Grand Inspector’s News Letter No. 1
Times have changed considerably since Prince Henry the Navigator Lodge No 9360 was consecrated in March 1990. I was the Secretary and produced everything on an Amstrad computer. The summons was printed in sufficient quantities for a year’s meetings and I overprinted the agenda on page 3, always only the agenda! Since then vastly more powerful computers have come along, windows was invented and email has become the norm. About 15 years ago I started producing the summons on the computer for Wiet Buma, then Secretary of Lancaster Lodge and that saved a considerable amount of money, then when I was Secretary of the Lodge we were allowed to distribute the summons by email which saved both money and a lot of time in folding papers, sticking on address labels and going to the post office.
I doubt if our current Secretaries spend any less time at their job, as now there are always emails flying around!
So too are we changing, with a new look website, produced by W.Bro. Mike Fallows, to reflect changing times and follow the guidelines from UGLE. Each Secretary will have a code to access his section of the site and update it accordingly, as will I for this column. At the moment it is general but we are looking at a members’ area where more private items can be discussed such as the ritual.
On that note I had to put my foot down in one lodge where things were straying too far from Emulation, the ritual decided upon by the Founders. I have no objection to a lodge deciding to work a different ritual, once the Founders have all ascended to the Grand Lodge Above, but until then I believe their wishes should be respected, even if there is only one Founder left! After all we did that at PHN Chapter where we changed from Complete Workings to Domatic as the rubrics in the former were almost non-existent, but I believe all the Founders were still alive and in full agreement.
On my appointment as Grand Inspector I treated myself to Graham Redman’s Book Masonic Etiquette Today. I found it so useful that some months ago I recommended to all Secretaries that it should be purchased by them with at least two copies, for Secretary and DC and I would also recommend one for each library. It is very well written and invaluable in clarifying many items of procedure.
One item which particularly struck me, as old fashioned and with some service training, was the following about the National Anthem:
“The brethren should stand to attention during the singing. It is a regrettable fact that this particular observance, which was drummed into me when I was younger, is becoming noticeably less common, and that even Brethren who have a background in the Services frequently stand with their hands in front of them or behind their backs, rather than straight down at their sides with the thumbs to the front, when the National Anthem is sung.”
I was horrified last Remembrance Day to see serving members of the Armed Forces not standing to attention during the singing of the National Anthem.
One of my most amazing experiences was when I first went to Grand Lodge for my Investiture as a Grand Officer. The Grand Temple was full to its 1700 capacity and the singing of the National Anthem brought a lump to my throat and tremendous pride in being a Freemason.
Brethren, I hope that you too will always have tremendous pride in being a member of the United Grand Lodge of England and your own lodge and “unite in the grand design of being happy and communicating happiness.”
On a more personal note, it is now over a year since my appointment and, as many of you know, it has been a fairly hectic year, I will not go into detail on the website but I trust that the above quotation from the Address to the Brethren will once more apply to all members of the Group.
There have been several promotions for Brethren to Overseas or Senior Overseas Grand Rank and I congratulate them all and also W. Bro. Keith Lloyd who is to be appointed a Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies by the Grand Master at the Annual Investiture on 25th April. E.Companion David Phillips is to be appointed to Past Grand Standard Bearer in Grand Chapter the following day. I shall of course be there for their Investitures.
We have (at least) two special celebrations within the Group this year. My predecessor, V.W. Bo. Tony Jordan will shortly be celebrating 50 years as a Mason and in May I shall be going to the Meeting in Daventry of the Lodge of the Oldest Ally when the Lodge is porposing to make me an Honorary Member and on the following Tuesday I shall be attending my Mother Lodge in Warwickshire on the 40th Anniversay of my Initiation.