Grand Secretary and Grand
At the September Quarterly
Communication, the MW Pro Grand
Master announced that a Strategic Working
Party, chaired by the Deputy Grand Master,
had recommended that the role of the
Grand Secretary should be redefined,
with responsibility for the management
of Freemasons' Hall passing to a Chief
Operating Officer, and responsibility for
the conduct of the Grand Lodge's external
relations passing to a newly-created Grand
Officer, to be styled the Grand Chancellor.
The latter would not be a paid employee of
the Grand Lodge, and would be a member
of the Board of General Purposes.
When the Board of General Purposes was
reconstituted in 1999, the Grand Secretary
was, for the first time, made a member of the
Board, of which he had been hitherto the
principal clerk. The Board has concluded
that the previous arrangement, involving
as it did no potential conflict of interest,
was more appropriate, and it therefore
recommends that the Grand Secretary
cease to be a member of the Board.
Notice of Motion to amend the Book
of Constitutions accordingly appeared on
the Paper of Business.
Wearing of chains in private Lodges
It has come to the notice of the Board that
there exists a measure of misunderstanding
of the Rules in the Book of Constitutions
relating to the occasions on which chains
may be worn.
Rules 255 and 256 require a Metropolitan,
Provincial or District Grand Master, his
Deputy and Assistants (if any) to wear chains
in the Grand Lodge; at great ceremonials and
consecrations, and on other special occasions
authorised by the Grand Master; in any
Metropolitan, Provincial or District Grand
Lodge; and when officially present at any
Lodge of his Metropolitan Area, Province
A Metropolitan Group Chairman must
wear a chain on similar occasions, except
that the only Private Lodges at which he
can be officially present are those of his own
particular Group. Rules 257 and 260 provide
that any such Brother, unless required by
Rule 255 or 256 to wear a chain, must wear
The Board is of the opinion that on
major ceremonial occasions, including
meetings of Grand Lodge and Metropolitan,
Provincial and District Grand Lodges, a
chain indicates the status of its wearer within
the Craft as a whole, whereas the wearing of
a chain on an ordinary occasion in a Private
Lodge is an assertion of the authority over
that Lodge of the Brother who wears it.
It therefore follows that only a Brother
who is entitled to preside in a Lodge in
accordance with Rule 122 of the Book of
Constitutions may properly wear a chain.
The Board is, however, aware that it
is not uncommon for a Provincial Grand
Master, if aware that another Provincial
Grand Master (or a Deputy or Assistant
Provincial Grand Master) is due to visit a
Lodge of his Province, to issue an invitation
to the visitor to wear his chain, perhaps in
the belief that this is a pleasant courtesy
The Board, for the reason already given,
is in no doubt that the practice, however
well intentioned, is based on a fundamental
misunderstanding of the significance to be
attached to the wearing of a chain.
Moreover, in view of the mandatory
wording of Rules 257 and 260, no Brother,
however senior, has the power to override
those Rules and grant what is sometimes
mistakenly referred to as a "dispensation"
to another to wear a chain when the Rules
clearly require him to wear a collar.
It also happens from time to time that
a Lodge meets by dispensation at a venue
that falls within a different Province from
that to which the Lodge belongs.
By granting the dispensation,
the Provincial Grand Master having
jurisdiction over the particular location,
has ceded his rights over it, and it has
thereupon become temporarily a part
of the Province to which the Lodge belongs.
He is therefore not entitled to wear his
chain if he attends that Lodge, which
although meeting in his Province is not
a Lodge of his Province within the scope
of Rules 255 and 256.
The Board, having clarified the effect
of the relevant Rules in the Book of
Constitutions, accordingly trusts that,
in future, Brethren will observe the
requirements of the Rules.
The President of the Board added:
Since the Paper of Business was published it
has been represented to me that there may be
uncertainty on the part of some Brethren of the
position when a Provincial or District Grand
Master attends officially at a private Lodge in
his Province or District wearing his Chain and
accompanied by his Deputy and/or one or
more of his Assistant Provincial or District
For clarity, I wish to state that in such
circumstances it is proper for the accompanying
Deputy or Assistants likewise to wear their
Chains. The same applies if it is the Deputy
or another Assistant who is the senior
The Pro Grand Master wishes these rules to be
observed. However, it is his intention to recommend
to the Grand Master that a Provincial or District
Grand Master may extend the courtesy of wearing
his Chain to any other Provincial or District Grand
Master who may be visiting a Lodge of his Province,
but not to any visiting Deputy or Assistant
Provincial or Deputy or Assistant District
The Board will consider whether it is necessary
to bring forward a new Rule to give effect to this.
The same rules apply in a similar fashion to any
Masonic Year Book
The next edition of the Masonic Year Book,
2007-2008 will be available next summer.
The charge remains at £10 per copy, plus
postage and packing where appropriate, and
books may be ordered on forms distributed
with the Paper of Business. It is not
proposed to produce a new edition of the
Directory of Lodges and Chapters during 2007.
Copies of the current edition are available
and may be ordered in the same way.
Every Lodge will receive one copy
of the Masonic Year Book free of charge.
The Board emphasises that this copy
should be available to all the members
of private Lodges and not regarded as
for the exclusive use of the secretary to
whom, for administrative reasons, they
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