Celebrating 300 years
Wednesday, 13 September 2017 06:00

Presentation on the Improvement Delivery Group

Quarterly Communication

13 September 2017
A presentation by RW Bro Bro Sir David Wootton, Assistant Grand Master

Pro Grand Master and brethren, we all have our own view of what we see in masonry. For me, it’s five things:

  1. We’re all volunteers: none of us have to be masons or do what we do. The magnificent total of £3,100,000 announced at the North Wales Festival on Saturday was all the result of volunteering: voluntary time, voluntary effort, voluntary money;
  2. What we now call “social inclusion”: bringing together people of different origins, backgrounds, occupations, interests, locations, opinions, faiths; people who would not otherwise meet; in a common activity in which all are fundamentally equal;
  3. Our purposefulness: when we meet, there’s a purpose, whether it’s a masonic meeting, ritual; or charity or a community project; the best recent example I saw, the Jurassic Coast Youth Adventure organised by Dorset, 200plus children in need from all over the country taken on a week’s healthy activities by the sea. Whatever it is, we want to do it well, and we do;
  4. The practice of every moral and social virtue: words cited by the Bishop of Worcester, not a mason, at the Provincial Tercentenary Service on Sunday in a sermon that would inspire every mason. Our, if you like, moral code, best illustrated in the Charge to the Initiate, is a huge asset which will play increasingly well with younger generations for whom such things are in short supply;
  5. The social side: we do do the best parties, don’t we, getting to know each other informally, in friendship, and it works because of the other factors I’ve mentioned.

We all sense a steady move to greater openness: the Sky TV programmes; publicity in the right way for our charity and community activities: the word Freemasons on the London's Air Ambulance; wearing regalia in public: all in the right direction.

Recognising masonry’s good things but sensing that the make-up and profile of our membership – age, number – were going in the wrong direction, the Board of General Purposes – BGP – set up the Membership Focus Group – MFG – under the inspired leadership of Ray Reed to find out what was happening to today’s membership, to assess the likely affect on tomorrow’s and, if we didn’t like that – which we didn’t – to decide what to do.

Deciding what to do is called STRATEGY – YES! The MFG produced, and everyone adopted, Strategy: The Future of Freemasonry 2015-2020, which I know we’ve all read and like.

Thoughts then turned to implementing the Strategy. Ooh, the MFG said, could be difficult – better get someone else to do it, and so was born the Improvement Delivery Group – IDG (I hope you’re keeping up with the jargon, brethren) to Deliver the Improvements which should flow from the work of the MFG.   

I was out of the room at the time, so they made me Chairman. Also out of the room was Provincial Grand Master for South Wales and Third Grand Principal Gareth Jones, so we made him Deputy Chairman.

Strategy is no good unless it is accepted, understood and embraced by the membership – remember we’re all volunteers. The IDG had to show it was including Craft and Royal Arch, and all areas of the country, and Head Office. So, in addition to Gareth and me:

  • Michael Ward, London
  • Jeff Gillyon, Yorkshire North and East Ridings
  • Stephen Blank, Cheshire
  • Peter Taylor, Shropshire
  • Tim Henderson-Ross, Gloucestershire
  • Charles Cunnington, Derbyshire
  • Ian Yeldham, Suffolk
  • Mark Estaugh, West Kent
  • Stuart Hadler, Somerset
  • Gordon Robertson, Buckinghamshire, who leaves us on retiring as PGM and is replaced by James Hilditch, Oxfordshire
  • Ray Reed

 ...and from Head Office:

  • Grand Secretary Willie
  • Assistant Grand Secretary Shawn
  • ..and now Chief Executive David

Brethren, in light of all they do, I would like all those I’ve named to stand and be recognised. Thank you.

To pick up the work of the MFG we formed Working Groups matching the elements of the Strategy. The Strategy talks about effective governance at all levels; a leadership development programme; the attraction and retention of members; and the sustainability of masonic halls. Thus…

Gareth Jones is leading our Governance Group looking at who and what does what, the roles and responsibilities of each office and body, what they and what they’re not, and how we ensure that people understand what their roles and responsibilities are and aren’t, and what is expected of them. From the esteemed Adelphi2 we have lots of lovely statistics which will help show how Provinces and Districts are doing in terms of membership and help them to direct their efforts where they are needed.

Leadership – Michael Ward – aims to equip office-holders for their roles. Workshop sessions for PGMs and Grand Superintendents; workshops for Deputy PGMs and Grand Superintendents; next week the first training session for secretaries. We now have a UGLE training officer, Andrew Kincaid, to devise and roll-out training roles for all different roles. This not about imposing uniformity – you will do it this way – but helping people to see what’s involved and how to do the job well.

Jeff Gillyon’s Masonic Halls Group have published the Masonic Halls Centres of Excellence Guide, now available, best electronically, and those responsible for the management of masonic halls are strongly encouraged to use it: you will find it very useful. It is now in the charge of John Pagella, Grand Superintendent of Works, who has formed a Steering Group to manage the Guidance Manual and keep it up to date. There will be an annual meeting for all Provincial Grand Superintendents of Works.

The five Provinces in Regional Communications Group 1 – North of England – on the initiative of Gordon Brewis, Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works for Durham, have recognised the need for professionally qualified Provincial Grand Superintendents of Works and arranged for them to meet so that the adoption of best practice can be recommended uniformly across them all.

The Guidance Manual is not a book to be read from cover to cover: it is a reference tool, to be consulted as circumstances lead. It is guidance, support and advice: a guide to best practice. It can’t give definitive advice on, for example, legal issues, because so much depends on individual circumstances.

We want our halls and centres to be at the centre of the local community. Maybe we should refer to them as Masonic Community Centres.

Our Membership Group, headed by Peter Taylor, has circulated for comment the Membership Pathway, the product of several years of devoted effort, and parts well piloted in ten Provinces and 110 lodges Its purpose is to help lodges attract and retain the right members in the right place: to show what we need to do to attract the members we want to join us, stay and enjoy the full masonic journey.

Again, it is not a book, you do not read it cover to cover, you look at the parts you want as and when you need to.

The Pathway will be launched at the Provincial and District Rulers’ Forum – PDRF – on 18 October and then rolled out. So no-one should worry that they will be presented with it and then left on their own. Roll-out will be organised for you: to Regions and Provinces from January to March next year, and then to lodges….and there will be a folding leaflet on the front of Freemasonry Today in December.

There is much demand from masons to know more about masonry, its origin, history and meaning. Stuart Hadler’s Education Group is creating an online store of masonic learning materials, readily accessible in a Virtual Learning Environment. It will be tested later this year, introduced to a number of pilot Provinces in the new year, and full roll-out will be in later in 2018. What the group want is more materials to include, so contributions welcome, please.

In parallel to all this continues the excellent progress of the Universities Scheme, of which I am honoured to be the President. Existing and new lodges, and chapters, here and in Districts, recruit among students at universities and equivalent across the country and outside the UK, and do so very successfully. There are still a number of universities in this country not represented in the scheme, and we are addressing that.

I would like to thank all who are involved in the scheme, all volunteers, for all they do, and in particular the Chairmen: the founding Chairman, Oliver Lodge, now moonlighting as the Grand Director of Ceremonies; Edward Lord, current Chairman who retires after eight distinguished years at the Scheme conference in this building on 4th November; and Chairman-Designate Mark Greenburgh, who takes over on that date, and I would ask them to stand and be recognised too.

Many Provinces and Districts have New and Young Masons’ Clubs, with a wide variety of imaginative names, and those that don’t will. These clubs are an excellent way of those newer to masonry getting to know more other newbies, and building essential camaraderie. The clubs are holding their conference on 14 October in Birmingham under Gareth Jones’ leadership.

All this, IDG and others, is about creating our future, which is in our hands and which we are doing. The figures already show that it is working: in many areas there is a discernible shift in the trend of the numbers, and there will be more.

I have illustrated this talk with scenes from the everyday life of an Assistant Grand Master. Here’s the last one. In his sermon at the Durham Tercentenary Service last Thursday – I’m into clergy this morning, brethren – the Dean of Durham, also not a mason, said he saw masonry as a confident, open and engaged fraternity with strong foundational values.

We can do this, brethren, we can do this.  

Thank you. 

 

 

Published in Speeches

Hearts & Minds

For Ray Reed, past Deputy President of the Board of General Purposes and Past Provincial Grand Master of Buckinghamshire, the process of change that he helped to introduce within Freemasonry is only just beginning

What did your early career teach you?

I joined BP Chemicals straight from school and served a five-year apprenticeship as an instrument and electronics engineer before moving on to Reckitt & Colman when I was 23. The next 15 years were manic – two years after joining I was asked to set up and manage a new work-study department, followed by secondment as company negotiator with trade unions, then I became human resources director before becoming general manager.

Each move involved a new discipline and took me out of my comfort zone. I like the challenge of being thrown in at the deep end and rarely get stressed. If I had, I think I would have failed. These challenges opened my eyes to the fact most of what goes on in business management is common sense. Get a great team around you, identify what works, question what doesn’t, create a strategy and focus on improvement.

Equally, I learned that people at all levels love you to listen to and debate their ideas for improvement – it gives them confidence that they are part of the change process and makes them feel valued.

Why did you establish your own company?

By 1980 we were selling off the industrial division. Reckitt & Colman wanted me to stay but I was nearly 40 and wanted a new challenge, something completely different. Close friends thought I was mad.

My old sales director had left to do his own thing, working for an American company in psychological assessment. He asked me if I’d advise him on setting up a business, so I talked him into going to the US. Instead of working for the American company, we bought the franchise for the UK. About three years later, we found ourselves bigger than the US business, so we bought them out.

Family has been so important in the success of the business. My wife Doreen, who was a business partner, has been a vital cog from the outset and, after I retired in 2005, our son Martin has grown the business to become one of the top five assessment companies in the world. We are still a private entity and I continue to serve as a non-executive director.

What drove you to join Freemasonry?

I had been attending masonic social events from the age of 16 and always felt comfortable in the company of members. One day shortly after I married I asked my father-in-law, ‘What’s Freemasonry all about?’ I can recall his exact words: ‘I’ve been waiting for you to ask, I’ll get you a form. I can’t tell you what it’s about, you’ll have to trust me.’ In today’s fast-moving world such an approach would be laughed at, but that was the norm then.

Freemasonry was so popular in those days so I had to wait three years to be initiated, which just made me want it more. I joined Thesaurus Lodge [No. 3891] in North Yorkshire on 11 May 1967. It was the perfect lodge for me: great ceremonial, friendly and very encouraging with new candidates. I realised as a 27-year-old that while my business life was driving me into new areas and becoming ever more demanding, Freemasonry was developing me as a person, giving me a new-found confidence and a better understanding of my values in life.

Did you feel ready to become Provincial Grand Master?

No. Sadly, Lord Burnham died in office in 2005 and I received a letter asking me to take the role – not long after I had been appointed an APGM. There was no training, just a patent that told you to run the Province in accordance with the rules and regulations of the United Grand Lodge of England. And that was it, you were on your own. That suited me; it comes back to being thrown in at the deep end.

We identified member expectations through surveys, set a modernisation strategy that took account of these results, communicated them to members and then monitored the progress. Member collaboration was vital to the process – we set out to make masonic life more enjoyable, to improve our image in the local community and to market the Craft as a power for good within society.

It appears to me that succession planning is as vital at lodge level as it is at Provincial and UGLE level’

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve had as a PGM?

When I became Provincial Grand Master, the Past Pro Provincial Grand Master of Middlesex, Gordon Bourne, suggested I miss out the sweet course and coffee at the Festive Board in order to make time for talking to members. At first I thought, ‘This is a bit stupid’ – but within three months, members were coming up to me with really creative ideas to improve the Province’s image. It was a great success.

Gordon also suggested that at non-installation meeting dinners, I ask lodges to sit me with the five newest members of the lodge. That was magic; few realised the significance of the Provincial Grand Master role, so they talked openly and honestly. I heard their expectations, what they liked and did not like about their lodges and Freemasonry. The insights we collected helped convince Grand Lodge Officers to sit off the top table. It really broke so many historic barriers.

How important is the process of succession planning?

The second highest resignation levels in the Craft are those of Past Masters resigning shortly after completing their year in office. It therefore appears to me that succession planning is as vital at lodge level as it is at Provincial and UGLE level.

While there is no right or wrong approach to succession planning, lodges may well benefit from discussing the future aspirations with their lodge Masters well before they end their year in office. This should be done to ensure commitment and motivation, and in order to take any necessary steps to reduce the likelihood of resignation. One thing is for sure: if a member has an ambition toward a specific discipline – be it administrative, ceremonial or charitable – he is more likely to succeed in that discipline than in a role he has been cajoled into and does not really aspire to.

When did you become a member of the Board of General Purposes?

After a couple of years as a Provincial Grand Master I found myself sat next to Anthony Wilson, President of the Board, at a dinner. We had an enlightening discussion about Freemasonry’s past, present and future. Little did I know I had been recommended to him as a Board member and the next day I was asked to join. It was a complete shock and I embarked on another steep learning curve, but I loved being on the Board. We were all like-minded, giving our time freely and seeking to positively influence both the present and future of the Craft for our members.

How does change occur in the world of Freemasonry?

Historically, change has happened very slowly as we are a bottom-up organisation. Even small change in the past caused the shutters to go up. Members were perhaps fearful that there was a desire to change our traditions, which has never been on the agenda.Over recent years, Freemasonry has created a strategy for 2015-2020. Webinar technology has been tested and rolled out in the Provinces for member training and coaching, which can take place online at home. Even after one year of the strategy being communicated in 2015, membership loss dropped dramatically; indeed, several Provinces increased their numbers. This is a sure indication that members are getting behind the change process. We just need to win the hearts and minds of those who are yet to come to the party.

Published in UGLE

Well appointed

Responsible for the fabric of Freemasons’  Hall, Grand Superintendent of Works  John Pagella encourages a businesslike  approach towards the management of  every masonic building

What’s your professional background?

I’m a chartered surveyor by training, working for the first five years of my professional life for what was then the Greater London Council. I spent two and a half years doing slum clearance in the East End of London, acquiring properties that were medically unfit for human habitation. I learnt a little bit about surveying but a huge amount about life and social conditions that simply don’t exist today.

I then wanted the challenge of working in private practice. So I joined a firm of chartered surveyors called Montagu Evans, becoming a partner and eventually the head of valuation and professional services before retiring in 2002. Retirement is a bit of a strange term, because I’m now doing as much as I ever did.

What does the title Grand Superintendent of Works mean?

It’s a masonic title – I’m the property adviser or the surveyor, in very simple terms. I’m responsible to the Board of General Purposes and to the Rulers of the Craft for maintaining the fabric of Freemasons’ Hall. When Grand Lodge was first established there was no Grand Superintendent of Works, but they quickly realised they needed a property professional. Sir John Soane was the first, and over the years we’ve had architects, engineers and surveyors filling the post.

In my role I also guide the changes that may be needed within Freemasons’ Hall to help it to function as a building that fulfils the needs of Freemasonry today. Equally important is our property portfolio in Great Queen Street, both as an asset within the investment portfolio of UGLE and also for the income that it produces. This income helps to cushion the organisation from the day-to-day costs of managing an ageing building.

How did you become a Freemason?

My father was a mason and it’s one of my regrets in life that he died before I became one. His – and my – mother lodge, Molesey Lodge, No. 2473, was the lodge for Covent Garden. So the owners of the fruit businesses, the market workers, the local bank manager and the local solicitor were all members. One of my earliest memories was the atmosphere at home when it was the lodge meeting day. He’d be dressed in his masonic clothing with morning suit, and off he went. My uncle, who by then was Secretary of the lodge, said, ‘Come on, I think you’ll enjoy this.’ Eventually, I gave up the unequal struggle and joined.

I thoroughly enjoyed it. I met interesting people and no matter where I went, I felt welcome. I also got satisfaction out of the ritual as I’ve always been intrigued by analysing and understanding why we do what we do as masons. If you put some time and effort into understanding the ritual, it has an awful lot to tell you about life.

'Freemasonry is a craft but managing its buildings is a business’

What are the challenges facing masonic buildings?

One of my mantras is that Freemasonry is a craft but managing its buildings is a business. One of the reasons we have got into difficulties with some of our buildings is that masons have been visiting their lodges for many, many years. They feel comfortable, it’s all part of the tradition of that lodge and they’re reluctant to look objectively at what is happening.

I’m a director of Surbiton’s masonic hall, and a number of years ago, when lodge membership began falling, we realised we needed to complement the income that Freemasonry brought in with outside events. Some people think that’s straightforward, that all you do is put up a sign saying ‘we do weddings’ and it comes to you. That doesn’t tend to work. You’ve got to be professional about the way that you attract outside income.

We adapted the building so that there was a modern, elegant hospitality suite. We had wedding coordinators, we installed a professional kitchen, we created improved bar facilities – everything that a couple who wanted to get married would want.

The approach at Surbiton is only one example of the challenges in managing a building – one solution does not fit all. What we’re trying to do is encourage people to go to the right people and ask the right questions in order to make an informed commercial decision about their building.

How is UGLE helping at a local level?

We cannot do other than encourage common sense and good practice in the way in which lodges decide to use their land and buildings. It’s not our task to dictate. We want to encourage those who own and occupy masonic buildings to pause, sit back and ask themselves whether their buildings are not only fit for purpose today but will continue to be so in 10 or 20 years’ time.

While Freemasonry is about respecting tradition, we also need to be aware that the world is changing. Circumstances are forcing us to think about what we are doing with our buildings. We can either think about this in sufficient time to make an orderly and sensible decision. Or, we can wait until, all of a sudden, circumstances overwhelm us. That is when the problems arise, when people are forced to take critical decisions too quickly.

At the moment I don’t have a lot of contact with the Provincial Superintendents of Works. One of our objectives at UGLE is to try to create some form of forum for discussion
and the exchange of ideas. We can all benefit from the experience we have in different areas.

Is it hard for you to look at any building aesthetically?

It’s a standing joke in my family. Whenever we go into a house, my wife looks at the interior design, and I point out there’s a bit of damp and some shared rights of access that I feel uncomfortable about! I do look at everything through the eyes of somebody whose whole life has been concerned with buildings.

Some buildings are beautiful. Some are appallingly ugly. Since 1948, every building in this country has been through a formal approval process. If you see a terrible building in the wrong place, ask yourself how it came about, because somebody not only sat down to design it, someone else approved it too. Bad architecture should be the exception yet there’s so much of it about.

Do you enjoy your work?

I think I have one of the finest jobs in Freemasonry because I’m able to use my experience to achieve something tangible. By 2020, I hope we will have completed the work needed on our property investment portfolio, leaving us to concentrate on exercising sound management control. If I achieve a change of attitude towards the way we manage masonic buildings generally, I think I will have helped to achieve something worthwhile.

Published in UGLE

Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge

8 June 2016 
Report of the Board of General Purposes

Minutes

The Minutes of the Quarterly Communication of 9 March 2016 and the Annual Investiture of 27 April 2016 were confirmed.

Rule 110 Book of Constitutions

Rule 110 of the Book of Constitutions currently provides:

110. Should a Prince of the Blood Royal honour any private Lodge by accepting the office of Master, he may appoint a Deputy Master, qualified in compliance with the provisions of rule 105, who shall be regularly installed, and be entitled, when in office, to all the privileges of Master, and, after he has served his period of office, to those of a Past Master.

In  the early part of the last century, HRH the  Duke  of Connaught and Strathearn, the then Grand Master, was permanent Master of Lodge of Antiquity, No. 2 and Royal Somerset House and Inverness Lodge, No. 4, which were at that time the only two Lodges formally recognised as enjoying time immemorial status. In 1967, Lodge of Fortitude and Old Cumberland, No. 12, the third of the three surviving Lodges which had come together in 1717 to form the premier Grand Lodge, was permitted to surrender its Warrant and thus regain the time immemorial status it had lost in 1722 by accepting a Warrant from the premier Grand Lodge.

It has been suggested that, with the approach of the tercentenary of Grand Lodge, it would be appropriate for the present Grand Master to follow the example of the Duke of Connaught and accept the permanent Mastership of the three time immemorial Lodges. To facilitate his so doing, it is recommended, following advice from the Grand registrar, that the rule  be amended by the addition of a further sentence to the rule. notice of Motion to amend the Book of Constitutions accordingly. The amendment was approved.

Annual Dues

2017  the  Board  recommended,  in  accordance  with  rule  269,  Book  of Constitutions, that the annual dues (including Vat)  payable to Grand Lodge in respect of each member of every Lodge for the year 2017 shall be:

Annual Dues Jun 2016

Fees

2017  the  Board  recommended,  in  accordance  with  rule  270,  Book  of Constitutions, that the fees (exclusive of VAT) payable for registration, certificates and dispensations should be increased in line with inflation to:

Annual Fees Jun 2016

Contribution to the Grand Charity

Under Rule 271 of the Book of Constitutions Grand Lodge must fix each year the annual contribution that is payable to the Grand Charity. The trustees of the Masonic Charitable Foundation have requested that for 2017 the annual contribution remain at £17.00 in respect of each member of a Lodge in a Metropolitan area or a Province, or in England and Wales that is unattached. A resolution to put this into effect appears at item 9 of the Paper of Business.

On 1 April 2016 the Masonic Charitable Foundation came into existence, to take over in due course the functions of the four main Masonic Charities. Although the Grand Charity remains a constituent part of the new Charity it is considered more appropriate that the annual contribution should for the future be directed to the new parent charity, which will enjoy greater flexibility in the distribution of its funds. Notice of Motion to amend the Book of Constitutions accordingly was approved.

Prestonian Lecture

(i) 2015: Wherever dispersed - the Travelling Mason

The Lecturer, W Bro Prof R. Burt, has informed the Board that in addition to the five official deliveries to Royal Standard Lodge, No. 398 (Montreal and Halifax); Shepherdʼs Bush Lodge, No. 1828 (London); Warwickshire Installed Masters Lodge, No. 4538 (Warwickshire); Torbay Masters Lodge, No. 8227 (Devonshire); and Worthing Lodge of Installed Masters, No. 9860 (Sussex), the Lecture was also delivered on twenty-two other occasions throughout the Constitution. The Board thanked Bro Burt for the considerable time and effort he has spent in this connection.

(ii) 2016: Foundations: new light on the formation and early years of the Grand Lodge of England

The Prestonian Lecturer for 2016 is W Bro Dr R.A. Berman.

Three official Prestonian Lectures for 2016 have been or will be given under the auspices of:

Zetland and Hong Kong Lodge, No. 7665 (London)
Bristol Installed Masters Lodge, No. 8168 (Bristol)
Temple of Athene Lodge, No. 9541 (Middlesex)

(iii) 2017: The Grand Design

The Board has submitted a nomination to the trustees of the Prestonian Fund and they have appointed RW Bro Dr J.W. Daniel, PSGW as Prestonian Lecturer for 2017. Bro Daniel states that the title of his Lecture will be: The Grand Design.

Arrangements for the delivery of the Lectures to selected Lodges will be considered by the Board in November and applications are now invited from Lodges. Applications should be made to the Grand Secretary, through Metropolitan, Provincial or District Grand Secretaries.

The Board desires to emphasise the importance of these, the only Lectures held under the authority of the Grand Lodge. It is, therefore hoped that applications for the privilege of having one of these official Lectures will be made only by Lodges which are prepared to afford facilities for all Freemasons in their area, as well as their own members, to participate and thus ensure an attendance worthy of the occasion.

Amalgamations

The Board had received reports that the following Lodges have resolved to surrender their Warrants:

(a)   Semper Fidelis Lodge, No. 3453 and Sinceritas Lodge, No. 4934 in order to amalgamate with Lodge of Sincerity, No. 428 (Cheshire)
(b)   Comet Lodge, No. 7710, in order to amalgamate with Oakfield Lodge, No. 7011 (Surrey); and
(c)   Norman Arches Lodge, No. 7761, in order to amalgamate with Borlase Lodge, No. 6216 (Buckinghamshire).

The Board accordingly recommended that the Lodges be removed from the register in order to effect the amalgamations. A resolution to this effect was approved. 

Erasure of Lodges

The Board has received a report that thirty-seven Lodges have closed and have surrendered their Warrants. The Lodges are:

Humphrey Chetham Lodge, No. 645 (East Lancashire), Renaissance Lodge, No. 1219 (East Lancashire), St James’ Abercorn Lodge, No. 1579 (London), Vincent Lodge, No. 3031 (London), Ribblesdale Lodge, No. 3393 (East Lancashire), Facta non Verba Lodge, No. 3409 (London), Marble Craft Lodge, No. 3522 (London), Crescent Lodge of Good Intent, No. 4524 (East Lancashire), Sunnyhurst Lodge, No. 4631 (East Lancashire), Justice Lodge, No. 4632 (East Lancashire), Collagen Lodge, No. 4733 (London), Madrigal Lodge, No. 5039 (East Lancashire), Vis Unita Lodge, No. 5041 (East Lancashire), Bromsgrove Lodge, No. 5414 (Worcestershire), Yale Lodge, No. 5636 (North Wales), Ormerod Lodge, No. 5713 (East Lancashire), Tylney Lodge, No. 5856 (Essex).

Lodge of Accord, No. 6195 (London), Bright Morning Star Lodge, No. 6245 (Surrey), Lodge of Thanksgiving, No. 6256 (Cheshire), Huntroyd Lodge, No. 6385 (East Lancashire), Lodge of Futurity, No. 6455 (Worcestershire), Lodge of St Andrew, Great Ilford, No. 6515 (Essex), Fairway Lodge, No. 6693 (East Lancashire), Fairfield Lodge, No. 7224 (East Lancashire), Golden Hind Lodge, No. 7325 (London), Dene Head Lodge, No. 7594 (East Lancashire), Lodge of Unanimity, No. 7721 (Surrey), Farfield Lodge, No. 8112 (North Wales), Lodge of Saint Jude, No. 8138 (Surrey), University of Aston Lodge, No. 8305 (Warwickshire), Huncoat Lodge, No. 8542 (East Lancashire) True and Faithful Lodge, No. 8562 (London), Lodge of Enterprise, No. 8757 (South Wales), Lodge of Good Heart, No. 8890 (West Kent), Erddig Lodge, No. 8933 (North Wales) and Debdale Lodge, No. 9400 (East Lancashire).

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

As required by rule 277 (a) (i) (B), Book of Constitutions, 12 Brethren were recently expelled from the Craft. 

Grand Lodge Accounts 2015

The audited accounts of the Grand Lodge for the year ended 31 December 2015 were approved.

Election of Grand Lodge Auditors

The re-election of Crowe Clarke Whitehill LLP, as auditors of the Grand Lodge was approved.

Presentation

There was a presentation from the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

List of New Lodges for which Warrants have been granted

9 March 2016

9925 Cornucopia Lodge of Provincial Grand Stewards of Derbyshire
9926 Buckinghamshire Motorcycle Lodge

Quarterly Communications

The Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge will take place on 14 December 2016, 8 March 2017, 26 April 2017 (Annual Investiture), 14 June 2017 and 13 September 2017.

Convocations of Supreme Grand Chapter

9 November 2016, 27 April 2017 and 8 November 2017.

Published in UGLE

Interim Grand Secretary

Following the retirement of RW Bro Nigel Brown as Grand Secretary at the end of April, the MW The Grand Master has been pleased to make an interim appointment to that office.

RW Bro Brigadier WE Shackell, CBE, PJGW, will take up the appointment with effect from Wednesday 8 June, and will be invested as Grand Secretary in the course of the Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge on that day.

The Rulers and the Board of General Purposes believe that the process of finding a long-term successor as Grand Secretary should not be hurried, and recruitment is therefore unlikely to begin for some months.

In the meantime, I am sure that you would all wish to join in wishing Bro Shackell well in his new role.

Yours sincerely and fraternally,

Anthony Wilson
President, Board of General Purposes

Published in UGLE

Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge

9 March 2016

The minutes of the Quarterly Communication of 9 December 2015 were approved.

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

Report of the Board of General Purposes

Grand Lodge Register 2006-2015

Register - Mar 2016


Charges for Warrants

The Board recommended that for the year commencing 1 April 2016 the charges (exclusive of VAT) shall be: Warrant for a new lodge £375; Warrant of Confirmation £980; Warrant for a Centenary Jewel £575; Warrant of Confirmation for a Centenary Jewel £835; Warrant for a Bi-Centenary Bar £885; Warrant of Confirmation for a Bi-Centenary Bar £885; Certificate of Amalgamation £100; Enfacement (Alterations) Fee £135.

Amalgamations

The Board had received a report that Woodend Lodge No. 5302 had surrendered its warrant and wished to amalgamate with Liverpool Epworth Lodge No. 5381 (West Lancashire). A resolution from the Board that the lodge be removed from the register in order to amalgamate was approved. 

Erasure of Lodges

The Board had received a report that the following 12 lodges had closed and surrendered their warrants: Baildon Lodge No. 1545 (Yorkshire, West Riding), Regent Lodge No. 2856 (Yorkshire, West Riding), Summum Bonum Lodge No. 3665 (Middlesex), Fortitude Lodge No. 4017 (Northumberland), Kinder Scout Lodge No. 4532 (Derbyshire), Opthalmos Lodge No. 4633 (London), Court Mead Lodge No. 4669 (London), Loyalty United Lodge No. 4931 (London), Amicitia Lodge No. 5114 (Middlesex), Aberconwy Lodge No. 5996 (North Wales), Kenyngton Manor Lodge No. 7488 (Middlesex) and United Fairway Lodge No. 9094 (Essex).

Expulsions from the Craft

Eleven brethren were expelled from the Craft on 30 August 2015.

New Lodges

The following is a list for which new warrants have been granted and the dates from which their warrants became effective:

11 November 2015

Music Lodge No. 9919 (South Wales)
Hoose Lodge No. 9920 (Cheshire)
Football Lodge No. 9921 (Hampshire & Isle of Wight)
Spirit of Rugby Lodge No. 9922 (East Kent)
Keystone Centenary Lodge No. 9923 (Nigeria)
Udokanma Lodge No. 9924 (Nigeria). 

The Masonic Charitable Foundation

Brig David Innes, CEO of the Masonic Charitable Foundation and James Newman, President of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution gave a talk. 

Meetings of the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge

Meetings will be held on 27 April 2016 (Annual Investiture), 8 June 2016, 14 September 2016, 14 December 2016, 8 March 2017 and 14 June 2017.

Convocations of Supreme Grand Chapter

Meetings will be held on 28 April 2016, 9 November 2016 and 27 April 2017. 

Published in UGLE

Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge

10 June 2015
Report of the Board of General Purposes

The minutes of the meetings of the Quarterly Communication of 11 March 2015 and of the Annual Investiture of 29 April 2015 were confirmed.

Annual Dues 2016 

A resolution was approved that a Board recommendation that the annual dues (including VAT) payable to Grand Lodge in respect of each member of every Lodge for the year 2016 shall be:

Dues 2015

Fees 2016

A resolution was approved that the Board recommendation that the fees (exclusive of VAT) payable for registration, certificates and dispensations should be increased in line with inflation to:

Fees 2015

Contribution to Grand Charity

A resolution was approved that the Council of the Grand Charity’s request that for 2016 the annual contribution remain at £17 in respect of each member of a Lodge in a Metropolitan Area or a Province, or in England and Wales that is unattached, was approved. 

Prestonian Lectures

2014: 1814: Consolidation and Change

The Lecturer, Dr M.A. Kearsley, had informed the Board that in addition to the three official deliveries to The London Grand Rank Association; Egerton Worsley Lodge No. 1213, Eccles (West Lancashire); and Temple of Athene Lodge No. 9541, Harrow (Middlesex), the Lecture was also delivered on 46 other occasions throughout the Constitution. The Board expressed its thanks to Bro Kearsley for the considerable time and effort he has spent in this connection. 

2015: Wherever dispersed – the Travelling Mason

The Prestonian Lecturer for 2015 is Prof R. Burt. Five official Prestonian Lectures for 2015 have been or will be given under the auspices of: Royal Standard Lodge No. 398 (Montreal and Halifax); Shepherd's Bush Lodge No. 1828 (London); Warwickshire Installed Masters Lodge No. 4538; (Warwickshire) Torbay Masters Lodge No. 8227 (Devonshire) and Worthing Lodge of Installed Masters No. 9860 (Sussex).

2016: The Board has submitted a nomination to the Trustees of the Prestonian Fund and they have appointed Dr R.A. Berman as Prestonian Lecturer for 2016. Dr Berman states that the title of his Lecture will be: Foundations: new light on the formation and early years of the Grand Lodge of England.

Arrangements for the delivery of the Lectures to selected Lodges will be considered by the Board in November and applications are now invited from lodges. Applications should be made to the Grand Secretary, through Metropolitan, Provincial or District Grand Secretaries.

The Board desires to emphasise the importance of these, the only Lectures held under the authority of the Grand Lodge. It is, therefore, hoped that applications for the privilege of having one of these official Lectures will be made only by lodges which are prepared to afford facilities for all Freemasons in their area, as well as their own members, to participate and thus ensure an attendance worthy of the occasion.

Amalgamation

The Board had received a report that King Oswald Lodge No. 3306 had resolved to surrender its Warrant in order to amalgamate with Bank Terrace Lodge No. 462 (East Lancashire). A resolution that the Board recommendation that the Lodge be removed from the register in order to effect the amalgamation was approved.

Erasure of lodges

The Board had received a report that thirty-five Lodges have closed and have surrendered their Warrants. The Lodges are: Lodge of Sincerity No. 292 (West Lancashire); Architect Lodge No. 1375 (West Lancashire); Marlborough Lodge No. 1620 (West Lancashire); Beckenham Lodge No. 2047 (London); Mitcham Lodge No. 2384 (Surrey); Randle Holme Lodge No. 3261 (Cheshire); Murdoch Lodge No. 3480 (Warwickshire); Lodge of Amity No. 3845 (Warwickshire); Milton Lodge No. 3849 (Yorkshire, West Riding); Gordovic Lodge No. 4061 (Cheshire); Garrick Lodge No. 4246 (Cheshire); Hanwell Lodge No. 4676 (London); Tadorne Lodge No. 4735 (Surrey); Linacre Lodge No. 4823 (West Lancashire); Lombardian Lodge No. 4887 (West Lancashire); Caxton Lodge No. 5093 (Warwickshire); Wansbeck Lodge No. 5171 (Northumberland); St Cuthbert Lodge No. 5294 (Cumberland and Westmorland); West Twyford Coronation Lodge No. 5674 (London); Grey Friars Lodge No. 6080 (Warwickshire); Optima Lodge No. 6101 (West Lancashire); Abbey Lodge No. 6425 (Cumberland and Westmorland); Chedelintone Lodge No. 6508 (Oxfordshire); Maghull Lodge No. 7190 (West Lancashire); Bromley Lodge of Good Fellowship No. 7242 (West Kent); The Forester Lodge No. 7503 (Worcestershire); Cherrywood Lodge No. 7530 (Surrey); Lodge of Orleans No. 7955 (Middlesex); Arthur Hollins Lodge No. 8785 (Middlesex); Ernehale Lodge No. 8806 (Nottinghamshire); Tenwarden Lodge No. 8858 (East Kent); Sure and Steadfast Lodge No. 9326 (West Lancashire); Chypping Walden Lodge No. 9617 (Essex); St George and St Andrew Lodge No. 9677 (Cumberland and Westmorland) and Lodge of Renaissance No. 9724 (Warwickshire)

A resolution that the Board recommendation that they be erased was approved.

Grand Lodge Accounts for 2014

The Audited Accounts of Grand Lodge  for  the year ended 31 December 2014 were approved.

Election of Grand Lodge Auditors

The re-election of Crowe Clark Whitehill LLP, as Auditors of Grand Lodge was approved.

The Freemasonsʼ Fund for Surgical Research

A talk was given by J.A.H. West, Chairman of the Trustees of the Fund.

Expulsions from the Craft

Fifteen brethren were expelled from the Craft.

List of new lodges for which Warrants have been granted

11 March 2015

9906 Musket Pike and Drum Lodge, Staffordshire
9907 Universities Lodge of Staffordshire, Staffordshire
9908 Albert Edward Court Lodge of Research, South Wales
9909 Newent Daffodil Lodge, Gloucestershire
9910 Spirit of Rugby Lodge, Durham

30 April 2015

9911 Lodge of Uniformed Services, Cumberland and Westmorland
9912 Bundle of Sticks Lodge , Sussex
9913 Nigeria Centenary Lodge, Nigeria

Quarterly Communication

A Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge is held on the second Wednesday in March, June, September and December. The next will be at noon on Wednesday, 9 September 2015. Subsequent Communications will be held on 9 December 2015, 9 March 2016, 8 June 2016 and 14 September 2016. 

The Annual Investiture of Grand Officers takes place on the last Wednesday in April (the next is on 27 April 2016), and admission is by ticket only. A few tickets are allocated by ballot after provision has been made for those automatically entitled to attend. Full details will be given in the Paper of Business for December Grand Lodge.

Supreme Grand Chapter

Convocations of Supreme Grand Chapter are held on the second Wednesday in November and the day following the Annual Investiture of Grand Lodge. Future Convocations will be held on 11 November 2015, 28 April 2016 and 9 November 2016.

Published in UGLE

Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge

11 March 2015
Report of the Board of General Purposes

Minutes

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.

Register - Mar 2015

Charges for Warrants

For the year commencing 1 April 2015 the charges (exclusive of VAT) shall be:

Fees - Mar 2015

Amalgamation

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.

New Lodges

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.

Published in UGLE
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 00:00

'Our Yesterdays' - Graham Redman and John Hamill

Quarterly Communication

10 December 2014 
A speech by WV Bro Graham Redman, Deputy Grand Secretary, and VW Bro John Hamill, Assistant Grand Chancellor 

GFR: MW Pro Grand Master and Brethren, a year ago we left the United Grand Lodge of England duly constituted on 27 December 1813 with elaborate ceremonial, and the Brethren recruiting themselves at the Crown and Anchor tavern where a grand banquet was provided.

As might be expected, 1814 was a year of consolidation in which many of the details of the Union fell to be worked through.  At the Quarterly Communication of 2 March the Board of General Purposes in its report set out the “Duty of the Board”:

1st To propose for the sanction and adoption of the Grand Lodge such Laws and regulations as may appear necessary or expedient for the Government of the Craft and to draw up and arrange the same….

2dly To propose for the consideration and adoption of the other Masonic Boards such measures as appear to this Board to require their consideration.

3dly To hear and determine all subjects of Masonic Complaint or irregularity respecting Lodges or Individual Masons, To proceed to admonition or suspension if judged necessary, and where the case shall appear of so flagrant a nature as to require the Erasure of a Lodge or expulsion of a Member from the Fraternity to make a special report to the Grand Lodge with their Opinion thereon.

That all the other powers and duties heretofore exercised and belonging to the former Stewards Lodge or Committee of Charity now belong to this Board, except only such powers and duties as are specially vested in or properly belong to the several other Boards now constituted

The Board then promulgated the Rules and Regulations proposed for its Government

JMH: MW Pro Grand Master and brethren, the Duke of Sussex was keen that there should be no slacking once the festivities were over and the Union achieved. He had round him a close circle of advisers to push forward his aims. The new Boards were immediately set to their tasks. The Board of General Purposes was a combination of the former Committee of Charity of the premier Grand Lodge and the Stewards Lodge of the Antients. Both had originally been set up to manage the central charitable affairs of their respective Grand Lodges but had gradually accrued both policy making and disciplinary powers and were more like general committees. In the twenty years after the Union the Board of General Purposes slowly absorbed the other Boards set up in 1814, except for the Board of Benevolence which continued until 1980 when its duties were taken over by the Grand Charity.

GFR:  The Board went on to represent 

that various irregularities having been communicated to this Board in the practice of initiating of Members as well as in that of granting Certificates and other Matters, It is recommended that in the Conferences which are to take place between this Grand Lodge and the Grand Lodges of Scotland and Ireland a general understanding be established on every point of communion between them that perfect unity may be established.......

JMH:  Because the Union had, in the end, been so hastily arranged neither the Grand Lodge of Ireland nor that for Scotland had been able to send delegates to the great meeting on 27th December 1813. The Grand Master, however, was keen to have their support and to try and achieve unanimity of purpose between the three Grand Lodges. Although not referred to in the Grand Lodge Minutes the Grand Masters of Ireland and Scotland and other of their senior brethren met with the Duke of Sussex in the early summer of 1814 and agreed and signed what became known as the International Compact which has governed relations between the three Home Grand Lodges ever since and brought into being what is now an annual tripartite meeting where the three get together to discuss common problems.

GFR: The Board also reported on Charges preferred before them by the Officers of the Lodge of Antiquity, No. 2 against Brother Charles Bonner … for having printed part of the Proceedings of the Lodge of Antiquity, and its Permanent Committee, without the consent of the Grand Master or his Deputy. Grand Lodge Resolved unanimously that the report be confirmed and the paper printed by Brother Bonner be referred to the consideration of the Board of General Purposes and that in the meantime Bro Bonner be suspended from all Masonic Rights and Privileges.

Reports were also delivered by the Board of Works (which had been considering jewels and aprons), the Board of Finance and the Board of Schools.

JMH: Brother Bonner we will return to a little later. The Board of Works had been given the remit of looking after the real property, furniture and regalia of Grand Lodge. They immediately set to designing standard regalia and it is to them that we owe the design of the aprons, collars and jewels we still wear today. The only differences since 1814 are the addition of emblems for new officers as they have been introduced at Lodge, Metropolitan, Provincial, District and Grand Lodge levels and the wearing of chains by active Grand Officers. Until 1836 active Grand Officers wore their jewels pendent to embroidered collars, as Past Grand Officers do today. Amazingly the Minutes of the Board of Works still survive. Infuriatingly,  whilst they list the designs chosen they give no indication as to why they were chosen – which has left the field wide open to Masonic symbologists to give more and more abstruse meaning to the various symbols used!  Having presented their ideas to the Grand Lodge in March, they were formally approved at the Installation of the Grand Master on 2nd May.

GFR: At the Quarterly Communication held on 1 June, the Board of General Purposes reported that Bro Bonner had been summoned to answer 

“for having printed and circulated amongst some Members of the Craft a certain paper purporting to be the Copy of an address proposed in the Lodge of Antiquity to be presented to His Royal Highness The Grand Master together with remarks and observations thereon, in which said printed Paper the conduct of the M.W. Grand Master and others was spoken of and animadverted on and that in a way highly improper unmasonic and unjust and to bring with him to the Board such witnesses and evidence as he might think necessary in his behalf”

JMH: Charles Bonner was the Acting Master of the Lodge of Antiquity, of which the Grand Master was the permanent Master. Claiming to act with the agreement of the Past Masters and other members of the Lodge, Bonner had issued a printed letter in which, like his mentor in ritual matters William Preston almost forty years earlier, he claimed that the immemorial rights of the Lodge of Antiquity were being set aside by the Act of Union. In particular he referred to the Lodge having lost its No. 1 status on the Register, lost its right to carry the Book of Constitutions on a cushion immediately in front of the Grand Master in all Masonic processions and the right of its Master or Acting Master to sit at the right hand of the Deputy Grand Master at feasts after Grand Lodge meetings. His case might have been listened to had he simply made these claims, but he was guilty of two major errors. First, admittedly in the most carefully polite language, he chided His Royal Highness the Grand Master as Master of the Lodge of Antiquity for not having done more to safeguard the rights of the Lodge and, secondly, despite claiming to speak on their behalf had not gained the agreement of the Lodge to his complaint before having it printed and circulated. At its meeting the Lodge formally rejected the letter and informed both the Grand Master and the Grand Secretary that it did not represent the views of the Lodge.  

GFR: The Quarterly Communication of 7 September saw the reappearance of a character we have previously met in these historical presentations.  The Board of General Purposes reported

that Brother Francis C. Daniel a Member of the Lodge of Felicity No. 75 late No. 54 having attended on the 22d Decr last at one of the Meetings of the Lodge of Reconciliation previous to the day of Union….. it was stated by some of the Brethren present that he had been expelled from that part of the Fraternity of which His Grace the Duke of Athol was formerly Grand Master and as the Rules Orders Regulations and Acts of the two Grand Lodges previous to the Union ought to be maintained subject to the reconsideration of the United Grand Lodge Brother Daniel must be taken and considered to stand expelled the United Fraternity.

JMH: Those who have been attending this Quarterly Communication for the last few years will remember that Francis Columbine Daniel was the Brother who, joining a queue at a garden party at Buckingham Palace was surprised when asked to kneel and had a sword tapped on his shoulder, thus gaining a knighthood by default! He had indeed been expelled by the former Antients Grand Lodge and, as a tit for tat, had engineered the expulsion of Thomas Harper from the premier Grand Lodge, which actions delayed any discussion of the Union for nearly seven years. 

GFR: There were a few fireworks at the December Communication.  After the Grand Lodge had been opened in ample Form and the Laws relating to the Behaviour of Masons in Grand Lodge had been read, the Minutes of the previous Communication were put for confirmation, whereupon:

Robert Leslie Junr Master of the Lodge No. 9, rose and addressing himself in the most disrespectful, disorderly and unmasonic manner to the Grand Master then presiding over the Grand Lodge which had been opened in ample form, demanded to know whether he had been regularly initiated and passed the several Degrees of Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft.  This outrageous act of indecorum committed in the Grand Lodge towards the Fraternity at large in the person of the Grand Master by Bro. Leslie Junr excited a general indignation in the breast of all the Brethren present; who had most of them witnessed the joint and solemn Obligation taken by the two Grand Masters of the respective Fraternities on the day of Union.……

Eventually a motion was carried

“That the said Robert Leslie Junr should lay aside his Masonic Insignia and Quit the Grand Lodge” 

which upon his refusal he was compelled to do.

JMH: Robert Leslie Jnr was the son of Robert Leslie who since 1790 had been Grand Secretary of the Antients Grand Lodge. Father Leslie had been wholly against any idea of a Union of the two Grand Lodges and did all he could to hinder matters. He continued to rail against the event and refused to hand over the books and papers of the Antients Grand Lodge until he was guaranteed a pension of £100 p.a., which had been his salary from the Antients Grand Lodge. It would appear that the son was even more abrasive than the father! 

GFR: Later in the meeting a Letter addressed to the Most Worshipful Grand Master by Bro Charles Bonner was by His Royal Highness laid before the Grand Lodge and read ……..  After which on a Motion duly made it was Resolved that Bror. Charles Bonner be restored to his functions as a Mason and a Member of the Grand Lodge.

JMH: Bonner’s letter was suitably abject and apologetic and he was enabled to return to the fold and continued his interest in ritual matters. He had been Secretary of the Lodge of Promulgation, which had paved the way towards the Union and gave much advice to the Lodge of Reconciliation in its attempts to bring about a standard form of ritual after the Union.

GFR: It was “Ordered that a Special Grand Lodge be holden on Wednesday the 1st of February next”…  The purpose of the meeting was to consider the new Code of Laws and Regulations for the Government of the Grand Lodge, and of the Craft in general, which had been deliberated on by the Board of General Purposes.

The Board’s report had also dealt with the case of Bro Francis Columbine Daniel, and he

being in attendance two Stewards conducted him into the Grand Lodge without his Masonic Clothing when His Royal Highness the Most Worshipful Grand Master addressed him on the circumstance of his Restoration to his Masonic Privileges and on the conduct which it was the duty of every Mason to observe after which he was reinstated with his Apron and directed to take his Seat as a Member of the Grand Lodge.

JMH: Daniel, you may be pleased to hear, caused no further problems, was never referred to again in Grand Lodge and will not appear again in these talks, should we be asked to continue them! The new Code of Laws was issued as unbound sheets for anyone to make comment on their content. Comments there were aplenty and it was not until 1819 that the final text was agreed and published. 

GFR: The Quarterly Communication of 4 March 1914 was held at Central Hall, Westminster, in order to accommodate the large numbers attending, and opened on an amicable note with a unanimous vote in favour of a contributory pension scheme for the clerks in the Grand Secretary’s office in receipt of salaries of under £400 per annum.  Alas, controversy set in immediately afterwards with the Motions Pursuant to Notice.  In December 1913 Grand Lodge had directed that a special report of the Board of General Purposes putting forward significant constitutional proposals for the reorganisation of the Grand Lodge and London be circulated to Lodges in order that all Brethren might vote on the proposals.  This provoked a flurry of Motions for March 1914.

A preliminary skirmish was launched by W Bro Samuel Green, who objected to the order in which the various motions were set out in the paper of business.  He quoted the then Rule 55:

“Notices of motion shall be set down for consideration in the order in which they were given, and.... shall stand on the paper of business in precedence of all subsequent notices.........”

He went on to submit that it was 

a matter of extreme importance that the resolutions shall come on in the order in which the notices were given, because it may be a matter of considerable interest to the Brethren that certain resolutions should be dealt with before others.  I have little doubt about that.  Many Brethren sent in their resolutions earlier in order that they might be dealt with in accordance with the Book of Constitutions, and the point I make is, that if whoever is responsible for altering the Agenda Paper now does so on a future occasion it may create considerable difficulty. I submit that the Book of Constitutions binds, not merely the Initiate, not merely the Master Mason, but also the Board of General Purposes. Therefore, Most Worshipful Pro Grand Master, I ask your ruling as to whether the notices of motion shall be taken in the order in which they are on the Agenda Paper to-day, or whether they shall be taken in the order in which they were given, and comply with the Book of Constitutions?

The Pro Grand Master, Lord Ampthill, after consultation with the Grand Secretary replied:

Brethren, I hold myself most particularly bound by the Book of Constitutions, but this matter is capable of a very natural and simple explanation, which, I am sure, will give satisfaction to all and cause offence to nobody. ….  It is this. The Grand Secretary showed the motions of which notice had been given to the President of the Board and asked him what would be the best order in which to take them? The President did not recollect for the moment that there was Rule 55 – any of us may forget the existence of a Rule – and, as it was put to him in that way, he naturally only regarded it from the point of view of the convenience of Grand Lodge and suggested a particular order.  It was only after that had happened and the notice had been printed, that he was reminded of the Rule. That is the explanation, and I hope you regard it as a sufficient one….

Nevertheless, Bro Green’s resolution “That the original order of the motions, as they stood on the Agenda on the 18th February of this year, be adhered to” was put to the meeting and declared carried.

After passing an amendment to the Book of Constitutions to allow Honorary Members an unfettered right to attend the Lodges that had elected them to honorary membership, the first Motion relating to the reorganisation of Grand Lodge was called.  Its proposer, VW Bro R.A. McCall, KC, PDepGReg, was detained in Court, so it was put back in the agenda and W Bro Norman Armitage rose to propose on behalf of W Bro Keogh Murphy (who was absent through illness)

That this Grand Lodge expresses its regret at the action of the Board of General Purposes in circulating two letters dated the 18th December, 1913, and the 24th January, 1914, respectively, inaccurately stating the effect of the Resolution passed in Grand Lodge on the 3rd December, 1913, which authorised the reception and circulation of the Report of the Board of General Purposes containing nineteen proposals.

JMH: The Board had a very paternalistic attitude towards the Grand Secretary’s Staff and the new pension scheme was a generous one, which, it was admitted in introducing it to Grand Lodge, would in the long run save Grand Lodge money, which the then existing ad hoc provisions would not!

The rest of the meeting was one of those rare occasions when the management of Grand Lodge was caught on the wrong foot! The rather acrimonious debate which followed, and went on for most of the evening, was on technicalities: who had said what and if they had been correctly reported in the official published records, whether or not the procedural rules for debate in Grand Lodge had  been followed to the letter (they had not), complete with statements implying that the Pro Grand Master, President of the Board and Grand Secretary did not appear to be as well acquainted  with the Book of Constitutions as persons of their eminence should be. The evening was taken up with motions, counter motions and amendments that make reading the Proceedings of the event something of a towel round the head task. 

GFR: VW Bro McCall, now released from Court, spoke to his motion “That this Grand Lodge do now proceed to discuss and consider the Report of the Board of General Purposes relating to the Reconstruction of Grand Lodge.”  The debate became heated and eventually boiled over when another PDepGReg, VW Bro. J.V. Vesey Fitzgerald, KC, weighed in with

except from Bro. McCall, I have never heard anyone suggest it is beyond the power of Grand Lodge to accept a scheme for devolving some of its powers… and Brethren, although Bro. McCall asserted that with great emphasis, he has given no reasons why we should accept his statement on that point as a sound one….. I do not know whether the members of Grand Lodge wish to be addressed as common jurymen or Judges.  Brother McCall's speech struck me as very much like what we hear from him in the Law Courts when addressing a Common Jury. (Cries of “Withdraw.”)  I am very sorry if my opinion is not that of others. I am quite sure that anyone who is used to the Courts as Bro. McCall is, will not take objection to what I say, If he does I am sorry. (Cries of “Withdraw.”)  If Bro. McCall feels I have said anything to hurt him, and he objects, I will do so.

From the Pro Grand Master: Bro. Fitzgerald has said that if Bro. McCall feels hurt he apologises. Is not that sufficient?

From VW Bro Fitzgerald: If Grand Lodge feels aggrieved I apologise to Grand Lodge.

JMH: Tempers were evidently fraying and the tenor of the debate was certainly descending. To the possible relief of the Pro Grand Master, Lord Ampthill, Brother Samuel Green suggested the setting up of a Committee to go into all the matters, which was agreed to and the meeting closed. Lord Ampthill had obviously been affected by the ferocity of the debate and that some of the attacks had come from senior Grand Officers. When he addressed the assembly after he had invested the new Grand Officers in April 1914 he quoted the first paragraphs of the Address to the Brethren given at the installation of every Master of a Lodge, modifying it to refer to Grand Lodge and stated his hope that if in the future Grand Officers disapproved of the agenda or any other matter they would approach him or some other senior officer to discuss them rather than to launch them on Grand Lodge without notice. He reminded Grand Lodge that its meeting were not a Parliament or a political meeting but a meeting of Freemasons and that there should not be factions or an opposition party but that they should be able to have informed debate and respect each other’s views as Freemasons were taught to do.  

GFR: In June, again at Central Hall, Westminster, Grand Lodge gave its unanimous approval to two resolutions: “That there be appointed by Grand Lodge a Special Committee of seven Members, to consider the question of making a further grant to the Royal National Life-Boat Institution, and report to Grand Lodge;” and “That the sum of three hundred guineas (£315) be granted to the fund now being raised in Newfoundland, and assisted by the District Grand Lodge, for the relief of the widows and orphans of the 250 sealers who recently lost their lives in the ice-fields.”

The Pro Grand Master, Lord Ampthill then spoke:

Brethren, I beg to move, “That the Board of General Purposes be requested to prepare a scheme for the fitting celebration in 1917 of the Bi-centenary of the foundation of Grand Lodge, with due regard to the fact that genuine Freemasons in every part of the world are looking forward to the occasion with deep interest and with the hope that it may be the means of strengthening the bonds of the fraternity and conforming the true principles of our Order.” It is high time that we should commence preparations for the celebration of our Bi-centenary, an occasion when English Freemasonry will be expected to prove its worth to all the world. .….  For some time past letters have reached me from different parts of the world asking me what the Grand Lodge of England is going to do, and whether other Grand Lodges will be invited to participate in the celebrations or allowed to co-operate by simultaneous celebrations in their own territories. I regret to say that I have not yet been made aware of any similar interest or intelligent anticipation of the event among Brethren in England…… You cannot do better than test the ability of the Board which you have just elected by calling upon them for proposals….  I daresay that a special Committee of a more representative character may be suggested, but it will be time enough to set up Special Committees when there is special work to be done. For the present, all that is necessary is to draw up a general scheme and to promulgate it for discussion in the Craft, so that there may be general approval of anything that is eventually decided   I beg to move.

The Deputy Grand Master seconded the proposal, which was declared carried unanimously.

Grand Lodge then moved on to the business of debating at almost interminable length the composition and mode of selection of a special or representative Committee to consider the proposals for constitutional change.

JMH:  Grand Lodge support for the Royal National Life-Boat Institution had begun in 1871 and it was a cause dear to many members of the Craft. Those who wish to know more can read about the long association between the Craft and the RNLI in the new issue of Freemasonry Today. Support for Newfoundland was because the majority of the Lodges there were under our Grand Lodge, there being no local Grand Lodge. Interminable the discussions on the proposed Committee certainly were and sight appears to have been lost of what the Committee’s purpose was to be. The proposal to start planning a major celebration to mark the bi-centenary of the formation of the premier Grand Lodge and the interest being shown in it by Grand Lodges overseas certainly resonates today when plans are being hatched to celebrate our tercentenary in 2017 and those same sister Grand Lodges are showing great interest in what might be being planned. Although it is ahead of the time we are talking about today, it should be noted that despite the War over 7,000 brethren, many of them in uniform, gathered in the Royal Albert Hall in June 1917 to celebrate our bi-centenary.

GFR: When Grand Lodge next met, on 2 September, the country was at war. MW Pro Grand Master, in your Presiding Officer’s Remarks this September you quoted the words used by the then Deputy Grand Master, Bro Halsey, and we do not propose to repeat them now. The Grand Secretary read a letter, expressing deep fraternal concern, from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, which described itself as our eldest child in the Western Hemisphere, and similar sentiments were echoed by a Past Grand Master of South Carolina and two Past Grand Masters of New Zealand who were present as Visitors at the Quarterly Communication.

JMH:  Support from the Grand Lodges in Australia, Canada and the United States of America was to be a constant throughout the War, which in a very real sense brought those Grand Lodges closer to us, particularly when troops from those areas began to go through London, the Brethren amongst them taking an opportunity of visiting Lodges. The Board showed its paternalistic side once again by announcing that those of its Clerks who responded to the “call to the Colours” would continue to have their salaries paid throughout the hostilities and would be guaranteed to resume their labours at Grand Lodge once hostilities ceased. More than half of the clerks answered the call and happily only one of them did not return.

GFR: The following resolution marked an early casualty of the conflict:

That further proceedings in regard to the election of the Representative Committee on the question of the re-organization of Grand Lodge, under the resolution of Grand Lodge of June 3rd, be postponed.

JMH:  Mercifully the war put an end to the endless argument over the re-organisation of the administration of the Craft. The intention had been a good one of bringing the Provinces more actively into the central administration of the Craft but the scheme that had been produced was an unwieldy one of multiple layers of Committees at both local and central levels, the division of London into ten Provinces and so much would have been devolved to committees before coming to a central Council and then the Board that it would have been almost impossible to get any policy or changes through in less than eighteen months! Some changes were made during the War, the most important of which was elected Provincial representation on the Board of General Purposes to give the Provinces a voice in central administration.

GFR: In December an amendment was made to the Book of Constitutions to prevent the automatic exclusion of Brethren from their Lodges if the arrears of subscription arose while they were serving their country.

JMH:  The amendment was an example of Grand Lodge at its pragmatic best, almost making policy and change “on the hoof” amending a recommendation within Grand Lodge to bring into effect a rule change recognising the difficulties that members on active service would face during what was being slowly realised was not going to be a short war. The year, however, ended as it had begun with a very lengthy and somewhat nit picking debate on the actual wording of the proposition. There was also an attempt to persuade Grand Lodge to make a donation of 1,000 guineas towards the funding of a Masonic Nursing Home to care for members of the services injured on active service. There was a certain amount of support but two major figures questioned whether this was a good use of Grand Lodge’s limited finances as experience had shown that running a private hospital was an enormous economic undertaking. The proposition was negative but in 1917 the Freemasons’ War Hospital and Nursing Home was opened in London, eventually becoming the Royal Masonic Hospital. As time was to show the comments made in 1914 proved correct and the Hospital eventually had to go. But that, as they say, is a story for another day.

Published in Speeches

Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge

10 December 2014 
Report of the Board of General Purposes

Minutes

The Minutes of the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge held on 10 September 2014 were confirmed.

Nomination of Grand Master

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

Annual Investiture of Grand Officers: 29 April 2015

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.

Written application for these seats may be made to the Grand Secretary between 1 March and 31 March by Brethren qualified to attend the Grand Lodge: Past Grand Officers; Masters; Wardens (not Past Wardens); Past Masters qualified under Rule 9 of the Book of Constitutions.

Masonic Year Book

The next edition of the Masonic Year Book 2015–2016, will be available next summer. The charge will be £13 per copy, plus postage and packing where appropriate. It is proposed to produce a new edition of the Directory of Lodges and Chapters during 2015 at a charge of £13 per copy. Copies of the current edition are still available from Letchworth’s shop and may be ordered in the usual 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.

Metropolitan and Provincial Lodges

As in previous years copies will be dispatched direct to secretaries of lodges.

Lodges Abroad

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 2015

The Board has considered applications for the delivery of the official Prestonian Lectures in 2015 and has decided that these should be given under the auspices of the following: Royal Standard Lodge, No. 398 (Montreal and Halifax); Shepherd’s Bush Lodge, No. 1828 (London); Warwickshire Installed Masters Lodge, No. 4538 (Warwickshire); Torbay Masters Lodge, No. 8227 (Devonshire) and Worthing Lodge of Installed Masters, No. 9860 (Sussex). The Lecturer, W Bro Professor R. Burt, states that the title of the Lecture will be: Wherever dispersed – the Travelling Mason.

Assistant Grand Chancellor

The Board considers that it would be beneficial to the administration of Grand Lodge’s external relations if the Grand Master had the power to appoint a second Assistant Grand Chancellor, thereby mirroring his power in respect of Assistant Grand Secretaries. Notice of motion to amend the Book of Constitutions appeared on the Paper of Business.

Resignations from Private Lodges under Rule 183

Rule 183 sets out a clear procedure to be followed if a Brother wishes to resign from a lodge (as opposed to resigning from the Craft). The first proviso to the Rule allows a Brother twenty-one days within which to withdraw his resignation if so desired by a majority of the members present when the resignation is communicated or notified to the lodge at a regular meeting. It has been represented to the Board that the period of twenty-one days may, under modern conditions, be unduly restrictive. London and many Provinces now operate a system of ‘exit interviews’ with the aim of ascertaining whether a resignation is owing to a general disillusionment with Freemasonry, or is related to the particular lodge of which he is a member. In the latter case it is often possible for the Metropolitan or Provincial authorities to find a more convenient or congenial lodge for the Brother to join so that his masonic career is not interrupted. The Board considers that a period of sixty days would be more helpful in the process of retaining a Brother in the Craft and a Notice of Motion that Rule 183 be amended accordingly was on the Paper of Business. The Board also gave guidance on the operation of the Rule and the measures that may be taken when a resignation is received.

Recognition of a Foreign Grand Lodge

On 24 December 1885 a group of lodges in the State of Vera Cruz in Mexico (which had been regularly consecrated by two Grand Lodges in Mexico which no longer exist) united to form the Grand Lodge of the State of Vera Cruz. This Grand Lodge already recognises the York Grand Lodge of Mexico, which recognises, and shares territorial jurisdiction within Mexico with the Grand Lodge of the State of Vera Cruz and which has stated that it would have no objection to our recognising the latter.

The Grand Lodge of the State of Vera Cruz  having shown that it is regular in origin and that it conforms to the Basic Principles for Grand Lodge Recognition, the Board has no reason to believe that it will not continue to maintain a regular path and recommends that it be recognised. A resolution will be moved accordingly and appears at item 6 of the Paper of Business.

Amalgamations

The Board had received reports that the following Lodges had resolved to surrender their Warrants: (a) Lodge of Hospitality, No. 1697, in order to amalgamate with Lodge of Tranquility, No. 274 (East Lancashire); and (b) Langtree Lodge, No. 6166 and Norley Lodge, No. 7319, in order to amalgamate with Lodge of Antiquity, No. 178 (West Lancashire).

The Board recommendation that the lodges be removed from the register in order to effect the amalgamation was approved.

Erasure of Lodges

The Board had received a report that nineteen lodges had closed and surrendered their Warrants. The Lodges are: Liverpool Dramatic Lodge, No. 1609 (West Lancashire); Semper Vigilans Lodge, No. 3040 (London); Aquarius Lodge, No. 3113 (London); Victory Lodge, No. 3986 (Northumberland); Sir Francis Drake Lodge, No. 4375 (London); Prometheus Lodge, No. 4977 (London); Lyonsdown Lodge, No. 5477 (Hertfordshire); Woxenden Lodge, No. 5672 (London); Lodge of St Christopher, No. 5999 (Warwickshire); Lodge of Four Virtues, No. 6275 (Hertfordshire); Montem Lodge, No. 6687 (Buckinghamshire); Alcedo Lodge, No. 7073 (London); Lodge of Aviation, No. 7210 (London); Birmingham Old Edwardian Lodge, No. 7115 (Warwickshire); Star of Hackney Lodge, No. 7272 (London); St. Barbara Lodge, No. 8724 (Middlesex); Albion Lodge, No. 8876 (KwaZulu-Natal); Northumberland Park Lodge, No. 8916 (Hertfordshire) and Steadfast Lodge, No. 9654 (London).

The Board recommendation that they be erased was approved.  

Expulsions

Ten Brethren were expelled from the Craft.

Our Yesterdays

A presentation was given on the Proceedings of Grand Lodge of two hundred and one hundred years ago by J.M. Hamill, Assistant Grand Chancellor and G.F. Redman, Deputy Grand Secretary.

New Lodges

List of new lodges for which Warrants have been granted by the Grand Master showing the dates from which their Warrants became effective:

25 September 2014

No. 9899 Motorcycling Lodge of West Kent (West Kent)
No. 9900 Combined Services Lodge (Berkshire)
No. 9901 Thornbury Lodge (Gloucestershire)
No. 9902 West Surrey Installed Masters Lodge (Surrey)

Quarterly Communication 

A Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge is held on the second Wednesday in March, June, September and December. The next will be on 11 March 2015. Subsequent Communications will be held on 10 June 2015, 9 September 2015, 9 December 2015 and 9 March 2016. 

The Annual Investiture of Grand Officers takes place on the last Wednesday in April (the next is on 29 April 2015), and admission is by ticket only. 

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 30 April 2015, 11 November 23015 and 28 April 2016.

Published in UGLE
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