Report of the Board of General Purposes
8 September 2004
The Minutes of the Quarterly Communication
of 9 June 2004 were confirmed.
In accordance with Rule 225 Book of
Constitutions, notice was given of the dates
upon which the Board of General Purposes
will meet in 2005: 8 February, 15 March, 10
May, 19 July, 20 September, 15 November.
Attendance at Lodges under the
English Constitution by Brethren
from other Grand Lodges
The Board considers it appropriate to
draw attention to Rule 125 (b), Book of
Constitutions, and the list of Grand Lodges
recognised by the United Grand Lodge of
England, which is published in the Masonic
Year Book, copies of which are sent to
secretaries of Lodges.
Only Brethren who are members of
Lodges under recognised jurisdictions may
visit English Lodges. They must produce
a certificate (i.e., a Grand Lodge certificate
or other documentary proof of Masonic
identity provided by their Grand Lodge),
should be prepared to acknowledge that a
personal belief in TGAOTU is an essential
landmark in Freemasonry, and should
be able to produce evidence of their
good standing in their Lodges. It is the
Master’s responsibility to ensure that the
requirements of Rule 125 (b) are met.
It is particularly noted that the hazard
of admitting a member of an unrecognised
constitution arises not only in connection
with overseas visitors (or individuals
resident in this country who belong to
an unrecognised constitution overseas).
There are Lodges of unrecognised
constitutions meeting in England, and
care must be taken that their members
are not admitted to our meetings.
Attendance at Lodges Overseas
The continuing growth in overseas travel
brings with it an increase in visits by our
Brethren to Lodges of other jurisdictions,
and the Board welcomes this trend.
From time to time, however, Brethren
become involved with Masonic bodies
which Grand Lodge does not recognise,
e.g., in visiting a jurisdiction which, quite
legitimately so far as it is concerned, accepts
as visitors Brethren from Grand Lodges
which are not recognised by the United
Grand Lodge of England.
In this connection, Brethren are
reminded that it is part of their duty as
members of the English Constitution not
to associate Masonically with members
of unrecognised constitutions, and should
such a situation occur, they should tactfully
withdraw, even though their visit may have
been formally arranged.
To avoid this danger, and potential
embarrassment to hosts, Brethren should
not attempt to make any Masonic contact
overseas without having first checked
(preferably in writing) with the Grand
Secretary’s Office at Freemasons’ Hall,
Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ,
that there is recognised Freemasonry in
the country concerned and, if so, whether
there is any particular point which should
The Board recommends that the terms
of this warning should be repeated:
(a) verbally in open Lodge whenever
a Grand Lodge Certificate is presented,
(b) in print once a year in a Lodge’s
Brethren should also be aware of the
Masonic convention that communications
between Grand Lodges be conducted by
Grand Secretaries. They should therefore
not attempt without permission to make
direct contact with the Grand Secretary
of another Constitution.
The Deputy President of the Board said
it had come to the Board’s attention that in
certain Grand Lodges which the UGLE
recognised, it was becoming increasingly
the practice to perform ritual when non-
Masons, usually the wives or partners of
members, were present.
This normally occurred during the
Installation of a Master (not the Inner
Working) and the Appointment and
Investiture of Officers, without signs, but
replete with prayers, hymns and anthems.
The Grand Lodge affirmed as recently
as December 2002 that the basic Craft
ceremonies (the Three Degrees, Installation
and Consecration) are private and
attendance at them must be restricted
to Brethren only.
If Brethren who travel or reside overseas
visit a Lodge under another jurisdiction
which permits non-Masons to be present
at its ceremonies, then they should not attend.
If in doubt they should seek guidance
from their District Grand Secretary or from
the Grand Secretary’s office.
Charity: conflict of interest
The Charity Commission, which regulates
and oversees charities generally, has drawn
attention to guidelines which it has recently
issued generally on conflict of interest which
might face charity trustees.
The President of the Board, in
conjunction with the President of the Grand
Charity, has set up a committee under the
chairmanship of Sir John Welch PSGW, who
is a member of the Board and also a member
of the Council of the Grand Charity ex officio
as a Past President, to enquire into, and
report on, possible conflict of interest
between the Metropolitan and Provincial
Grand Lodges and their respective charities,
and also possible conflicts between UGLE
and the Masonic charities.
The committee will be reporting via
the two Presidents to the Deputy Grand
Master. Guidelines will be issued to the
Craft in due course.
From 1 October 2004, new Regulations
under the Disability Discrimination Act
1995 will be brought into effect.
Freemasons’ Hall will be compliant with
those Regulations, although there will
obviously be some areas, such as the balcony
in the Grand Temple, which will not
be accessible to wheelchairs. There is,
however, wheelchair access to the Grand
Temple, and also to the Library and
Museum and to all Lodge rooms.
The Deputy President drew the attention
of those responsible for running Masonic
halls to obtain advice locally with regard
to compliance with the Act and the
Regulations, as the circumstances of each
Masonic hall are likely to be different.
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