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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Grand Charity contribution
Under Rule 271, Book of Constitutions, Grand Lodge must fix each year the annual contribution payable to the Grand Charity. The Council of the Grand Charity has requested that for 2007 the annual contribution be raised to £11.50 in respect of each member of a Lodge in a Metropolitan Area or a Province, or in England and Wales that is unattached.
    The Council of the Grand Charity has advised the Board that the increase in the annual contribution to the Grand Charity is sought to meet the increasing costs of Masonic Relief Grants. Applications for financial support have risen following efforts by the Grand Charity to raise the Craft’s awareness about the help it offers through Road Shows to all Provinces and the distribution of its Annual Review with MQ.
    The Council has advised that demand for these grants is also increasing because the RMBI no longer makes grants to elderly Masons living in their own homes to help them meet their daily living expenses.
    The Grand Charity assumed responsibility for all such grants in 2002 and the impact of this change has been a steady build-up in the number of applications it receives for assistance.
    A Resolution to put this into effect was approved.

Masonic discipline
A Committee under the chairmanship of RW Bro His Honour Sir Lawrence Verney has been considering the way in which the Masonic disciplinary system currently operates, with a view to simplifying procedures where possible. The Committee has delivered a preliminary report to the Board, in which it suggests a number of changes as follows:
    (a) that the period of 90 days in which a Lodge or Brother may enter a plea for clemency following confirmation by an Appeals Court of a recommendation for erasure or expulsion be reduced to 30 days for those situated within a Metropolitan Area or a Province;
    (b) that the rules laid down by the Board in the booklet Masonic Conduct – a Guide to Investigations for the conduct of its own disciplinary committees be made mandatory for all Masonic disciplinary authorities;
    (c) that a Brother who resigns from the Craft under Rule 183a in order to avoid Masonic disciplinary proceedings should not be allowed to seek readmission subsequently, and that it should be made clear that such a Brother is not entitled to a clearance certificate under Rule 175; and
    (d) that the reporting requirements imposed by Rule 179A should be extended to cover convictions resulting in any Community Order or entry on a sex offenders’ register as well as those for any offence involving dishonesty or violence.
    The Board recommended that the suggested changes be adopted and looks forward to receiving a further report from the committee in due course. Notice of motion to amend the Book of Constitutions was tabled as follows: For the next Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge, the President of the Board of General Purposes to move:
    (i) That Rule 75 be amended by inserting a new third sentence as follows:
    “In every case he or such Committee shall conduct a hearing which shall be in accordance with the rules for the conduct of disciplinary cases from time to time prescribed by the Board of General Purposes.”
    (ii) That the final sentence of Rule 175 be amended to read:
    “In particular, a Brother who has been expelled from the Craft, who has resigned from the Craft under Rule 277a or to whom Rule 183a (f ) applies shall not be granted a Certificate.”
    (iii) That Rule 179a be amended to read:
    “179A. (a) It is the duty of any Brother who is sentenced by any civil power (whether it be in the United Kingdom or elsewhere) to a custodial sentence (immediate or suspended), or in respect of whom a Community Order is made by a Court in the United Kingdom, or who is placed on a sex offenders’ register in accordance with the Sex Offenders Act 1997, or who is convicted of an offence involving dishonesty or violence to report the fact within 28 days to the Master of his Lodge, or (if he be unattached) to the Grand Secretary.



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