ISSUE 19, October 2006
Editorial
Historic: Rabbi and Mason
Travel: Morocco's exotic charm
Quarterly Communication: Address by the Pro Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Working with Youngsters: The Grand Master goes fishing
Community Relations: Saying it with flowers
International: Spanish Freemasonry under the microscope
   Events: Grand Lodge Award; Royal Masonic Variety Show
Specialist Lodges: Masonry on the canal
Freemasonry and Society: A Churchman's view of Masonry
Education: Toast of the town and Events
Young Masons: The Universities Scheme
Library & Museum: The Freemasons's Tontine
Masonic Charities: The Grand Charity and NMSF and RMTGB and RMBI
Letters
Book reviews
Gardening

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It was back in August 2002 that the idea of a Lodge for narrow boat owners and other enthusiasts was first formally put forward, resulting in one of the newest Lodges, but one representing an ancient tradition, in Grand Junction Lodge No. 9775, consecrated at Northampton in 2004.
    The name ‘Grand Junction’ was chosen as this was the name of the waterway from Brentford in West London to Braunston in Northamptonshire prior to the Grand Union canal being formed.
    We believed that the inland waterway network of England was a unique possible source of new blood into Freemasonry, presenting a broad base with which to attract new members. Because many members would be boat owners, it was felt that each meeting would be a weekend gathering rather than just an evening out.
    Being a canal-based Lodge, it was decided that one venue each year would be held at a venue somewhere along the canal system, and it would be a white table, with ladies and other non-Masons invited. So, instead of an hour’s journey by road, it can take up to a day and a half by canal!
    The temple can be described as ‘compact’ or ‘bijou’ as it is in the restaurant area of the Boat Inn at Stoke Bruerne, Northamptonshire, where the landlord is Andrew Woodward, the first Master. Andrew is co-owner of the Inn, and it has been in his family for more than 125 years. There is a picture of the temple on the Lodge web site.
    However, holding Masonic meetings on licensed premises threw up an interesting hurdle on the way to forming the Lodge. Rule 117, Book of Constitutions, states:
    No proprietor or manager of the tavern or house at which a Lodge meets shall hold any office in the Lodge without a dispensation from the Grand Master or in a Province or District from the Provincial or District Grand Master.
    However, we had no problem in obtaining the necessary dispensation for Andrew Woodward to become the first Master.
    There are brass boat hooks as insignia on all wands irrespective of office and the shafts are in liquorice stick design, reflecting the old working boat traditions of the canals, which I made, while Trevor Boswell made the pedestals.
    Graphic designer John Sermon – a good name for our Chaplain? – designed the Lodge crest which adorn founders jewels and the banner.
    Like all Lodges, we raise money for various charities, and among those that we have supported is the Northamptonshire St John’s Ambulance Mountbatten Crusader Fund, this being a canal boat for the disabled.
    Such has been the success of the Lodge that we have had to hold extra meetings and ask other Lodges to help us out with ceremonies, and our meetings have proved very popular with visitors.
    Ladies Festival venues, too, have taken on a special meaning, including trips to Lille and Bruges – yes, both have canals! This, plus the July white table meeting, ensures we are very much a ‘community’ Lodge, with an outward-looking perspective of Freemasonry in the 21st century.

Mike King is a founder member and Past Master of Grand Junction Lodge
Lodge website: www.grandjunctionlodge.com



Grand Junction Lodge founder member Alex Franks on his narrow boat at Three Locks on the Grand Union canal at Stoke Hammond in Buckinghamshire

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