ISSUE 23, October 2007

Quarterly Communication: Speech of the Pro Grand Master : Quarterly Communication
Grand Secretary: Exciting times ahead
Historic: Telford - Mason extraordinary
Travel: Cruising round Sicily
Samaritan: Helping the distressed
Younger Masons: The common bond
Jersey: Local Masons guard the Duke
   Classic car run: Down memory lane
International: Joseph Brant - a Masonic legend
Universities Scheme: The way ahead
Grand Chancellor: The importance of external relations
Education: Events : Understanding the symbols of the craft
Specialist Lodges: Australia link
Royal Arch: Why join the Royal Arch?
Lbrary & Museum: Major award for Library & Museum
MQ Signs off
Masonic Charities: Grand Charity : NMSF : RMBI : RMTGB
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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    Masonic honours are to revert to the previous system based on the number of Lodges in a Province or District, the Board of General Purposes said in a report to the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge.
     A committee under the chairmanship of the Deputy Grand Master, RW Bro Peter Lowndes, is reviewing the operation of the quotas of appointments to, and promotions in, Provincial and District Grand Ranks, which came into effect on 1 January 2005.
     Although the report of the committee has yet to be finalised, it will in due course recommend a return to the principle of basing such appointments on the number of Lodges, rather than the number of Masons, in a Province or District and the removal of any formal restriction on the number of promotions that may be made.
     Appointments to Metropolitan and Overseas Grand Ranks will be based on the same principle.
     In order that the new quotas may come into force at the beginning of 2008, a notice of motion was tabled to amend the Book of Constitutions accordingly, although the committee’s report has not yet been submitted to Lord Northampton, the Pro Grand Master.

Visitors to UGLE Lodges
The Board has again pointed out that 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 docu-mentary proof of Masonic identity provided by their Grand Lodge), acknowledge that a personal belief in TGAOTU is an essential landmark in Freemasonry, and produce evidence of good standing in their Lodges.
     It is the Master’s responsibility to ensure that these requirements are met.
     There are Lodges of unrecognised constitutions meeting in England, and care must be taken that their members are not admitted to UGLE meetings.

Visiting overseas
The continuing growth in overseas travel brings with it an increase in visits by UGLE brethren to Lodges of other jurisdictions, and the Board welcomes this trend. But, they must not 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. Brethren should not attempt to make any Masonic contact overseas without having first checked (preferably in writing) with the Grand Secretary’s Office.

Charities Act
The Charities Act 2006 has significantly amended the law relating to charities and the Board is taking advice on the requirements of the Act in so far as they may affect Brethren and Lodges and will issue further guidance in due course.
     A number of points were made by the Board about the previous Charities Act in its Report to Grand Lodge in June 1994. Money from charities may only be used for charitable purposes as defined by law.
     “Christmas boxes” for widows of deceased brethren – unless that particular widow is truly in need – and flowers at funerals, are in the best Masonic tradition. However, they are not, in law, regarded as charitable purposes and must not be provided from any fund which is in law a charity.
     Payments for such objects may be made from the Lodge general funds or from a fund which is not dedicated to charitable purposes. Brethren who run charities are personally responsible for ensuring that they comply with all the statutory requirements.

Automatic visiting right
The Board has been asked to express whether any Brother who is in good standing in the Craft has an inalienable right to visit any Lodge that he may choose.
     Under some Constitutions, the “right of visitation” is regarded as a landmark, but it enjoys no such status under the English Constitution. In particular, it does not figure in either the document Aims and Relationships of the Craft, adopted by the UGLE in September 1949, in common with the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland, or in Basic Principles for Grand Lodge Recognition.
     The Board deprecates any deliberate solicitation of an invitation to attend a Lodge by someone who can claim no more than acquaintance with the Brother whom he wishes to adopt as his host, but whom the making of the approach may place in an embarrassing position. This applies equally to the meal which follows, or occasionally precedes, a Lodge meeting.

Lodge warrants
Eleven Lodges have surrendered their Warrants in order to amalgamate with other Lodges. In addition, nine Lodges have closed and surrendered their Warrants, while four new Lodges have been granted Warrants.

Expulsions from the Craft
Twelve brethren have been expelled from the Craft.

Grand Lodge talk
A talk on the external relations of Grand Lodge was given by the Grand Chancellor, RW Bro A.J. Englefield, PProvGM for Oxfordshire.

Future meetings
Quarterly Communication: 2007: 12 December; 2008: 12 March, 11 June, 10 September, 10 December. Grand Chapter: 2007: 14 November; 2008: 1 May, 12 November.

Library and Museum of Freemasonry: annual report
As at 31 January 2007, the consolidated net assets of the Library and Museum Charitable Trust were £2,536,839 (2006: £2,152,458), with free reserves of £2,307,013 (2006: £1,938,133). The Library and Museum’s trading subsidiary, Letchworths, made a Gift Aid contribution to the Library and Museum of £60,000 (2006: £63,500).
     There was a grant of £13,000 from the Pilgrim Trust/Esmee Fairbairn Foundation Cataloguing Grants programme to catalogue documents relating to Lodges in the West Indies and the former American colonies from the 18th and 19th centuries.
     There is now an on-site archives store, which has enabled the consolidation of document storage in more secure and appropriate conditions.
     One particular acquisition was of a silver gilt and ivory trowel used by the Grand Master, the Earl of Zetland, to lay the foundation stone of the Victorian Freemasons’ Hall in 1864. Funds for the purchase were donated by the London Grand Rank Association to mark their forthcoming centenary.
     Increasing use is being made of the Library and Museum as a research resource, with 193 new readers registered during the year. There was a 50% increase in the issue of books and documents.
     In March 2007, the Library and Museum was awarded a grant of £22,325 by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council to develop the Subject Specialist Network on Fraternal and Friendly Societies and Associations.

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