Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire

Forest of Arden Lodge celebrates 100 years

Forest of Arden

A special meeting was held at Solihull Masonic Temple, Knowle on Wednesday 18th April to celebrate the Forest of Arden Lodge, No 3826 achieveing 100 years of uninterupted Freemasonry. With W Bro Stuart Jenkins in the chair, the members of Forest of Arden Lodge were joined by the Provincial Team and many visitors from near and far filling the Lodge with a wonderful atmosphere for what turned out to be a very special evening.

Provincial Team

The Provincial Team ready to escort the PGM into the Lodge

The Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro David Macey, together with the Provincial Grand Wardens, opened the Lodge and congratulated the members of Forest of Arden Lodge in reaching this significant milestone in their history. He also asked those assembled to take a moment to remember the courage and wisdom of the founders of the Lodge back in 1918. Having completed the opening a column was formed to escort the centenary warrant into the Lodge, in the very safe hands of the Provincial Grand Secretary, W Bro Mike Reeve, who then proceeded to read the warrant. Once read, the warrant was presented to W Bro Stuart Jenkins, the current master of Forest of Arden Lodge.

The Provincial Grand Chaplain, W Bro John Cowan, delivered an address on the foundations of the Lodge, looking back to the events of 1918, marking the end of what was then considered to be the war to end all wars. The centenary of the Lodge being shared with other centenaries in 2018, including the formation of the Women's Royal Army Corp, the Royal Air Force and votes for Women in the UK. 1918 was a great time of expansion for Freemasonry in England as returning soldiers sought a place where tradition and principal were honoured and Freemasonry became a rock of salvation after the war.

The Provincial Grand Master delayed handing the Lodge back to the Worshipful Master mometarily in order to confer a field promotion on W Bro John Walford to Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden. This was a snap decision as the PGM recognised the very special nature of W Bro John and decided that it merited recognition. This was a surprise to all, but to none more that the Provincial Director of Ceremonies, who managed to deliver a flawless proclamation of the promotion with only a few seconds notice, true professionalism on display!

Promotion

W Bro John Walford with the Provincial Grand Master and W Bro Stuart Jenkins

Following the promotion of W Bro John, the Lodge was handed back to the charge of W Bro Stuart Jenkins and the minutes of the consecration meeting and the consecration oration were read. The first Master was W Bro Samuel Foster, a Past Master of St Paul's Lodge, No 43. The consecrating officer of the Lodge was Colonel W F Wyley VD DL PGD, the then Deputy Provincial Grand Master and Provincial Grand Master desgnate. Col Wyley had previously been the Mayor of Coventry and the Sheriff of Warwickshire. W Bro Stuart went on to give an engaging comparison of the summons at the consecration, the 50 year point and the 100 year celebration.

Minute Book

The minutes of the Consecration Meeting in 1918

To close the Lodge the Worshipful Master invited the current Master of St Paul's Lodge, No 43 to take the Senior Warden's chair and the current Master of Shenstonian Lodge, No 5544 to take the Junior Warden's chair. St Paul's being the mother Lodge of Forest of Arden Lodge and Shenstonian Lodge being one of the daughter Lodges. This was particularly poignant as W Bro Stuart Jenkins is a Past Master of all three lodges, having served as Worshipful Master of Forest of Arden Lodge in 2000, St Paul's in 2004-2006, and Shenstonian Lodge in 2014-2016.  This year making a round 6 years as Worshipful Master in the family of Lodges.

Group Photo

Members of the Lodge, the Provincial Team and Visitors

Following the meeting the festive board was enjoyed by all, with specially engraved firing glasses for all to commemorate the occasion. The Lodge and the Worshipful Master were congratulated on the success of the evening and for being part of the 100 year journey the Lodge has taken so far.

Festive Board

Enjoying the Festive Board

 

 

 

 

MCF Grant helps physical disabled to play musical instruments via OHMI Trust

OHMI

The OHMI Trust’s objectives are to remove the barriers to music making faced by physically disabled people, and to enable undifferentiated participation in musical life, whether at school, in the home or in a professional ensemble.

Pronounced 'oh-me’, the OHMI Trust is a Birmingham based charity pioneering the development and adaptation of musical instruments for those who are physically disabled. Any deficiency or disability in one hand or arm makes traditional instruments unplayable to any reasonable standard. As a result, millions across the world are excluded from music-making for the lack of suitable instruments. This includes people with congenital disabilities such as cerebral palsy and hemiplegia, amputees, those who have suffered a stroke or developed arthritis.

OHMI runs an annual competition to encourage inventors, designers and instrument makers to develop a musical instrument that can be played without the use of one hand and arm, and that has all the characteristics and facility of a traditional instrument. As new instruments for those who are physically disabled become available, the OHMI Trust is working with appropriate organisations to teach and promote their use to anyone previously excluded from making music by their disability.

Presentation

Having been approached by OHMI, the Masonic Charitable Foundation has been pleased to support their aims with a £5000 grant, which was presented to them via the Province of Warwickshire. The grant certificate was presented to the General Manager of the OHMI Trust Mrs Rachel Wolffsohn at the charity’s registered office in Harborne, Birmingham, by Provincial Charity Steward, John Hayward.

Pictured below are some of the workshops held by the trust in appropriate venues throughout the UK.

Workshop 1

Workshop 2

Workshop 3

 

 

Acorns Children’s Hospice benefits by a total of £42,500 from PGM’s Famous Five

Acorn's Hospice

A previous article referred to the local Air Ambulances benefitting from the Provincial Grand Master’s Famous Five initiative – the same also applies to the Acorns Children’s Hospice. Since 2014, Acorns has received £10,000 each year, followed by a final £12,500 this month. Following the conclusion of the 2012 Festival, the Provincial Grand Master launched the Famous Five in mid-2013 to benefit specific non-Masonic Warwickshire charities, and this has been splendidly supported by our Lodges. This means that a total of £42,500 has been given to the Acorns Hospice since the initiative began. Acorns was first on the list when the Provincial Grand Master launched the Famous Five, and not only has overwhelming support been given to this initiative, but also separately by many Lodges and the Warwickshire Masonic Charitable Association. This is important funding as support by other organisation has dropped significantly over the last couple of years. We know that our Lodges will continue to support Acorns, as will the WMCA.

The picture below shows the Provincial Grand Master presenting the cheque to the Acorns Chief Executive, Toby Porter, watched by Community Development & Fundraising Manager, Carol Pratt with Provincial Charity Steward, John Hayward. Taken at the Administrative Offices in Wythall.

 Acorn's Hospice

Acorns Hospices have been providing vital care for life limited and life threatened children and support for their families for 30 years.   In the last year, they have cared for 876 children and supported 1,097 families, including those who are bereaved across Birmingham and the West Midlands. Warwickshire Freemasons and the Province itself are keen to be able to continue the support given to the Acorns Hospices, and I am quite certain that this will continue for many years into the future.

Further information regarding Acorns may be found on their website - https://www.acorns.org.uk/

JBH

Air Ambulance donations total £42,500 from PGM’s Famous Five

The Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance and the Midlands Air Ambulance have both benefitted from the Provincial Grand Master’s Famous Five initiative since 2014. Both have received donations of £5,000 each year since then, followed by a final £6,250 this month. Following the conclusion of the 2012 Festival, the Provincial Grand Master launched the Famous Five in mid-2013 to benefit specific non-Masonic Warwickshire charities, and this has been splendidly supported by our Lodges. This means that a total of £21,250 has been given to each of the Air Ambulance charities since the initiative began. Further reports on the Famous Five conclusion will be issued in due course, but these are the first of the cheques to be presented to Air Ambulances, both being nominated initially by the Provincial Grand Master.

The picture below shows the Provincial Grand Master presenting the cheque to two of the paramedics from the Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance, who fly to the scene of an incident, and treat those in need. Pictured are Paramedics Mark Beasley and Dr Laura Owen, with Provincial Charity Steward, John Hayward. Taken at the Baginton Airport Coventry where the WNAA team are based.

 Presentation of to the WNAA

The second photograph shows The Provincial Grand Master, presenting the cheque to Adam Williams, Fundraising Manager for Midlands Air Ambulance, at the Midlands Air Ambulance airbase at Strensham.

Presentation to the MAA

We are all aware of the effect of the Air Ambulances in crisis situations, and many of us know of those who have been helped and lives saved by the prompt action taken. Warwickshire Freemasons and the Province itself are keen to be able to continue the support given to the both Air Ambulances which cover our Province, and I am quite certain that this will continue for many years into the future. The helicopters in use by both Air Ambulances bear the masonic logos, in acknowledgement of our funding support.

Further information regarding both teams may be found on their websites - http://www.midlandsairambulance.com/ and https://theairambulanceservice.org.uk/

JBH

Installed Masters’ Lodge – 29 March 2018

The recent meeting of what is often described as the Premier Lodge in Warwickshire was held in Rugby – for some a pleasant change as it was in Warwickshire but also much more convenient for those living in the eastern part of the Province (normal service will be resumed for the June meeting!). It started in good form with the Worshipful Master, WBro Eric Rymer, offering the gavel to the Provincial Grand Master who initially accepted it and then in his typical humour gave it back to the Master on the premise that he wanted to see if he could remember how to open a Craft Lodge (probably in reference to the Master’s other main role in Freemasonry – the Provincial Grand Master for the Mark Degree in Worcestershire).

The meeting soon moved to the main item, which was a talk from VWBro James Newman OBE, the Deputy President of the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF). VWBro Newman started by saying that the MCF will support Festivals as much as possible having developed a clear partnership with the Provinces. This has only become possible since the amalgamation of the four central Masonic charities and, with the MCF celebrating its second birthday on the 1st April, it has achieved much since its creation. Working on the basis of 'action, not words', a 5-year strategy was approved at the end of 2017 and will see an enhancement of support and services, forging stronger links with UGLE and the Provinces, and raising its profile.

Since its launch, the MCF has worked hard to bring together the four teams and has introduced a better IT system. Initially it was receiving around 400 enquiries per month; this is now around 1000! A central tenet is giving support 'from the cradle to the grave' and it is predicted that spending on masonic support will increase. The MCF is currently supporting 108 petitioners in Warwickshire but they would like to see this increase. As a single charity, it has single chain of command and is therefore more efficient.

One major change has seen non-masonic grants become 'charity grants' and the programme of giving has been reviewed to create a more focused strategy. Two main themes have been selected – the early years to give the best start for disadvantaged children and the later years to overcome isolation in later life. Support for UK hospices and air ambulances will also change with a move from giving money to every organisation in the country to working with national bodies, such as Hospice UK, to identify projects that will benefit from larger grants. Eight grants have been made in Warwickshire totaling some £100,000.

As part of the Tercentenary celebrations, the MCF gave out £3M to charities selected in a national vote that saw over 80% of participants being non-masons. Six Warwickshire charities receiving just under £60,000. The impact of any donation is important both in terms of our profile but also in making a real difference to those being supported.

One fundamental point is that the MCF only receives its funds from Freemasons and that only 9p in every £1 is used in running the charity.  It is grateful for the support received from Festivals with regular giving making a huge difference. In closing, VWBro Newman assured that the MCF is still able to respond to major disasters around the world – it now works with Plan International to support specific projects or problems. The Provincial Grand Master responded by thanking VWBro Newman for his inspirational talk and exhorted the brethren to support the Festival.

In the absence of the usual Royal Arch representative, the Grand Superintendent, WBro Phil Hall, was pleased to report a rise in membership and that the success of the recent roadshows would be continued with two more scheduled in May – 22nd at Nuneaton and 24th at Knowle – assuring that this would not be a hard sell of the Royal Arch but rather encouraged Companions to bring along a brother who has yet to take that fourth step in Freemasonry.

The meeting then received a report on the 2023 Festival given, most appropriately by the Festival Chairman WBro David Greenwood. Since the launch back in January, around 400 Festival jewels have been sent out to qualifying brethren of whom three have already qualified for Grand Patron status and four lodges already have 50% signed up with regular giving. The aim is to have 700 brethren signed up by the meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge and WBro David closed saying that he couldn’t have asked for a better start. The Worshipful Master then congratulated WBro David on his forthcoming appointment as an Assistant Provincial Grand Master, which was received with acclaim by all present.

WBro Michael being presented with his Certificate of Merit

One of the very special things about Installed Masters is that it is often used as a platform by the Provincial Grand Master to make announcements or presentations. At the end of the Second Rising, the PGM took to the floor and asked his Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies to bring WBro Michael Irving to him. He extolled WBro Michael’s virtues in supporting all of his lodges as well as the Provincial choir, adding that he is a magnificent example to all present, before presenting WBro Michael with his Certificate of Merit. WBro Peter Clarke then delivered an excellent proclamation – not easy when you have at least two Past ProvGDCs in the room! WBro Michael responded by thanking the Provincial Grand Master for his kinds words and adding that family apart, charity and music are a very important part of his life and that he would ‘treasure this forever’. One final tribute, probably missed by most, was paid (or played!) by WBro Peter Summers for, as the column processed out of the temple, he played the hymn tune specially composed by WBro Michael for the Tercentenary aptly named Fortior after his Mother Lodge.

Presentation to VWBro Newman, with the traditional cut-glass tumbler as well as something to put in it

The surprises kept on coming with the Master presenting our guest speaker, VWBro Newman, with the traditional cut-glass tumbler as well as something to put in it. The tables were then turned on the Worshipful Master as WBro Andy Hale, an engineer and member of the Mike Hailwood Lodge, who presented him with three-foot tall Past Master’s jewel! Not wishing to leave him out, WBro Andy also presented the Provincial Grand Master with his own much smaller jewel complete with a ribbon in Sunderland colours!

WBro Andy Hale presented the WM with a three-foot tall Past Master’s jewel

The Worshipful Master was then pleased to announce that the alms for the MCF had amounted to £600 before wishing everyone a safe journey home.

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The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) is the governing body for freemasons within England and Wales and districts overseas.