A special meeting was held at Solihull Masonic Temple, Knowle on Wednesday 18th April to celebrate the Forest of Arden Lodge, No 3826 achieveing 100 years of uninterupted Freemasonry. With W Bro Stuart Jenkins in the chair, the members of Forest of Arden Lodge were joined by the Provincial Team and many visitors from near and far filling the Lodge with a wonderful atmosphere for what turned out to be a very special evening.
The Provincial Team ready to escort the PGM into the Lodge
The Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro David Macey, together with the Provincial Grand Wardens, opened the Lodge and congratulated the members of Forest of Arden Lodge in reaching this significant milestone in their history. He also asked those assembled to take a moment to remember the courage and wisdom of the founders of the Lodge back in 1918. Having completed the opening a column was formed to escort the centenary warrant into the Lodge, in the very safe hands of the Provincial Grand Secretary, W Bro Mike Reeve, who then proceeded to read the warrant. Once read, the warrant was presented to W Bro Stuart Jenkins, the current master of Forest of Arden Lodge.
The Provincial Grand Chaplain, W Bro John Cowan, delivered an address on the foundations of the Lodge, looking back to the events of 1918, marking the end of what was then considered to be the war to end all wars. The centenary of the Lodge being shared with other centenaries in 2018, including the formation of the Women's Royal Army Corp, the Royal Air Force and votes for Women in the UK. 1918 was a great time of expansion for Freemasonry in England as returning soldiers sought a place where tradition and principal were honoured and Freemasonry became a rock of salvation after the war.
The Provincial Grand Master delayed handing the Lodge back to the Worshipful Master mometarily in order to confer a field promotion on W Bro John Walford to Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden. This was a snap decision as the PGM recognised the very special nature of W Bro John and decided that it merited recognition. This was a surprise to all, but to none more that the Provincial Director of Ceremonies, who managed to deliver a flawless proclamation of the promotion with only a few seconds notice, true professionalism on display!
W Bro John Walford with the Provincial Grand Master and W Bro Stuart Jenkins
Following the promotion of W Bro John, the Lodge was handed back to the charge of W Bro Stuart Jenkins and the minutes of the consecration meeting and the consecration oration were read. The first Master was W Bro Samuel Foster, a Past Master of St Paul's Lodge, No 43. The consecrating officer of the Lodge was Colonel W F Wyley VD DL PGD, the then Deputy Provincial Grand Master and Provincial Grand Master desgnate. Col Wyley had previously been the Mayor of Coventry and the Sheriff of Warwickshire. W Bro Stuart went on to give an engaging comparison of the summons at the consecration, the 50 year point and the 100 year celebration.
The minutes of the Consecration Meeting in 1918
To close the Lodge the Worshipful Master invited the current Master of St Paul's Lodge, No 43 to take the Senior Warden's chair and the current Master of Shenstonian Lodge, No 5544 to take the Junior Warden's chair. St Paul's being the mother Lodge of Forest of Arden Lodge and Shenstonian Lodge being one of the daughter Lodges. This was particularly poignant as W Bro Stuart Jenkins is a Past Master of all three lodges, having served as Worshipful Master of Forest of Arden Lodge in 2000, St Paul's in 2004-2006, and Shenstonian Lodge in 2014-2016. This year making a round 6 years as Worshipful Master in the family of Lodges.
Members of the Lodge, the Provincial Team and Visitors
Following the meeting the festive board was enjoyed by all, with specially engraved firing glasses for all to commemorate the occasion. The Lodge and the Worshipful Master were congratulated on the success of the evening and for being part of the 100 year journey the Lodge has taken so far.
Enjoying the Festive Board