ISSUE 10, July 2004
Editorial
John Pine: A sociable craftsman
Jumping for Joy: Skydiving for charity
Quarterly Communication: Speeches of: the Grand Master, the Pro Grand Master and, Report of the Board of General Purposes
Supreme Grand Chapter: Address of the First Grand Principal and Report of the Committee of General Purposes
Royal Arch: Cheshire gives a lead
  Walking with the greats: Bath Masonic Hall
Motoring in style: Classic Vehicle Club
Masonic education: A daily advancement and Events for your diary
Travel: Portugal
Library & Museum of Freemasonry
Charities
International: A warm welcome in Malta
Masonic ritual: Spoilt for choice
Public relations: Sheffield; Dorset; Chelsea Flower Show; Freemasons' Hall
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening


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Editorial
John Jackson

Police Authorities
The Home Office recently published a review, undertaken on its behalf by barrister Kenneth Hamer, into the “selection and appointment process of independent members of Police Authorities”.
     Not surprisingly, these days, the subject of possible Masonic membership of candidates was raised. Mr Hamer invited Grand Lodge to comment. The Grand Secretary wrote, giving Grand Lodge’s policy on declarations of interest and the Craft’s objection to the singling out of Freemasons for forced declaration.
     In his report, Mr Hamer quoted the Grand Secretary’s letter at length and stated:
     “I do not consider it necessary, or indeed desirable, in all the circumstances to single out Freemasonry for declaration by applicants applying for appointment as independent members of police authorities. Dr Moore [Chief Executive, NHS Appointments Commission] told me that NHS Trusts do not ask for a declaration of interests such as Freemasonry.”
     How nice to see an independent reviewer giving the government sensible advice! It is to be hoped that they accept and apply it.

MQ web site
An MQ web site is being launched which will contain the editorial of this and the previous issue. Extracts from other back issues will be put on the site in due course.
     Because of the enormous postal costs involved, distribution of the magazine to members of our Lodges overseas had to be suspended. The web site will give them access to the magazine, and will also make it available to the general public who surf the web.
The new web address is:
www.mqmagazine.co.uk

Membership improves
It was heartening to hear the Pro Grand Master, the Marquess of Northampton, inform brethren at Grand Lodge that membership figures are better than they have been for many years.
     He revealed the encouraging statistic of an increase of 286 in the number of initiations to 8,391, which is 3.5% up on last year. Apart from a small increase of 18 in 2001 this is the first annual increase in initiations since 1988.
     Figures are also encouraging for resignations and exclusions – 487 lower than in 2002. Overall membership of the Craft has contracted by less than half a per cent to 319,725, while the number of individual Masons has risen by 0.7% to just over 274,000.
     What was revealing in his remarks was that Provinces with an active policy of reducing the number of their Lodges in line with a reduction in members are starting to report increases in initiates and reductions in the level of resignations and exclusions. There are genuine signs of growth in many Provinces, which it is hoped can be built. Lord Northampton said he wanted to see Lodge nights become a more enjoyable and meaningful experience. Freemasonry, he added, must adapt to fit the pressured lives of its newer members, bearing in mind that an initiate is likely to be in his late forties when he becomes a Master Mason.
     The Pro Grand Master particularly likes going to meetings where the work is shared among different members of the Lodge.
     One step in modernisation is that the Board of General Purposes has proposed measures to lessen the time taken to ballot for the Master and Treasurer, by allowing it to be by a show of hands if there is only one candidate and no-one objects.