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Mike Martin

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About Mike Martin

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  1. 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
  2. Hello!

    Welcome to the Forum and it's never really late to become a Freemason. Whereabouts are you and what Lodge are you joining?
  3. the MW Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England who also, this year, celebrates the 50th anniversary of taking up that post for the first time.
  4. Here's a story from the Independent in 1992 as the 90s Masonic "witchhunt" was building steam: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/time-to-lift-the-apron-pressure-is-mounting-for-the-freemasons-in-big-business-to-reveal-all-patrick-1552542.html
  5. Lodge interview

    Welcome to the Forum. Which Lodge?
  6. Flash Back to 2009

    From The Times (https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/potential-judges-will-not-have-to-declare-if-they-are-freemasons-hbw5ch23x7c ) November 6, 2009 Potential judges will not have to declare if they are Freemasons Frances Gibb, Legal Editor Would-be judges will no longer have to declare if they are Freemasons, the Government said yesterday. The policy reversal was announced by Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, after a threat of legal action forced a review. He said that it would be “disproportionate” to continue with the practice. The United Grand Lodge of England threatened legal action in May, prompted by a European Court of Human Rights decision. The judges ruled in an Italian case in 2007 that the requirement to disclose membership was a breach of the rights to privacy and freedom of association. Mr Straw said in a Commons written statement that his department’s review had indicated no evidence of “impropriety or malpractice” as a result of any judge being a Freemason. There were “existing safeguards that help support the proper performance of judicial functions”, including the judicial oath and an official complaints procedure. In his statement, Mr Straw said that since 1998 all first-time, successful candidates for judicial appointment or the magistracy had been required to declare whether they were Freemasons. The aim of the ruling was to “promote public confidence in the judicial system” after a report on the issue by the Home Affairs Select Committee. This had found no evidence of impropriety on the part of judges who were members. “Its recommendations were therefore of a precautionary nature and intended to maintain public confidence in the criminal justice system.” Mr Straw said that he decided to review the position after representations by the United Grand Lodge following the European Court of Human Rights case. “As a result of this review we have decided to end the current policy of requiring applicants for judicial office to declare membership of the Freemasons.”He added: “In my judgment it would be disproportionate to continue the collection or retention of this information.” He remained committed to the objective of ensuring public confidence and transparency in the justice system and would keep the issue under review, he said. It was Mr Straw who, as Home Secretary, introduced the policy in 1998 for police and judges. He announced that the Government would create a register of Freemasons working in the criminal justice system unless they were prepared to name themselves. But senior judges resisted being required to make the declaration. Lord Bingham of Cornhill, then Lord Chief Justice, said at the time that there had never been “a vestige of evidence that any judge in any case ever in this country has been diverted from his duty by any conflict arising from Freemasonic association”. Declaration remained voluntary for judges in post but became compulsory for new judges. The move also applied to magistrates, crown prosecutors, prison staff and probation officers. The statistics, not names, are made public only if requested under Freedom of Information laws. These show that on April 1 this year 5.4 per cent of judges and 6.4 per cent of magistrates were Freemasons. The move to reveal masonic membership in the criminal justice system came after a report by the Commons Home Affairs Committee chaired by Chris Mullen, which concluded that there was “widespread suspicion about masonic links”.
  7. 1717 and all that

    And yet they felt the need to announce themselves as a Grand Lodge in 1725 Even the late Revd Neville Barker Cryer downgraded his earlier claims of a "Grand Lodge" to "Old Lodge" in York Mysteries Revealed.
  8. I was watching the original Omega Man film the other day, it's a film I've watched dozens of times before. The other day, though, was the first time I've noticed that Lisa moans at Neville and Dutch about finishing their "Masonic Rites" and look after Ritchie.
  9. Recorded Ritual

    For clarity, your statement about your October meeting could be taken two ways. If you're saying that you wish to record yourself so that you can hear yourself practising in readiness for October's meeting that is fine BUT if you're saying that you plan to actually record October's meeting you are going to get in trouble as that is not allowed.
  10. Forum Topics and iPad

    This is one of those issues that doesn't exist anymore now that our hosts have let us use updated Forum software
  11. 1717 and all that

    I've put it in my diary but it only gives me a reminder 2 weeks prior, so here's hoping
  12. 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)
  13. Friends outside the hall.

    Tons of stuff! What new Candidates normally don't realise is that this is a "Fraternity" and as such it uses the term "brother" indistinguishably from "friend"! Not only will many of your Lodge Brothers become firm friends over time but you will also meet members of and visit other Lodges where you will also make friends. There are often social events being organised at individual Lodge, Provincial Grand Lodge and Grand Lodge level that you can, if you choose, attend once you are a member of a Lodge where even more friendships will develop. This is a major part of why this Fraternity, unlike its many imitators and knock-off mimics over the centuries, has actually survived for more than 300 years so far.
  14. Confused and Dazed...

    Just to highlight something "Scottish Rite" and "York Rite" are not part of the terminology used over here that is American. We have no "York Rite" (sometimes nicknamed American Rite) over here. The Scottish Rite is slightly more complicated in that SR is short for the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry and it is known as the Ancient & Accepted Rite (no Scottish) in England or more commonly as Rose Croix, oh and it's not Scottish it was created in France. It has different requirements to join and is quite different here compared to our American cousins' version. Honestly though such thinking is years away from you at the present time as you have more than enough to contend with becoming a Freemason let alone worrying about the optional add-ons
  15. Hello all.

    Welcome aboard Marty