ISSUE 18, July 2006
Editorial
Archbishop Fisher: A Godly man and a Brother
Travel: The train takes the strain
Quarterly Communication: Annual Investiture speech by the Grand Master and Speech of the Pro Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Supreme Grand Chapter: Speech by the First Grand Principal and Report of the Committee of General Purposes Grand Lodge of New York: Speech by the Pro Grand Master
   Specialist Lodges: Keeping their eyes on the ball
Education: Planning ahead for the Chair and Events and New premises for Masonic research
Royal Opera House: A right Royal occasion
Royal opening: Beamish Museum
Digital records: Saving our past for the future
Library & Museum: The hall in the garden
Queen's Birthday: Masons played a prominent part
International: A Mason and the Foreign Legion
Masonic Charities: Grand Charity and NMSF and RMBI and RMTGB
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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    In January 1926 Bro Fisher became a joining member of Tyrian Lodge No. 253 in Derby. The Lodge takes pride in having had no fewer than three Grand Chaplains of the United Grand Lodge of England as members, the other two being the Rev L D H Cockburn and the Rev Neville Barker Cryer who, after 50 years of membership, is this year ruling as the Master of the Lodge.
    Notwithstanding the proximity of the Derby Lodge, Bro Fisher continued to attend his mother Lodge in London and presided as Master during the course of 1928, whilst still headmaster of Repton, having been installed on 10 January of that year. It was almost a natural progression that, on 13 March 1928, he was exalted into Chapter of Justice No. 253, which is attached to the Tyrian Lodge.
    It would appear that Companion Fisher did not embrace the Royal Arch with the same enthusiasm as he had for the Craft. The Chapter records show that he did not attend any meeting after his exaltation, notwithstanding the fact that his colleague the Bishop of Derby was also a member of the Chapter.
    Meanwhile, his clerical career was developing comfortably when circumstances took over his mundane intentions. Wishing to take a post as a country parson in family tradition, he stepped down as headmaster of Repton in 1932, when, to his surprise and undoubted delight, on 6 May 1932 he received a letter from the Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald, inviting him to accept the appointment, in September, as the Bishop of Chester.
    This was Geoffrey Fisher’s launch to high rank and fame. He resigned from both the Tyrian Lodge and the Chapter of Justice in June and September 1932 respectively as he moved into his new residence, the Bishop’s House, in the ancient and prestigious Bishopric of Chester. The flood of letters and official communications which followed, congratulating him on his joining the bench of Bishops, was a testament to his popularity and the support he enjoyed.
    He was about to embark on a new career and once more he was prepared to take on the new challenges with enthusiasm and determination. During the next seven years he established himself as an individualist. Innovative in his routine duties, he was also a considerate and concerned ecclesiastical leader, he excelled as a money-conscious administrator of Church affairs, most especially in the field of clerical legislation. These qualities and experience served him well for the future.
    Having settled down, on 22 January 1935, the busy year of the Silver Jubilee of King George V, he joined the relatively new, five-year-old St Anselm Lodge No. 5166 meeting at Freemasons’ Hall in Chester. It only took him a year to be elected Master of the Lodge and to gain the Province’s recognition by being appointed Provincial Grand Chaplain.
    A year later, in 1937, he was given the high rank of Grand Chaplain of the United Grand Lodge of England. It was an honour as deserved by him as it was gratifying to Freemasonry in general and the many Brethren he had endeared himself to in his Masonic career to date.
    He fulfilled his duties in Chester to the utmost satisfaction of his peers and in April 1939, as war was about to break, he was offered the see of London by the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain. Fisher’s response, in his own words, was to kneel and weep like a child, in spiritual anguish, fear and apprehension at what was awaiting him.
    He was in the prime of his manhood, had a fresh mind and was intellectually gifted. London, in spite of the very difficult period, was to benefit greatly by his six-year spell.
    Throughout the dangerous war period he chose to remain in Fulham Palace, his official London residence and serve at St. Paul’s Cathedral in the very heart of the City. His many responsibilities were onerous and went beyond the call of duty. He proved himself to be courageous and a caring and dedicated, co-operative minister of the Church. Whilst in London, he made important friends and contacts, not least with the Royal family.

Below left
Geoffrey Fisher in the church at Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop’s official residence in London

Below right
President Eisenhower, seated, listens as Geoffrey Fisher addresses the World Council of Churches in September 1954

  


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