ISSUE 16, January 2006
Editorial
Historic: Sherlock Holmes incarnate
Travel: In the Footsteps of the Incas
Sport: Batting for England
Grand Lodge: Pro Grand Master's speech and Quarterly Communication
Supreme Grand Chapter: First Grand Principal's speech and Committee of General Purposes
Royal Masonic Girls' School: Stories in windows
Specialist Lodges: Brotherhood of the Angle
    Napoleonic Wars: A Mason's Word
International: Macedonia: New Grand Lodge consecrated and Enthusiasm unbound
Grand Lodge: Development of Freemasons' Hall
Masonic Rebels: Rise and fall
Bristol Museum: A Phoenix from the Ashes
Freemasonry and Religion: United in diversity
Library and Museum: Most glorious of them all
First Aid: Masons learn to shock
Education: The Third Degree and Forthcoming events
Masonic Charities, Letters, Book Reviews, Gardening

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Applying Masonic lessons
    Thank you for publishing the article ‘Wither Directing Our Course’ by the Pro Grand Master, Lord Northampton. For me, and I am sure for many other brethren who came to Freemasonry for instruction on the path of self-development and enlightenment, the article was both inspiring and encouraging.
    The article made me realise that the best way to promote our Craft is to live the lessons of the Craft. If every Freemason were to focus on applying the lessons from our ritual to his own character, then all would see the value of our order by example. Martin Faulks, Bungay, Suffolk


    Masonic Caravan Rally
    The Masonic Caravan Club of England and Wales will hold its First Annual Rally from 24–27 August 2007, organised in conjunction with the West Lancashire Masonic Caravan Club. There will be pitches for between 700 and 1,000 vans at Hamilton House in beautiful St. Michael’s on Wyre in North Lancashire.
    This is very much a family event, with children of all ages welcome. It will offer top class entertainment, bar facilities and a carnival atmosphere, stands for corporate guests and associated Masonic Bodies such as the Vintage Car Club and Clay Pigeon Shoot. An extended stay between 23–28 August is also available.
    Bookings will be available from early 2006 and interested members are advised to make their booking early, as this is expected to be a very popular event. All monies raised will benefit Masonic charities.
    For more information, visit www.masoniccaravanclubrally.comwww.masoniccaravanclubrally.com or contact Rally organiser Bill Holden on 01942 818770 or email: bill.holden@btconnect.com
    Bryan Allen, Liverpool


Getting involved
    Regarding the Pro Grand Master’s speech (MQ, Issue No 15), every Lodge or Chapter secretary should calculate the average age of the members and take careful note of age distribution. If there are no new members, and none leave, the average age will, of course, rise by one year the following year and so on.
    Planning should bear in mind the need to reduce the average age, if possible, by the introduction of new and younger members, rather than by the death or resignation of older members.
    If a Lodge of 30 members has an average age of 60 and no members leave or die, the average will be 61 the following year and will only be reduced back to 60 if an Initiate or Joiner is presented aged 30.
    What is the likelihood? If the average age of the Lodge or Chapter remains roughly the same through deaths or resignations, then it will simply cease to exist in the fullness of time!
    I wonder if Grand Lodge has a cache of sample Lodges which are regularly monitored for demographic trends; if not, then, might I humbly suggest they embark on this?
    Retention of membership is as important as the need to recruit young and enthusiastic men. Are people kept on board through the circulation of minutes (in our case, we also circulate the committee minutes) and are all members on email signed into an email group?
    Does the Lodge stick to a rigid pattern of degree ceremonies? If so, then Initiates will be restricted to one or two a year – not high enough to sustain membership levels with age distributions.
    I am not suggesting ‘packing them in’, but we do not learn if men will be suitable by hanging them out to dry; they will simply not wait around for a year or two for the next invitation.
    Recruit suitable candidates and nurture them on the back benches or progress them through work-sharing Lodges if they are desperate to climb the officers’ ladder. Give new members a role either as stewards, organisers of the raffle, providing a welcome at meetings, arranging the dining plan etc. There are many roles that they can fulfil which will help them feel involved.
    John Hawley, Ruislip, Middlesex

The Pro Grand Master’s article (MQ, Issue No. 15) was a wonderfully succinct statement, particularly in the last four paragraphs summing up Freemasonry.
    Having been an active Mason for 15 years, I still find it difficult to explain in layman’s language what Freemasonry is all about when asked – but no longer.
    Gary Secker, Norwich Norfolk

Bath Abbey symbols
    I was interested in the picture on page 44 of Issue No. 15 of the carvings on the tower of Bath Abbey featuring Jacob’s Ladder. I, too, am convinced of its Masonic significance.
    This is because, on a recent visit, I also observed that at the top of the tower is engraved the square and compasses, while on the neighbouring tower the engraving at the top is of the Royal Arch symbol.
    Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me to record this happy coincidence, but I am sure that there are many observant Masons who will have noticed and appreciated the significance of these carvings.
    John D Frew, Ipswich

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