Quarterly Communication 10 December 2003
Report of the Board of General Purposes
Motion to Amend the Book of Constitutions
The President of the Board of General Purposes, RW Bro. Lord Cadogan Moved:
That the following words be added as a second paragraph to the Preliminary Declaration to the Book of Constitutions:
"At the Quarterly Communication of 10 December 2003 the United Grand Lodge of England acknowledged and pronounced the status of the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch to be 'an extension to, but neither a superior nor a subordinate part of, the Degrees which precede it'."
The President made the following statement regarding the Motion: The change proposed in the Motion standing in my name is significant, and file reporting in MQ of my giving notice of it in September has sparked a number of letters to the Grand Secretary, which he has answered in detail.
There are two aspects of the Motion arising from these letters which I would like to deal with before actually proposing it. First, the decision on this addition to the Preliminary Declaration is essentially and entirely one for the Craft.
Some Brethren have suggested that Supreme Grand Chapter, or private Chapters. Should be consulted on the matter before Grand Lodge Votes, but this is neither necessary nor appropriate.
The Preliminary Declaration has stood at the head of the Book of Constitutions since 1853, but has never formed part of the General Regulations for the government of the Royal Arch, and has never been endorsed as such by the Royal Arch, even though it refers to it.
Constitutionally; therefore, only the Craft should deal with any kind of amendment to it. Second, it should be noted that the change will permit certain proposals for change to be laid in due course before the Royal Arch.
These changes, in turn, are entirely a matter for the Royal Arch to consider, and it is anticipated that they will be advanced for debate and decision in November 2004.
If Supreme Grand Chapter should reject the proposals, no further change will be required to the Preliminary Declaration as a result. The addition now proposed will always be a convenient clarification of the relationship between the two Orders, but will have no other effect at all.
Turning now to the proposition itself: The Order of the Holy Royal Arch is not, and never has been, the completion of the Third Degree, which was a form of wording implied 190 years ago to facililate the union of the two Grand Lodges which otherwise had an irreconcilable difference in their approach to it.
The change strengthens the status of both the Degree of a Master Mason, which cannot logically be regarded as incomplete in itself, and of the Order of the Holy Royal Arch, by making it clear that they are separate and distinct: still interdependent in that the Royal Arch is the final step in pure Antient Freemasonry, necessarily following the Third Degree, but entirely complementary, rather than in some way subordinate to it.
The Amendment was approved.
Order of Service to Masonry
The Deputy Grand Master invested W Bro. Frederick Henry Smyth PAGDC with The Grand Master's Order of Service to Masonry. The citation read:
"Bro. Frederick Smyth was made a Mason at the age of 23, 60 years ago, in May 1943, in Lodge Devon No. 1999 in the District of the Punjab, as it then was.
His Masonic career was somewhat hampered by postings on military duty, but in 1966 he became Master of Lodge Hazara No. 4159, which had transferred to London many years before from its former meeting-place in the Punjab.
He is, or has been, a member of various other Lodges under this and other Constitutions, including Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, the Premier Lodge of Masonic Research, in which he served as Master in 1979.
He was exalted into the Royal Arch in Chapter Jullundur No. 1999 in November 1943; following the surrender of its Charter (in 1961) he joined Connaught Army and Navy Chapter No. 4323 in 1964, becoming its First Principal in 1973.
As a Territorial, Bro. Smyth was called up in 1939 and served in the Indian Army from 1942 to 1946. After a tour of duty in Germany from 1950 to 1953 he returned to the Civil Service in the War Office and Ministry of Defence until his retirement in 1979. He has been regularly delivering talks and papers on Masonic subjects for some 42 years and was the Prestonian Lecturer in 1990 when his lecture was entitled The Master Mason at Arms - Short Study of Freemasonry in the Forces.
He was appointed a Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in 1992, the year after he had become a Past Grand Standard Bearer in the Royal Arch. He is also a distinguished member of many other Masonic Orders.
Bro. Smyth is a skilled indexer and was a member of the Society of Indexers, of which Brothers Reginald Hewitt and Norman Knight were founders. He was responsible for indexing the proceedings of Quatuor Coronati Lodge from 1970 to 1992, and was their editor briefly from 1990 to 1992.
He is also a notable Masonic author, once known for his revisions of the late Brothers Pick and Knight's Pocket History of Freemasonry and Pocket Reference Book. These having gone out of print he compiled in 1998 his own Reference Book for Freemasons.
His writings have also included contributions to the Quatuor Coronati transactions and books relating to other Masonic Orders.
Now aged 84, Bro. Smyth can justly claim to be one of the foremost authorities on Freemasonry and its history and has the satisfaction of knowing that he has contributed so extensively to the passing on of Masonic knowledge."
40th Anniversary of the Initiation of The MW The Grand Master
The MW Pro Grand Master, Lord Northampton to the MW The Grand Master: The message reads:
"Every Freemason under the United Grand Lodge of England joins me in sending loyal greetings and congratulations to your Royal Highness on the forthcoming fortieth anniversary of your initiation on 16 December 1963."
(Pro Grand Master)
(The following reply has been received from York House):
"I was very touched by the kind message of greetings you sent me on behalf of all English Freemasons to mark the 40th anniversary of my initiation. I very much appreciate this kind thought."
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