Since the last issue of the magazine it has been a very busy period, including the preparations for and running of the Craft and Royal Arch Investitures. The day before the Craft Investitures the Pro Grand Master holds his annual business meeting with the Metropolitan and Provincial Grand Masters and Grand Superintendents and any from the Districts who are here for the Investitures. The next morning the Grand Secretary holds a meeting for all Grand Secretaries and Scribes E.
I take every opportunity to attend annual meetings and Installations. One of the main purposes is to meet as many people as possible, to find out how you are and to get to discuss any issues. This will continue to be my policy. The Rulers’ Forum held in June and December each year is another way for our leaders to get ideas from ‘grass root’ masons. This June’s meeting, chaired by the Pro Grand Master, was again successful.
I take this opportunity to mention two points that concern me: humility and recruitment. Interestingly, the Grand Master talked about the importance of humility in his Investiture speech. Rank, whether Grand, Metropolitan or Provincial, should never be actively sought and, if attained, never accompanied by arrogance, but rather by a renewed sense of duty and fraternal affection. Talking about the importance of humility leads me onto the second point, about recruitment.
As Grand Secretary I am privileged to meet many tremendous people who have a common bond in our love and enjoyment of masonry. They understand the true meaning of charity. I also get to deal with a very small minority who have neither humility nor fraternal affection.
This prompts me to ask two questions. Is the selection process always thorough enough? Do secretaries always follow out Rule 158 for a joining member? Candidate selection is a very real responsibility that falls on us all. It is a responsibility that is to be taken seriously now and forever. A proposer and seconder and the selection committee have all to be happy that the candidate is of the highest possible standard in both private and public life – a future ambassador for all Freemasons.
Never let the numbers game cloud your good sense. So I ask you to select candidates convinced that they will be an ambassador for all we truly believe in. I found a piece of unattributable masonic writing the other day which combines rather well humility, fraternal affection and being an ambassador for Freemasonry: I would not give much for your masonry unless it can be seen. Lamps do not talk, but they shine. A lighthouse sounds no drum, it beats no gong, and yet far over the water its friendly spark is seen by the mariner. So let your actions shine out your masonry. Let the main sermon of your life be illustrated by your conduct, and it shall not fail to be illustrious.
At the June Quarterly Communication the Pro Grand Master reminded us that on 19 July 2008, Freemasons Hall in Great Queen Street will be seventy five years old. Looking back to 1933, it was inspiring to hear the Pro Grand Master say that Freemasonry was in a stronger position today than it has been for many years.
This achievement is primarily due to the leadership of the Rulers and the work of the members of the Board of General Purposes and the Committee of General Purposes. In acknowledging their contribution, it is timely for me to remind you that they give their time free.
I have had the chance to view the new exhibition in the Library and Museum called 'Women and Freemasonry: The Centenary'. This is the first comprehensive display on the development of Freemasonry for women. In July, the Library and Museum is opening its summer exhibition: 'Square Meals: 300 Years of Masonic Dining' – an equally fascinating subject!