Quarterly Communication 12 March 2003|
London Metropolitan Grand Lodge is approved with large majority
The new proposals will enable London to manage its own affairs
The report of the Board of General Purposes, containing the proposed changes to the Book of Constitutions to establish a Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London, was moved by the President, Lord Cadogan.
There was a large attendance for the meeting, including an overflow in Lodge Room No. 1, where there was a video link to the Grand Temple.
Lord Cadogan said: "There has been considerable consultation, and substantive changes have been made to the original proposals as a result of feedback from London brethren.
"The proposals now tabled will enable London to move forward, with London Masons having a greater and better say in the way they practise their Masonry, and having more opportunities to serve the Craft.
"They have the support of the Grand Master and the Board, who believe that the formation of a Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London will not only be beneficial to London, but also to the Craft as a whole."
Seconding the motion, former Assistant Grand Master Lord Eglinton and Winton, whose committee produced the report leading to the proposed changes, said it was "an important and historic day".
Change had been mooted in London for years, and the new proposed changes were a natural step forward. Currently London Management had no constitutional basis in the Book of Constitutions.
He added: "The new proposals will enable London to manage its own affairs and not be controlled by the Board of General Purposes. It is a natural step of evolution for Freemasonry in London."
Nigel Brown, secretary of Household Brigade Lodge No. 2614, said the changes held no fear for the London Mason. "To survive we must look forward - we must attract and retain young Masons. We must adapt to the ever-changing society around us. It would provide autonomy and control of our destiny, and help to attract young Masons we so urgently need."
Nigel Scott-Moncrieff said that Provincial Masonry had a family feel, but London was like "a ship at sea. We need a flagship and we need a flagship now."
William Duff, of Sir James Martin Lodge No. 4255, argued that whereas he could not invite certain Masons to Grand Lodge, the new Metropolitan Grand Lodge "would be a place to bring young Masons."
Derek Silver, a VGO, was also in favour, arguing that London would no longer be reliant on the Grand Secretary's office.
Opposing the changes, Geoffrey Cops, of Raineian Lodge No. 5763, said London would become just another Province. "It will lose its close ties with the United Grand Lodge of England and the Grand Master going back 200 years. There will be a second tier of bureaucracy.
"There will be a loss of members. London will be supporting its own demise. We have been denied the right to a democratic vote, which should have been carried out with all the London Lodges."
Chris Mackie, secretary of Cloister Lodge No. 4944, said: "I have spoken to a number of VGOs and other brethren, who will leave London if these changes come about. They should have been able to vote by post. If London had voted in favour we would have gone along with it."
K J Hayes of Vectis Lodge No. 3075, said that at a meeting of the London Grand Rank Association last November attended by 150-200 members, the body of that meeting was opposed to change.
Summing up the debate, Christopher Aylwin, of Lodge of Friendship No. 6, said London was special and must remain so "but doing nothing is not an option." London Masons would, for the first time, have their own voice and be able to vote and organise themselves the way they want.
"They will be able to speak with one voice and it will enable London Masons to grow and flourish. Grand Lodge represents all the members of the Craft. There are differences, but they are more apparent than real."
A series of resolutions to amend the Book of Constitutions to formerly set up a Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London were then put to the vote and, by a show of hands, were carried by a substantial majority.
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