Welcome to the second edition of First Rising – the official newsletter for members of United Grand Lodge of England.
You’ll be receiving this newsletter every three weeks, as we aim to give you the latest news from UGLE and keep you informed with our plans for the future. During these uncertain times, it is more important than ever that we communicate regularly with you – our members. This edition, we have a video from Deputy Grand Master Jonathan Spence, updates on fees, an announcement from the Board of General Purposes on the age of Initiation and much more!
Stay safe Brethren.
IMPORTANT MESSAGES FROM GRAND LODGE
Click on the letters to view fully
Board considers lowering age of Initiation to 18 years old
A statement from the President of the Board, Geoffrey Dearing:
At the Quarterly Communication in March of this year (which now seems a long time ago), you may remember that RW Bro. Michael Ward, a Deputy Metropolitan Grand Master, presented an explanation of the origins and work of the Membership Working Party.
Membership of our organisation is obviously an important issue for all of us and the Membership Working Party helps to bring together the views of all Provinces in England and Wales through nine Provincial Grand Masters each of whom represents the nine regional communication groups which contain all forty-seven Provinces.
Recommendations for some alterations to the Book of Constitutions have been made by the Membership Working Party and if we had had a Quarterly Communication this month I would have given Notice of Motion to amendments to the Book of Constitutions, including the amendment to Rule 157 seeking a reduction in the age requirement for initiation. The proposed amendment has not only the support of the Membership Working Party but also the support of the Rulers and the Board of General Purposes. READ THE FULL STATEMENT
Temporary modifications to ritual during Covid-19
Although it seems likely that a resumption of meetings in London and Provinces is still some way off, small working parties are at work on guidance for temporary changes to the Craft and Royal Arch rituals respectively that may make it possible to start taking candidates again while maintaining social distancing.
The work is well advanced and the guidance will be made available in due course. In the meantime Brethren and Companions are urged not to spend time, energy and ingenuity in trying to devise solutions of their own for what is a problem common to all.
The numerous concerns expressed by Lodges and Chapters about their inability to exclude members for non-payment of subscriptions while meetings are suspended are not going unnoticed.
Lodges and Chapters would normally be liable for dues and contributions in respect of Brethren or Companions whose membership has not been terminated before the start of a new subscription year. However, the Board of General Purposes, the Committee of General Purposes and the Masonic Charitable Foundation have all decided, if the conditions set out below are satisfied, to waive the amounts of such dues and contributions for the new subscription year in respect of members who could not be excluded earlier because of the suspension. READ THE CONDITIONS IN FULL
DISCOVERIES FROM THE TREASURES OF ENGLISH FREEMASONRY
This embroidered bag was originally made to contain the Articles of Union of 1813. It is still carried today by the Grand Registrar into the Quarterly Meetings of Grand Lodge.
The purse is a flat, rectangular bag of dark blue velvet edged with gold lace, with padded embroidery on one side depicting the coat of arms of the UGLE on a round panel.
Originally the Articles of Union were kept in the mahogany Ark of the Masonic Covenant in the Temple of Freemason’s Hall. The Ark having been destroyed in the disastrous fire of 1883, a decision was made to have a ceremonial Purse containing the Articles brought into each meeting of Grand Lodge by the Grand Registrar, whose duty it is also to carry it in public processions. VIEW THE TREASURES HERE
MEETINGS IN SOUTH ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND: LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL
A rundown on plans to restart activities from Richard Taylor, District Grand Master of the South Island, New Zealand and Karl Moen, District Grand Secretary of the South Island, New Zealand.
The District of the South Island is now about to be “called back on” after a break of some three and a half months. Following the announcement on the 8th June by the New Zealand Government of a lifting of all restrictions, with the only impediment to normality remaining being the border closure, we announced a return to labour starting from 1st July. Lodges of Instruction and GP Committees etc. could resume immediately.
This date of July 1st was not decided upon arbitrarily but some thought had to be given to considering the wellbeing of our members, particularly after many weeks of confinement coupled with incessant news headlines and daily press briefings on the pandemic. We took the view that the extra three weeks would allow for our more vulnerable members to venture out, acclimatise and get used to being with people once again in their own time, rather than a summons requiring their presence in the Lodge almost immediately. The constant barrage from the media as well as the drastic measures needed to defeat Covid-19 had, over the course of the lockdown, instilled a certain amount of fear and trepidation in many peoples’ minds, often justified and often unjustified. READ THE FULL PLAN
Whilst we all know of individuals and families affected by COVID, many people are wondering how the Craft as a whole is faring.
We are aware that member deaths are up 20.82% on this time last year and know of 191 Brethren who have been called to the Grand Lodge Above by this terrible disease.
Rest eternal grant unto them, and let light perpetual shine upon them.
ROYAL MASONIC BENEVOLENT INSTITUTION (RMBI) -COPING IN A CRISIS
RMBI Care Co. provides residential care, nursing care and residential dementia support to older Freemasons, their families and people in the wider community.
Mark Lloyd, Managing Director of the RMBI, talks us through how the RMBI and its residents have coped and adapted to the Covid-19 crisis. READ MORE
HELP FREEMASONRY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE – DONATE TO THE FREEMASONS’ COVID-19 COMMUNITY FUND
Freemasonry continues to do all it can to help in the fight against the coronavirus.
So far, an amazing £800,000 has been generously donated by individual Freemasons, as well as Lodges and Chapters. The MCF has committed to match the first £1 million of donations; if a further £200,000 is donated, the fund will stand at £2 million – an incredible total that would allow Freemasonry to help thousands of people affected by Covid-19 over the months ahead.
You can make a difference and help us reach that £2 million target by donating now. DONATE NOW
MUSEUM OF FREEMASONRY – COLLECTING #OURCOVID19STORY
When lockdown started, we had enquiries asking about how Freemasonry coped with the Spanish Flu outbreak a century ago. We had a look but could find very little. We realised then the importance of capturing the response to COVID-19 today: how Freemasons are coping and helping to support local communities in these difficult times.
A hundred years on from the last major pandemic and how members communicate has changed – now information is exchanged instantly on the internet through emails, Twitter, Facebook, Whats App, Instagram and TikTok.
Just before lockdown, the Museum’s archives began using new software, Preservica, which helps us to preserve digital resources permanently. Now we are saving websites, digital newsletters, Twitter feeds and other items to record how you are living through lockdown and what you are doing to help locally. READ MORE
FAMOUS FREEMASONS PHOTO COMPETITION
Can you name these 10 famous Freemasons?
Enter the competition by Friday 3rd July 2020 and you could win a £20 Amazon voucher! We also have a runner up prize of Masonic Etiquette Today by Graham Redman.
The winner and runner up will be announced in the next edition of First Rising on 13th July 2020. ENTER THE COMPETITION HERE
UGLE OCCASIONAL LECTURE SERIES
Ubique Lodge No. 1789 have launched a new lecture series on the Falklands War.
On Thursday 2nd July, you can tune in to hear “Spanish interpreter in the Falklands 1982 – the ultimate holiday job” by Mark Stollery.
Sign-up details in the poster above!
If your Lodge would like to host a UGLE Occasional Lecture, please email us here with the proposed title. The theme is ‘Ordinary members doing Extraordinary things.’