John Jackson Editor
As readers will know from our last editorial, the Independent newspaper on 15 November carried a report of the new Archbishop of Canterbury's views on Freemasonry.
In that article, Dr Williams expressed doubts as to the compatibility of Freemasonry and Christianity, stating that he refused to promote Freemasons to "sensitive" posts within the Church in Wales and suggested that part of the ritual was rooted in Satanism.
His comments greatly upset Freemasons, so the Grand Secretary wrote to the Archbishop challenging his views and inviting him to meet senior Freemasons to discuss his concerns.
Unfortunately, an unsatisfactory reply was received on 18 December from Sheila Rainger, his Deputy Secretary for Public Affairs. The Grand Secretary then wrote another letter to Dr Williams on 14 January, which prompted a reply from the Archbishop himself on 23 January.
In this letter, Dr Rowan Williams revealed that his late father had been in the Craft for many years, and "I have had every opportunity of observing the probity of individual members."
He denies having blocked Freemasons in the Church from promotion. He writes: "In saying that I had resisted the
appointment of Freemasons to certain posts I was not suggesting that people had been blackballed, but asserting that I was satisfied that membership of the Craft was neither a disqualifier nor an advantage."
The Archbishop says he welcomes the increasing openness of Freemasonry in recent years and "Their commitment to charitable causes and the welfare of the wider community is beyond question."
Readers may like to look at the entire correspondence which is available on the Grand Lodge web site at www.grandlodge-england.org.
Meanwhile, we must never forget the phrase "Masonry Universal". This was given major impetus when the Pro First Grand Principal, Lord Northampton, and other senior Masons went to Rio to inaugurate the Supreme Grand Chapter of Brazil.
It is heartening that, while there are problems in some areas of England and Wales in recruiting to the Royal Arch, there is such enthusiasm for this wonderful degree in South America. Full details of this historic event can be found on page 42.
Grand Lodge Tie
As readers are aware, a competition was set up to design a Grand Lodge tie, with a prize donated by the Pro Grand Master. Congratulations go to the winning designer, Brian McFeely of Magnum Opus Lodge No. 5641 in London.
The ties are now available at the Grand Lodge shop at Freemasons' Hall in London price £17.50 (woven silk), £13.50 (printed silk) and £8.50 (micro fibre). Bow ties will also be available shortly.
It hardly seems like it was a year ago that MQ was launched. The publication is now firmly established both with its Masonic and non-Masonic readers.
Despite the magazine's short life, the design team at MDA Communications were placed third from more than 100 magazines entered in the prestigious Advice to Publishers and Editors annual awards.
In their verdict on the magazine, the judges commented: "For an in-house specialist publication, MQ is a quality product from front to back. It has a bookstand quality to its treatment of pictures, typography and use of space and colour.
"It also works very well on a rather distinctive format. The end result is a clean, readable magazine with aspiring qualities."
Well done, James Dewar and his design team - Lisa Crowe, James Greenfield, Laura Gibbons and Piers Milburn.
With the last issue, a number of readers received a survey form. I would like to thank the hundreds who sent back their completed forms, enabling us for the first time to gain some idea of "who are the Masons?"
The results were analysed by an independent specialist company, with some interesting information. One in five own more than one property, four out of ten have two cars, more than two-thirds have Internet access and shop on the web.
Oh yes - excluding retired or semi-retired members - four out of ten have household income in excess of £50,000.
Recognise yourself in that scenario?
Web site created by Mark Griffin