ISSUE 13, April 2005

The Campbells are coming: At speed!
Travel: Warming to Iceland
Royal Masonic Family: The Six Masonic Sons of George III, Part II
Quarterly Communication: Address of the Pro Grand Master and: Report of the Board of General Purposes
The flying eye hospital
Beamish Museum: The million pound project
  Wigan Grand Lodge: The Liverpool rebels
Chelsea Lodge: That's entertainment
Re-enactment: The way we were and: The Russian connection
Community Service: Weathering the storm
Faith and Freemasonry: God and the Craft
Education: Researching Freemasonry on the Internet and: Masonic events
Freemasons Hall: Masons at War
Grand Charity: Report and grant list and: Support for Asian tsunami
Masonic Charities: Reports from the Masonic charities
Obituaries, Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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Michael Walker, Grand Secretary, Grand Lodge of Ireland
    Address of the Pro Grand Master, the Marquess of Northampton
I want to say something about one of our oldest and closest friends, RW Bro Michael Walker, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, who is due to retire shortly and is therefore making his last visit to our Grand Lodge in his official capacity – although I hope he will continue to visit us in future.
    Bro Michael is probably the most senior Grand Secretary in the world, having held that office for some 24 years since 1981. He is certainly one of the best known and most respected, and we in the United Grand Lodge of England will be sorry not to have the benefit of his wise counsel, kindness and wit in our official meetings with the Grand Lodge of Ireland.
    I have invited him to address a few words to our Grand Lodge. Before I do so, however, I would like to present him with a gift, on behalf of this Grand Lodge, as a token of our respect and appreciation for all he has done for Freemasonry during his long Masonic career.
    It is largely thanks to him that we have always enjoyed good relations with our sister Constitution. It is a spirit decanter, Brethren, and I know that he will be particularly pleased that it also comes with a bottle of his favourite spirit.

Address of RW Bro Michael Walker
I feel no stranger amongst you. I have been visiting your Grand Lodge, and to represent my own, for over 23 years.
    Because Freemasonry is a subjective entity it makes its own special contribution to each individual, and it is therefore very difficult to provide an exact definition for an outsider.
    Truth, one of our three main principles and precepts does not change. Truth, in a Masonic connotation, may be expanded into, or interpreted as, public and private morality, the knowledge and fear of God and, following on from that, respect for, and love of, our neighbour.
    This respect includes toleration of his personal viewpoint, his religious beliefs and his political opinions. If we pursue the aims of Freemasonry, our search should widen, yet focus our vision, while ever making us more deeply aware of, and closer to, the Great Architect of the Universe, heightening our spirituality and deepening our insight into that which we may never hope to fully understand.
    The purpose of Masonry is “self improvement” – not in the material sense, but in the intellectual, moral and philosophic sense of developing the whole persona and psyche so as, in the beautiful and emotive language of the ritual, “to fit ourselves to take our places, as living stones, in that great spiritual building, not made by hands, eternal in the Heavens.”
    In marketing terms we must view Freemasonry as a product. This is what we are “selling”, or otherwise providing, for uptake by members and potential members. To increase our sales, we must either improve the product or make the packaging more attractive.
    Freemasonry principles and precepts have stood the test of time and are as valid today as ever. We cannot change the product and remain in the same business; and we must be true to ourselves in this.
    If we want change to the extent of getting into a new line of business it must be accepted and recognised that this is exactly what we are doing, and will it perhaps not be long before somebody decides that the new product is not quite right and needs further adjustment to meet the current demands of society.
    This is not an option which is open to us. What we have and what we stand for will always be right, even if its acceptance rises or falls on the scales of time.
    What we can do is upgrade the packaging, and make it look more attractive to potential customers, while also actually making it more palatable to current consumers.
    I am entirely against the “go out into the highways and by-ways and compel them to come in” attitude as is currently being adopted and practised by some North American Grand Lodges.
    Our principles, sometimes referred to as “Ancient Landmarks”, must stand firm, upright and visible, like the pillars of stone and brick raised by Enoch in the Land of Siriad, and which were still standing in the time of Josephus, lest the Arts and Sciences – in our case the whole body of Freemasonry – should slip from the knowledge of men.

Grand Master’s appointments
W Bro Barrie Leonard Parsons PGStB as Grand Inspector, Malta Group of Lodges; VW Bro Paul James Ernest Rink PGSwdB to be Provincial Grand Master for and Grand Superintendent in and over East Lancashire, in succession to RW Bro Peter Walthall; VW Bro William Barrington Hall PGSwdB to be Provincial Grand Master for Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire in succession to RW Bro Nicolas Hart.

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