ISSUE 9, April 2004

The Duke of Wellington: A Brother in arms
Quarterly Communication: Address of the Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Life with the Stars: Masons and famous people
Hall Stone Jewel: Cyril Spackman, designer
Travel: Jamaica
Grand Charity: Annual Report and Accounts
Masonic stamps: Masonry on stamps
Library & Museum of Freemasonry: Antients and Moderns go on-line
Masonic education: Events for Freemasons
Masonic charities: The continuing work
Bowel cancer: How the Grand Charity is helping
Royal Arch: Russia and Eastern Europe
Richard Eve: A former Grand Treasurer
Book reviews

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Strategic Working Party
The Strategic Working Party, set up by the Pro Grand Master to review the Royal Arch, has worked hard on the proposed revisions, and Grand Lodge has already taken an historic step by adding a paragraph to the ‘1813 Declaration’.
       This allows us to recognise, formally, that theRoyal Arch is a separate Order of Masonry, and will strengthen the status of Supreme Grand Chapter without affecting the relationship of the Royal Arch to the Craft.
       I know that some of you have expressed concern that this change may tend to weaken those historic ties, but I want very strongly to endorse the phrase used by the Pro Grand Master in his speech last September, when he emphasised that the Royal Arch is to remain ‘indissolubly linked to the Craft’.
       There is no compromise here, brethren: that bond is to remain as strong and as close as ever, and the Royal Arch should be regarded by all as the important final step in pure Antient Freemasonry.
       I shall have more to say about the future of the Royal Arch at the Annual Investiture of Supreme Grand Chapter. But in the meantime I wish to thank all the members of the Strategic Working Party for their hard work.

Support of our great Masonic charities has always been one of the landmarks of Freemasonry. It is very important, I believe, that we also reach out to the public and ensure that our charitable giving also extends as well to non-Masonic causes, which indeed is a necessary part of our duty to society. However, we must make sure that our Masonic charities have the funds they need to fulfil their primary purpose of looking after our beneficiaries, and that is why I welcome today’s initiative to increase the contribution which we all pay to the Grand Charity.

I have been reflecting on the changes in Masonry since you honoured me .. years ago by electing me as your Grand Master. Membership during this period has declined from its post-war boom back to the levels seen in the inter-war years.
       At the same time, the almost obsessive secrecy of the 30 years from the ....s onwards has been followed by a policy of increasing openness which has encouraged us to be more outward looking.
       The consequence of this has been a greater desire to defend ourselves against unwarranted external attack, and a willingness to correct malicious falsehoods about the Craft spread by those who do not wish to hear the truth.
       The Craft has shown in recent years that it is prepared to adapt itself to the changing circumstances of modern life to a greater degree than ever before in its history. Only thus, as the Royal Arch ritual tells us, can it ‘survive the wreck of mighty empires and resist the destroying hand of time’, and I welcome the flexibility which enables us to react so positively at a time of unparalleled changes in society at large.

As usual, I would like to express our thanks once again to all those who make our meetings run so smoothly, the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his team, who have conducted today’s proceedings with their customary calm competence, and the Grand Secretary and his staff, who ensure that our organisation is administered and serviced so efficiently.
       Finally, brethren, I would like to thank all of you who have attended in such large numbers today.

The High Rulers (from left to right):
The Marquess of Northampton (MW Pro Grand Master); HRH The Duke of Kent (MW The Grand Master); RW Bro Peter Lowndes (Deputy Grand Master) and RW Bro David Williamson (Assistant Grand Master).