can speak to, in particular, family and friends about Freemasonry. That, Brethren, is vital to ensuring the future.  A candidate – and this applies equally to the rest of us – needs to understand how to talk to the non Mason about what Freemasonry means. The aim is to have as many members as possible as ambassadors to Freemasonry.

Brethren let me say straightaway that an ambassador is not a rank or office - it is a mode of behaviour. On the fundamental understanding that we recruit only people who live up to our principles – an ambassador will not only understand the basics of ritual but also, importantly will be able and willing, with our support and guidance, to talk to family and friends about their Freemasonry as and when appropriate. We need to have confidence in them to do so appropriately.  To quote the Grand Master, “Talking openly about Freemasonry, as appropriate, is core to my philosophy, central to our communications strategy and essential to the survival of Freemasonry as a respected and relevant membership organisation”. 

It is with these three stages in mind that the Grand Secretary’s working party is producing brief and succinct guidelines for the Mentor to give, in turn, to the personal mentors.

So Brethren the mentoring scheme is in place and evolving.  In March you will vote on whether you wish the appointment of Mentor to be an optional additional office.  In essence I see mentoring as a “light touch” resulting in everyone enjoying their Freemasonry even more and feeling comfortable and confident talking to their family and friends in an informed and relaxed way.

Mentoring is progressing well in our Districts.  Since the last Quarterly Communication I have travelled to Auckland, North Island New Zealand to install the new District Grand Master.  It was good to see that they were in excellent spirits. We should however continue to keep in mind the hardship of our Brethren in the South Island after the earthquakes and the severe damage that was caused, whilst remembering the continuing after shocks that they are still experiencing on a regular basis.

I also travelled to Georgetown, Guyana, with a brief visit to our Brethren in Port of Spain in Trinidad ‘en route’, where we ended up singing Christmas Carols on a November evening!

In Georgetown I attended the 9th Regional Conference of the District Grand Masters in the Caribbean and Western Atlantic before installing the new District Grand Master for Guyana. I have mentioned before how uplifting it is to see the enjoyment with which our brethren in the Caribbean go about their masonry and the pride they show in being members of the English fraternity.  I should add that this is not only true in the Caribbean, but can be seen in all our Districts that I have visited.

Finally I wish you all a very enjoyable Christmas and a happy New Year.

Published in Speeches

Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge
14 December 2011
Report of the Board of General Purposes


Minutes of the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge of 14 September 2011 were confirmed.

HRH The Duke of Kent KG was nominated as Grand Master for the ensuing year.

Annual Investiture of Grand Officers (25 April 2012)
So that sufficient accommodation can be reserved for those Brethren who are to be invested and their friends, admission to the Annual Investiture is by ticket only. Brethren to be invested for the first time may invite to be present with them three qualified Brethren, and those to be promoted two qualified Brethren. Allowance having been made for such an issue and for those whose presence in the Grand Lodge is essential, a few seats will remain. Written application for these seats may be made to the Grand Secretary between 1 March and 31 March by Brethren qualified to attend Grand Lodge.

Masonic Year Book
The next edition of the Masonic Year Book, 2012–2013, will be available next summer. The charge remains at £12 per copy, plus postage and packing where appropriate. It is proposed to produce a new edition of the Directory of Lodges and Chapters during 2012 at a charge of £12 per copy. Copies of the current edition are still available and may be ordered in the meantime in the same way.
Every Lodge will receive one copy of the Masonic Year Book and the Directory free of charge. The Board emphasises that these copies should be available to all the members of private lodges and not regarded as for the exclusive use of the secretary to whom, for administrative reasons, they are dispatched.
As in previous years copies will be dispatched direct to secretaries of lodges. Sufficient copies will be dispatched to District Grand Secretaries for distribution to lodges in the Districts. Lodges abroad not in a District will receive their copies direct.

Prestonian Lectures for 2012
The Board has considered applications for the delivery of the official Prestonian Lectures in 2012 and has decided that these should be given under the auspices of the following: Humber Installed Masters Lodge, No. 2494 (Yorkshire, North and East Ridings), Authors Lodge, No. 3456 (London) and North Notts. Masters Lodge, No. 9525 (Nottinghamshire).
The Lecturer, W Bro A.D.G. Harvey, states that the title of the Lecture will be: Scouting and Freemasonry: two parallel organisations?

Mentors
Following the presentation on mentoring given in Grand Lodge in March 2008 very many lodges, as well as the Metropolitan Area of London, Provinces and Districts have adopted a mentoring scheme. In recognition of this the Book of Constitutions was changed in the following year to allow for an office of Provincial or District Grand Mentor, and the Metropolitan Grand Master was given the power to make a similar appointment in London.
At that time the Board did not contemplate a formal office at the level of a private lodge, taking the view that mentoring was an informal role: the choice of a Brother to undertake that role would be determined in each case by the needs of the individual candidate, so that in any lodge several, if not many, members would be acting as individual mentors.
It has been represented to the Board that in order to give impetus to the scheme a formal office is desirable, and the Board, having considered the matter, accordingly recommends that the Master of a lodge should have the option of appointing a Brother as Mentor, to rank immediately before the Senior Deacon, to co-ordinate mentoring within the lodge.
It is intended that where an appointment is made the Brother appointed to the office should ensure that every candidate (and any other Brother within the lodge requiring mentoring) is allocated a personal mentor, and that the work of the personal mentors so allocated is co-ordinated and organised. He should be able to provide guidance to the personal mentors on their responsibilities.
While he would not be precluded in an appropriate case from acting as a personal mentor himself, that should emphatically not be his primary function, which is to act in a co-ordinating role. The Board hopes that when the Mentor is invested the new Master will remind him of the duties attached to the office. The emblem (to be designed) would be two chisels in saltire.
Notice of Motion to amend the Book of Constitutions accordingly appeared on the paper of business.

Recognition of a Foreign Grand Lodge
The Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Alaska
The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Alaska and its Jurisdiction was consecrated by the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Washington on 6 September 1969, from three lodges operating in Alaska, which it had warranted in 1965. The Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Washington was recognised by the United Grand Lodge of England on 10 December 1997.
The Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Alaska shares jurisdiction with the Grand Lodge of Alaska, which has already granted it recognition and has also confirmed that it would have no objection to our doing so.
A Resolution was accordingly approved.

AMALGAMATIONS
The Board has received reports that the following lodges have resolved to
surrender their Warrants: Salisbury Lodge, No. 3228, in order to amalgamate with Lodge, No. 767 (Hertfordshire); Rossendale Forest Lodge, No. 4138, in order to amalgamate with Lodge of Amity, No. 283 (East Lancashire); Lodge of Good Companions, No. 6091, in order to amalgamate with Jordan Lodge, No. 201 (London); Ionic Lodge, No. 6983, in order to amalgamate with Jubilee Lodge, No. 9475 (Hertfordshire); Triton Lodge, No. 7738, in order to amalgamate with Peace and Friendship Lodge, No. 7414 (London); and Lodge of United Brethren, No. 9529, in order to amalgamate with Owen Falls Lodge, No. 9447 (East Africa).
The Board accordingly recommended that the lodges be removed from the register in order to effect the respective amalgamations. A Resolution to this effect was approved.

Erasure of Lodges
The Board had received a report that 28 lodges had closed and surrendered their Warrants. The lodges are: St John’s Lodge, No. 673 (West Lancashire), Mount Edgcumbe Lodge, No. 1446 (London), Viator Lodge, No. 2308 (London), Marcians Lodge, No. 2648 (London), Harlow Lodge, No. 2734 (Essex), Assheton Egerton Lodge, No. 2793 (Cheshire), Whitley Lodge, No. 2821 (Northumberland), Saltwell Lodge, No. 3000 (Durham), Brooklands Lodge, No. 3671 (Cheshire), Paton Lodge, No. 3738 (West Lancashire), St Mary’s Lodge, No. 3987 (Northumberland), Astley Lodge, No. 4370 (Cheshire), Elfrida Lodge, No. 4497 (London), Filia Unitatis Lodge, No. 4658 (London), Remus Lodge, No. 4760 (London), St Mildred Lodge, No. 5078 (South Wales) and Oliver Goldsmith Lodge, No. 5924 (London).
Lodge of Companionship, No. 6270 (London), King Arthur Lodge, No. 6593 (Surrey), Poseidon Lodge, No. 6815 (London), Lodge of Stability, No. 6985 (Northumberland), Ewloe Lodge, No. 7447 (North Wales), Croydon Lodge of Integrity, No. 7730 (Surrey), Beverley Brook Lodge, No. 8137 (Surrey), St Lawrence Lodge, No. 8205 (Surrey), Harrock Lodge, No. 8233 (West Lancashire), Hyde Abbey Lodge, No. 8241 (Surrey) and Lodge of Academe, No. 9377 (Warwickshire).
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.

Yet More Of Our Yesterdays
There was a presentation on the Proceedings of Grand Lodge 200 and 100 years ago by VW Bro J.M. Hamill and VW Bro G.F. Redman, Assistant Grand Secretary.

Expulsion From The Craft
There was one expulsion from the Craft.

Meetings of Grand Lodge
14 March 2012, 25 April (Annual Investiture) 2012, 13 June 2012, 12 September 2012, 12 December 2012, 13 March 2013.

Meetings of Supreme Grand Chapter
25 April 2012, 14 November 2012, 25 April 2013, 16 October 2013 (subject to the approval of Supreme Grand Chapter).

Published in UGLE

REGULAR CONVOCATION
9 NOVEMBER 2011
An address by the ME Pro First Grand Principal Peter Lowndes


Companions

I am delighted to report that the Royal Arch Masons Bicentenary Appeal for the Royal College of Surgeons, launched last November, is progressing well. I am informed that very nearly two hundred thousand pounds has been donated to date. Thank you to those who have generously donated.  As we move towards the bicentenary in 2013, I encourage you, in your fund raising endeavours, to continue to request presentations from a Royal College team for example, at your annual Provincial meetings so that the Companions in your Province can fully understand the important research work that the Research Fellows can undertake as a result of our continued support.

The First Grand Principal summed this up with great clarity when he wrote, “This campaign gives us an excellent opportunity to contribute further towards something that is helping to save lives and improve the quality of life for us, our children and grandchildren”.

Your Provincial Appeal co-ordinators know the procedure for requesting these presentations and for ordering donation leaflets for distribution when those presentations take place.  I also remind you that the information for donating to the Appeal is on the Grand Charity website. As a minimum target we are aiming for one million pounds and as I said a moment ago, we are well on our way.

The Appeal is a highly visible external contribution from the Royal Arch. However, there are other internal areas that we all ought, as members of the Order, to be looking at to give the Royal Arch a higher profile. 

The first is encouragement by you, to bring in new members for exaltation, understanding that this will be for them the completion of their pure ancient Masonry that they have discovered during the ceremonies of initiation, passing and raising in the craft – most particularly the latter.  Companions, I like to use the analogy of a four part TV drama.  What is the point of watching the first three episodes and then ignoring the fourth when all is revealed.

This is not just about keeping member numbers up, it is also about making sure you have enough work at each meeting to keep the members’ skills honed.  Remember, of course, to share the work out as much as possible so as to achieve the maximum involvement of the Companions in your Chapter. That way Companions will become far more interested in the beauty of the ceremonies as well as keeping up their interest. I note that we had three thousand nine hundred and thirty exaltations last year.

Companions, I have mentioned before that I, along with many other companions, find the lay out of the current ritual books to be confusing and difficult to follow.  A new lay out with the new version, currently known as the “permissive” version, as the main text and the former version printed separately at the back.  The ritual organisations are updating the books and it is likely that all the major rituals will be reprinted in the next eighteen months to two years.

Secondly, we have two important weapons in our ‘communication armoury’.  Our house magazine, Freemasonry Today and the new members’ website launched in September.  The strap line refers to the magazine as the official journal of the United Grand Lodge of England but Companions, the editorial policy is predominantly to cover stories and news about both the Craft and the Royal Arch. This is also the case with the website which will be timely in getting news to you. I know the Editor of Freemasonry Today is keen to receive more stories for consideration and possible inclusion on the Royal Arch. The Provincial Information Officers have a key role to play here and are well briefed on the process for submission for both the magazine and the website.

For your interest, we are now starting to work on the new website for the Royal Arch, to bring the current one both up-to-date and in line with all the other communications initiatives we have recently launched.

Many of you will know that Grand Scribe Ezra, as Grand Secretary, is chairing a working party on mentoring in the Craft with the aim of seeing what elements of this are relevant to import to the Royal Arch.  We already have Royal Arch representatives in many of our Lodges and one of the key decisions, as I am sure you can all appreciate from your experience, is when is the right time to brief the newly joined Mason on the Royal Arch – to have him understand the importance of the Royal Arch in the completion of pure ancient Masonry. For example there are questions such as, is it best after they have been raised, how does their mentor brief them, and how does the mentor or Royal Arch representative gain the right level of knowledge to correctly brief them in the first place? These are some of the conundrums that the working party are grappling with and I look forward to briefing you on their suggestions early next year.  I am sure, however, that many of you have been debating these issues for some time! Fundamental is establishing the relevance, to prospective candidates, of the Order all of us who have been exalted so enjoy.

Since the beginning of the year we have installed six new Grand Superintendants in our Provinces and I have also installed the new Grand Superintendant for North Island New Zealand.  This is, together, of course, with the South Island, the furthest of our Districts and our visit was seen as both supportive and a real sign of our commitment.  We also met the Grand Superintendent from South Island who explained the continued havoc in Christchurch.  Much of the damage from the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 and the multitude of aftershocks had come from liquefaction, when the soils are shaken and turn into a liquid form, undermining buildings and other structures.  There is little chance of buildings being replaced in Christchurch as a result.  What brought it home for us was when we learnt that the Hotel we stayed in for District’s 150th Anniversary, at the end of 2010 had crashed to the ground, not that long after we had left. Aftershocks continue to this day, illustrated by the fact that Christchurch was rocked by a 5.5 aftershock last Friday – the biggest they had had since June. Our continued sympathy and support goes out to our Companions in these tough conditions.

It is good top see so many of you here today and it is also appropriate that I take this opportunity to remind you that all Companions are eligible to attend this Supreme Grand Chapter meeting.

Published in Speeches
Friday, 16 September 2011 10:45

The external image

HRH the Duke of Kent explains why Freemasons need to not only act as mentors but also ambassadors

Grand Rank should be regarded as a challenge to greater effort and as an incentive to shoulder greater responsibilities. Some of you already hold executive appointments in the Metropolitan, Provinces and Districts. All of you, whether you hold these appointments or not, must remember the importance of training the next generation, which is precisely why the Mentoring Scheme has been set in motion.

The Mentoring Scheme is designed eventually to mentor members at all stages of their masonic progress. Initially this will be especially for candidates during the three degrees and to encourage them to continue their progress into the Royal Arch. All Provinces now have a Provincial Grand Mentor who will be responsible for ensuring the selection of a mentoring coordinator in each lodge. The mentoring coordinator, in turn, will select the member in the lodge with the right personality and knowledge to actually do the mentoring of each individual. The Pro Grand Master announced to the Provincial and District Grand Masters the formation of a working party, under the chairmanship of the Grand Secretary, to look at for example, the selection of coordinators and mentors as well as guidelines to make sure that the messages are consistent.

The aim is to have as many members as possible as ambassadors for Freemasonry. By ambassador I mean a member who not only lives as honest a life as possible, but also understands the meaning of the ritual and, importantly, is able and willing to talk about Freemasonry to family and friends. Talking openly about Freemasonry, as appropriate, is core to my philosophy, central to our communications strategy and essential to the survival of Freemasonry as a respected and relevant membership organisation. As Grand Officers I shall of course be relying upon you to give your full support to the Mentoring Scheme as it develops.

On a visit to the Province of Buckinghamshire to see their Freemasonry in the Community projects, I was particularly impressed with their iHelp youth competition – involving young groups competing for prize money to show the positive side of young people – and the Rock Ride covering a 1,500 mile bicycle ride from Gibraltar to Stowe School to raise funds for non-masonic charities within the Province. These projects are supported by the local dignitaries and are enormously important for our external image.

Another important example of our external image is the very successful event business run here at Freemasons’ Hall. As one of the unique venues of London we are highly respected within the events industry. I was pleased to hear that, last year, we had 53,000 non-masonic visitors to our events. This included London Fashion Week and an after party for the latest Harry Potter world premiere! Many of our visitors did not know that they could come into a masonic building and all of them I believe left having had a very happy experience.

This is an excerpt from the Annual Craft Investiture address by the MW The Grand Master HRH the Duke of Kent, KG, given on 27 April 2011.  To read the speech in full, press here.

Published in UGLE
Wednesday, 27 April 2011 10:26

Grand Master's address - April 2011

ANNUAL CRAFT INVESTITURE

27 April 2011

An address by the MW The Grand Master HRH The Duke of Kent, KG

Brethren,

I welcome you all to this Annual Investiture and I should like to congratulate all those who have become Grand Officers or who have been promoted in Grand Rank. This is a special day for you. At the same time I thank those other Grand Officers who, reappointed from year to year, do so much to ensure continuity in the direction of the Craft.

Grand Rank should be regarded as a challenge to greater effort and as an incentive to shoulder greater responsibilities. Some of you already hold executive appointments in Metropolitan, the Provinces and the Districts. All of you, whether you hold these appointments or not, must remember the importance of training the next generation, which is precisely why the Mentoring Scheme has been set in motion.

The Mentoring Scheme is designed eventually to mentor members at all stages of their Masonic progress. Initially this will be especially for candidates during the three degrees and to encourage them to continue their progress into the Royal Arch. All Provinces now have a Provincial Grand Mentor who will be responsible for ensuring the selection of a mentoring coordinator in each Lodge. The mentoring coordinator, in turn, will select the member in the Lodge with the right personality and knowledge to actually do the mentoring of each individual. The Pro Grand Master announced yesterday to the Provincial and District Grand Masters the formation of a working party, under the chairmanship of the Grand Secretary, to look at for example, the selection of coordinators and mentors as well as guidelines to make sure that the messages are consistent.

The aim is to have as many members as possible as ambassadors for Freemasonry. By ambassador I mean a member who not only lives as honest a life as possible, but also understands the meaning of the ritual and, importantly, is able and willing to talk about Freemasonry to family and friends. Talking openly about Freemasonry, as appropriate, is core to my philosophy, central to our communications strategy and essential to the survival of Freemasonry as a respected and relevant membership organisation. As Grand Officers I shall of course be relying upon you to give your full support to the Mentoring Scheme as it develops.

Brethren, in July I visited the Province of Buckinghamshire to see their Freemasonry in the Community projects. I was particularly impressed with their iHelp youth competition – involving young groups competing for prize-money to show the positive side of young people – and the Rock Ride covering a 1,500 mile bicycle ride from Gibraltar to Stowe School to raise funds for non Masonic Charities within the Province. These projects are supported by the local dignitaries and are enormously important for our external image.

Another important example of our external image is the very successful event business run here at Freemasons’ Hall. As one of the Unique Venues of London we are highly respected within the event industry. I was pleased to hear that, last year, we had 53,000 non Masonic visitors to our events. Events that included the London Fashion Week and the after party for the latest Harry Potter world premier! Many of our visitors did not know that they could come into a Masonic building and all of them I believe left having had a very happy experience.

I understand that the head of Disaster Management at the British Red Cross came to speak at the March Quarterly Communication. This was timely as I am particularly mindful of our Brethren in Christchurch, South Island New Zealand with the earthquake, and those north of Rio de Janeiro in the District Grand Lodge of South America, Northern Division with the mudslides and flooding. Both these Districts received immediate help from the Grand Charity through the British Red Cross. I am pleased to report that though there was considerable structural damage none of our members were lost.

In conclusion I should like to congratulate the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his Deputies and the Grand Secretary and his staff for all they have done to make this meeting such a success.

 

Published in Speeches
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