A very warm welcome to our January 2017 bulletin. I hope and trust you all enjoyed a merry Christmas and New Year.
I’d like to start this month by talking about the recent quarterly communication from Grand Lodge.
I know, like me, your lodge secretary or chapter scribe E will have received copies of the communication and, as usual, there were many items of interest within its pages. I found of particular interest the address of the Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes and his mention of the many light blue aprons on display at the meeting of Grand Lodge.
He said, “Since we changed the rules to allow Master Masons to attend Grand Lodge we have had an excellent display of light blue aprons and they are very much in evidence again today. Bearing in mind work commitments and the eccentricities of our transport system it is a tremendous effort”.
He went on to report on the various initiatives for these younger brethren saying, “I have recently received a copy of the Report of the New and Young Masons Clubs’ Conference and was delighted to learn just how well the clubs are progressing with over 30 established across London and the Provinces. This is a fantastic achievement and I would encourage those new masons in Provinces without such a club to consider setting one up. You would have our full support and I am sure you would be greatly encouraged by your Provincial hierarchy. Indeed, I have asked RW Bro Gareth Jones, Provincial Grand Master for South Wales and Third Grand Principal to act as the focal point here for the movement. It really is a splendid initiative and I congratulate all those involved”.
Perhaps we should again consider such an initiative here at Garston?
He went on to detail some of the magnificent achievements we have made in the name of charity citing the sum of £14.5m raised during the year, “We have heard a lot about charity during the course of today and I have frequently said how proud we should be of all our charities, and not just the big four. They all do tremendous work. You have already heard that during the course of this year the astonishing sum of £14.5m was raised through the hard work of our brethren. The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Festival total of nearly £7.75m is the highest total ever. I can’t believe, brethren, that it was all down to me having moved into Hampshire last year. I suspect that is purely coincidental. Across the board the money raised per capita by all four Provinces in Festival during 2016 was extraordinary and of a similar level. Brethren, your generosity is not taken for granted and is greatly appreciated”.
“You have also heard from the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) about their scheme to give to your local charities £3m next year in recognition of both their own formation and, of course, our Tercentenary. This not only shows your generosity but is also aimed at promoting our involvement in the community”.
He then went on to talk about other matters including the availability of the Tercentenary Jewel and unlawful copies saying, “Brethren, I know that some of you have become frustrated at not being able to get hold of a Tercentenary Jewel. Please be assured that there are now plenty available in the Letchworth’s shop. Unfortunately, initial demand far outstripped supply. In spite of your frustration, may I ask you to beware of cheap imitations. Sadly they do exist and are being offered at a very reduced price, but they are unauthorised and unlawful copies. We are working closely with the Provinces to get them all removed”.
Lastly he made mention of the documentary series ‘Inside Freemasonry’ produced for Sky TV, which was scheduled to be broadcast in January, but now put back until spring, saying, “I have seen three of these so far – there are five in all – and have been most encouraged at the sensitive way that we have been portrayed by Emporium, the makers of the film. I would like to thank those Provinces, lodges and, perhaps most of all, those individuals who have so willingly participated”.
There has been some confusion regarding the wearing of this jewel within Chapter and our vice-chairman John Murphy has received the following clarification which I trust will help clear this matter up. Provincial Office advised that this is a Craft Jewel and the advice given is that it should not be worn at Royal Arch Meetings.
Some may choose to do so but it has no relevance to the Royal Arch.
During December many of you will have held “ladies to dine” events and I know just how popular these evenings are. During the month we also had three particular local occasions which have been reported on the Provincial website which I’m sure you’ll find of interest.
GLIM celebrated its 25th birthday and its 100th meeting on the 14 December and it was pleasing to see four of the founding members present. Lodge secretary Dave Jones has produced a wonderful booklet detailing the lodge foundation.
Our annual children’s Christmas party took place on Sunday 11 December and once again the hall directors ensured that the event was free for the children. Once again a loud and very enjoyable afternoon was enjoyed by all, with our caterer Tony ensuring nobody went hungry. A big thank you to all.
On Wednesday 7 December Chapter of Harmony welcomed the Grand Superintendent to their installation meeting and it was a delight to see so many companions join in the evenings celebrations.
2017 brings the real start to our 2021 festival and I’ve attached a link here to the video by Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Winder which, I trust like me, you will find of interest.
If you would like to keep up to date with all the news and events concerning the four year festival we have a link on our group website to the appropriate page of the Provincial site.
Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival
Finally I would like to remind you that the new menu format has started. It’s a great initiative by our new caterer Tony Ackroyd offering you a wide choice of options from which your lodge or chapter creates its own menu for the evening.
Once again a very happy and healthy new year to you all.