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  1. 5 points
    Greetings Brethren. Just thought I'd share what a wonderful year I have had so far. Two of my sons were initiated into the Craft, 6 weeks and 12,000 miles apart. Ben into my Lodge, Aeron 7208, in March, where I acted as JD for the ceremony, and Tom in May to Avon Shirley Lodge 185, Christchurch, New Zealand , where by invitation of the WM I presented the Working Tools. Two ceremonies I would not have missed for anything. Great to see the 4th generation of Jones's begin their Masonic career.
  2. 4 points
    Agreed, Sontaran, it's just plain ordinary good manners for him to keep out of the way and keep his head down while the new chap destroys all he's done!
  3. 4 points
    Well there's our cover blown yet again! I am starting to wonder what sort of all powerful secret group of mind control lizard people I have joined if we can't even get our plans to promote homosexuality by the medium of populist reggae/dance hall style female singers. It was such a good well thought out plan too...... 😆
  4. 4 points
    While on holiday this year, I met a gentleman who recognised my signage ring. Over lunch and in the bar of the hotel for two weeks he asked about Freemasonry and from the tone of his questions, he had done some research. He was keen to join but did not know how to and I said I would help him. As he lived in the Northampton area I managed to get a member of the Provincial team to contact him. Which they did and as it turned out the lodge he is joining the treasuer went to school with him. He is being initiated in November and I will be attending, and I am doing the charge after initiation by kind permission of the lodge. All this through wearing a signage ring.
  5. 3 points
    Hi there and welcome to the Forum. That ring will have definitely been "special" to your Granddad because it was "his" Scottish Rite ring and to you for the same reason but I'm afraid that special factor doesn't really carry on into the wider world. This type of ring is or has been quite popular in the States and for that reason examples turn up frequently on Ebay and you are right to baulk at a $4k price tag for reinstating the diamond as they are often listed for around a $1000 - $1,500. As to what you do with it that is really a decision for you but don't get hung-up on honoring this piece of jewellery as it is just an outer show of our membership of a fraternity that has internal ideals of brotherly love, relief and truth. Some of us wear masonic jewellery because we are proud to be a part of such a tradition but it is not an essential item, his regalia would have been that part. If you want to find out about what he was a part of you should google up the Grand Lodge of the where you live, as you're in the US that will be a State Grand Lodge.
  6. 3 points
    Hi and welcome. I'd like to suggest that you avoid reading books on Freemasonry; they contain lots of spoilers which will take the edge off your initiation. I made that mistake and regretted it. You can read the information, and watch the videos, on the Grand Lodge website at https://www.ugle.org.uk/ , although I personally think that there are too many spoilers even there! The best way to find about Freemasonry, and whether it and you suit each other, is to talk to local members. I should point out, though, that the more you put into Freemasonry, the more you get out of it. While many members are happy to just sit back and watch the various ceremonies, you'll enjoy it far more if you take an active part, working your way through the various offices and up to the Master's Chair. Taking part in the ceremonies, especially as Master, can give your self-confidence a tremendous boost.
  7. 3 points
    I like the Scottish system that you do Mark in your craft lodge. Most lodges have one or two Mark degrees per year. No separate governing body and no other regalia therefore preventing unnecessary cost. I’d like to see HRA done in craft lodges in England as a “special meeting” when there’s a candidate. I don’t see the need for separate governing bodies. I’d keep all the other side orders separate.
  8. 3 points
    In 2019 Freemasons’ Hall London will once again be joining a host of important and historic buildings in London that are opening their doors to the public as part of the annual Open House weekend. This year FMH will be open on both days - Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd September. As well as the opportunity to take a leisurely stroll through the building and see the parts that others do not see there will also be the following activities: · Lodge Room tours · Children’s Trail · Lego Make and Take · Freemasons in regalia in the Grand Temple · Tea and Coffee for guests · An MCF stand with large teddy for raffle prize More information on the buildings taking part will be available from the Open House website (https://openhouselondon.org.uk/ ) from 20 August 2019.
  9. 3 points
    That's an absolute disgrace! Those brethren that push him to lie should be kicked out right away. I would report that immediately to the Provincial Secretary and if he does nothing than escalate. Did you raise your objections in open lodge? You can still report that by the way
  10. 3 points
    Which (just out of curiosity) is what? - you don't have a signature or anything to identify who you are. I know (from another post) that you're a member of the District Grand Lodge of Lebanon, but I'm curious as to what position you hold. Here in Cambridgeshire, the rule is 'at the bar you call me what you like -"oi you" will do :), once the regalia goes on, it's the respect due to the office'. So at the bar, the ProvGM is called 'Bill' (if you know him well), when he puts his regalia on it's, 'sir', and when he enters the lodge room it's 'Provincial Grand Master'.
  11. 3 points
    I agree with Trouillogan, in my humble opinion all that is really needed is to remove this almost obsessional belief (amongst some of our number) that somehow "Degree work" is the ONLY work and get back to understanding that the real "work" of a Lodge is to a) help its members to understand the content of the Ceremonies by working the Lectures of the Degrees and providing an advancement in wider Masonic knowledge by encouraging the delivery of talks on other Masonic subjects in open Lodge and b) to enjoy the fellowship of their Lodge and its many vistors.
  12. 3 points
    crestregalia sell the double sided circles for £2.00. it may seem expensive but these things are made to order
  13. 3 points
    Well, attending QC today where I'm to be one of the lucky ones being invested as PAGDC. Looking forward to it, although I wish my father was alive to see it. This meeting, back in 2005, in the October of which my eldest son was born, was the last time I saw my father alive as he died on the anniversary of this coming Saturday which, coincidentally, is the date of my mother lodge's first meeting since I received the letter back in December - on the anniversary of my mother's death. All in all, a very strange set of coincidences.
  14. 3 points
    Its another subject entirely, but there were servicemen that needed rank on their arm, wrist or shoulder to get things done and there were those who didn't need to wear it, as the troops would work for them, no matter what. There are some bloaters in Freemasonry (ex military that big themselves up to have been something more to non-service Brethren) that voice their contribution by tutting and ridiculing Brethren trying hard. The good ones will offer encouragement where needed and praise for every effort, knowing small steps lead to big advances.
  15. 3 points
    I've stolen this from Bill Hosler's (a member here for some years) BLOG here: http://www.midnightfreemasons.org/2017/12/my-brothers-wife.html because it is very relevant and a reminder that it's not just the Almoner's duty to look out for the Widows and Orphans of a deceased brother! Read on brethren: My Brother's Wife “Because she is my brother’s wife.” my dad said to my mother in a quiet, firm voice. “No, she isn’t.”, my mother said in the voice she used on me when I was in trouble “She is just the wife of some guy in that lodge of yours.” The house was still except for the argument which my Mom and dad were having in the kitchen. I was sitting in our living room across from an elderly lady, who sat on our sofa. She looked like someone’s grandma except, she looked really tired and sickly. I wasn’t sure if she was crying into the handkerchief she held in her shaking hands over the words my mom and dad were saying or if it was something else that had this poor old lady upset. All I knew was at the tender age of ten, it was something that shook me to my very core and something I knew I would never forget. ~~~~ Earlier that day, I was in the car with my father as he was driving into town to buy my mother’s Christmas present. The inside of the car was toasty warm and comfortable as I snuggled into the leather car seat. Dad was busy streaming Christmas music through the car from his smartphone. The setting sun made the snow flurries look like they were magical elves dancing in the air as our car navigated the snowy roads to the local mall. I was awakened by my Yuletide fantasy as I felt dad slowing the car as he made a turn down an unfamiliar long driveway. As Dad put the car in park, I looked at our destination. “I decided I need to make a stop before we get to the mall.”, he said as he started to remove his seat belt. I removed my seat belt and opened the door to follow him. As we walked up to the house I began to get scared. This place we were at looked like a haunted house. The paint on the house was peeling off and I could hear the wind banging one of the houses shudders back and forth against a broken window. The wind was also blowing the limbs on the leafless trees surrounding this poor old house. I couldn’t understand why he stopped at some scary place like this. I mean, it was Christmas Eve, not Halloween. I took my dad’s hand and hid behind him as he knocked on the house’s door. After several minutes the door opened slowly. Standing at the threshold was this little old lady. The poor lady had a confused look on her face and I’m sure if I was a little older I would have noticed she had a cautious look as she said in a frail voice “Can I help you, sir?” “Mary, you may not remember me but my name is Lee Hamilton, I’m a member of Norman’s Masonic lodge.” Mary smiled frailly “Please come in.” I could feel the wind blowing through the house as we entered into the building. “I’m sorry it’s so cold. I’m not used to having guests.” Mary said as I sat down on a broken chair. “The furnace went out about a year ago and I haven’ been able to afford a new one. Honestly, it doesn’t make sense to put one in any way. One of these days a good strong breeze will blow the house down anyway.” Mary said in a quiet voice. “It’s not too bad, I cover up with lots of blankets and it makes the place nice and cozy.” she said. My father seemed shocked at the state of her home “I wish I knew you were having problems with your heating. Did you ever try to contact the lodge?” Mary looked down at her lap “I did a few years ago when I still had a telephone.” I tried, but no matter what time of day or night I tried to call I always got an answering machine. Sometimes I would leave a message but no one ever called me back. I figured it had been so many years since my Norman passed away the members didn’t remember him anymore so I gave up.” I read in the paper that the lodge was busy raising thousands of dollars to give scholarships to high school kids and other fundraisers to buy glasses for children. I just assumed they were too busy helping others in the community than to worry about me." Mary began to get choked up and reached for an old handkerchief. Tears feel down the elderly ladies face as she continued “I get along ok. I get some money from Social Security every month and I have a part time job as a cashier at a small grocery store. The job is a blessing because my employee discount on groceries makes my food stamps last nearly the entire month. Luckily it’ Sonny’s about a mile away so it isn’t far to walk to get to work. I can’t drive anymore so I walk. Sometimes the manager of the store will drive me home. He also carries in my groceries.” I was really getting nervous because I could see tears starting to fall from my Dads eyes. Dad always seemed like such a big, tough guy I never thought anything could make him cry. In a quiet voice he said, “Mary, what are you doing for Christmas dinner?” Mary raised her head, trying to hide her emotions “Well the kids are so busy they can’t be here this year. They all have their own lives and my Grandchildren. They all live so far away I imagine they won’t make it. They haven’t been here for years now. I think they forgot about me.” Her hands were shaking as she continued “ I don’t need a lot. I have a brand new jar of peanut butter I’ve been saving and saltine crackers. At my age, you don’t need a lot to live on”. Mary began staring off into space. I’m not sure if she was trying to convince herself what she was saying was real or whether she was thinking about a Christmas time along ago and a time of happier memories. Dad used the sleeve of his coat to wipe the tears from his eyes. You could tell he was trying to steady himself as he found his voice. “Mary, there is no way I’m leaving you here in this condition. Please gather some clothes together and come spend the holiday with us. I won’t take no for an answer. We have plenty, actually more than we really need. You are welcome to stay with us.” ~~~~~ I could hear my folks still discussing the current situation as Mary rose from our couch and slowly started walking toward my parents who were in the kitchen. “Please, Mister Hamilton, please take me home. The last thing I want to do is cause a family to fight, especially on Christmas Eve. I’ve lived in that house in its current condition for quite a few years. I want you to have a happy Christmas. One thing this old lady has learned through many years of living is once your family is gone all you have left is memories and they should be happy memories.” I noticed my mom began to sob as my Dad said: “Mary there is no way. I could never have a happy memory of this Christmas if I knew you were freezing in an unheated house living on crackers.” Dad continued “To be honest I’m actually ashamed of myself for waiting all these years to visit you and not upholding my Masonic obligation to you and now I wonder how many of our widows who we have allowed to live in such a state. Especially when we have raised tens of thousands of dollars to fund projects which have nothing to do with our Masonic obligations. You are going to stay here in our guest room until we can figure out what it will take to fix your house and make sure you never want for food or shelter ever again.” Everyone in the room looked at my mother for her decision. Even at my young age, my mom felt bad at the thought of sending this woman back to her shack with no food. “Well,” mom said in a quiet voice, “I can see that this means a lot to Lee and we have plenty of room and definitely more than enough food for all of us. I have to say please stay.” Tears ran down the faces of both women as they embraced. “I bet you could use a nice warm bath and then we will get you some clean clothes. I hope you like roast chicken, I’ve been cooking all day.” The old lady smiled “I do and it would be an honor if you would let me help you cook tomorrow.” Later that night I was hiding at the top of the stairs trying to stay awake long enough to get a glimpse of Santa Claus. Mom and dad were in the living room staring into a roaring fire in the fireplace. I saw Dad lean over and kiss my mother’s cheek. “What’s that for?” Mom said with a smile on her face My Dad smiled and said “For allowing Mary to stay here with us. I know that couldn’t be easy for you.” “It wasn’t but I could see if your face how important it was to you and I couldn’t, in good conscience send her back to a place that sounds so horrible. I just hope you can help her.” “I only have one regret.” Dad said. “In all of this excitement with Mary I never got your Christmas gift.” He added with a slight hesitation. Mom just snuggled into Dads’ shoulder “That’s okay babe. I’m a lucky girl. I have everything I will ever need or want. Just having a good, caring man like you is gift enough.” Mom added “I do have one question. What made you stop by her house in the first place?” Dad took a deep breath “Honestly, I can’t tell you why. I was just driving down the road and then all of a sudden this voice told me to stop the car and pay a visit to Mary. Maybe it was Norman sending me a message from the Grand Lodge above.” my dad said with a chuckle. Over the next few weeks the members of the lodge inspected Mary’s little home and sadly the place was so disheveled, it could not be saved. The lodge, with Mary’s consent, arranged for her to have a room at the Grand lodge’s Masonic home. Mary thrived in her new environment. She gained weight from the nutritious food served to her and she developed a glow as she met new friends and lived the rest of her life in a safe, warm environment with plenty of love and happiness. Finding Mary living in such a disheveled condition acted as a wakeup call to Dad's little lodge. Dad used to the lodge’s next stated meeting as “The night the lodge quit making Masons and began to practice Freemasonry.” Dad would always say, “There was a lot of apron gazing that night as the Brethren hung their heads in shame. Especially from the row of Past Masters who not only knew Mary’s husband but never thought to check on his widow, and all the other lodge widows for so many years. Needless to say, the Brethren worked hard and each took a solemn vow (Or reaffirmed their original Master Mason obligation) to care for each other’s widows and orphans. ~~~~~ “Johnny, were ready to start.” the Master of the lodge said to me as I heard the old tune “Solemn strikes the funeral chimes”. Standing here at my father’s coffin brought all those memories of that Christmas back to me from so long ago. I was told by the lodge I didn’t have to be a part of Dad's Masonic memorial service. I just felt like I should be there, following in his footsteps as a member of his lodge. Standing here holding Dad's apron and a sprig of evergreen reminded me of my new obligation to my own mother, as well as those other ladies. I just hope Dad is looking down and smiling at me, as the man that Freemasonry taught me to be
  16. 3 points
    I still don't get why Lodges insist on pushing Candidates through their degrees in rapid succession. This obsession of having to perform a ceremony if there's a Candidate waiting for a 2nd or 3rd, surely has to stop. Progression should be based on the ability of the Candidate, their demonstrating that they have learned something about Freemasonry and whether they are willing to progress to the next degree.
  17. 3 points
    THE CONVENTION THAT CHANGED THE FACE OF FREEMASONRY By Allan E. Roberts We are indebted to Wor. Brother Roberts, a noted Masonic scholar and author, for accepting the challenge of preparing this Short Talk Bulletin. It is another example of his concern for the work of the Masonic service Association. For more than one hundred years many Freemasons have been misinformed. They have not been told the full story of one of Free-masonry's most important events. This story starts in December, 1839. It began with a resolution adopted by the Grand Lodge of Alabama, which requested all Grand Lodges to send a delegate to the City of Washington on the first Monday in March, 1842, "for the purpose of determining upon a uniform mode of work throughout all the Lodges of the United States and to make other lawful regulations for the interest and security of the Craft." (The emphasis is mine, for this indicates what I mean when I say we have been misinformed.) The Convention was held on March 7, 1842, "in the Central Masonic Hall at four and a half and D Streets N.W." Ten Grand Lodges were represented. And these representatives refused to seat a delegate from the Grand Lodge of Michigan, declaring that it had not been established under constitutional principles. The report was made by Charles W. Moore, Chair-man of Credentials Committee and Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. The Convention upheld his report. After due deliberation, it was concluded that not enough Grand Lodges were represented, and there was not enough time to formulate a uniform ritual that would be acceptable to all Grand Lodges. Differences of opinion among the committee selected to develop a uniform mode of work were too many and not reconcilable. The Convention voted to request each Grand Lodge to appoint some well-versed Mason and style him as a Grand Lecturer to report to a Convention to be held the following year. The report of another Committee was to have important, immediate, and far reaching effects on the Grand Lodges of the country. The "Committee on General Regulations Involving The Interests and Security of The Craft" reported in several areas. It recommended that the Representative System "already adopted by some of the Grand Lodges" be extended to all Grand Lodges. To protect the Fraternity from unworthy men claiming to be Masons, the Committee recommended that "certificates of good standing of visiting Brethren who are strangers" be made available by the Grand Lodge to which they belong. "These certificates will not only shield the Institution," said the committee, "from the undeserving, but will furnish the widow and orphans of the deceased Brethren the best evidence of their claim upon the Fraternity." This Committee also considered as "reprehensible" the practice "of receiving promissory notes for the fees for conferring Degrees, instead of demanding the payment thereof before the Degrees are conferred." The Committee considered it an "impropriety" to transact "business in Lodges below the Degree of Master Mason, except as such that appertains to the conferring of the inferior Degrees and the instruction therein." It credited the Grand Lodge of Missouri for bringing this to the attention of Freemasons everywhere. The Committee went on to say "Entered Apprentices and Fellow Crafts are not members of Lodges, nor are they entitled to the franchises of members." The suspension of a Mason for non-payment of dues was also considered by the Committee. It believed that uniform legislation should be adopted by the Grand Lodges to protect the Fraternity. It wasn't long before several Grand Lodges changed their laws to conform to the recommendations of this Committee. Certificates or cards were issued by Grand Secretaries to members of Lodges. And Grand Lodges ordered lodges to set cash fees for conferring degrees. Representatives were appointed by some Grand Lodges that had never done so before. And many Grand Lodges changed from conferring all business in the Entered Apprentice Degree to that of the Master Mason Degree. Maryland was one Grand Lodge that acted almost immediately on these suggestions. on May 16, 1842, it voted to elect one Grand Lecturer to attend the conference in I843. It ordered the Grand Secretary to procure certificates to issue to Master Masons in good standing. It ordered all Lodges to conduct their business in the Master Mason Degree. It said "that when a Mason is suspended for any cause whatever, he is for the time of such suspension debarred from all rights and privileges of the order." In 1842, some Lodges in Virginia started conducting their business in the Master Mason Degree. So it went over the next several years, but it was as late as 1851 before the Grand Lodge of Maine changed from working or conducting its business in the First to that of the Master Mason Degree. It might be well to consider why some of the leaders of Freemasonry were concerned about the looseness of the ritual, as well as many other facts of the Fraternity. Looking back to the year 1826, and the two decades that followed, it is found that in 1826, one William Morgan, who had purported to be a Freemason, disappeared. Freemasons were accused of murdering him, although there has never been any evidence that he was harmed in any way. He merely disappeared. This set off a hue and cry against Freemasonry. In many instances, Grand Lodges could not find a quorum to meet. Lodges turned in their charters by the hundreds. Freemasons quit by the thousands. Freemasonry was in deplorable condition. During this period many of the ritualists and the men who had been dedicated to the principles of Freemasonry were lost to the Craft. Many died. Others quit because of the persecution handed down to their families because they would not renounce their membership in the Order. For these and various other reasons, Masonic Lodges were not operating anywhere near their capacity. This was the state of affairs in the late 1830s, when Alabama called for a Convention to rectify many of the things that had gone awry. These were some of the things causing the Convention meeting in Washington to make the recommendations it did. These were some of the things carried into the Baltimore Convention of 1843, the Convention which we have heard so much about. The ritual in its various forms did take much of the time of those attending the Baltimore Convention from May 8 to 17, 1843, meeting in the Masonic Hall on Saint Paul Street with sixteen of the twenty-three Grand Lodges in the United States represented. But many hours were taken to discuss the several points brought out during the convention held in Washington. And it approved everything that had been accomplished in the District. The evening session was opened with the address of the President of the Convention, John Dove of Virginia. His opening remarks stated the purpose for the Convention: "For the first time in the Masonic history of the United States of North America, the Craft have found it necessary and expedient to assemble by their representatives, to take into consideration the propriety of devising some uniform mode of action by which the ancient landmarks of our beloved Order may be preserved and perpetuated, and by which posterity in all times to come may be enabled to decide with certainty upon the pretensions of a Brother, no matter in which section of our blessed and happy land he may reside; and, finally, and we hope no distant date, to transfer those inestimable privileges to our Brothers throughout the Masonic World." Dove's statement shows that much more than the ritual was involved. The following day, May 9, the "Committee on the General Object of the Convention" submitted its report. It said: "The objects of the Convention are two-fold, viz.: 1. To produce uniformity of Masonic Work; 11. To recommend such measures as shall tend to the elevation of the Order to its due degree of respect throughout the world at large." Four standing committees were appointed: On the work and lectures in conferring Degrees. On the Funeral Service. On the ceremonies of Consecration and Installation. On Masonic Jurisprudence. It is interesting to note the prominent Masons who were appointed to the Committee on Work. John Dove, at the insistence of the Convention, became the Chairman. John Barney of Ohio, S.W.B. Carnegy of Missouri, Charles W. Moore of Massachusetts, and Ebenezer Wadsworth of New York were the other members. On the morning of May 10, this Committee recited the lecture of the First Degree. The Convention adopted the work of the Committee by a vote of fourteen to one. Ebenezer Wadsworth of New York, cast the dissenting vote. The following day, the Committee reported "on the opening and closing of ceremonies of the First Degree" and their work was accepted by the Convention. Then the Chairman of the Committee, John Dove, assisted by Charles Moore, reported the lecture of the Second Degree. This work was also accepted by the Convention. But evidently Ebenezer Wadsworth was not happy with the work that had been accepted by the Convention. He "requested to be excused from serving longer on the Committee on Work." He was excused and Brother Edward Herndon, of Alabama, substituted. At the Friday morning session, "the opening work of the Third Degree was accepted by the Convention with a vote of twelve to one "with New York dissenting." On Monday morning, May 15, the following was reported: "The undersigned Committee on the Dedication, Consecration and Installation of Lodges, etc., having had the several subjects submitted to them under consideration, beg leave respectfully to report that they have examined and carefully compared all the various authors and systems which they have been able to obtain, and present the following, viz.: "That the forms in the 'Monitor,' under the authorship of M.W. Thomas S. Webb, republished in 1812, possesses the least faults of any which have been before them, and has a high claim to antiquity, and having been in general use as a standard work for nearly half a century, possess no errors of material as to require alteration, except as follows." There followed six minor changes that it recommended be made, three of them in the Installation Ceremony. Concerning the "Certificates of Good Standing," the Convention said that the Washington Convention of 1842 earnestly recommended to the consideration of the Fraternity "such Certificate, and where it has escaped attention in the deliberations of any Grand Lodge, this Convention call it to their view, as being a check admirably calculated to preserve the Fraternity from unworthy Brethren from a distance, and an additional means of protection to the good and the deserving." The Convention adopted a resolution that was to have far-reaching and controversial effects: That a Committee be designated to prepare and publish at an early day, a text book, to be called "The Masonic Trestle-Board," to embrace three distinct, full and complete "Masonic Carpets," illustrative of the three Degrees of ancient Craft Masonry; together with the ceremonies of consecrations, dedications and installation; laying of corner-stones of public edifices; the Funeral service, and order of processions. To which shall be added the Charges, Prayers and Exhortations, and the selection from scripture, appropriate and proper for Lodge service. The Committee further report, that they deem it expedient that a work be published to contain archaeological research into the history of the Fraternity in the various nations of the world. The Committee on Masonic Jurisprudence reported it had considered whether or not "the evils which this Convention has met to rectify and remove, have arisen from any defect or fault in the present system of organizations as adopted by the Fraternity of the United States." It concluded the evils existed, mainly because of the individual action of the numerous Grand Lodges in the United States. Inter-communication between Grand Lodges did not exist. The "purity and unity" of work prevalent in Europe was therefore missing. "UNITY throughout the whole Masonic family is essential," claimed the Committee. "Any system of polity tending to throw obstacles in its way must be wrong. The simple truth that we are all Brethren of one family, and look up to one common Father, the Lord our God, is the basis of all the ancient constitutions . " To correct the "evils" that prevailed, the Committee said it had considered two plans: "1st. A General Grand Lodge of the United States. 2nd. A triennial convention of representatives of the several Grand Lodges of the United States." It went on to state: "Your Committee, without encumbering their report with long arguments, beg to recommend the latter course as being that, which in their opinion, will best attain the end proposed." So, contrary to what many Freemasons have been led to believe, the Baltimore Convention of 1843 did not recommend the establishment of General Grand Lodge. It did recommend "the several Grand Lodges of the United States to enter into and form a National Masonic Convention." The Jurisprudence Committee had also considered a question about whether or not a Lodge could try its Master. It concluded: "The Master is an integral part of its government, unable to sit in judgment on himself, and yet without whom the Lodge could not act, without, as it were, committing felon de se (suicide). The Committee offered the following, with which the Convention concurred.... "a subordinate Lodge has not the right to try its Master, but that he is amenable to the Grand Lodge alone." The Committee considered sojourning Masons as "freeloaders." It believed all Masons living in the vicinity of a Lodge and not a member of it should be required to contribute "a sum equal in value to the annual dues per capita of the subordinate Lodge in whose jurisdiction they reside." The Convention voted to recommend that all Grand Lodges take this recommendation under advisement. In an attempt to bring unity "Throughout the world in all things pertaining to Masonry," the Convention approved a recommendation to send "a Delegate from the Masonic Fraternity of the United States to their Brethren in Europe." On the evening of May 15 the Committee on Work exemplified the opening and closing of the Lodge in "the Third Degree." The ceremonies for opening and closing a Lodge were exemplified on the morning of the 16th. Then the Convention adopted a resolution thanking the Grand Lodge of Maryland for its hospitality. It was especially appreciative of Maryland assuming all expenses. This was followed by the presentation of the "Lecture of the First Degree." It was "Resolved, that the interest of the Masonic Fraternity, and the good of mankind may be greatly promoted by the publication of a periodical devoted to Free-Masonry. This Convention, therefore, cheerfully recommend the Free-Mason's Monthly Magazine, edited and published by Brother Charles W. Moore, of Boston, Massachusetts as eminently useful and well-deserving the generous patronage, support and study of the whole Fraternity." The Convention concurred. Each delegate contributed $5.00 to defray the expenses of printing. It was resolved to hold the next Convention in Winchester, Virginia, "on the second Monday in May, in the year 1846." This was never held. The evening session of May 16th was devoted to the degree work. "The President repeated the first section of the F.C. and M.M. Degrees; and Brother Moore, the second sections of the same Degrees. The Committee then exemplified the work in the Third Degree." On the morning of the last day of the Convention, the Master Mason Degree was exemplified. Then, while the President was absent from the hall, "Brother Carnegy took the chair," and a resolution praising John Dove of Virginia was unanimously adopted. Albert Case of South Carolina was also thanked for his work as secretary. The concluding session was held in the afternoon of May 17th. The Convention approved a letter, read by the Secretary, Albert Case, to be sent to "the Masonic Fraternity of the United States." Each paragraph contained the flowery language of the day pleading with the Freemasons of the country to unite in love, friendship and brotherhood. This letter, written immediately following the anti-Masonic craze that began in 1826, called upon all Lodges "to exercise their powers and cleanse the sanctuary" of unfaithful Masons. It concluded by asking all Freemasons to "Be true to your principles, and the great moral edifice will stand beautiful and complete. Together, Brethren, be true and faithful." The President thanked the delegates for the compliments paid him, and for their diligent work. He called upon the Chaplain to dismiss them with prayer. The Convention was then adjourned sine die. The Convention was ended, but its accomplishments would change the face of Freemasonry throughout the United States. - Source: Masonic Services Association of North America - Short Talk Bulletin January 1936 - http://www.msana.com
  18. 3 points
    Hi all, now I know that not everyone is able to get to Quarterly Communications of Grand Lodge but I would highly recommend that you take the time to get a copy of the "Report of Proceedings" that are sent out to all Lodge Secretaries as you can read what actually happened during the meeting itself and you will then be as well informed as any Grand Officer. I have reproduced below (with permission from John Hamill) an item from the June 2017 meeting which I think you will find interesting: 1717 – FOUNDATION AND FORMATION MW PRO GRAND MASTER: Brethren, we are now to recieve a presentation on the Formation of Grand Lodge, and I call on the Deputy Grand Chancellor, VW Bro J.M. Hamill, PGSwdB. DEPUTY GRAND CHANCELLOR (VW Bro J.M. HAMILL, PGSwdB): MW Pro Grand Master and Brethren. At a dinner party last year the conversation turned to the idea of time travel and, were it to become possible, which period we would like to go back to. I said that, for something I was involved in professionally, I would like to go back to a specifi c day and location in London to meet and ask questions of a particular group of people and that I would like to bring some of them to our time today to see what they had given birth to on that day. It will not surprise you to learn that the date I selected was St. John’s Day in Summer, the 24th June, in the year 1717 and the location was the Goose and Gridiron Tavern in St. Paul’s Churchyard. As we know, on that day representatives of four London Lodges came together elected a Grand Master and Grand Wardens and resolved to “revive” the Annual Feast and Quarterly Communications which it was claimed had fallen into desuetude due to the neglect of Sir Christopher Wren when Grand Master. As we also know today, that resolution was based on a pious fiction as there is no evidence for there having been any Grand Lodge or any Grand Master before 1717. To us, with the benefit of hindsight, the meeting on 24 June 1717 was a momentous and historical event, but put into the context of the time a different picture emerges. One of the problems of dealing with 1717 and the fi rst few years of the Grand Lodge is the lack of hard facts to work with. It was not until 1723 and the appointment of William Cowper, Clerk of the Parliaments, as Secretary to the Grand Lodge that Minutes began to be kept. Of the four Lodges which came together to elect a Grand Master in 1717, there are still three working today – the Lodge of Antiquity, the Royal Somerset House and Inverness Lodge and the Lodge of Fortitude and Old Cumberland – but their early Minutes have been long lost so that, with the exception of those elected to the Offices of Grand Master and Grand Wardens we have no records of whom their members were in the years 1717 – 1725, when the Grand Lodge first called for Lodges to submit lists of their members, or who attended the meeting on 24 June 1717. What we can deduce from secondary evidence is that the meeting was not a huge assembly. The Goose and Gridiron Tavern survived until the late 1890s and just before it was demolished an enterprising Masonic historian drew sketches of its exterior and measured the room in which the Grand Lodge was formed. The room would have held less than a hundred people who would have had to stand very close to each other to fit into the room! Our primary source for what happened in those early years is the history of the Craft with which Rev’d Dr James Anderson prefaced the Rules governing Freemasonry in the second edition of the Book of Constitutions he published on behalf of Grand Lodge in 1738. Because Anderson’s history of the Craft before 1717 is more than somewhat suspect some historians have cast doubts on his description of the events in Grand Lodge from 1717 – 1738. What they forget is that he compiled it on behalf of the Grand Lodge and that it was vetted by a Committee of the Grand Lodge before it went into print. Although writing 20 years after the events of 1717 there would still have been brethren around who were involved in those early years, not least Rev’d Dr John Theophilus Desaguliers, Grand Master in 1719 and Deputy Grand Master in 1722, 1723 and 1725, who would have been very quick to point out any errors of fact in Anderson’s comments on the Grand Lodge. From Anderson’s account in its first years the Grand Lodge met only for the Annual Assembly and Grand Feast to elect the Grand Master and Grand Wardens. From two other sources we can deduce that the Grand Lodge began to act as a regulatory body in 1720. Both the 1723 and 1738 editions of the Book of Constitutions include a postscript describing the ancient manner of constituting a new Lodge as practised by the Grand Master, George Payne in 1720. A very rare Masonic book entitled “The Book M or Masonry Triumphant” published by a Brother Leonard Umphreville in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1736 includes a report of a meeting of Grand Lodge in 1720 in which a Code of Rules for the government of the Craft compiled by the then Grand Master, George Payne, was adopted. The report was followed by the list of 39 Rules, which formed the basis of the Rules printed in the first edition of the Book of Constitutions published in 1723. Some have questioned why there were no press reports of the event in 1717, but they have been looking at the past with the eyes of the present. In 1717 Freemasonry was largely unknown. The late 17th and 18th centuries were a great age of Societies and Clubs many of them meeting in taverns and the growing network of fashionable coffee houses in the Cities of London and Westminster. If noticed at all, the formation of Grand Lodge would have been seen as just another such society. It was not until the early 1720s when Past Grand Masters, George Payne and Dr Desaguliers began to attract members of the nobility and the Royal Society into Freemasonry that the press of the day began to notice it, reporting on the initiations of prominent men of the day and the annual Grand Feasts of Grand Lodge. It was not until 1723 that the Grand Lodge became fully established as a regulatory body as we know today. By that year in addition to the keeping of Minutes and the publication of the fi rst Book of Constitutions the Grand Lodge had extended its authority outside the Cities of London and Westminster issuing deputations to constitute Lodges in the Provinces and bringing into the fold some independent Lodges that had been meeting quietly in the northern provinces. The Rules compiled by Grand Master Payne in 1720 and published in the Book of Constitutions in 1723 introduced the concept of regularity, stating that no new Lodge would be countenanced unless it had been personally constituted by the Grand Master or a Brother deputed by the Grand Master to act for him. At a conference sponsored by our premier Lodge of Research, Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076, at The Queen’s College, Cambridge, last September two academics gave a paper suggesting that we were celebrating four years too early and casting doubts on the meeting in 1717. Having carefully studied their paper my response is that old fashioned polite English expletive: balderdash! (Laughter) Their thesis seems to boil down to an academic semantic argument as to what constituted a Grand Lodge. They appear to think that we were not a Grand Lodge until 1721because there is no evidence for any attempt at regulation before that date. It is beyond doubt to my mind that at the meeting on 24 June 1717, Anthony Sayer, Capt. John Elliot and Jacob Lamball were, respectively, elected Grand Master and Senior and Junior Grand Wardens – offi cers of a Grand Lodge. The academics appear to believe that, like Athene springing fully armed from the head of Zeus, for the meeting in 1717 to be accepted as the formation of a Grand Lodge it should have immediately acted as a regulatory body. Brethren, life rarely works that way! In talking of time travel I said I would like to bring back from 1717 some of those involved in the meeting on 24 June. In their wildest imaginings they could not have envisaged what their simple and small meeting would give birth to: a world wide fraternity of regular Freemasonry spread over the whole world. They would have found some things that they would recognise from their practice of Freemasonry but would also have found much that was very different. Over the last 300 years Freemasonry has developed and expanded in ways they could not have imagined. What English Freemasonry has demonstrated over the last 300 years is that it is a living organisation capable of changing its outward forms and adapting itself to the society in which it currently exists. It has had a wonderful knack of making those changes without in any way changing those fundamental and inalienable principles and tenets on which Freemasonry was founded and which would certainly be recognised by those who met in 1717. The more I study our ancient Craft the more I am convinced that whatever problems we may face from time to time, provided that we maintain that delicate balance between managed change and not altering our basic principles and tenets, Freemasonry will ride over those problems and future generations will be able to enjoy its fellowship and privileges, as we and the many generations that have gone before us have done since that happy day in 1717 on which Grand Lodge was born. MW PRO GRAND MASTER: Brethren, we all know what an expert Brother Hamill is on our Freemasonry, a lot of you won’t know that the rest of the world considers him an expert on their Freemasonry as well. So we really are lucky to have John in our midst and be able to give us talks such as that. So, thank you very, very much, John. (Applause)
  19. 2 points
    It's also worth mentioning that 32° is -in all fairness- pretty meaningless in the US as just about every member of the Scottish Rite in the US is a member of that degree. As I understand the US system, if he'd been a 33° SR member, his standing in the order would be significantly higher (for similar reasons as below ...). If he'd been a member of the equivalent system in England & Wales, it would mean a lot more as the members who have been awarded that are a fraction of the overall membership, and both the 31° and 32° are rewards for distinguished service to the order (and sometimes for services to the wider community and/or freemasonry in general). Under our system, the majority of the membership are either 18° or 30°; the latter just means that the holder has been in charge of his lodge (not precisely what it's called, but it serves for you to -hopefully- understand the analogy). The US 32° pretty much equates to the combination of our 18° and 30° with few of our 31° and 32° thrown in. You should also be aware that being a member of the Scottish Rite (or our equivalent) is not the 'be all and end all' that you may have been let to believe -or that the media would have you believe; it's just an additional 'organisation' that freemasons can join should they be so inclined - and of which being a freemason is a prerequsite for membership. All the members of the SR are, first and foremost, freemasons, as are members of the York Rite; another 'organisation' who's members are primarily freemasons. That also used to be the case for the Shriners, but I believe that requirement has been relaxed. The main thing to understand is that it's that he was a freemason that's important, not that he had also chosen to join the Scottish Rite (and maybe the York Rite). Yes he'd have been proud of that ring, but if he were still alive and were you to ask him, he'd tell you that the most important outward sign of his membership of freemasonry in general is/was -as Mike as intimated, his white apron.
  20. 2 points
    IT was great fun making this video, thanks for sharing Mike.
  21. 2 points
    It seems that some members of the Catholic Church have actually opened their eyes to the reality of Freemasonry and the fact that the vast majority of it around the world holds absolutely no enmity toward the Church: Snippet: VIENNA (ChurchMilitant.com) - Eight popes over 200 years in a barrage of 20 legal interdicts have condemned Freemasonry, pronouncing automatic excommunication against any Catholic who becomes a member of a masonic lodge. Now, a new book by an official of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue is claiming that a practicing Catholic can simultaneously be a Freemason and that the penalty of excommunication may "certainly not" be applied to "Catholic Freemasons Full story here: https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/catholics-can-be-freemasons-claims-pontifical-council-cleric And here: https://novenanews.com/freemasons-catholics-not-excommunicated-vatican/
  22. 2 points
    I think MrSifter has got it about right. I’d like to see the Mark in its proper place, between Passing and Raising, followed by HRA, all in the the Craft lodge. I’m rather pleased that the other orders are not in the vice-like and stifling grip of UGLE.
  23. 2 points
    I defo wouldn't want to try and "bring them in" as I don't see it as really practical and I also feel that doing so would add credence to their "legendary histories". I would, however, like to see a proper education given to Freemasons about their actual origins so that they can make their own informed decision about whether they want to get involved with them.
  24. 2 points
    Also, don't make the common error of buying things with the S&C containing the letter 'G'. Irish, Scots, Americans and some others uses that symbol quite legitimately but for an English Freemason it has no meaning. I would, however, advise waiting a while before getting items of this kind. About the only thing that a cautious Freemason might wear in public would be the little blue forget-me-not emblem (tip: research its origin). Rings and so on can be seen as a bit 'showy' and in some settings, particularly business, could easily be misinterpreted.
  25. 2 points
    If you are still a subscribing member (which you say you are), why not contact your lodge almoner? Just because you've not attended, doesn't mean you can't call on the lodge for assistance. I assume you are aware this is a UK forum?
  26. 2 points
    And the same invitation applies to you MrSifter - I think you'll be pleasantly surprised; I don't (nor, I suspect, does Jon) hear any such discussions here - and we're both in positions where we would hear of such. I can think of only one lodge in the Province where such talk may occur. I guess it does help when pretty much every member of the Province knows the PGM (he's also GSupt), Deputies, etc personally as between them they attend all Installations, and quite a few ordinary meetings. We are very much a 'family' Province.
  27. 2 points
    Yes, I think that's a pretty good analysis. UGLE only has to look at Whites or the Athenaeum to see how exclusivity works. Not that Freemasonry is a club; it's just the exclusive aspect and that is attractive to the kind who would be acceptable members. A sort of reverse Groucho Marx idea!
  28. 2 points
    Ironically that is the point of the statement from Grand Lodge. Although Grand Lodge and Provinces are making great efforts to get the public profile of Freemasonry back to where it was before WWII it still remains the duty of individual Lodges to ensure that they are not Initiating Candidates who are not going to be a good fit for Freemasonry.
  29. 2 points
    We tend to stop wearing them once Provincial rank is gained, simply so they can be recirculated to newer PMs and to save the cost of buying additional ones.
  30. 2 points
    Regardless of what you do thereafter, I'd recommend sitting after the loyal toast in respect of the monarch.
  31. 2 points
    We don't discuss religion or politics in Lodge lest it cause division and disharmony. Those two subjects aren't all we don't discuss if we're sensible. I don't discuss my views on other matters with Brethren I know are of the opposite view to myself for similar reasons. As a result, we can sit at the FB and enjoy a meal, a drink and conversation without disagreement.
  32. 2 points
    Sontaran, Thank you. I posted in haste having had a strong emotional reaction to the thread. I don't mean to high-light Sojourner particularly, it is just that his post best illustrated what I thought was a theme running through the thread. Sojourner and others are perfectly entitled to have their own views and there is no reason they as individuals should align with mine. It would hardly be respecting diversity if I believed otherwise. To move away from the personal to the institutional, I think this high-lights a real problem for organisations which have a moral aspect to their membership. It has always been the case that there are mixed views on the definition of what constitutes a person of high moral standing. It is perhaps more mixed now than ever following a period of progressive changes to the definition of morality. Ancient texts, such as the christian bible, are of limited help since they do not define the terms they use and the examples they provide are often contradictory and/or open to interpretation. I believe it is therefore for individuals to challenge themselves to live the best life they can and to continually seek to improve. In fact, for me, that is one of the reasons to explore freemasonry. But for freemasonry as a movement, which places much emphasis on moral behaviour, it is a difficult subject to navigate. This may explain, in part, the decline in membership (if indeed membership is declining - I rely on the information on this forum to reach such a conclusion). An organisation which appears from the outside to hold an absolute moral code will struggle to attract members at a time when morality is being redefined by society. The best response to this is, I believe, to have an open conversation within the organisation. This thread might be part of such a conversation.
  33. 2 points
  34. 2 points
    Freemasons' Hall Arthur Square Belfast has refreshed their web site. https://arthursquare.org/ It previous website was only hosted 10 year ago and the Hall has taken the occasion of commemoration 150th anniversary of laying foundation stone to refresh. Hall also acquired an once lost original artwork to mark the event on 24 June this year. Here is link of the Belfast Newsletter on same. https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/pictures-inside-ni-freemasons-hall-no-handshake-needed-for-tour-of-once-secret-location-1-8624638
  35. 2 points
    Ask all of us; that way you'll get a number of opinions and not just one individual's view (although Mike is a good source I hasten to add!)
  36. 2 points
    Yes, Sentience, it is UGLE-wide but many of the issues are lodge-specific. I see provinces trying to address issues by adding layers of administration - managers for this, vice chairmen for that and that reminds me of an African saying that when elephants dance, the grass suffers. I firmly believe that we we need fewer directives and initiatives from Olympus and more fertiliser (masonic education) at the grass roots so that freemasonry becomes more attractive to those who really wish to follow its precepts. Your item 4. underlines this need.
  37. 2 points
    As I have rank in two provinces, I have two apron badges to swap at frequent intervals (if I remember!). I use five small (half inch square) pieces of adhesive industrial grade Velcro (has better adhesive). The 'hook' pieces on the apron and the 'fluffy' pieces on the badges. One in the middle and four round the edge; n, s, e & w. You need to apply lots of pressure when first attaching the adhesive bits to the apron and to the badges or they'll eventually pull adrift from frequent removal of the badge. So far they have lasted thirteen years without pulling off, so the method seems to be working.
  38. 2 points
    Just use double sided tape and make sure you apply significant pressure. If you contact whoever you got it from, you should be able get hold of the circular double-sided fixing pad that normally comes with the badge.
  39. 2 points
    It did thanks - thoroughly enjoyed it - and I can also report that Jon West (3GP441) will be invested as PAGStB in April - congratulations Jon!
  40. 2 points
    Thanks Sontaran. Good advice. I don't have anything criminal in my background. The closest I got was when I spent two hours in a cell at aged 8 or 9 after having run away from home. It did the trick of scaring me not to do that again. And thanks Bod. Still exploring at the moment and will probably be asking for advice on how to choose and approach a lodge a little later.
  41. 2 points
    I'm not sure whether this is the most important aspect, but I do feel that I receive more encouragement and praise in Freemasonry than in other areas of my life. After a lodge meeting, people go out of their way to say "well done" or "thank-you". They also give very constructive criticism. I think this has helped me to reflect on how I treat others throughout my life.
  42. 2 points
    This sort of nonsense always reminds me of the following Mitchell and Webb sketch https://youtu.be/P6MOnehCOUw
  43. 2 points
    Hi everyone. Just returned from my interview. Made to feel really at ease and welcome. Looking forward to hopefully learning lots
  44. 2 points
    Anthony Rayner of UGLE commented on Facebook thusly: The articles in the Guardian about the Police and Freemasonry have got a lot of people very hot under the collar. My intial reaction was, "I wonder what he actually said and in what context." Sure enough, when asked Steve White said he was talking about something completely different (reform of the Police Federation) and the comments about what elected female Police Federation representatives perceived were in that context. Journalists and their editors are notorious for twisting words and context to make a completely different story out of an interview and it seems that is what has happened to Mr White. It happened to me when I spoke to a newspaper in Essex when I was a serving officer. I was villified completely unfairly - and now Masons are jumping on the band wagon to villify him. David Staples has written to the editor - who will probably edit the letter if it is even published. Deep breaths people. Think before you rant in social media - the journalists trawl it for juicy stuff.
  45. 2 points
    Thought it was for the Lodge
  46. 2 points
    I guess pretty much everybody has provided their view and that obviously will help you. Personally, I feel wearing a pin, cufflinks, or badge in your day-to-day life is okay but please don't overdue it. Nobody should ever look at you and say - "Here comes the advertisement on Freemasonry". If you want keep a simple Masonic Pen that you will use rarely and mostly to sign a register or cheque - it will be a great asset or statement. To add onto what Mindmagic said, wear a tie that has square and compasses; provided it doesn't stand out. I personally have one, that from a distance is a simple black tie until someone comes and stands in front of me to talk to me - that's when they get to see the S&C that too only if the light hits on it. Reminding me that I am proud of being a Freemason but I will never use it to gain any advantage. Hence, I have never mentioned that I am a Freemason in any of my CV, on the other hand as Mindmagic mentioned I have written about public speaking and charity work. The Etiquette by the Grand Lodge of India clearly tells us that we should not use the S&C symbol in any of our business cards. People should look at you and consider you to be the perfect man and then when they come to know (maybe because of your association with some charity work or through some of your photos) that you are a Freemason. They will do the maths.
  47. 2 points
  48. 2 points
    Looking Good, and it's nice to use a tablet. Dam thing crashed I sent it back to amazon.
  49. 2 points
    There are two Mainwarings in my Lodge. However, that is their surname not their attitude.
  50. 2 points
    Why am I NOT surprised? As you say, there are soooooo many Mainwarings in Masonry..... but I think I'm probably a bit of a Jones, myself:DT.
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