Quarterly Communication 11 June 2003
Report of The Board of General Purposes
Lord Cadogan, President of the Board of General Purposes, addressed Grand Lodge on a Supplementary Report, dated 10 June 2003, and made available to brethren who attended Grand Lodge on 11 June.
This related to a body emanating from the US known as the 'York Rite College' which had set up a London subsidiary. Lord Cadogan said:
"The Board takes a very serious view of any body, stating itself to be Masonic and which seeks to advance or further Masonic activity amongst members of the English Craft, setting itself up without our consent in any area where this Grand Lodge has exclusive jurisdiction.
"No attempt was made to seek approval from this Grand Lodge or the governing bodies in England and Wales of the other Orders, membership of which is a pre-condition for the York Rite College.
"The Board considers that there is no place within Masonry in England and Wales for any body which stands outside the traditional organisations, and that the new body calling itself the York Rite College is irregular.
"It understands that the governing bodies of the other Orders of which membership is a pre-condition take a similar view.
"I ask that Grand Lodge today adopts this Supplementary Report of the Board. If accepted its provisions will become a binding edict of Grand Lodge.
"Any members of the Craft who are members of a York Rite College working in England and Wales, or any District or place over which we have exclusive jurisdiction - or share it only with Ireland and/or Scotland - will be required to disclaim and to sever such connection.
"If they fail to do so they will be liable to suspension or expulsion from the English Craft under the provisions of Rule 176 of our Book of Constitutions.
"This unfortunate event serves to remind all members of the Craft that they should take great care before joining any organisation which purports to be Masonic.
"If in doubt a written enquiry should be made of the Grand Secretary's office here at Freemasons' Hall."
The supplemental report of the Board was approved.
Election of Grand Lodge auditors
RW Bro John Bonomy, proposing the election of the Grand Lodge auditors, commented: "For nearly 150 years now, the firm of Ernst & Young and its predecessors have been auditors to the United Grand Lodge of England.
"I understand that our Deputy Grand Master, who was a senior partner of that firm until he retired, had no part in their original election, which goes back to 1858 [laughter].
"During that long period of service to us, they have proved to be very efficient and skilful, and so it was with some disappointment and sadness that they informed the Board of General Purposes that it would not be their wish to be re-elected for a further period.
"This decision they have made has in no way been affected by the way in which the audit was conducted - quite the contrary - because as chairman of the Audit Committee I was very privileged to conduct that meeting.
"They were most complimentary, not only about the way in which our staff here at Grand Lodge had co-operated with them, but the way in which the records had been maintained.
"It was therefore necessary for us as a Board of General Purposes, through the Audit Committee, to interview a number of leading firms in order to make a recommendation to you.
"We were unanimous in our view that we should recommend to you the firm of Horwath Clark Whitehill. They are well established and well known, and we are quite satisfied that they have all the necessary skills and expertise to carry out their duties as Auditors."
The proposal that Horwath Clark Whitehill be elected auditors for the ensuing year was agreed.
Address of the Pro Grand Master to Grand Lodge
The Pro Grand Master, the Marquess of Northampton, said:
"Brethren, at this time last year we were preparing for our Freemasonry in the Community week.
"This involved opening the doors of our meeting places to the general public, and taking the opportunity of explaining what we do.
"Although it is too soon to repeat the exercise again this year, nevertheless I hope that brethren will continue to hold open days, as they undoubtedly have a positive effect and add greatly to our public relations."
Referring to the new Grand Lodge tie, the Pro Grand Master said:
"There is some confusion among brethren that this alternative tie can only be worn in Grand Lodge and not on other occasions.
"This is not the case - the tie can be worn by any member of the United Grand Lodge of England on any Masonic or non-Masonic occasion."
He added that he understood that tickets for the Constitution by the Grand Master of the new Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London on 1st October in the Royal Albert Hall were going well, and a good number of brethren and Lodges were becoming founder members. He added:
"This will be a truly historic occasion, and if you wish to be present I recommend you apply for tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment."
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