Freemasons' Christmas cheer for hospices
The Freemasons' Grand Charity, to which all Freemasons in England and Wales contribute, has just released grants of £500,000 to adult hospices and £100,000 to children's hospices throughout the two countries. Of this amount some £19,000 has been allocated to local hospices including Warren Pearl in Solihull who had a grant of almost £3,700. The photo shows Sally Boreham, fundraiser at Warren Pearl in Solihull, receiving the cheque from Rodney Pitham, an Assistant Provincial Grand Master of the Warwickshire Freemasons. Sally welcomed the donation saying: "The Freemasons have supported this hospice for many years and we are most grateful to them for their generosity and the support for the work we do."
Rodney is also Chairman of the Committee of the Freemasons' Grand Charity which considers and recommends the grants to the hospice movement and to a host of other non-Masonic charities out of an annual budget of £2.3 million, all of which is raised from within Freemasonry. Rodney says: "The hospice movement is close to the hearts of Freemasons. Since 1984 the Freemasons' Grand Charity has donated some £7 million to this worthwhile cause and I hope that we will continue with our support for many more years to come."
Other local hospices to receive donations from the Freemasons' Grand Charity are Acorns at Selly Oak, Mary Ann Evans in Nuneaton, Myton Hamlet in Warwick, Shakespeare at Stratford upon Avon and St Mary's, Selly Park, Birmingham. posted 22/12/2007
Some of Our Yesterdays
'Some of our Yesterdays' is a fascinating and informative dialogue between VW Bro John Hamill, Director of Communications, and VW Bro Graham Redman, Assistant Grand Secretary, at the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge held on 12 December 2007 and can be read at http://www.ugle.org.uk/news/jh-gfr-121207.htm (Link no longer works.) posted 19/12/2007
Pro Grand Master addresses Grand Lodge - 12 December 2007
You will have seen reference, in the paper of business, to the European Grand Masters’ meeting held here on the 5th and 6th of November. This was an historic occasion, and was planned as a one-off meeting so that we, as the mother Grand Lodge, could make clear our views on regularity, recognition and sovereignty. We had been under pressure, for some time, to give guidance and a clear stance on our position. This we did, and my speech to open the conference is printed in full as an appendix to the paper of business. I draw your attention to the first paragraph where I set out our position on regularity, and later I make the important point that it is not Freemasonry but the individual mason, imbued with the principles and tenets of the Craft, who has a positive influence on society.
The Grand Master hosted an enjoyable reception and dinner on the eve of the formal meeting for representatives of forty four European Grand Lodges, which included no less than forty one Grand Masters.
What was apparent from the meeting is that while we may have a wide diversity of customs and practises in European Freemasonry, we all subscribe to the same basic principles and tenets and are determined to maintain and preserve regularity. From the feedback we have received the meeting was considered a success and there is now a determination to continue the contacts which were made and to strengthen the lines of communications between European Grand Lodges. This can only be good for the future of regular Freemasonry.
It was an historic occasion, and like all major meetings did not just happen. I would like to place on record my thanks to V.W. Bro John Hamill and all the other members of the Grand Secretary’s staff who worked so hard to make it enjoyable and successful.
Brethren, you should know that at the meeting of Supreme Grand Chapter in November I announced that the working group set up last year under the Chairmanship of the Second Grand Principal, had now published its report into the recruitment and retention of Royal Arch Masons. The first conclusion of the report relates to the additional paragraph to the 1813 Declaration in the preamble to the Book of Constitutions, relating to the status of the Royal Arch. This was added to by Grand Lodge, in December 2003. In short, this describes the Royal Arch as ‘an extension to, but neither a superior nor subordinate part of the Degrees which precede it’. There is no doubt that the Royal Arch is NOT the completion of just the third degree. But it is not felt that the 2003 declaration accurately reflects the relationship of the Royal Arch to the three Craft degrees. The result is that it has not been helpful to those joining or seeking to recruit new members. So, I am minded to request Grand Lodge to give careful consideration to replacing the 2003 paragraph with a fresh definition. I feel that, in general terms, we should all seek to describe the Royal Arch as the next step in Freemasonry after the Craft degrees and the final step in pure ancient Masonry. It is, of course, both an integral part of Craft masonry as well as being its completion.
The other important conclusion of the report, in relation to recruitment, is a recommendation to Grand Lodge from Supreme Grand Chapter, that a Royal Arch representative should be appointed in each Craft Lodge. This representative, at least until further research and consideration, would not be a Lodge officer. But he would have responsibility for promoting the Royal Arch within the context of the Lodge. Where his role has already been implemented in some Lodges, it has had a dramatic effect on the levels of recruitment and retention. Representatives need to be carefully chosen and the report gives advice and guidance on this matter.
Since the last Quarterly Communication I have visited our three Districts in India, accompanied by the Grand Secretary. This proved to be a very successful trip visiting the District of Bombay and Northern India in Mumbai; the District of Bengal in Kolkata and the District of Madras in Both Chennai and Bangalore. This was my first visit to India and we were greeted by everyone with great warmth. I held a business meeting in each District and we met as many of the Brethren and their wives, as possible.
At the request of the District Grand Master of Bombay and Northern India we are reforming the District back into two Districts. The District has been a happy one and the split is purely based on the enormous distances between some of the Lodges. The inauguration of the District of Northern India will take place in early January.
At the third Rulers’ Forum meeting yesterday, Brethren from three of the groups gave a presentation on the best points from all the mentoring schemes that exist and more. Retention depends on mentoring and education and the CD-rom which they have produced contains information and guidance for mentors from the interview stage through to third degree and beyond. It was so impressive that I have asked them to repeat the presentation at our next Quarterly Communication in March.
Finally, Brethren, I wish you and your families every joy for the Festive Season and a very happy New Year. posted 18/12/2007
Pro Grand Master addresses meeting of European Grand Masters - November 2007
Regularity is an absolute. It cannot be partial or conditional. A Grand Lodge is either regular or it is not. In England’s terms, to be regular a Grand Lodge must conform to each of our Basic Principles for Grand Lodge Recognition or it cannot be considered as regular.
Those Basic Principles, agreed with the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland, were codified and published in 1929 but were not something new. They had been developed and refined over more than 150 years as Freemasonry spread around the world and Grand Lodges began to emerge outside these islands. We believe them to be fundamental and unchangeable, as they define what is for us the essence of regular Freemasonry. The Principles were further confirmed by the three Home Grand Lodges in 1938 in the statement they each issued entitled “Aims and Relationships of the Craft”. We firmly believe that if any of these Basic Principles were removed or varied, that removal or variation would materially alter the nature of Freemasonry.
There have been suggestions that the Basic Principles should be capable of redefinition from generation to generation, although those making those suggestions seem reluctant to reveal which of the Basic Principles they wish to redefine. I would suspect that one area they would like to redefine is the prohibition of the discussion of religion and politics at Masonic meetings, and the bar on Grand Lodges or individual Freemasons making public comment on matters of religious, political or state policy when acting in their Masonic capacities.
In that context, I was rather surprised that some of you had been discussing the role of Freemasonry in a changing Europe and how Freemasonry can influence, for the common good, the social and moral development of the new Europe. The Home Grand Lodges – England, Ireland and Scotland – would respond that Freemasonry has no role outside Freemasonry and that the only influence it should be seeking is over itself and its members.
We firmly believe that it is not Freemasonry but the individual who can have a positive influence on society. We see Freemasonry as an intensely personal journey of self-discovery, knowledge and personal development. We hope that the individual, during his journey, will absorb the principles and tenets of Freemasonry, so that they become a part of his nature. In that way he will make a contribution for the good of society. If the individual, imbued with the principles of Freemasonry, does not work for the good of society we should then question whether Freemasonry has fulfilled its purpose.
Regular Freemasonry is not, and should never be allowed to develop into being, a lobby group – no matter how universal and noble the cause. One of the great strengths of regular Freemasonry has been that it stands apart from politics and sectarianism, in the memorable words of Dr James Anderson forming “the centre of union between good men and true, and the happy means of conciliating friendship amongst those who must otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance.” Those who formed and developed Freemasonry knew from first hand experience how divisive politics and religion could be. By banning discussion of those topics at Masonic meetings and not allowing their Grand Masters or others, in their Masonic capacities, to make public pronouncements on those topics they were seeking to unite men of good will to enable them to set aside their differences and work together for the common good. That is surely a landmark of Freemasonry, and if we tamper with it we will materially alter the nature of Freemasonry.
I understand that at the Forum in Prague at the end of April there was a suggestion that there should be an addition to the Basic Principles for Grand Lodge Recognition – that of territorial exclusivity, in other words that there should only be one Grand Lodge per territory or country. That suggestion carried the implication that a Grand Lodge was not sovereign unless it had sole control of the Craft in its territory or country. We do not see sovereignty in terms of territory; to us sovereignty is a Grand Lodge having sole authority over its constituent Lodges and members, wherever they might be situated, and not sharing that authority with any other power such as a Supreme Council.
For historical and practical reasons, the Home Grand Lodges and others could not regard exclusive territorial jurisdiction as a basic principle for recognition. For more than 250 years the Home Grand Lodges have shared territory all round the world and continue to do so today. Indeed, in some areas we share territory with a local Grand Lodge formed since the Home Grand Lodges introduced Freemasonry into their territory. In the United States – where exclusive territorial jurisdiction was a principle for regularity – they have had to vary their views, as in many States the State Grand Lodge now shares its territory with a Prince Hall Grand Lodge, as the Home Grand Lodges do in the Bahamas, Caribbean and West Indies.
The common factor in all these examples of shared territory is that the sharing is by mutual consent, and that is surely the key. If two or more Grand Lodges wish to share territory, why should we impose an arbitrary impediment on them doing so?
A Grand Lodge invading the territory of another Grand Lodge is a completely different matter. Such an action would be intolerable, contrary to all the principles of international Masonic relations, and lay the invading Grand Lodge open to charges of irregularity and the inevitability of having its recognition withdrawn.
Recognition is a bi-lateral act between two sovereign powers. It is not, however, a “right of regularity”, but a privilege. England has been criticised in recent years for not immediately recognising new or re-emerging Grand Lodges, even when they have been regularly formed or revived by Grand Lodges with whom we have long been in amity. The reason for this is a simple one. As the oldest Grand Lodge, without seeking to, we have had thrust upon us the mantle of being the guardians of regularity. That is a heavy responsibility which we take seriously. Additionally, I understand that recognition by the United Grand Lodge of England carries with it a cachet that speeds recognition by other Grand Lodges. Because of these factors, we have to make certain that what we recognise is not only regular but it is firmly rooted within a stable country, free from political interference, will maintain its regularity and has a good prospect of surviving and expanding. In short, we cannot get it wrong!
On at least three occasions we were pressured to recognise Grand Lodges, but we stuck to our usual policy, and were proved right. In two cases within a short time the Grand Lodges were riven with dissension leading to breakaway Grand Lodges being formed, and in the third case even the “mother” rejected its child and withdrew the Charter it had given it.
The last point I wish to make concerns England’s place in world Freemasonry. In his speech to the World Conference in Paris last year, the Grand Master of Austria stated his belief that the United Grand Lodge of England had abdicated its responsibilities in European Freemasonry and that next to nothing was felt of its authority. I would not only disagree but would question what responsibilities we have in Europe, or any other part of the world. We are always available for advice, information and sharing our long experience but we cannot, nor would we seek to, interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign Grand Lodge. We can offer a lead, provide comfort and support in times of trouble, and give practical assistance to new Grand Lodges, but England cannot be a sort of international Masonic policeman arbitrating disagreements within and between sovereign Grand Lodges. We can and will make our position clear on the subjects of regularity and recognition but it is then up to you to decide what your views are. We cannot, and would not seek to, impose our views on others and we do not believe that any other body should do so either. However, we do reserve our right to decide who we regard as being regular and capable of recognition.
Brethren, we have a wonderful diversity of Masonic practice in Europe. We are bound by the same basic principles, tenets and landmarks but have each developed in our own way. We should celebrate that diversity, so long as it remains within the bounds of regularity. posted 18/12/2007
More assistance for firefighters families fund
Donations totalling £5,500 were made on Saturday 8 December to the Deputy Chief Fire Officer for Warwickshire at Stratford Masonic Hall during an open day organised by the members of the Fire Service Lodge which meets there. Of that total substantial contributions had been made by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Worcestershire, the directors of the Masonic Hall and the Fire Service Lodge. The Mayor of Stratford Town Council and the Deputy Chief Fire Officer paid tribute to the generosity of all those Freemasons who had given to this worthy cause. posted 8/12/2007
The total of the donations received up to and including 30 November 2007 is £767,773. posted 5/12/2007
Grand Lodge and other dues
Lodge Treasurers are reminded that the Annual Dues payable to Grand Lodge for 2008 are £21.50 (which includes VAT at a partial zero rating) for each subscribing member and the Freemasons' Grand Charity contribution for each member is £13 on which VAT is not payable. The registration fee for an Initiate received by Grand Lodge on or after 1 January 2008, even though the Initiation took place before this date, is £45 to which VAT of 17.5% must be added. posted 1/12/2007
Installed Masters to host official Prestonian Lecture for 2008
The Board of General Purposes has considered applications for the delivery of the official Prestonian Lectures for 2008 and has decided that one of the four should be given under the auspices of the Warwickshire Installed Masters' Lodge No 4538 at their meeting on 31 March 2008 at 2 Stirling Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, the HQ of the Province of Warwickshire. The Lecturer is W Bro R D T Sillett PJGD and the title of the Lecture is 'The Language of the Ritual'.
Firefighters families fund boosted by Freemasons
The Provincial Grand Master for Warwickshire, RW Bro Michael J Price CBE, together with members of the Fire Service Lodge No 8401, handed over almost £32,000 from the Warwickshire Freemasons and Freemasons from Nottinghamshire, West Kent and elsewhere to the Chief Fire Officer, William Brown, at the HQ of the Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service in Leamington Spa on Wednesday 28 November 2007. The money will go to the Warwickshire Firefighters Families Fund and will benefit the immediate families of those courageous firefighters who lost their lives as a result of the devastating fire at Atherstone on Stour. The photo shows the Provincial Grand Master and the Chief Fire Officer. posted 29/11/2007
Fire Service Lodge pays tribute to brave firefighters
Members of the Fire Service Lodge No 8401, whose members are drawn from all parts of the country, will be holding a special day to remember their colleagues who died in the fire at Atherstone on Stour. It will take place at the Masonic Hall, Great William Street, Stratford upon Avon, where the Lodge meets, from 12.30pm until 3.00pm on Saturday 8 December. The event is open to the public and a warm welcome will be extended to all. A book of condolence will be available and donations may be made to the fund established to assist the bereaved families.
There will be opportunities as well to learn about Freemasonry. Light refreshments will be served. posted 29/11/2007
Freemasons help hospices
Hospices across England and Wales are set for a funding boost as The Freemasons’ Grand Charity distributes £600,000 towards the operating costs of the widely respected services. Although children’s and adults Hospices have always been supported through the annual grant giving scheme, this year for the very first time a sum was set aside specifically to benefit the growing number of services dedicated to children. The money from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity will be shared between 220 hospices, with over half of the children’s services receiving more than £3,000 and each adult service receiving an average of over £2,600. The newly announced grants will take The Freemasons’ Grand Charity’s support for the sector to over £7 million since 1984.
The hospices to benefit in the Province of Warwickshire are Acorns Children's Hospice in Birmingham, Warren Pearl in Solihull, Mary Ann Evans in Nuneaton, Myton Hamlet in Warwick, Shakespeare in Stratford upon Avon and St Mary's in Birmingham.
Rodney Pitham, an Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Warwickshire, is Chairman of the relevant committee of the Freemasons' Grand Charity which recommends these grants and many others to a host of non-Masonic charities. posted 28/11/2007
Masonic help strikes a chord with parishioners
Parishioners in Sutton St Nicholas are singing the praises of Herefordshire Freemasons, who have helped them complete the refurbishment of their 12th century church with the addition of a new organ. With funds already stretched to repair and refurbish the tower, roof and bells, updating the old church organ at St Michael's Church, which had reached the end of its musical career, was proving difficult despite a series of fundraising events and donations from local parishioners. So the Herefordshire Masonic Charity Association stepped forward to help install a new electronic organ for church organist Roy Gilham and the congregation to enjoy. posted 28/11/2007
Provincial Grand Wardens for Warwickshire
The Provincial Grand Master for Warwickshire, RW Bro Michael J Price CBE, has been pleased to appoint W Bro Rex Lowin of Mercia Lodge No 6246 as Provincial Senior Grand Warden and W Bro Philip Wills of the Lodge of Freedom No 3914 as Provincial Junior Grand Warden for the year 2008/2009. They will be invested at the Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge on Saturday 19 April 2008. posted 28/11/2007
Freemasons give £20,000 for Bangladesh cyclone victims
Following the devastation of parts of Bangladesh by Tropical Storm Sidr, The Freemasons' Grand Charity is supporting the relief work of the Red Cross with an emergency grant of £20,000. Around 1 million people are believed to have been affected by the storm which hit the Southern Coast of Bangladesh on 15 November, destroying homes, crops and infrastructure and triggering a tidal surge that swamped three coastal villages. The official death toll stands at over 3,100 people, but this is expected to rise as rescuers continue to recover bodies from amongst the debris. Some remote areas are still inaccessible and many survivors are without fresh water and food.
The emergency grant approved by Grahame Elliott, President of the Freemasons' Grand Charity, will help to fund the work of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, providing for the needs of some of the most vulnerable people affected by the storm, including the provision of blankets, food, shelter, medical supplies and basic healthcare. posted 22/11/2007
Freemasons assist fire tragedy families
All Freemasons, along with all members of the public, have been deeply touched by the loss of the lives of the four courageous Warwickshire fire-fighters Ian Reid, Ashley Stephens, Darren Yates-Badley and John Averis, arising from the warehouse fire at Atherstone-on-Stour. The Freemasons in Warwickshire have responded positively and quickly to the appeal for financial help for the families of the deceased fire-fighters.
Michael Price CBE, the Provincial Grand Master of the Warwickshire Freemasons, says:
“We cannot begin to imagine the distress and anguish of the families of these brave men who gave their lives in the service of the community. Our thoughts and prayers are with them now and in the future as they seek to come to terms with their sad and unexpected loss. It is a fact of life that we take our emergency services for granted but they are brought into sharp focus when a disaster of this magnitude occurs.
In the circumstances I asked all members and Lodges in Warwickshire to contribute to the fund established for the families. They have responded magnificently and I thank them all once again for their overwhelming generosity.”
The Provincial Grand Master will hand over at least £21,000 from the Warwickshire Freemasons and Freemasons from Nottinghamshire and West Kent to the Chief Fire Officer at the HQ of the Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service in Leamington Spa on Wednesday 28 November 2007 at 2.00pm. Amongst those attending will be members of the Fire Service Lodge whose members are drawn from all over the country and which meets at the Masonic Hall in Stratford upon Avon. Other senior Freemasons will be there together with many civic dignitaries. posted 21/11/2007
Fire tragedy at Atherstone on Stour
The fire tragedy at Atherstone on Stour has touched many people with the loss of four courageous firefighters. A fund has been established by the Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service to support the families of those brave men. In response to concern expressed by many Brethren the Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire will donate £5,000 to the special fund, the Royal Arch Province a further £5,000, and the Mark Province a substantial sum. The Freemasons' Grand Charity has agreed to give £5,000 to the fund as well.
The Provincial Grand Master invites Lodges in the Province to consider making donations to this worthy cause. If Lodges agree to this invitation any cheques should be made payable to WMCA Ltd and sent the Provincial Charity Office at 2 Stirling Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B16 9SB. Arrangements for the cheque presentation are being made. posted 12/11/2007 - updated 16/11/2007
New Royal Arch Chapter for Worcestershire
E Comp Richard Price the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent in and over the Holy Royal Arch Province of Worcestershire consecrated the Old Bromsgrovian Chapter at Bromsgrove School on Saturday 3 November 2007. The Founder First Principal is E Comp Richard V Wallis, the immediate Past Grand Superintendent for Warwickshire, the Second Principal is E Comp Bob Biddle and the Third Principal is E Comp Bill Caswell. The photo shows the Consecrating Officer and the three Principals. posted 12/11/2007
Ken Wilkinson and Tony Pickering both flew Spitfires during World War II. They were both full of nostalgia when as members of the Warwickshire Royal Air Force Lodge No 9456 they attended a meeting of the Lodge at RAF Cosford. The photo shows, in the centre, Roger Mac, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Master of the Lodge, on the left Ken and on the right Tony. It was a particularly poignant moment for Tony since the Spitfire behind them was one he had flown. posted 12/11/2007
"What are the hidden mysteries of nature and science?"
Fancy walking for charity?
150 years of Freemasonry
The total for the end of October 2007 is £732,000. posted 6/11/2007
Membership update form
Lodge Secretaries in the Province of Warwickshire should note that the latest Membership Update Form which requires all amendments to Lodge memberships is available to download at http://www.warwickshirepgl.org.uk/mem_update.php It is imperative that the Provincial Grand Secretary, Nigel Burton, is advised of changes in members' status or details as soon after they occur as possible. Of the utmost priority in this respect is notification of the death of any Brother which in the first instance should be communicated by telephone to the Provincial Grand Secretary or Barbara Powell on 0121 454 4422. posted 3/11/2007
Feed the Needy Children
As part of their celebration of their 50 years of existence, members of the Lodge of the Coast No 7518 in the District Grand Lodge of East Africa in Mombassa organised an event recently to "Feed the Needy Children" at Mtwapa where about 1000 children from Mtwapa neighbourhood were fed with a hearty meal. posted 3/11/2007
Brace yourself for support!
Harry Owen now has even more merchandise to sell in support of the 2012 Festival - braces! There are two varieties - black and white squares, and Masonic symbols - and they are reasonably priced at £15. Order yours now by phoning Harry on 0121 454 4422. posted 2/11/2007
This concert held in October in aid of the 2012 Festival for the New Masonic Samaritan Fund has now raised the sum of £14,600. posted 31/10/2007
Installation of new Provincial Grand Master
The Most Worshipful Pro Grand Master John Hale will be presiding at the Installation of Very Worshipful Brother David John Frederick Rawlins as Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of Warwickshire on Tuesday 4 December at 11.00 am at the Warwickshire Masonic Temple, Stirling Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham. Following his Installation, the newly installed Provincial Grand Master will appoint and invest W Bro Christopher Owen Sanders, PGJD, as Deputy Provincial Grand Master and W Bro James Stephen Wright, PGSD, as Assistant Provincial Grand Master.
Provincial Grand Lodge will be called off and resume after lunch at 3.00pm, when the Provincial Grand Master will continue to appoint and invest the Officers of Provincial Grand Lodge and invest those that have been honoured with appointment and promotion in Past Provincial Grand Rank, as well as investing those who have been appointed to Provincial Royal Ark Mariner Grand Rank.
Bev Robotham is a Founder of Compass Rose Lodge (which meets at Yenton Masonic Hall in Erdington), his son Martyn was the first Initiate and is the current Master, and Martyn's son Chris has just been initiated into the Lodge. The photograph shows the happy threesome with, from left to right, Bev, Chris and Martyn. posted 31/10/2007
Can anyone remember?
The Lodge of Assembly No 5747 will celebrate its 70th Anniversary in October 2008. Brethren of the Lodge wish to get in touch with any Masonic descendants of the Founders of the Lodge who were Alfred Phipps, Joseph Plant, Sydney Booth, Charles Ladds, Albert Dean, Thomas Hogg, John Knight, Charles Thompson, Clifford Moseley and Richard Yates. If you can help, Roy Quinton on 01939 260759 would be delighted to hear from you. posted 28/10/2007
Sixty years and still going
Ladies Gift Fund Fayre
The Ladies Gift Fund Christmas Fayre will be held at 2 Stirling Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham on Saturday 17 November 2007 commencing at 10.30am. Your support will be most welcome. posted 26/10/2007
We will remember them
A Remembrance Service will be held at the Provincial HQ, 2 Stirling Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham on Saturday 10 November 2007 commencing at 10.45am. Brethren, their families and friends are invited to attend the service to remember in particular those Freemasons who made the supreme sacrifice in all theatres of war and conflict. posted 17/10/2007
The Warwickshire Toast List for use at the Festive Board is now available online here. posted 14/10/2007
Grand Charity aid
The Freemasons' Grand Charity has recently approved grants totalling £445,200 to fifteen non-Masonic charities. Among the recipients are Leukaemia Research with £56,000 for research into acute myeloid leukaemia, and Listening Books with £30,000 for a project to upgrade to digital books. The Marine Society and Sea Cadets has received £47,000 towards a new training ship and £24,000 has gone to the Happy Days Children's Charity for day trips for disadvantaged children with special needs. Guildford Cathedral and St Woolos Cathedral have each been awarded £5,000 for their building appeals. posted 14/10/2007
The audience raised the rafters at the Arts Centre at Warwick University at the conclusion of this concert on 7 October with their singing of 'Land of Hope and Glory' and the waving of their Union Flags. They had been entertained for the evening by the collective brilliance of the Warwickshire Symphony Orchestra, the Stratford upon Avon Gilbert and Sullivan Society, Yvonne Howard and Arwel Huw Morgan all ably and wittingly presented by Ed Doolan MBE. The icing on the cake was the handing over of a cheque for £12,000, the proceeds of the concert, to Michael Price, the Provincial Grand Master for Warwickshire, and Hugh Stubbs the President of the New Masonic Samaritan Fund, for that Fund.
Our thanks go to all those involved in the preparation for this event particularly the chairman of the organising committee, Mervyn Kimberley, whose brainchild it was. Many of the audience wished to know when the next concert would be produced on behalf of Warwickshire Freemasons. Watch this space! posted 9/10/2007
The total raised to the end of September 2007 for the 2012 Festival is £694,000. posted 5/10/2007
Installation of new Provincial Grand Master
VW Bro David Rawlins is to be installed as the Provincial Grand Master for the Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of Warwickshire on Tuesday 4 December 2007 at 2 Stirling Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham. Further details will be published when they are known. posted 2/10/2007
New Master urges Lodges to take further action on openness
At his installation as Master of the Warwickshire Installed Masters Lodge on 29 September 2007 W Bro Rodney Pitham urged Lodges and their members to take further steps in respect of openness to increase public awareness of Freemasonry and to counter the myths and fictions so often published about the Order and its members. The full text of the address is available to download here. posted 30/9/2007
£25,000 for Africa Floods Appeal
The President of the Freemasons' Grand Charity, Grahame Elliot, has responded to a British Red Cross Appeal to assist hundreds of thousands of people affected by flooding across East and West Africa by approving an emergency grant of £25,000. posted 27/9/2007
The Freemasons' Grand Charity
A General Meeting of the Freemasons' Grand Charity will be held on Wednesday 3 October 2007 at 6.15pm at Cardiff City Hall, Cathays Park, Cardiff. Members of the Charity (that is Master Masons who are subscribing members of London and Provincial Lodges plus all other Brethren eligible to attend Grand Lodge) and their partners or other non-Masonic guests may attend. Everyone must be seated by 6.00pm. The Vice Grand President the Rt Hon Lord Lane of Horsell will chair the meeting.
Guest speakers include David Biggart OBE, Interim Operations Director of Skill Force, Shan Nicholas, Chief Executive of The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, and Professor Malcolm Mason, Cancer Research Wales Professor of Clinical Oncology at Cardiff University. posted 24/9/2007
New web site for Freemasons' Grand Charity
After considerable revision and updating The Freemasons’ Grand Charity’s new website will go live in the week commencing 24 September 2007. The main address for the site remains unchanged at www.grandcharity.org posted 21/9/2007
Mason conducts for charity
Richard has never conducted before and is currently undergoing intensive training. posted 19/9/2007
The Grand Chancellor addresses Grand Lodge - 12 September 2007
"MW Pro Grand Master and brethren, thank you Pro Grand Master for inviting me to address Grand Lodge on the subject of my new office as Grand Chancellor.
From time immemorial – or from at least the 1750s! – Grand Lodge’s relations with our sister Grand Lodges have been managed by a combination of the Board of General Purposes (and its predecessors), the Grand Master’s advisers and the Grand Secretary. For much of the period up to the late 20th century external relations was a gentle art which took up little time. Occasionally there were explosions of activity – examples being: the decision in 1876 by the Grand Orient of France to drop the requirement that candidates must have a belief in a Supreme Being and to remove all references to the Great Architect from their rituals and the proliferation of new Grand Lodges in Europe with the re – drawing of the map of Europe after the cataclysm of the First World War – but in general it was simply a case of occasionally having to decide whether or not a new Grand Lodge met our standards of regularity and could be recognised as part of the world wide family of Freemasonry.
That all began to change in the second half of the 20th century. After the Second World War the map of Europe was again re – drawn into the Eastern and Western blocs, leading to a reduction of Freemasonry in Europe when it was forced underground in the Eastern bloc countries. At the same time in what was becoming an increasingly politicised world there was a growth of irregular Freemasonry with bodies springing up claiming to be Masonic but not accepting our Basic Principles, in particular the bar on Grand Lodges or brethren in their Masonic capacities making public statements on matters of religious, political or social policy.
As the oldest Grand Lodge, we in England have had thrust on us the role of being the guardians of regularity and in many ways are expected to police what is regular and what is not – in quiet moments I have wondered if that is why an old Oxfordshire “bobby” has been chosen to be the first Grand Chancellor! Those are not roles that we have sought and we cannot be an international policeman solving problems within and between Grand Lodges. What we can do is to listen and to offer advice from our long experience of external relations, but it is a very fine line between offering advice and interfering in the internal workings of a sovereign body.
Our role as the guardian of regularity came very much to the fore in the 1990s after the demise of the Eastern bloc, the return of democratic institutions in those areas and the resultant, and very welcome, re – establishment of dormant and making of new Grand Lodges in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Baltic States. The huge amount of activity going on in Europe alone brought heavy pressure on the Grand Secretary who had to spend increasing amounts of time dealing with urgent external relations matters, sometimes to the detriment of other matters under his care. A simple statistic brethren: in 1989 we recognised 17 regular Grand Lodges in Europe, today we recognise 34 with another four under consideration!
It was for that reason that the Rulers and the Board of General Purposes took the bold step last year, when the role of the Grand Secretary was under consideration, to relieve him of the pressure of external relations and create the office of Grand Chancellor. The main roles of the Grand Chancellor are to Chair the External Relations Committee; to advise the Rulers, the Grand Master’s advisers and the Board of General Purposes on all matters relating to other Grand Lodges; to ensure that Grand Lodge’s policy on external relations is carried through; and to ensure that all correspondence in this area is dealt with in a timely fashion. As the Grand Chancellor is not a full time employee – I have not yet succeeded in persuading my wife about that! - I shall be assisted by our Director of Communications, John Hamill, and our long term External Relations Adviser, Peter Roberts, who between them will manage the administration on a daily basis and, from their long experience in this area will provide me with valuable background and advice.
The Grand Chancellor will also have the pleasure of assisting the Grand Master and the Rulers in representing Grand Lodge on formal visits to sister Grand Lodges and at international gatherings of regular Freemasonry. I see this as an important part of maintaining and strengthening the close relations with our long established friends and of building close relations with those Grand Lodges which have been recently re – established or have been newly formed in areas where Freemasonry has not existed for many generations. With the revolution in fast communication systems and the ease and reasonable cost of travelling today the Masonic world is coming closer and closer together and intervisitation and the regular exchange of information can only be good for the future of regular Freemasonry in general. I look forward to playing a part in fostering those good relations.
As there seems to be a little confusion over what constitutes External Relations and what role the Grand Secretary will have in Freemasonry overseas, now is perhaps the time to explain. External relations covers our relations with other Constitutions outside our own. They are the responsibility of the Grand Chancellor. Because of our rich heritage England still has over 800 lodges meeting outside these islands under District Grand Masters, Grand Inspectors or being governed directly from London. Although many of them are separated from us by great distances, they are still very much an important part of the United Grand Lodge of England and will continue to come under the jurisdiction of the Grand Secretary and, in normal circumstances, when they are visited by a Ruler the Grand Secretary will accompany them, not the Grand Chancellor. He has already visited Ghana and in the autumn he will accompany the Pro Grand Master when he visits our Districts in India.
There are also areas where the Grand Secretary and Grand Chancellor will work together. During the summer we had our usual tripartite meeting with Ireland and Scotland. Because that meeting involves both practical matters of Craft administration and jurisprudence as well as the discussion of relations between the Home Grand Lodges and other Grand Lodges, both the Grand Secretary and I were present. The same applies with the annual meeting of the European Grand Secretaries and Grand Chancellors. Co – operation between the two of us becomes even more important in those areas overseas in which we share territory not only with Ireland and Scotland but also with a local sovereign Grand Lodge. Although Freemasonry grew out of an operative system for controlling the operative masons Craft, I can promise you brethren, there will be no demarcation disputes between the Grand Secretary and the Grand Chancellor!
We live in challenging times, brethren and Masonic external relations are crucial to the future harmony and stability of Freemasonry on a global level. As many of you will know we are hosting a major meeting in London in November to which we have invited the Grand Masters of all the regular Grand Lodges in Europe. Our intention is to reaffirm those basic principles which have defined our relations with the rest of regular Freemasonry, and to discuss how we can cooperate to ensure the continuance of warm relations throughout. I feel immensely proud and honoured that through the new office of Grand Chancellor I have been invited to be a part of that great task." posted 18/9/2007
Lord Northampton addresses Grand Lodge - 12 September 2007
"This time last year I mentioned the establishment of the University Scheme under the guidance of the Assistant Grand Master. The intention of the scheme was to provide opportunities for undergraduates and other university members to enjoy Freemasonry. I am pleased to say that the scheme has attracted interest from more lodges than originally planned and has generated much interest from local and national press. It will now cover many more universities than the original nine. Any lodge wishing to participate may do so as long as it can persuade its PGM that its members are committed to the challenges of change which the scheme is implementing. I wish all the participants every success in this exciting initiative.
I am pleased to inform you that the Board of General Purposes has agreed a merger between our magazine MQ and Freemasonry Today. The first issue, which will be distributed free to our members in England and Wales, will be coming out in January and will retain the name of Freemasonry Today. As such it will be the house magazine of the United Grand Lodge of England, I believe the criteria for this new magazine should be that it makes our members proud to belong to English Freemasonry, with lots of pictures and interesting news from all over our Constitution. It should educate our brethren and their families into a better understanding of Freemasonry with articles which promote the Craft – its charity, its three Grand Principles, its moral and spiritual virtues and its tolerance; and it should make a young man keen to join us if he is looking for moral stability in his life, free from doctrine or dogma. This magazine is part of our need to preserve our heritage and our uniqueness at a time when society is questioning past values in a rush to embrace anything new. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have worked hard to produce MQ over the past few years." posted 18/9/2007
Warwickshire Freemasons are promoting a concert, “Autumn Glory”, at the Arts Centre, Warwick University, on Sunday 7 October 2007. Those taking part include the Warwickshire Symphony Orchestra conducted by Guy Woolfenden (erstwhile long-time musical director of the Royal Shakespeare Company), the Stratford upon Avon Gilbert and Sullivan Society and soloists Yvonne Howard, Mezzo Soprano, and Arwell Huw Morgan, Bass Baritone. Ed Doolan, the local BBC radio broadcaster, will be the presenter for the evening. The music will include pieces by Walton, Arnold, Holst, Britten, Coates and, of course, Gilbert and Sullivan. The audience will be able to participate in songs such as “You'll never walk alone”, “Jerusalem” and “Land of Hope and Glory”.
Important diary dates
De Montfort Lodge will be holding its 500th Meeting at Henley in Arden on 8 October, the Initiates Dinner will take place on 12 October at 2 Stirling Road, Edgbaston, and the Heart of England Lodge will celebrate its 60th Anniversary at the Solihull Masonic Hall on 18 October. Ipsley Lodge which meets in Redditch also celebrates its Diamond Anniversary on 1 November.
No to women!
Some 1,200 delegates at the recent annual meeting of the Grand Orient of France rejected a proposal by Grand Master Jean-Michel Quillardet to open up its lodges to women. The Grand Orient is not recognised as a regular Grand Lodge by the United Grand Lodge of England. posted 14/9/2007
Edgbaston Assembly Rooms Limited
Brethren of Warwickshire are reminded that the Annual General Meeting of Edgbaston Assembly Rooms Limited for the year ended 30 June 2007 will be held at 2 Stirling Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham on Wednesday 31 October 2007 at 12 noon. Since all Brethren are members of the company they are urged to attend this important meeting. posted 9/9/2007
Freemasons sponsor brave widow of soldier
The widow of a soldier who was killed in Iraq has just completed her first charity parachute jump and plans to repeat the event every year in memory of him. Kingsman Danny Wilson was shot by a sniper in Basra on 1 April after he jumped from his Warrior armoured vehicle to check for roadside bombs. Tracey Wilson did the sponsored skydive in aid of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association – which helps others in her situation, as well as soldiers that have been injured and need assistance. So far Tracey has personally collected more than £2,700 for the charity, including a £2,000 donation from the Freemasons of Cumberland and Westmorland. posted 31/8/2007
New Worcestershire Royal Arch Chapter
Yet another new Ruler
Peter Astfalck is to succeed John Denton in December this year as Grand Superintendent for the West Midlands District No 3 in the Masonic Order of Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests. As far as Peter is concerned it's just magic! posted 29/8/2007
New Provincial Grand Master for the Mark
The Brethren of Warwickshire extend their warmest congratulations to David Rawlins who has been appointed as Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of Warwickshire to succeed David Carr Hooker. Details of the Installation will be published as soon as they are known.
David is currently the Deputy Provincial Grand Master in the Craft and holds the Mark Grand Rank of Past Grand Master Overseer and is an erstwhile Deputy Provincial Grand Master of the Mark Province of Worcestershire. His appointment means that Bedford Lodge No 925 in the Craft Province of Warwickshire will have as members two Provincial Grand Masters in the Mark Degree, namely David, and Frank Spencer who holds that high office in Worcestershire.
We pray that David will have a very happy and rewarding tenure in his new office. posted 29/8/2007
Fire Service Lodge joins the club
The Fire Service Lodge No 8401 now has its own dedicated web site atwww.fireservicelodge.org and has joined that growing band of Warwickshire Lodges which tell the world about their Freemasonry. posted 28/8/2007
New Master for Warwickshire Installed Masters Lodge
A new Ruler
Colin Young, an Assistant Provincial Grand Master in the neighbouring Province of Worcestershire, has been appointed as the Intendant General of the West Midlands Division of The Masonic and Military Order of the Red Cross of Constantine and the Order of the Holy Sepulchre and St John The Evangelist. Colin succeeds Richard Wallis who has himself been promoted to the high office of Deputy Grand Sovereign of the Orders. Details of Colin's Installation, the date of which is not yet fixed, will be available from Jeremy Mallin, the Divisional Recorder, on 01564 773454. posted 27/8/2007
Freemasons of Warwickshire reveal all!
A number of Masonic Halls in Warwickshire are to be open to the public during the national Heritage Open Days weekend between 6 and 9 September 2007. Members of the public will be made most welcome and no appointments are necessary. All questions about Freemasonry will be answered. Lodge Rooms can be inspected and Masonic regalia will be on display. Freemasons will be on hand to guide and explain.
The home of Warwickshire Freemasonry at the Clarendon Suites, 2 Stirling Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham will take part in the Open Days on 6 September 2007 from 10.00am until 4.00pm. Nuneaton Masonic Hall at 12 Newdegate Place, Nuneaton, will be open at similar times on 7 and 8 September as will the Masonic Rooms at St Mary Magdalen Chapel, Guy’s Cliffe, Warwick on 6, 7, and 8 September. Solihull Masonic Hall at 1621 Warwick Road, Knowle opens its doors from 10.00am to 4.00pm on Sunday 9 September; Sutton Coldfield Masonic Hall in Mill Street, Sutton Coldfield on 8 September in the morning, the Masonic Rooms at Alderson House, 23 High Street Warwick on 8 September in the morning, the Stratford Masonic Rooms, Great William Street, Stratford on 6, 7, and 8 September all day, and the Yenton Masonic Rooms, 73 Gravelly Hill North, Erdington on 8 September between 10.00am and 4.30pm.
This is an opportunity for the public to find out more about Freemasonry and for Freemasons to dispel all the myths and fictions so often published about them. posted 27/8/2007
Grand Masters to meet in London
The Grand Masters and Grand Secretaries of regular Grand Lodges in Europe have been invited to a special meeting in London on 5 and 6 November 2007.
Since the political changes in Europe in the early 1990s there has been an unparalleled growth in the number of Grand Lodges in Europe. Whilst greatly welcomed, that growth has brought with it a number of problems and tensions, particularly in the areas of regularity, sovereignty, recognition and territorial jurisdiction, which will be the main topics of discussion at this special meeting.
The meeting will consist of a number of short formal presentations followed by open discussion of the topics raised. The presentations and a summary of the discussions will be printed for circulation amongst those attending. As each Grand Lodge is sovereign and independent no binding decisions can be made, but this will be a major opportunity for the leaders of regular European Freemasonry to meet and to share information, experiences and views to strengthen the fraternal bonds which unite them.
Because of the importance of the topics under discussion and as no ritual work will be included in the meeting, in addition to representatives of the Grand Lodges in Europe recognised by the UGLE invitations have been extended to the Grand Masters of a small number of Grand Lodges which are regular in origin and practice but are not at present formally recognised by England. posted 21/8/2007
Your chance to hear a Prestonian Lecture next door
The members of Frederick Hickton Griffiths Lodge No 8878 in Worcestershire are delighted to welcome R W Bro Roeinton Khambatta, Past District Grand Master (Pakistan) and Prestonian Lecturer for 2007, back to the Lodge in October. R W Bro Khambatta was the first IPM of the Lodge and returns to deliver his Prestonian lecture entitled “The Grand Secretaries 1813 – 1980” at the Regular Meeting of the Lodge on Wednesday 31st October at 6.00pm at the Moseley Masonic Hall, Kings Heath, Birmingham, B14 6DT.
Anyone interested in attending this important meeting should contact the Secretary for a copy of the Summons. Details are available from Raymond Pidcock at 14 Bishop Close, Dunholme, Lincolnshire, LN2 3US or on 01673 866242. posted 21/8/2007
A Mason serving the community
Albert Harding, a Freemason in Thunder Bay, Ontario, has achieved a personal milestone that puts him in the top twelve plasma donors in all of Canada.
He has just made his 600th plasma donation at the Canadian Blood Services Centre in Thunder Bay. Twelve per cent of plasma donations in the Province of Ontario are given by Freemasons. Albert says he gave his first donation when he was just seventeen and his goal is to make 1,000 donations in his lifetime. posted 16/8/2007
Reading Court donates to Air Ambulance
The residents of Reading Court in Tiddington Road in Stratford upon Avon, some of whom have Masonic connections, have raised among themselves the sum of £545 which has been donated to the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance Service. The photograph shows Pam Jowers, the Warden, handing the cheque to a grateful Steve Welton of the Air Ambulance. Reading Court consists of sheltered apartments and is owned by the Masonic Housing Association. The Chairman of the complex is W Bro Alan J Wellan one of the Assistant Provincial Grand Masters of the Province of Warwickshire. Alan says: "The residents are very committed to helping the local community in any way they can and it is delightful to see that the Masonic spirit is alive and well at Reading Court." posted 16/8/2007
We are pleased to report that Ed is making good progress after his operation and expects to be back with his radio programme shortly. posted 16/8/2007
Lawyers learn about Euclid!
75 years and still going
Ralph Meserve became a Mason in 1932 when he was initiated in Saco Lodge No 9 in Maine, USA. Seventy-five years later, Ralph, now 97, has been honoured by his Lodge for reaching this rare milestone. He is the oldest living member of Saco Lodge and the oldest Past Master. The photo shows him with a commemorative plaque presented to him by the Lodge. posted 15/8/2007
Warwickshire Installed Masters Lodge Ladies Night
The Master of the Lodge, W Bro Nigel Bister, and his wife Pam invite Brethren, their ladies and other guests to attend their Ladies Night at 2 Stirling Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham on Saturday 22 September at 6.15pm for dinner at 7.00pm. Dress is formal. The cost is £38 per person inclusive of wines and a Bucks Fizz reception. Further details are available from, and reservations can be made with, Nigel Burton the Provincial Grand Secretary, on 0121 454 4422. posted 13/8/2007
Freemasons' Aid to Cathedral in Gibraltar
The English Freemasons of Gibraltar have presented a cheque for £5,000 to the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity for its Rock of Ages Campaign. Alfred Ryan, Deputy District Grand Master in Charge of Gibraltar’s English Masons, presented the cheque to Dean Alan Woods, on behalf of the Freemasons’ Grand Charity of the United Grand Lodge of England. The District Grand Lodge of Gibraltar said it had been delighted that the request for the grant was favourably considered and approved by the Committee and Council of the Freemasons’ Grand Charity of the United Grand Lodge of England. The District Grand Lodge of Gibraltar believes it is “a worthy and most needed cause, and it is hoped that the grant will help in the repairs and restoration of the Cathedral Holy Trinity”. posted 11/8/2007
The Freemasons of Warwickshire send their best wishes to Bro Ed Doolan for a speedy recovery to full health after the emergency fitting of a pacemaker. posted 8/8/2007
Freemasons aid victims of floods in Asia
In the wake of the worst flooding to hit Asia in many years the Freemasons' Grand Charity has approved a grant of £50,000 to the British Red Cross Asia Floods Appeal.
In recent weeks, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Nepal and Pakistan have all been hit by major floods caused by the monsoon rains. Landslides and flash floods have killed several hundred people and hundreds of thousands more have been left homeless. Many of the people affected are amongst the world’s poorest and they now have little or no access to food, clean water and healthcare and are at risk from the outbreak of water-borne disease.
The grant to the Red Cross is a significant contribution towards the initial £250,000 appeal target and will help to provide emergency relief in the affected countries, including the delivery of food, water and basic healthcare. posted 8/8/2007
Warwickshire Freemasons help flooded farmers
The ARC - Addington Fund was established in 2001 by the Arthur Rank Centre at the request of the Archbishop of Canterbury, as the Churches' response to the Foot and Mouth disease outbreak of that year. It is based at the Royal Show Ground at Stoneleigh.
The Fund is now responding to the aftermath of the recent floods which has caused so much devastation in many rural communities and will be able to assist those farmers whose livelihood has literally been 'washed away'. The Fund is providing a package of hardship grants and pastoral care. They are involved in coordinating a fodder bank, to get supplies to farmers whose grazing land has been ruined. Whilst the Fund cannot compensate for losses, it can help in the provision of some immediate relief.
The Freemasons of Warwickshire are going to help this worthwhile cause and, thanks to an additional contribution from the Freemasons' Grand Charity in London, will be donating £3,000 to the Fund. A cheque for this amount will be presented to Ian Bell, the Fund's Director, by David Rawlins, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, at the Warwickshire Provincial HQ in Stirling Road Edgbaston on Thursday 9 August 2007 at 10.30am.
Freemasons do not collect money from the general public. Donations of this nature can only be made through the generosity of Freemasons and their contributions. posted 7/8/2007
At 31 July 2007 the total is £665,000 for the 2012 Festival. posted 7/8/2007
Freemason jailed for stealing £48,000 from Lodges
A Freemason who stole from two Northumberland Masonic Lodges has been jailed. David Glass worked voluntarily as a treasurer for the Masonic movement as he plundered the cash to pay off his spiralling debts. The former financial advisor stole just over £48,000 from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Northumberland and the Farne Lodge of Mark Master Masons between November 2004 and November 2005. But Glass was caught when fellow Masons became suspicious of the missing cash and began to investigate, Newcastle Crown Court heard. Glass, 55, was arrested and pleaded guilty to 20 charges involving theft, false accounting and using a false instrument on the day his trial was due to start earlier this month. Judge Guy Whitburn jailed Glass for 21 months and said he had committed a gross breach of trust. "How it is that a man of good character commits theft on this scale is quite difficult to understand," Judge Whitburn said. posted 7/8/2007
FACE="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Communications via the Warwickshire web site
It is evident from comments made at the last meeting of Temple Councillors and Liaison Officers in July that not all Brethren in the Province of Warwickshire have access to the Internet which means that they are not aware of current news, events and announcements particularly those coming from the Provincial Grand Master. Because of the limitations of both timing and space it is not possible to mention every such item in Provincial Grand Lodge News which is published in February, August and November and distributed to Lodge Secretaries in such numbers that there is a copy for each member.
The Warwickshire web site is a useful and immediate means of communication of all matters considered to be of relevance to Brethren and it is also the public face of Freemasonry in Warwickshire. The Provincial Information Officer spends a considerable amount of his time preparing items for the web site on a very regular basis in the hope that the news is fresh and welcomed by all readers.
To ensure that all information on the web site reaches all Brethren, Lodges in the Province should arrange for a Brother to visit the news page athttp://www.warwickshirepgl.org.uk/prov_news.php (link changed 2009) on a regular basis, perhaps once every two weeks, and make sure that the Secretary has the details to pass on to Brethren by way of hard copy. There is a facility on the news page for users to register and receive reminders that the page has been updated. Every member is entitled to know what is happening in and around the Province and this simple method will help in achieving that. posted 6/8/2007
A celebration of 100 years
Concord Lodge No 3239 will celebrate its Centenary on Saturday 15 September 2007 at The Warwickshire Masonic Temple, 2 Stirling Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B16 9SB. The Lodge will open at 5-30pm with the Festive Board commencing at 7-30pm. RW Brother Stanley Alan Lates OSM, Past Provincial Grand Master, is the Lodge's most Senior Past Master and is the current Master. He and the members of the Lodge would be delighted if as many Brethren of the Province as is possible could support them as they celebrate this enjoyable and momentous occasion in Concord Lodge's history and receive their Centenary Warrant.
Freemasons sponsor Special Olympics
The Ohio Special Olympics have been sponsored by Ohio Freemasons contributing a record $200,000 to this year's event. For more than a quarter of a century, Special Olympics athletes have held a prominent place in Ohio Freemasonry. During this period, Ohio Masons have contributed more than $2.3 million to help pay the cost of Special Olympians attending the annual Summer Games in Columbus.
During the opening ceremonies, hundreds of Freemasons, wearing white shirts and aprons and Special Olympics ball caps, marched into the stadium to the standing ovation and cheers of onlookers, many of them Special Olympics parents. The Masons then had a chance to greet the parade of Special Olympics athletes as they passed. In addition to financial support, the Masons host a welcome centre for Special Olympics athletes and their families, provide volunteer help during the statewide Summer Games competition, as well as volunteer support at countless local and district events. posted 27/7/2007
Masons give £100,000 for flood relief efforts
As torrential rain and flooding continues to affect large areas of Britain, the President of the Freemasons' Grand Charity has responded to The British Red Cross UK Floods Appeal with an emergency grant of £65,000. A sum of £35,000 has already been made available to boost Provincial Grand Lodge donations to various charitable funds which are being used to assist those affected by flooding throughout the country. The £65,000 grant will help support communities and individuals as people are finally able to begin returning to homes ruined by flood-waters.
Speaking about the response, Grahame Elliott, President of the Freemasons' Grand Charity said “Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this terrible weather which has destroyed homes and left many people in dire need of assistance. The Freemasons’ Grand Charity was established to support people in need and we hope these grants will help people cope with the impact of the floods and begin to get back on their feet.” posted 25/7/2007
Possible assistance for flood damage
Following the recent flooding in several parts of the country, it is likely that some Freemasons and their dependents will be amongst those affected. In situations where assistance is not available to them from the government, local government and/or from insurance sources, or where more urgent funds are required and their own finances cannot cover the necessary expenditure, the Council of the Freemasons' Grand Charity will consider special applications. The Freemasons' Grand Charity cannot provide an open-ended commitment to help and due diligence must be applied as in all cases.
Any Warwickshire Freemason who believes he may need assistance of this nature should get in touch with the Provincial Charity Office on 0121 454 0554 for guidance and more detailed information. posted 25/7/2007
Bro Ashwin Sethi of the Lodge of the East & West No 9785, successfully completed the Ironman Triathlon in Klagenfurt, Austria. This involved swimming 2.4 miles followed by a 112 mile bike ride and then a full 26.2 mile marathon non-stop. It took him 15 hours to complete. Bro Ashwin together with his team raised £36,341 for the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity and the United Nations Children's Fund. The Province of Warwickshire extends its warmest congratulations to Ashwin on this magnificent achievement. posted 23/7/2007
New Grand Master for the United Grand Lodge of Queensland
MW Bro Graeme Albert Ewin was installed as Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Queensland in the Grand Hall of the Masonic Centre, Brisbane on Saturday 7 July 2007 under the gaze of delegations from Grand Lodges all over Australasia and New Zealand. UGLQ is the only Grand Lodge in the Antipodes which can carry out a Grand Installation in its own Grand Hall much to the envy of the other Grand Lodges. The Installation of the new Grand Master was only part of three days of celebrations. The Brethren and their guests attended an Ecumenical Church Service at St Andrew's Uniting Church on Sunday and on the Monday gathered together for the Grand Installation Banquet at a Brisbane Hotel where the Grand Master and his wife Pam presided. The photograph shows the new Grand Master of UGLQ.
Our thanks for this information go to RW Bro Arthur Beards a Past Assistant Grand Master of the UGLQ and one of its Grand Heralds. Arthur was born in Rugby and is the uncle of W Bro Ken Jones, a Past Master of Laurence Sheriffe Lodge which meets there. He is also a regular correspondent by email with the Provincial Information Officer. Arthur, at the tender age of 81, travels extensively throughout Queensland with the Grand Master, his Deputy or Assistant whenever they are on official Masonic duty in his role as a Grand Herald, complete with trumpet. Like many Freemasons Arthur has a very understanding wife when he is away so often at considerable distances from home although she accompanied him to the Grand Installation celebrations. posted 21/7/2007
Masons have a heart
Freemasons from West Lothian have helped raise £7000 for a charity researching children's cardiac problems. The Lodge Hopetoun St John No 1232, in Linlithgow, had been fundraising for the Cardiac Research in the Young charity in memory of David Cochrane, a young member who died suddenly earlier this year. posted 21/7/2007
Freemasons' Grand Charity aids Air Ambulance
The Freemasons' Grand Charity has this year donated the magnificent sum of £190,000 to the Air Ambulance Service which means that the 19 Air Ambulances throughout England Wales have benefited from individual donations of £10,000. Amongst the beneficiaries was the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance which is based at Coventry Airport.
The photograph shows the Provincial Grand Master for Warwickshire, RW Bro Michael J Price CBE, the Provincial Grand Master for Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire, RW Bro W Barrington Hall (with the cheque), and W Bro Rodney Pitham Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Warwickshire at the presentation recently to the medical and flight crew of the air ambulance. Rodney is also the Chairman of the Appeals and Donations Committee of the Council of the Freemasons' Grand Charity which considers and recommends to the Council grants of this nature to non-Masonic charities.
Donations of this nature are made possible by contributions from Freemasons in England and Wales. No money is collected from the public. posted 20/7/2007
It is with great sorrow that we report the passing to the Grand Lodge above on 18 July of W Bro Arthur Leonard Harris Past Junior Grand Deacon, Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden. His funeral will be held at the Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick at 2.15pm on Friday 27 July. No flowers but donations if desired to Myton Hospice, Warwick c/o Dowsons Funeral Directors, 22 George Street, Leamington Spa. Arthur will be sadly missed and we express our condolences and sympathies to his family at this difficult time. posted 20/7/2007
Freemasons come to the aid of children with speech and hearing problems
Freemasons in Huntington, Ashland, Kentucky, USA have just presented $43,000 to the Marshall University Speech and Hearing Centre in the Department of Communication Disorders, bringing to $201,000 the total amount they have so far contributed to the Centre.
The Governor of Kentucky joined Marshall President Stephen J. Kopp and Board of Governors Vice Chairman Menis Ketchum at the presentation, which took place at the speech and hearing centre in Smith Hall on Marshall’s Huntington campus. The Freemasons' partnership with Marshall began in March 2002.
Kathryn Chezik, chairwoman of the Department of Communication Disorders, said the financial support from the Huntington Freemasons helps fund a clinical faculty position providing speech-language services. “This position allows us to serve more children in the area and to assist in the clinical education of the students in the Department ” she said. Amy Knell is the clinician whose position has been funded by Huntington Freemasons for the past three years. “If it was not for the Freemasons, Marshall would not have the clinical programme it has and the speech and hearing centre would not be able to see as many children as it sees,” Amy said. posted 17/7/2007
Freemasons help school
A new sensory garden has been officially opened at Newfield Special School in Blackburn. The Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen opened the garden at the Old Bank Lane school, designed to allow children to watch and understand nature. Pupils had helped to plant the flowers. Headteacher Jane Barry thanked the Freemasons of Blackburn with Darwen for funding and organising the project. A commemorative plaque has been installed at the garden entrance to mark the occasion. posted 17/7/2007
Error in MQ
Brethren who have received Issue 22 of MQ Magazine should note that on page 35, in the Article entitled Human Rights Court Judgement, there is a typographical error in the third paragraph. The beginning of that paragraph should read "The Grand Orient of Italy, which is not recognised by the United Grand Lodge of England, ........".
Recognition of the Grand Orient of Italy was withdrawn by Grand Lodge at the Quarterly Communication held on 8 September 1993. posted 15/7/2007
Freemasonry at Wimbledon
Georgina Brown, 14, from Bournemouth, Dorset, a beneficiary of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, performed the coin toss to decide who would serve first in this year’s Ladies’ Singles Final. posted 8/7/2007
Mia Ruby Templeton is the 21 millionth Australian and that's official! To top it all, Mia Ruby was born on 29 June at the Epworth Freemasons' Hospital in Melbourne. posted 30/6/2007
Freemasons' aid for non-Masonic causes
Members of the Freemasons' Grand Charity in General Meeting in London on 28 June 2007 approved grants totalling £569,800 to 14 deserving non-Masonic charities. Of the grants approved£50,000 will go to the Macular Disease Society to fund training in eccentric viewing techniques for older people with failing eyesight; £50,000 to the British Red Cross to fund a new Responder emergency response vehicle; £170,000 to the Parkinson's Disease Society for research at the Institute of Neurology into the PINK 1 gene which, when mutated, causes Parkinson's Disease; and £40,000 to Fight for Sight for research into abnormal blood vessel growth which causes eye disease.
All the money used for these grants come from the Freemasons of England Wales. The public is never asked to contribute.
Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution
The President and Chief Executive of the RMBI addressed the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge on 13 June 2007. Anyone who is interested in what they had to say should go to www.ugle.org.uk/news/rmbi-130607.htm (Link no longer works.) posted 22/6/2007
Provincial Visiting Scheme
The Provincial Grand Master wishes to assist Lodges with small memberships by organising a structured visiting programme to their meetings. The main thrust of this idea is to encourage Past Provincial Officers in particular to undertake visits in groups of not less than six at a time. It is also hoped to encourage Entered Apprentices and Fellow Crafts to join in the visiting to re-enact their ceremonies as stand in candidates.
The Pro Grand Master addresses Grand Lodge - 13 June 2007
Today it is exactly forty years since HRH the Duke of Kent KG was elected as our Grand Master. On behalf of all our members I have written to congratulate him on such a remarkable achievement and expressed our wish that he will enjoy good health to enable him to continue as our Grand Master for many years to come.
More good news … I have just announced the remarkable sums raised by four Provinces for our Masonic charities. That makes a total of £14.6 million pounds. I attended the festival in Nottingham on Sunday when a new record was set of over £1000 per member in the Province. These are very large sums of money indeed and our thanks go to all those who have been responsible for such outstanding generosity.
Brethren, I am looking closely at our marketing and public relations. I believe that this is a very important area when it comes to attracting and retaining quality candidates. However, it needs a new dynamic approach. There are many initiatives taking place around the Country including open days and stands at County shows, all of which play a useful part in spreading our message to a wider audience. At the Centre we are particularly looking at improving our website and MQ magazine. This will all help to underpin our open approach on communication.
Open communication is important to the way we are perceived and therefore crucial to the future health of the Craft. I have said it before, but it is worth repeating, that this is best achieved by masons talking openly about the Masonry they enjoy to their families, friends and anyone who shows an interest in knowing more about us.
I have started my regional conferences with Provincial Grand Masters, accompanied by the Grand Secretary. The first of these was held at Sindlesham at the end of May, with three more to be held in Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham. I am also visiting our brethren overseas beginning with a trip to our Districts in India in November accompanied by the Grand Secretary.
In July the Assistant Grand Master is visiting the District Grand Lodge of Sri Lanka for their centenary and the installation of their new District Grand Master and Grand Superintendent.
In early November we are hosting a special meeting of European Grand Masters to discuss the issue of regularity. The Masonic world has expanded with the creation of new Grand Lodges in Europe and as the mother Grand Lodge it is time to restate our fundamental beliefs when it comes to regular freemasonry.
Finally brethren I wish you all a very pleasant summer and look forward to our next meeting in September when we shall hopefully all have benefited from some rest and relaxation." posted 20/6/2007
2012 Festival Jewel
A Festival Jewel is now available for all Warwickshire Brethren. It costs £15 or £15.50 if you wish to have it posted to you. There is a qualification. You must complete an application form confirming that you have pledged £100 or more to the Festival. With the kind permission of the Provincial Grand Master and the Grand Superintendent the jewel may be worn at all meetings of the Craft and the Royal Arch but only in the Province of Warwickshire. It may not be worn at the Festive Board.
The Festival Director, David Macey, will be writing shortly to Masters of Lodges in the Province and will send a supply of application forms. Arrangements are also in place for Royal Arch Chapters to be similarly informed. It is anticipated that all Warwickshire Brethren and Companions will wish to buy and wear this very well designed and attractive jewel. posted 20/6/2007
The Freemasons' Grand Charity
A General Meeting of the Freemasons' Grand Charity will be held on Thursday 28 June 2007 at 6.00pm in the Grand Temple, Freemasons' Hall, 60 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ. Members of the Charity, i.e. Master Masons who are subscribing members of London and Provincial Lodges plus all other Brethren eligible to attend Grand Lodge and their partners or other non-Masonic guests may attend. The Deputy Grand President, the Most Honourable the Marquess of Northampton will chair the meeting which has been organised with the support of the Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London. To assist catering arrangements it would help if anyone wishing to attend the meeting would let the Grand Charity office know how many in advance - London2007@the-grand-charity-org should be used for this purpose. The agenda for the General Meeting together with reports is available from Lodge Secretaries. posted 20/6/2007
A Masonic treat
Once again the Masonic Rooms and gardens at historic Guy's Cliffe at Warwick will be open to the public on Sunday 24 June 2007 at 1.00pm. There is an admission fee of £1 but car parking is free. A band will entertain for the whole of the afternoon, stalls and games will be among the attractions, and guided tours of the mediaeval chapel, now in use as Lodge Rooms, will be available on a regular basis. Go along and see and hear about the Freemasons and have a great time. posted 20/6/2007
A service of remembrance and re-union for National Service Day will be held on Sunday 24 June 2007 at 2.00pm at the National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, Staffordshire in the presence of Field Marshall the Lord Vincent of Coleshill. W Bro Ronald Eamonson OBE will lay a wreath in memory of all those Warwickshire Freemasons who made the supreme sacrifice. Everyone is welcome. posted 10/6/2007
Phishing Masonic Internet scam
Another Internet scam which implicates Freemasonry is in circulation. This is the original e-mail with contact details removed:
"Good day sir,
Good Masons make good churchmen. Every clergyman can testify to the truth of this. They make loyal and sacrificing patriots. Our colonial history supplies the proof of this assertion. It is based on this that I wish to introduce myself as Prince Johnson, the only surviving son of one of the dedicated Masons from the District Grand Lodge of Sierra Leone and the Gambia (Lodge No. 1650, The Earl of Eglinton and Winton, Freetown). I am soliciting your assistance in seeing that my inheritance is transferred successfully from a Madrid Based finance institution to a safer country where I will be willing to relocate and start a new life.
General Emillio Aguinaldo, Filipino Hero, while addressing the Grand Lodge of the Philippines in 1955 said " Since becoming a Freemason, I forgot hate. Instead, I learned to love - to love God and my fellowman. I am now at ease with my own conscience. I only do what I think is right, and shun all evil. I also forget fear. I can be alone no matter where I am, what I do, or where I go. A clean conscience makes a man brave. I hope that Freemasonry has had the same influence upon all of you, which is an assurance of a better world to live in, and a happier humanity to live with."
I write you today with clean conscience believing that you will honour my email ASAP for more details of what my wish is.
This type of e-mail is intended to induce the unwary to provide personal details and should always be ignored and you are advised not to respond to unsolicited e-mails of this nature. What is disturbing is the fact that Freemasonry is being used in this way. The author, 'Prince Johnson', does not claim to be a Freemason himself but seeks legitimacy for his actions by claiming that his father was a Freemason and a member of a Scottish Lodge. posted 10/6/2007
Masonic email scam
The Internet scams in which emails are sent out to individuals informing them that they have been chosen as recipients of a major pay out from Masonic charitable funds have been re-appearing with a new twist. They are being sent out as if from one of our Provinces and are "signed" with the name of the actual Provincial Grand Secretary. The email address and other contact details under the name of the Provincial Grand Secretary, however, are not those of the Province or its Secretary! As with other Internet scams ------- hit your delete button! posted 10/6/2007
Masons control the housing market
According to a new ‘Safe as Houses’ homebuyer report from AA Legal Services two per cent of young Britons thought freehold properties could only be bought by Freemasons! posted 10/6/2007
The Prestonian Lecturer for 2006, W Bro D S Angell, in addition to the five official deliveries, has delivered his lecture "The Victoria Cross - Freemasons' Band of Brothers" on 78 other occasions.
The Lecturer for 2007, RW Bro R B F Khambatta, Past District Grand Master for Pakistan, has given or will give four official lectures on "The Grand Secretaries 1813 - 1980".
The Trustees of the Prestonian Fund have appointed W Bro R D T Sillett PJGD as Prestonian Lecturer for 2008. The title of his lecture will be "The Language of the Ritual". Arrangements for the delivery of this Lecture to selected Lodges will be considered by the Board of General Purposes in November and applications are now invited from Lodges. Applications should be made to the Grand Secretary through the Provincial Grand Secretary W Bro Nigel Burton at 2 Stirling Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B16 9SB. posted 10/6/2007
2012 Festival in aid of the New Masonic Samaritan Fund
The total at the end of May stood at £621,000 posted 10/6/2007
Human rights of Freemasons upheld
The European Court of Human Rights on 31 May 2007 determined in a case against the Government of Italy that there had been a violation of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights taken in conjunction with Article 11 (freedom of assembly and association). The applicant was an Italian Masonic association which groups together several lodges. It has been in existence since 1805.
The application to the Court concerned a Regional Law in Friuli-Venezia Giulia. That law laid down, among other things, the rules to be followed for nominations to public offices for which the Region was the appointing authority. In particular, it required candidates for such posts to declare to the president of the regional executive and the appointments board of the Regional Council whether they were a member of a Masonic or, in any event, a secret association. The absence of a declaration constituted a ground for refusing appointment.
The Court held that, having regard to the negative effects that the obligation to declare one’s membership of a Masonic lodge might have on the applicant association’s image and associative life, it could claim to be a “victim” of a breach of Article 11 of the Convention. That conclusion meant that there had been an interference with its right to freedom of association. It followed that the facts in question fell within the ambit of Article 11. Article 14 of the Convention was therefore applicable.
The Court observed that the provision in question distinguished between secret and Masonic associations, membership of which had to be declared, and all other associations. Members of the latter were exempted from any obligation to make such a declaration when seeking nomination for public office, and could not therefore incur the statutory penalty for an omission.
Accordingly, there was a difference of treatment between the members of the applicant association and the members of any other non-secret association.
The Court further stated that, examining the issue under Article 11 of the Convention taken alone, it had found that the prohibition on nominating Freemasons to certain public offices for which the Region was the appointing authority was not “necessary in a democratic society”. It had observed that penalising someone for their membership of an association was unjustified, since that fact was not in itself legally reprehensible.
Only members of a Masonic association were under an obligation to declare their membership when they sought nomination to certain public offices for which the Region was the appointing authority. No objective and reasonable justification for this difference in treatment between non-secret associations had been advanced by the Government.
Accordingly, the Court held that there had been a violation of Article 14 taken in conjunction with Article 11 of the Convention. posted 10/6/2007
Back in time
David Old, the Deputy Grand Superintendent in the Royal Arch Province of Warwickshire and a Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Warwickshire, earlier this year made a nostalgic return to the land whence he derived his birth and infant nurture - India. The photograph shows David presenting to W Bro Jayant Ashu the Master of Lodge St George No 2532 in the District Grand Lodge of Madras with his Grandfather's (William Charles Old) Past Master's Jewel dating back to 1922/23. posted 1/6/2007
A great spectacle
Trevor Cavill, Provincial Grand Registrar, has in his possession eight pairs of spectacles left behind at the Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge on 19 May 2007 and their owners have not yet come forward. Trevor can be contacted on 0121 454 4422. posted 1/6/2007
Freemasonry Universal - a true Brotherhood
This photograph is a fine example of Freemasonry universal - the principal officers of the Grand Lodge of Quebec. From left to right they are Dr Rene Kakou, Junior Grand Warden, Opkar S Sandhu, Deputy Grand Master, John A Prosnick, Grand Master, and Hagop Djebedjian, Senior Grand Warden. posted 1/6/2007
Provincial Grand Master's Address to Provincial Grand Lodge 2007
"Brethren, I congratulate all those I have had the great pleasure of investing with Provincial Rank or promoting to higher office. I would remind you all that you have an important leadership role to play in the Craft in Warwickshire. You need, by your own example, to set high standards for the Brethren within your Lodges to follow. I expect all the acting officers to support the Provincial events during the coming year and particularly to visit Lodges throughout the Province, especially those who are small in numbers.
I should like to record my great appreciation to the retiring Provincial Officers for the wonderful support they have given to me during the year and to thank them for their commitment. I think that they have been some of the best I have had.
You all know that since the 1st January 2005 the number of promotions I can make has been severely reduced. This rule is due for review by the 1st January 2008. I wrote to Grand Lodge in January seeking a much higher allowance for promotions for this year but, to date, I have not had a reply.
At his business meeting with Provincial Grand Masters and Grand Superintendents in April the Pro Grand Master made reference to this matter and said that it should be discussed by the Provincial Grand Masters’ Forum which were due to meet the following day.
At the Forum I proposed that with respect to promotions the Craft should return to the situation prior to 2005, in other words that the restriction should be removed completely. The proposition was seconded by R.W.Bro. Graham Rudd, the Provincial Grand Master for Derbyshire who is present with us today. I am pleased to say that the proposition was approved unanimously by the Provincial and District Grand Masters present and that result has been communicated to the Pro Grand Master. Only two nights ago W. Bro. Rudd and myself were able to talk to the Grand Secretary on the subject. I have done my best on your behalf Brethren. We must now be patient and see what the review committee recommends.
The Visiting Officers scheme has been most successful and I wish to record my thanks to all who have taken part and to the Lodges for making the Visiting Officers welcome.
I am pleased with the steady progress we are making in raising funds for the Festival and I thank all of you who have made significant contributions. I do urge those brethren yet to commit to a regular direct debit payment to do so. Charity collections, valuable as they are, will not by themselves raise the target we have set ourselves. We need to channel all our charitable giving towards the Festival. The Province, who distribute approximately £100,000 each year to non-Masonic charities will look after that side of things.
The number of Initiates joining Lodges in this Province shows a modest increase over last year but membership remains the biggest challenge facing us all. We need to redouble our efforts to find men of quality to join us. To do this we all need to have a clear idea in our minds as to the objectives and merits of freemasonry and then to communicate this to potential candidates. We need to market ourselves better remembering, to quote the Pro Grand Master, that we are competing for their leisure time, their finances and their intellectual stimulation.
Having initiated Candidates we need to maintain and stimulate their interest. With this in mind I shall be introducing a mentoring scheme for Lodges in the autumn. This is not another intrusion into your Lodge, Brethren, but a way in which the Lodge itself can be pro-active. A way in which a member of your Lodge can demonstrate an interest in and assist the newer members to a better understanding of the Craft, the Lodge and what is expected of them. If they are better informed they will feel much more comfortable within the meetings, their enjoyment will increase resulting in a higher degree of commitment.
Our Lodge meetings are always more enjoyable when the labour is carried out competently and expeditiously. To achieve this, the meeting of the Lodge committee and the Lodge of Instruction are key in planning the business and rehearsing the ceremonies. Although the Lodge committee does not, and should not, rule the Lodge it is a very important part of Masonic life. A Lodge without a regular active meeting of Past Masters and Officers is rather like a ship without an engine room, drifting like flotsam on the sea. The leadership comes from the Worshipful Master but he is entitled to expect the attendance and support of the Past Masters.
An innovation by Grand Lodge during the past year is the formation of the Rulers’ Forum. Within groups of Provinces there is a Rulers Forum Group and it is to this Group that we earlier appointed our representatives. The objective of the Rulers’ Forum is to provide the grassroots membership with an opportunity to raise issues of concern to all of us which may ultimately be debated with the Rulers. Any Brother in this Province should feel free to raise an issue of concern to him with me by letter through the Provincial Grand Secretary making reference to the Rulers’ Forum. I will then raise the subject, his behalf, within our Group Forum.
Continuing from last year, when for the first time at an Annual Meeting, I spoke about Edgbaston Assembly Rooms Ltd., of which every Brother in the Province is a member, I should like to give a brief update.
The major refurbishment was undertaken in July and August last year and is obvious to all visiting the Clarendon Suites. Business is starting to increase as a consequence. It takes time to spread the word that our tired building has been revitalised. Currently, year to date, we are in profit. I am hopeful that will continue to be the case at the year end in June.
We are now budgeting for next year when we hope to build on the foundation laid this year, with an increased profit, to substantially reduce our indebtedness.
I should like to record my thanks to the Brethren in the Lodges, Chapters and Orders which meet here for their support and for their kind letters of appreciation. Likewise to those other Brethren who have brought functions here or who have generously given their expertise and time to the company.
Very regrettably during the year four Lodges, George Beech, Faithful, Felicity and Sincerity found that, despite sterling efforts on the part of their members, they were unable to continue and handed back their Warrants. I am pleased to say that most of the Brethren in those Lodges are continuing with their Freemasonry in other Lodges.
We have several small Lodges in this Province and in an attempt to be able to support them W.Bro. Peter Sorrill (Lodge of Hope) has undertaken to form groups of brethren who will visit a small Lodge, if requested, to support them. If enough Brethren volunteer it should not prove to be an over-onerous task.
On the subject of small Lodges my experience is that we must never write them off prematurely. Let me share with you the experience of Grosvenor Lodge No. 938. In December 2004 when their numbers were very low the Lodge passed a resolution to hand back the Warrant after 142 years. In January 2005 the Worshipful Master, W.Bro. Abeyomi Cole came to see me to say that he did not agree with the decision and would I give him some time to find some Initiates. This I agreed to do and in April 2005 a double initiation took place in which I had the privilege of helping out the Lodge by acting as a Junior Deacon. At that time W.Bro.Robert James joined the Lodge to serve as Secretary, subsequently becoming the Master for two terms, performing several ceremonies. The Lodge has now had twelve Initiates, have one balloted Candidate, a further two Candidates proposed and two more probable Candidates to be interviewed. This just goes to show that we never know what lies ahead.
Brethren, I hope we have demonstrated this morning that with planning and foresight ceremonies can run smoothly and expeditiously. I should like to record my thanks to the Provincial Grand Secretary and his staff, to the Provincial Grand Registrar and his deputy, to the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies and his team, to the Provincial Grand Stewards’ Lodge of Warwickshire and to the staff of the Clarendon Suites for their assistance in making this mornings meeting possible.
In conclusion I wish to thank all the Lodges for the very warm welcome they have always extended to me and my team. I have witnessed ritual of a very high standard and have had the pleasure of enjoying your company when I have visited your Lodges. We have a very happy Province in Warwickshire. Let all of us always remember that we are here to enjoy our freemasonry, to be happy, to communicate happiness and, most importantly, to practise out of the Lodge those duties we have been taught in it." posted 1/6/2007
New Presidents for Masonic Charities
At the Annual Investiture in April the MW Grand Master was pleased to appoint and invest new Presidents for two of the four principal Masonic Charities in the English Constitution. VW Bro Hugh Stubbs is now the President of the New Masonic Samaritan Fund, for which this Province is in Festival, and VW Bro Willie E Shackell CBE has become the President of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution. posted 1/6/2007
Three to Finish
Gerry Barker, founder and senior Past Master of the Lodge of Perception No 8492 in Warwickshire, recently had his 80th birthday. With Bill Kerley and Alan Craske of the same Lodge in support Gerry celebrated his birthday with a 80 mile cycle ride. In addition to completing the distance, he raised £1,600 for his church restoration fund at St Chads in Lichfield.
The photo shows Gerry in the centre with Bill on the left and Alan on the right. posted 1/6/2007
Charity Golf Day
The members of De Montfort Lodge invite you to take part in a Charity Golf Day on Thursday 7 June 2007 at Henley Golf Club. This is a Stableford competition with teams of four players. There will be a dinner and prizegiving in the evening. Details and application forms from Roger Zambonini on 01789 488770 or Jeff Pearson on 01564 784289. posted 1/06/2007
The Blessing of Material Light
'The Blessing of Material Light' is the theme of the 2007 Summer Conference of The Cornerstone Society. It is being held at the Berkshire Masonic Centre in Sindlesham and a principal contributor is Julian Rees, the Deputy Editor of Freemasonry Today. Further information and booking details are on www.cornerstonesociety.com posted 1/06/2007
A unique occasion
Athol Lodge hosted a unique meeting on 2 May 2007 with members of a daughter Lodge, the Lodge of Israel and a granddaughter Lodge, the Lodge of Loyalty, taking part in the proceedings at the Masonic Hall, Severn Street, Birmingham. The Festive Board was held in the Joseph Cohen Hall in the nearby Singers Hill Synagogue. This was the first occasion when the three generations of this Masonic family had come together. 92 Brethren attended. posted 9/5/2007
Address by the Grand Master - Annual Investiture - 25 April 2007
Brethren, I start by saying a very warm welcome to everyone attending our Grand Lodge meeting today and I congratulate all those whom I have had the pleasure of investing with Grand Rank or promoting to higher office. As Grand Officers I would remind you that you have an important leadership role to play in the Craft. As well as continuing to set high standards for the Craft to follow, I hope you will also be active in promoting greater openness about our Freemasonry, which I consider essential. Together with helping us to understand our own place in Freemasonry, this more open approach should also ensure we are better prepared to explain our Masonry to our family, friends and acquaintances. There is no doubt in my mind Brethren, that with today’s rapidly changing society, Freemasonry is more relevant than at any other time.
Many of you will be aware that the four main Masonic Charities, the Grand Charity, the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution and the Masonic Samaritan Fund will shortly all be under one roof here at Freemasons’ Hall. This move will, I believe, bring enormous benefits. I have in mind, for example, increased liaison between the Charities themselves and between them and the United Grand Lodge of England, as well as shared resources.
The Rulers’ Forum had its first meeting in December and from all the comments I have had it has got off to a good start. I will be happy if it achieves three things.
First, there are many excellent initiatives coming out of London and the Provinces which because of geographical reasons and lack of communication are only taken up by a few and not disseminated to a wider audience. The teddy bear children’s hospital scheme is an example of how slowly a good idea percolates through our organisation. The Rulers’ Forum should act as a central exchange for new ideas.
Secondly, much effort is wasted duplicating things which could be used uniformly by us all. Many Provinces, for instance, have their own booklets for initiates, Fellow Crafts and Master Masons. Then there are booklets on the work of the Almoners, Charity Stewards and other Lodge Officers as well as on mentor schemes and our charities. I believe a lot of effort and cost could be saved if we took the best points from all of them and created something uniform which we could all use. One group in the Rulers’ Forum is doing just that for mentor schemes and it will be interesting to see how that develops.
Thirdly, it must act as a forum for grass roots Masons to debate issues, which concern us all, with the Rulers and other senior members of the Craft, and act as a conduit for disseminating the results through their groups to the Lodges.
In the course of the memorable and most enjoyable meeting of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, where I was present as a guest of their Grand Master, my brother Prince Michael, I had the opportunity to see also many other long established, well known and respected Orders of Masonry to which many Craft members belong. I believe this may be a good moment for me to say something about them.
The Preliminary Declaration of the Act of Union of the two Grand Lodges in December 1813 says that it was ‘declared and announced that pure Antient Masonry consists of three degrees and no more’, that is to say ‘Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft and the Master Mason, including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch’. This has been the position for nearly two hundred years and will remain unchanged.
However, since many members of the Craft are members of these Orders, I am pleased to acknowledge formally their existence and regularity, and in particular their sovereignty and independence. The best known of these orders are: Mark, Ancient and Accepted Rite, Knights Templar, Royal and Select Masters, Royal Ark Mariner, Red Cross of Constantine, Allied Masonic Degrees, Order of the Secret Monitor and Knight Templar Priests. I also accept the valuable role they play in providing additional scope for Brethren to extend their Masonic research in interesting and enjoyable ways.
The Orders I have just mentioned are simply the best known and largest of those practised in London, the Provinces and Districts overseas. I am aware that there are in addition others that have a valid place in Freemasonry and with whom we enjoy a good relationship. What is important is that Brethren who join these other Orders still retain their membership of a Craft Lodge and I am pleased that the Orders will be encouraging their members to do so.
In early March, Brethren, I was in Ghana to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of that country’s independence. During my visit I also attended the seventy-fifth anniversary of the District Grand Lodge of Ghana. At the meeting, attended by nearly 500 Brethren, I appointed Brother His Majesty Osei Tutu, King of the Ashanti, to Past Senior Grand Deacon and I am pleased to have invested him here today.
Finally, Brethren, I know you would all want me to express our thanks to the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his team for the meticulous way in which they have run this meeting, as well as to the Grand Secretary and his staff for their careful and thorough organization behind the scenes. posted 8/5/2007
More help from Freemasons
Thanks to the hard work of parents and their children with contributions from local Freemasons four-year-old Sophie Musgrave, a pupil at a school in Workington and who is battling against a brain tumour with chemotherapy treatment, is off to Disneyland Paris later in the summer. posted 8/5/2007
Freemasons help victims in Darfur
The President of The Freemasons’ Grand Charity has approved an emergency grant of £50,000 to the British Red Cross, as a major initial contribution to a new £2 million appeal to support the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross/Crescent (ICRC) in Sudan. The crisis in Darfur has been going on for a number of years but the situation has significantly worsened over the last few months.
The President strongly believes that the practical work of the Red Cross fully deserves the support of The Freemasons’ Grand Charity to assist in a situation where man’s inhumanity to man has resulted in such appalling deprivation for innocent women and children.
Increased attacks on humanitarian workers in the region are threatening the health and welfare of civilians by forcing aid agencies to withdraw staff and suspend their work. The ICRC is one of the few organisations that is able to cross the front lines of Darfur's conflict to reach and assist people in need from every affected community.
The conflict has resulted in millions of displaced people. Civilians’ freedom of movement is limited, affecting access to fields for planting and also preventing traders from reaching markets. As a result many people are still heavily reliant on food aid and the protection that only the Red Cross can provide
The ICRC, supported by the British Red Cross, is now providing all basic services in Gereida Camp, one of the world's largest displaced persons camps where over 120,000 people are stranded. The situation is deteriorating and eight times as many people are now seeking refuge in the Camp compared to when it opened in 2004.
The Charity’s grant will go towards providing food, shelter, health clinics, clean water supplies and sanitation facilities for children and families in the Camp. posted 4/5/07
The smoking ban – how it affects you and your Masonic Hall
Owners and managers of Masonic Halls in the Province of Warwickshire are reminded that the date for England going smoke free in public premises and workplaces is 1 July 2007. The aim of the new law is to protect people from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke, both in the workplace and in premises the public are admitted to, including vehicles. It does not control smoking in the open air, or on domestic premises. The law affects all Masonic Halls in the Province of Warwickshire.
Those in control of Masonic Halls will be responsible for ensuring compliance with the law and will need to show that they took all reasonable measures to ensure compliance. They are also required to ensure that appropriate no smoking signs are displayed in prominent positions at entrances.
Members of the public and employees are responsible for ensuring that they do not smoke in areas designated as smoke-free under the legislation. Rooms cannot be set aside for those who smoke. They must go outside.
The new law will be enforced by City, Borough and District Councils.
Further detailed information can be obtained by calling the Smokefree England helpline on freephone 0800 169 169 7 or on the Smokefree England website atwww.smokefreeengland.co.uk which also gives guidance about and examples of the relevant signs. posted 4/5/07
A Resident Steward is required for Coventry Masonic Hall to manage the premises and to arrange provision of formal catering and associated services. A spacious two bedroom flat with free utilities is provided. Excellent working conditions. Salary by negotiation. Applications in writing, enclosing a current CV, should go to Martin Bazeley, 14 Bigbury Close, Styvechale, Coventry, CV3 5AJ. The closing date is 26 May 2007. posted 11/4/2007
In need of music?
Provincial Church Service
The Provincial Church Service will be held at the Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick on Sunday 10 June 2007 at 3.00pm. The Provincial Grand Chaplain, the Rev Canon Denis Claringbull, will lead the service assisted by representatives of the Jewish, Sikh and Muslim Faiths. The theme for the service is 'PEACE' since Freemasonry has an important role to play in helping to establish and promote world peace.
This is an important event in the life of the Province and the Provincial Grand Master expects all his Lodges to be represented. Application forms are now with Lodge Secretaries and Masters and Wardens have received individual invitations.
The service is open to all - it is not restricted to Masons. All those attending, except those Freemasons who will take part in a procession, should be seated no later than 2.30pm. The doors will be open at 2.00pm. All Freemasons will be clothed in the regalia of the Order. posted 11/4/2007
Webmaster runs for Marie Curie
W.Bro Stuart Thorpe, the Provincial Webmaster is to run 5 miles in the Knowle Fun Run on Sunday May 13th. Stuart's partner, Sarah, lost her husband to cancer, and Stuart's predecessor as webmaster passed away also as a result of cancer, so Stuart thought this would be a deserving Charity to benefit from his exertions. Sarah & her family will also be running, but as she is considerably younger than he, will probably be enjoying their third drinks by the time he crosses the finish line.
Demonstrate your writing skills
An International Short Papers Competition on matters Masonic is being sponsored by the MW Bro the Pro Grand Master, Lord Northampton. The competition is open to all Craft Masons in Lodges that are recognised and in amity with the United Grand Lodge of England.
Direct access to the competition is viahttp://internet.lodge.org.uk/shortpaperscompetition/ (now links to later competition page). posted 30/3/2007
Freemasonry in trial by television
On Sunday 1st April at 10pm the National Geographic Channel is premiering in the UK a two hour programme entitled "Freemasons on Trial". The programme is being broadcast at 10 pm and lasts for two hours. John Hamill together with the Librarian of the Grand Lodge of Scotland and a number of serious American Masonic researchers are interviewed throughout the programme.
John Hamill has been sent a DVD of the programme and has worked through it. The first 90 minutes are a rather lurid, dramatised account of the various accusations and scandals falsely attributed to Freemasonry (eg corruption, satanism, Jack the Ripper, Roberto Calvi's death and the P2 affair in Italy, a shooting at a Masonic club in New York etc etc).
In the last half hour of the programme 15 minutes are spent effectively debunking the whole of the previous 90 minutes followed by a 15 minute re - enaction of the American 3rd degree (the part dealing with the death of HA) apparently staged with the permission of their Grand Lodge. John's fear is that because of the length of the programme and tabloid way in which the first 90 minutes are presented anyone watching it but not getting to the end will simply have their prejudices and misconceptions confirmed.
The National Geographic Channel has been advertising the programme this week. The Channel is available on Sky and cable systems and on some "freeview" packages but does not have a huge audience. The late showing on a Sunday evening may put many off or get them to record it! Because of the Channel it is going out on it is difficult to asses what reaction might be if any. The programme will, however, be repeated over the next few months and a reaction might build posted 30/3/2007
Anyone for cricket?
The proceeds will go to the respective Festivals of each Province (may be even 60/40 in favour of the winners to add a competitive edge)
Once enough players and umpires have been identified, a venue and date will be announced in good time for the teams to prepare fully! posted 30/3/2007
Amalgamation in West Lancashire
The Provincial Grand Master for the Province of West Lancashire will witness his mother Lodge, Poulton Hall, amalgamating with Rowley Lodge and Sandylands Lodge to become Poulton Le Sands Lodge No 1051 in a ceremony to be held at the Dome Leisure Centre on Morecambe Promenade on Wednesday 4 April 2007. posted 30/3/2007
Lord Northampton's address to Grand Lodge on 14 March 2007
Today it has been my pleasure to invest Bro Nigel Brown as Grand Secretary. The new role of Grand Secretary means that he can concentrate on our Provinces and Districts and I look forward to visiting many of them with him in the forthcoming months.
Although the number of Grand Lodge Certificates issued in 2006 showed a drop of nearly ten per cent over the previous year, this is an exciting time for Freemasonry. I believe we are at a turning point. This is a turning point for the better. With this in mind we should all be renewing our efforts to find men of quality to join us. To do so we need to be able to openly voice the objectives and merits of our Freemasonry. We need to do this from the very beginning. By beginning, I mean from the moment we first interview a potential candidate. I am looking at initiatives to help this process.
It has always seemed strange to me that, for example, we ask the candidate those three very important questions after the ceremony has begun. He is in a state of darkness, has little understanding of the criteria for membership and even less chance of giving a reasoned answer.
So what we need to do is to give clear guidelines for these interviews. We must tell the candidate what he can expect from us and what we will expect from him. I am on record as saying that in this age of openness we should be able to discuss the purpose of our rituals with a candidate before he decides whether to join. To put it another way, no thinking man is going to join and then stay committed to an organisation that cannot talk about itself openly and with clarity. So we have to be clear in our own minds what the purpose of Freemasonry is and what our ritual means. When we are clear, we need to become good at marketing ourselves. Then, in the interview we can explain our Freemasonry in a way that fits the twenty first century and why it will be relevant to the candidate. That will allow us a better chance of competing for his leisure time, his finances and his intellectual stimulation.
I am sure like me many of you must feel frustrated when you open your newspapers and read how leaders in our society have been emphasising recently the importance of morality and tolerance. Yet as Freemasons we practise both those virtues and have been doing so for a very long time. We do not shout about it from the rooftops, but quietly practise in our everyday lives those lessons we are taught in our lodges. I spoke at Quarterly Communication in December 2005 about the need to explain ourselves through the virtues of tolerance and trust but there are other ways in which Freemasonry helps us. Anyone who has seen a timid brother climb through the Offices and pass through the Chair of his lodge with new-found confidence can see first hand how masonry instils leadership qualities in its candidates. It also provides a welcome social outlet for the lonely and bereaved. How many times have we heard a brother praising the support he received from his lodge when he lost a loved one, discovered he had a life threatening illness or just felt lonely and needed someone to talk to? These are some of the things we can explain to our candidates and the popular world to show the benefits we get from our Freemasonry.
Following my remarks at the last Quarterly Communication about the success of the Centre for Research into Freemasonry at the University of Sheffield I learnt soon after that Professor Andrew Prescott would be leaving his post there. I am pleased to say I have received a positive letter from the Vice Chancellor pledging the University’s strong commitment to the continuation and development of the Centre. He goes on to say that ‘they will shortly be advertising for a successor and will provide the necessary funding to ensure that this is a sufficiently long term appointment to attract a strong field of candidates’. We owe a debt of gratitude to Professor Prescott for all the efforts he has made to get Freemasonry recognised as a serious and worthwhile subject for academic research.
Since our last meeting the Grand Master has attended the seventy fifth anniversary of our District of Ghana. Last weekend I visited the Grand Lodge of Spain to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the re-establishment of regular Freemasonry in that country.
In May I shall be going to Edinburgh to represent the United Grand Lodge of England alongside the Grand Masters of Ireland and Scotland at the International Conference on the History of Freemasonry which is being hosted by the Grand Lodge of Scotland. It will be a remarkable gathering of academic lecturers drawn from all over the world and details can be found on their website, which will be published in MQ for anyone who is interested, www.ichfonline.org .
Brethren, on another subject, you should know that at the Annual Investiture the Grand Master is minded to make a positive statement about our relationship with the other long established and well known orders of masonry to which many Craft members belong. I believe this will be most welcome. posted 19/3/2007
Education with Integrity
VW Bro Reverend Neville Barker-Cryer is renowned for his enlightening and entertaining presentations, and the members of the Lodge of Integrity No 4563 are looking forward to hearing his talk 'A Walk Round Your Lodge Room' at their next Regular Meeting on Saturday 14 April at Yenton Assembly Rooms, Erdington, Birmingham commencing at 4.00pm.
If you would like to attend please contact the Lodge Secretary, John Norman, on 01584 856571. The dining fee will be £16.50. posted 19/3/2007
Freemasons sponsor doctors web site
St Mary's Lodge in Market Drayton in Shropshire is the sponsor of the newly launched web site for the Market Drayton Primary Care Centre in the town.posted 19/3/2007
Freemasons give away £1.3 million to worthy causes
At its Annual General Meeting in London on 14 March 2007 the Freemasons' Grand Charity approved the payment of grants totalling £1.3 million to a number of worthy non-Masonic charities. £100,000 goes to fund a respite care unit at a new Leonard Cheshire Home near Banbury, £60,000 has been donated to the Princess Royal Trust for Carers to fund a service for carers of people with mental health problems, £50,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust will contribute towards the cost of a new specialist 10 bed teenage cancer unit at Cardiff University Hospital and £50,000 is for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to fund a medical research project into Type 1 diabetes at Cambridge University.
£500,000 has also been set aside for grants to adult hospice services in 2007, and £100,000 will be used for grants to children's hospice services in 2007. £5,000 has been donated to Ely Cathedral.
The Freemasons' Grand Charity receives its funding from Freemasons in England and Wales. Unlike other organisations, no money is collected from the general public. posted 19/3/2007
Catholic Church maintains opposition to Freemasonry
A high ranking Vatican official has restated Church teaching on Masonic associations, saying that Catholics who enrol in such associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive communion.
Apostolic Penitentiary regent, Bishop Gianfranco Girotti made the statement on Thursday 1 March 2007 at a conference on the topic of Freemasonry held at the St Bonaventure Pontifical Theological Faculty in Rome. The bishop presided over the congress held in cooperation with the Socio-Religious Research and Information Group of Italy. Officials of Masonic associations and Grand Masters also took part in the meeting.
Bishop Girotti reminded his listeners that the Church has always criticised the concepts and philosophy of Freemasonry, considering them incompatible with the Catholic faith. He mentioned the last official reference document, "Declaration on Masonic Associations," which was signed by the then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, on 26 November 1983. The text states that since the principles of Masonic associations "have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church," membership in them, therefore, "remains forbidden."
"The faithful who enrol in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive holy Communion," adds the declaration signed by Cardinal Ratzinger, who is now Benedict XVI.
Fr Zbigniew Suchecki, an expert in the subject, quoted number 1374 of the Code of Canon Law, which reads: "Whoever is inscribed in an association that plots against the Church must be punished with a just penalty; whoever promotes or directs that association, must be banned." "Masonry's attempts to express divine truths are based on relativism and do not agree with the principles of the Christian faith," Fr Suchecki said. Bishop Girotti made reference to the statements of some priests who have declared publicly their membership in Masonry and called for the intervention of "their direct superiors," not excluding the possibility that "measures of a canonical character might come from the Holy See." posted 9/3/2007
Charity comes home
The Annual Meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire will be held at the Provincial HQ at 2 Stirling Road Edgbaston Birmingham on Saturday 19 May 2007. Doors will be open at 9.30am and the Annual Meeting will commence promptly at 10.30am. The Provincial Grand Master expects that all his Lodges will be represented by the Master and Wardens in addition to those Brethren who will receive appointments to or promotions in Provincial Grand Rank. Application forms for attendance and lunch at the Meeting are now with Lodge Secretaries. Master Masons are encouraged to attend but they cannot vote. It is regretted that Brethren below the rank of Master Mason cannot attend. posted 6/3/2007
Annual Investiture of Grand Officers
Notice of the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge to be held on 14 March 2007 indicates that the next Annual Investiture of Grand Officers will take place on 26 April 2006. This is clearly an error. The Annual Investiture (to which admission is by ticket only) will in fact take place on Wednesday 25 April 2007 at Freemasons' Hall, Great Queen Street, London.posted 6/3/2007
Improving access for the disabled
Roger Bennett, the Master of Ipsley Lodge in Redditch, has a staircase chairlift which he can make available to any Masonic Rooms in the Province of Warwickshire. Further enquiries to and details from Roger on 0792 080 9348. posted 6/3/2007
Rudyard Kipling and Freemasonry
Freemasonry in London
The members of Holy Well Lodge which meets at Southam resolved at their February meeting to donate £200 to The Extra Care Trust and the same amount to Dogs for the Disabled, The Warwick Hospital Coronary Care Unit, The Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, The Homeless at Risk Unit in Rugby and the Warwickshire Association for the Blind. This all adds up to a magnificent total of £1,200. Congratulations go to them for this act of kindness and generosity. posted 1/3/2007
Learn about surgery from the experts
At its next meeting on Saturday 31 March 2007 the Warwickshire Installed Masters Lodge is fortunate enough to have a number of surgeons from the Royal College of Surgeons coming to give a talk (in layman's language!) about the research they are currently doing in various disciplines so there will be something of interest for everyone.
The Royal College of Surgeons is not funded by the NHS but is a registered charity which relies solely on legacies and donations. In 1967 the United Grand Lodge of England, representing the Freemasons of England and Wales, set up a Trust Fund of £500,000 for the College to help them with their aims to enable surgeons to achieve and maintain the highest standards of surgical practice and patient care. This has helped Freemasons to donate in excess of £3 million to the College since then which has contributed to some of the many significant advances that have been made in surgical techniques during that time, especially during latter years. This will have been or at some time in the future will be of benefit to us all.
Each year, four million people undergo surgery. Some operations are minor, while others are lifesaving or will dramatically enhance the quality of life of the patients concerned. In every case, the patients place their trust in the hands of the surgeon. The College honours this trust by maintaining and improving surgical standards throughout England and Wales. Their training, education and research programmes are intended to advance the knowledge and skills of surgeons so that the treatment received by patients is of the highest standard.
Masons hit by bugging
Police have launched an investigation into suspicions that meetings at one of Northern Ireland's largest Masonic Halls were bugged after recordings were received in the post by Freemasons at the headquarters of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim in Belfast.
Masons have been left mystified by the suspicions of secret recordings. There have been no demands or threats received by them. posted 1/3/2007
Your local Masonic chemist
Alchemy Lodge No 3950, meeting at 2 Stirling Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, was originally formed in 1919 by Pharmacists for Pharmacists and always had a core membership from the pharmaceutical and allied trades. Now numbers have declined significantly and although the Lodge is open to members from all walks of life, it would be nice to see more members from the profession that founded it.
If there is anyone, particularly members of the pharmaceutical and allied trades, willing support this fine old lodge by joining and bringing it back to its former status, please contact the Lodge Secretary, David Bramham, at 25 Walsall Road, Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield B74 4ND or by telephone on 0121 308 5905. posted 27/2/2007
Warwickshire Freemasons aid worthy causes with £101,000
The Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire with some 5,400 Freemasons has just donated some £101,000 to 150 charitable organisations with individual grants ranging from £250 to £3,000. Amongst those who have been assisted are the Birmingham Dogs Home with £250, the Coventry Boys Club (£250), St Mary's Church Temple Balsall (£500) and Warwick Hospital Cancer Ward with £1000.
Michael Price, the Provincial Grand Master and Head of the Warwickshire Freemasons, said:
"The needs of others are important to Freemasons and charitable giving is the most fundamental principle of Freemasonry. I am most grateful to the members of the Province who through their continuing generous financial support make these donations possible on an annual basis. We know from the recipients that the support is appreciated."
Birmingham Cathedral has received £1000 for its music department, Castel Froma, a nursing home in Leamington £500, the Deep Impact Theatre Company £500 for its work in improving the outlook of youngsters by introducing them to the Arts, The Little Sisters of the Poor £500, and Victim Support £500 for its counselling work. Hospices in the Province, including Acorns, St Mary's and Myton Hamlet, have all received substantial gifts.
Unlike other organisations Freemasons do not collect money from the public. It all comes from their own pockets.
A full list of the non-Masonic causes to benefit can be obtained from Michael Irving or Pam Hegarty on 0121 454 0554. posted 27/2/2007
Over 100 brethren were present at a unique meeting of the Old Worksopian Lodge in Nottinghamshire in February. In the morning the Past Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro Stuart Hill conducted a Third Degree ceremony assisted by Grand Officers (including Warwickshire's Michael Irving as Senior Warden) and Honorary Members of the Lodge. After lunch, the Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro Robin Wilson, accompanied by his Deputy and Assistants and assisted by 21 Acting Provincial Officers (having granted his own dispensation) conducted a triple Second Degree ceremony. After a tea break the Lodge Officers conducted a First Degree ceremony. Thankfully the bar was opened in good time before the Festive Board! posted 27/2/2007
A taste of the Orient
Precedence of Visiting Officers
When the Visiting Officer makes his ‘official’ visit to each Lodge once a year, he will take precedence over Grand Officers and Provincial Grand Officers as he sits in the Lodge and at the Festive Board. He will be saluted as the representative of the Provincial Grand Master after the minutes. If the Visiting Officer is a Grand Officer he will be saluted first of the Grand Officers. If he is a Provincial Grand Officer he will be saluted first of the Provincial Grand Officers. posted 27/2/2007
Masons gift to hospital
People suffering from a swelling condition can now be treated in more comfort at Worthing Hospital. Lymphoedema sufferers, a condition which causes swelling of the arm, leg, face or chest, have a new electronic couch on which to receive their treatment thanks to a donation from the Worthing Freemasons. The Freemasons raised £1,000 towards the couch – the lymphoedema clinic at the hospital raised the remaining £800 needed by selling its old couch. David Deane was the principal Masonic fundraiser; his wife Maria suffers from the condition and is treated regularly at the Worthing clinic. posted 23/2/2007
If you are interested in crossing the border!
At the next meeting of Robin Hood Lodge, No 5877, at Moseley Masonic Hall, Kings Heath, Birmingham, on Friday 23 March 2007, members of Lodge Doric Kilwinning No 68 of the Scottish Constitution, will demonstrate a Scottish Second Degree Ceremony.
The Master, Wardens and Brethren of Robin Hood Lodge will be delighted to welcome any visitors who wish to witness this very interesting ritual. The dining fee of £15 includes pre-dinner drinks and wine at the Festive Board.
Anything Goes in Rugby
Our congratulations go to Stuart Esworthy, Provincial Junior Grand Warden Designate, and the rest of the cast for their outstanding pereformance at the Rugby Theatre on 14 February of the delightful musical by Cole Porter. Thanks also to all the Brethren and their ladies who attended the buffet at the Masonic Hall and the show which resulted in a donation to the 2012 Festival of £440. posted 15/2/2007
On Sunday 7 October 2007 a concert 'Autumn Glory' is being promoted at the Arts Centre at Warwick University to assist in raising funds for the New Masonic Samaritan Fund, for which the Province has a Festival in 2012. Those taking part include the Warwickshire Symphony Orchestra and the Stratford upon Avon Gilbert and Sullivan Society. The compere will be Ed Doolan, the well-known BBC broadcaster. The auditorium has facilities for an audience of 1230.
Any reference to Freemasonry, a rank in the Order, or membership of a Lodge in any advertisement is strictly prohibited.
Heritage Open Days
The Provincial Grand Master is keen to reinforce the excellent and successful work carried out by Lodges and Brethren in the Province during the ‘Freemasonry in the Community’ week in 2002. His view is that we should remind members of the general public that we are a part of the community as opposed to being apart from it. We need to demonstrate that we are a group like many others that give generously of our time and our money to help those less fortunate in our respective communities. As an essential ingredient of this renewed initiative he is encouraging those who operate Masonic Halls in the Province to take part in the Heritage Open Days (HODs) which run from 6 to 9 September 2007.
HODs celebrate England's architecture and culture by offering free access to properties that are usually closed to the public or normally charge for admission. Every year in September, buildings of every age, style and function throw open their doors, ranging from castles to factories, town halls to tithe barns, parish churches to Buddhist temples. It is a once-a-year chance to discover hidden architectural treasures and enjoy a wide range of tours, events and activities which bring to life local history and culture. Free of charge and literally on people's doorstep, HODs are an event for everyone, whatever their background, age and ability. Co-coordinated nationally by the Civic Trust in partnership with English Heritage, the event thrives on the enthusiasm and expertise of local people. Thousands of volunteers from all walks of life share their knowledge and memories with some 850,000 visitors every year, making HODs England's largest voluntary cultural event.
Brethren are asked to speak to those who are responsible for the operation of their Masonic Hall and urge them to participate in this event, at the same time volunteering to assist on the day or days selected for the Hall to be open. posted 12/2/2007
Masons boost to children's aid
An organisation that helps treat ill children at home has received a welcome new year's boost from Rugby Masons. £600 raised from Eastfields Lodge's Christmas lunch and raffle has been handed over to the Children's Hospital at Home based in the town. Tony Osbourne, a Past Master of the Lodge, said: "We wanted to do something for the community and especially for the Children's Hospital at Home, who do such a good job in the town." posted 8/2/2007
We will remember him
A Memorial Service to be conducted by the Rev Canon Ken Phillips, Past Provincial Grand Chaplain, to celebrate the life of John E Marston, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master, will be held at St James’ Church, Leamington Road, Styvechale, Coventry at 1.00pm on Tuesday 27 February. All brethren, friends and acquaintances will be most welcome. posted 8/2/2007
Lunch for the Festival
National Clay Pigeon Shoot
Women Freemasons do exist!
At the close of the meeting of the Ronald Albutt Lodge of Mark Master Masons No
New Provincial Grand Secretary
Nigel Bister has announced that he is to retire as Provincial Grand Secretary for Warwickshire at the Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge in May. The RW Provincial Grand Master, Michael J Price CBE, has been pleased to appoint as Nigel's successor Nigel Burton JP, Provincial Grand Steward and a Past Master of Vellum Lodge. posted 18/1/2007
Learn more about the 2012 Festival
Freemasonry and medicine
Dr Emmanuel Osei Kuffour, a medical practitioner in Kumasi, Ghana, has spoken on the topic, "The Hippocratic Oath, its import and relationship with Freemasonry" at a symposium on medical issues in Kumasi recently. The symposium was organised by the District Grand Lodge of Ghana (English Constitution) and marked the 75th anniversary celebration of the District. Unfortunately we do not have a transcript of Dr Kuffour's address. posted 10/1/2007
The Masonic Charities
Fortieth Birthday Celebrations
As part of its 40th year celebrations Solihull Lodge will hold a Lodge of Rehearsal and Instruction Festival at the Regular Lodge meeting at Knowle on Monday 19 February 2007. The initiate for the ceremony will be the first initiate of the Lodge in 1966, Ian Ramsey who is now resident in the Province of Dorset.
Tributes to a Masonic President
"Gerald R. Ford embodied the tenets of Freemasonry. He upheld the values of personal integrity and of being true to his word, and in a time of great crisis, Brother Ford, a true patriot, also sought to heal our ailing Nation. As our President, he represented our fraternity well. On behalf of the Grand Lodges of Free and Accepted Masons of the States of Michigan and New York, the Masonic Service Association of North America, and Masons everywhere, we offer our sincere condolences to Betty Ford and her family on the passing of Brother Gerald Ford, a humble man who calmly guided our country out of one of its darkest hours.
Neal I. Bidnick
Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York
Walter F. Wheeler
Grand Lodge of Michigan, Free and Accepted Masons
Richard E. Fletcher
Masonic Service Association of North America"
Eminent Freemason in Warwickshire