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Report of the Board of General Purposes – 9 September 2015

Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge

9 September 2015 
Report of the Board of General Purposes

Board of General Purposes Meetings 2016

The Board of General Purposes will meet in 2016 on 9 February, 15 March, 10 May, 19 July, 20 September and 15 November.

Attendance at Lodges under the English Constitution by Brethren from other Lodges

The Board drew attention to Rule 125 (b), Book of Constitutions, and the list of Grand Lodges recognised by the United Grand Lodge of England, which is published in the Year Book, copies of which are sent to secretaries of lodges.

Attendance at Lodges Overseas

The continuing growth in overseas travel brings with it an increase in visits by our Brethren to lodges of other jurisdictions and the Board welcomes this trend.

From time to time, however, Brethren become involved with masonic bodies which Grand Lodge does not recognise, e.g. in visiting a jurisdiction which, quite legitimately so far as it is concerned, accepts as visitors Brethren from Grand Lodges which are not recognised by the United Grand Lodge of England. In this connection, Brethren are reminded that it is part of their duty as members of the English Constitution not to associate masonically with members of unrecognised constitutions, and should such a situation occur, they should tactfully withdraw, even though their visit may have been formally arranged.

To avoid this danger, and potential embarrassment to hosts, Brethren should not attempt to make any Masonic contact overseas without having first checked (preferably in writing) with the Grand Secretary’s Office at Freemasons’ Hall, Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ, that there is recognised Freemasonry in the country concerned and, if so, whether there is any particular point which should be watched. The Board recommends that the terms of this warning should be repeated verbally in open lodge whenever a Grand Lodge Certificate is presented, and in print once a year in a lodge’s summons.

Brethren should also be aware of the masonic convention that communications between Grand Lodges be conducted by Grand Secretaries. They should therefore not attempt without permission to make direct contact with the Grand Secretary of another Constitution. This does not preclude direct contact on a purely personal level between individual Brethren under different Grand Lodges.

Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London

Discussions are currently taking place as to the future structure at the head of Freemasonry in London, which is of such a size that it is considered expedient to amend the Book of Constitutions to allow flexibility to appoint additional Deputy Metropolitan Grand Masters. The Board recommends such a change, and also considers that the privileges in respect of salutes and a past rank collarette and jewel enjoyed by an Assistant Metropolitan Grand Master should be extended to a Metropolitan Grand Inspector. Notice of Motion accordingly appeared on the Paper of Business.

Suspension Pending an Appeal

The final paragraph of Rule 185 Book of Constitutions currently provides: “Any penalty of suspension or exclusion shall remain in force pending the determination of the appeal.” 

In a case which recently came before an Appeals Court, the Court expressed concern that, in the particular circumstances, the successful appellant had been caused hardship by the operation of that paragraph. The Court went on to suggest that the Rule might be amended by granting a discretion to any member of the panel of the Commission for Appeals Courts, appointed annually by the Grand Master under Rule 273, to direct that the suspension be lifted pending the hearing of an appeal. The Board, having considered the matter has concluded that in appropriate circumstances a power to that effect would avoid potential injustice, and recommends an amendment to Rule 185. Notice of Motion appeared on the Paper of Business. 

Erasure of Lodges

The Board has received a report that eight lodges have closed and have surrendered their Warrants. They are: Royal Warrant Holders Lodge No. 2789 (London), Sentinel Lodge No. 4707 (Cheshire), Bartizan Lodge No. 5520 (London), Perfect Cube Lodge No. 6822 (London), Cross in Hand of Bickley Lodge No. 7060 (West Kent), Hall Place Lodge No. 7136 (West Kent), Industrial Engineers Lodge No. 7514 (London) and Centre Point Lodge No. 7866 (London).

Over recent years the lodges have found themselves no longer viable. The Board is satisfied that further efforts to save them would be to no avail and therefore has no alternative but to recommend that they be erased. A Resolution to this effect was passed.

Expulsions

As required the Book of Constitutions, three Brethren were recently expelled from the Craft.

Report from the Library and Museum Charitable Trust

The Board had received a report from the Library and Museum Charitable Trust.

New Lodges for which Warrants have been issued 

30 April 2015

No. 9911 Lodge of Uniformed Services (Cumberland & Westmorland)
No. 9912 Bundle of Sticks Lodge (Sussex)
No. 9913 Nigeria Centenary Lodge (Nigeria)

10 June 2015

No. 9914 Chequered Flag Lodge (Hampshire & Isle of Wight)
No. 9915 South America, Northern Division, District Grand Officers’ Lodge (South America, Northern Division)
No. 9916 Henry Callow Lodge (Isle of Man)

Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge

A Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge is held on the second Wednesday in March, June, September and December. The next will be at noon on Wednesday, 9 December 2015. Subsequent Communications will be held on 9 March 2016, 27 April 2016 (Annual Investiture), 8 June 2016, 14 September 2016 and 14 December 2016.

Convocations of Supreme Grand Chapter

Convocations of Supreme Grand Chapter are held on the second Wednesday in November and the day following the annual investiture of Grand Lodge. Future Convocations will be held on 11 November 2015, 28 April 23016 and 9 November 2016.