ISSUE 20, January 2007
Editorial
Historic: Dr Thomas Barnardo - children's saviour
Travel: South African journey
London Gala Evening: Royal Masonic Variety Show
Centenary Celebrations: Scouting's milestone
Quarterly Communication: Speech by the Pro Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Supreme Grand Chapter: Speech by the Pro 1st Grand Principal and Report of the Cttee of General Purposes
Library and Museum: Facets of Fraternity
   Specialist Lodge: Internet Lodge - Masonry on the Web
Special Events: Spamalot and the Alternative Hair Show at Grand Lodge
Freemasons' Hall: ADelphi System - A computer revolution
Mark Master Masons: Duke of Kent at 150th anniversary
Breeches Bible: A Lodge locker's secret
Masonic Arboretum: Planting an idea
Education: Events and The hoodwink
Masonic Charities: RMTGB and Grand Charity and Legacy appeal and RMBI and NMSF
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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Grand Secretary and Grand Chancellor
At the September Quarterly Communication, the MW Pro Grand Master announced that a Strategic Working Party, chaired by the Deputy Grand Master, had recommended that the role of the Grand Secretary should be redefined, with responsibility for the management of Freemasons' Hall passing to a Chief Operating Officer, and responsibility for the conduct of the Grand Lodge's external relations passing to a newly-created Grand Officer, to be styled the Grand Chancellor.
    The latter would not be a paid employee of the Grand Lodge, and would be a member of the Board of General Purposes.
    When the Board of General Purposes was reconstituted in 1999, the Grand Secretary was, for the first time, made a member of the Board, of which he had been hitherto the principal clerk. The Board has concluded that the previous arrangement, involving as it did no potential conflict of interest, was more appropriate, and it therefore recommends that the Grand Secretary cease to be a member of the Board.
    Notice of Motion to amend the Book of Constitutions accordingly appeared on the Paper of Business.
Wearing of chains in private Lodges
It has come to the notice of the Board that there exists a measure of misunderstanding of the Rules in the Book of Constitutions relating to the occasions on which chains may be worn.
    Rules 255 and 256 require a Metropolitan, Provincial or District Grand Master, his Deputy and Assistants (if any) to wear chains in the Grand Lodge; at great ceremonials and consecrations, and on other special occasions authorised by the Grand Master; in any Metropolitan, Provincial or District Grand Lodge; and when officially present at any Lodge of his Metropolitan Area, Province or District.
    A Metropolitan Group Chairman must wear a chain on similar occasions, except that the only Private Lodges at which he can be officially present are those of his own particular Group. Rules 257 and 260 provide that any such Brother, unless required by Rule 255 or 256 to wear a chain, must wear a collar.
    The Board is of the opinion that on major ceremonial occasions, including meetings of Grand Lodge and Metropolitan, Provincial and District Grand Lodges, a chain indicates the status of its wearer within the Craft as a whole, whereas the wearing of a chain on an ordinary occasion in a Private Lodge is an assertion of the authority over that Lodge of the Brother who wears it.
    It therefore follows that only a Brother who is entitled to preside in a Lodge in accordance with Rule 122 of the Book of Constitutions may properly wear a chain.
    The Board is, however, aware that it is not uncommon for a Provincial Grand Master, if aware that another Provincial Grand Master (or a Deputy or Assistant Provincial Grand Master) is due to visit a Lodge of his Province, to issue an invitation to the visitor to wear his chain, perhaps in the belief that this is a pleasant courtesy between Provinces.
    The Board, for the reason already given, is in no doubt that the practice, however well intentioned, is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the significance to be attached to the wearing of a chain.
    Moreover, in view of the mandatory wording of Rules 257 and 260, no Brother, however senior, has the power to override those Rules and grant what is sometimes mistakenly referred to as a "dispensation" to another to wear a chain when the Rules clearly require him to wear a collar.
    It also happens from time to time that a Lodge meets by dispensation at a venue that falls within a different Province from that to which the Lodge belongs.
    By granting the dispensation, the Provincial Grand Master having jurisdiction over the particular location, has ceded his rights over it, and it has thereupon become temporarily a part of the Province to which the Lodge belongs.
    He is therefore not entitled to wear his chain if he attends that Lodge, which although meeting in his Province is not a Lodge of his Province within the scope of Rules 255 and 256.
    The Board, having clarified the effect of the relevant Rules in the Book of Constitutions, accordingly trusts that, in future, Brethren will observe the requirements of the Rules.
    The President of the Board added: Since the Paper of Business was published it has been represented to me that there may be uncertainty on the part of some Brethren of the position when a Provincial or District Grand Master attends officially at a private Lodge in his Province or District wearing his Chain and accompanied by his Deputy and/or one or more of his Assistant Provincial or District Grand Masters.
    For clarity, I wish to state that in such circumstances it is proper for the accompanying Deputy or Assistants likewise to wear their Chains. The same applies if it is the Deputy or another Assistant who is the senior officer attending.
    The Pro Grand Master wishes these rules to be observed. However, it is his intention to recommend to the Grand Master that a Provincial or District Grand Master may extend the courtesy of wearing his Chain to any other Provincial or District Grand Master who may be visiting a Lodge of his Province, but not to any visiting Deputy or Assistant Provincial or Deputy or Assistant District Grand Master.
    The Board will consider whether it is necessary to bring forward a new Rule to give effect to this. The same rules apply in a similar fashion to any Metropolitan Area.
Masonic Year Book
The next edition of the Masonic Year Book, 2007-2008 will be available next summer. The charge remains at 10 per copy, plus postage and packing where appropriate, and books may be ordered on forms distributed with the Paper of Business. It is not proposed to produce a new edition of the Directory of Lodges and Chapters during 2007.
    Copies of the current edition are available and may be ordered in the same way. Every Lodge will receive one copy of the Masonic Year Book free of charge.
    The Board emphasises that this copy should be available to all the members of private Lodges and not regarded as for the exclusive use of the secretary to whom, for administrative reasons, they are dispatched.

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