ISSUE 19, October 2006
Historic: Rabbi and Mason
Travel: Morocco's exotic charm
Quarterly Communication: Address by the Pro Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Working with Youngsters: The Grand Master goes fishing
Community Relations: Saying it with flowers
International: Spanish Freemasonry under the microscope
   Events: Grand Lodge Award; Royal Masonic Variety Show
Specialist Lodges: Masonry on the canal
Freemasonry and Society: A Churchman's view of Masonry
Education: Toast of the town and Events
Young Masons: The Universities Scheme
Library & Museum: The Freemasons's Tontine
Masonic Charities: The Grand Charity and NMSF and RMTGB and RMBI
Book reviews

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When I received my latest copy of MQ, I flicked straight through to the letters. As a recently initiated member, I find it very helpful to see the issues that tend to interest longer-standing members.
    I am 22 and consequently the youngest member of my Lodge. I can appreciate the difficult position Masonry seems to be in. We need people to want to join, without saying too much of what people are getting into.
    In today’s climate it is easy to see why many can feel sceptical. “How can you trust someone who keeps a secret?”
    Its a unique dilemma. However, there is a solution that does not need a Mason to shout it from the rooftops, hoping someone might take a personal interest.
    The social events our Lodge members often attend, summer barbeques, ladies evenings etc, are wonderful opportunities to invite a non-Mason to find out a little about it.
    Even if they do not feel Masonry is for them, at least you will have shown them that it is far from cloak and dagger. In my case, I only began to understand and feel part of Masonry after my first ladies’ weekend.
    If I gain nothing else from Masonry, at least I can say I have met some amazing people and made some good friends along the way.

Chris Field
Horsebridge, Sussex

Fisher comments
Brother Yasha Beresiner’s article on Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher (MQ, Issue No. 18), interesting though it is, has a number of inaccuracies and at least one questionable judgement.
    In the field of inaccuracies, the Archbishop of Canterbury is not the head of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, but rather first among equals.
    The ‘Supreme Governor’ of the Church of England is, of course, the Sovereign. While Fisher is correctly called in the article ‘Most Reverend’, Rowan Williams is called merely ‘Reverend’.
    At that time, Wells Theological College was not at Salisbury, but, naturally, at Wells. Only in recent times were the two colleges combined together as ‘Salisbury and Wells Theological College’ at Salisbury. Nor is it likely that he was actually ordained at the college.
    The caption to the first photograph is also inaccurate; he was certainly not a ‘High Churchman’ coming rather from the Evangelical wing of the Church.
    Many would question the judgement that none of his successors ‘made as much impact on the Church and society in general as Geoffrey Fisher did’. Fisher was excellent at administration, but lacked vision. For example, Michael Ramsey made far more impact on the Church as the great theologian that he was.
    Fisher was felt to be a disappointment compared to his immediate predecessor, the towering William Temple, who indeed made a great impact on Church and society.
    Lest I appear unduly negative, my one personal encounter with Fisher was wholly positive. When I was an undergraduate, he came to preach at Evensong in the University Church in Oxford.
    It was the custom for the preacher to attend an informal gathering after the service, and to answer questions. Needless to say, the meeting was packed. Fisher was there wholly for us; one would have thought he had no other cares in the world. I was duly impressed.
    I fear enthusiasm for the fact that Fisher was a Mason has overcome the cool assessment one would have hoped for in this article.

The Revd Philip J. Swindells
Provincial Grand Chaplain, Province of Bedfordshire

Fisher memories
Thank you for the article on Geoffrey Fisher (MQ, Issue No. 18), which I found most interesting. Both my father and I were Old Reptonians, his dates 1918-1921 and mine 1949-1952.
    That puts Geoffrey Fisher as his headmaster and Geoffrey’s son Frank was my housemaster under the then head, Lynham Thomas. We are both Past Masters of the Lodge, my father in 1959 and me in 1980 and 1989.

R A Horniman

Freemasonry and Anglicans
I refer to the article by Yasha Beresiner on Archbishop Fisher (MQ, Issue No. 18) and the postscript regarding the present Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.
    Dr Williams is quoted in his letter to the Grand Secretary in 2003 as having written that:
    since his late father was a member of the craft for many years he had had every opportunity of observing the probity of individual members…
and commented that:
    their commitment to charitable causes and the welfare of the wider community is beyond question.
Seemingly this probity extends only to our secular morals and is not to be confused with those attached to our spirituality, which seems to be in doubt.
    Yet in one of his first policy decisions he stated that no Freemason could hold a senior post in the clergy of the Anglican Church.
    How is current Freemasonry, in relation to the Christian religion, different from Dr Fisher’s day or from 1891?
    In that year, a high-ranking Mason, Dr William Connor Magee, Bishop of Peterborough, was appointed Archbishop of York. He was to partner at York Minster another Freemason, Dr Arthur Purey Cust, then Dean of York.
    In their day, each of them became highly esteemed both in Masonry and their church. They apparently found no contradiction in being members of both institutions and using the virtues of both for the common good.
    Apart from antagonising thousands of practising Anglican Masons, of which I am one, and causing distress to clergy within our ranks, it seems such a pity for the leader of our Anglican community, from which we draw our spiritual sustenance, to open up a new schism within the church.

John Philpin

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