ENCOURAGING YOUNGER MASONS|
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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