Ab Goedhals WM, Internet Lodge 9659EC, 2002 - 2003
Because of the special character of Internet Lodge (viz. the manifesto election procedure), to be installed as its Master, marks the start of the execution of plans, some of which have been in the making for more than three years. Therefore, after having been installed by my predecessor WBro Peter Lanes at the meeting on March 16th, 2002 in Manchester, I could bring across my intention of focussing, in Internet Lodge's 5th year, to that integral part of our physical meetings: the ritual. As I had stated in my manifesto, I intended that in 'my year' special attention would be given to the orthopraxis [the correct way of the method of execution/performance] of our ceremonies and to "tradition and ritual". As I stated in my Inaugural Address: "... ritual forms an integral part of freemasonry. So much so, that I for one would find it very difficult to envisage freemasonry without it".
I had therefore planned a year's programme with three meetings, each focusing on an aspect of the ritual and, of course, being fond of the performance of the same, this would not be an academic exercise only. It is my firm belief that the only way to know the ritual is to practice it. It was therefore my intention to focus not only on the 'technique' of ritual, but also to demonstrate to the members of the Lodge some, in my opinion very interesting and to most of the members unknown, rituals, both English and Dutch.
An unexpected upbeat to the year's programme was given at the meeting in Leicester on the 13th of October 2002, in which I was elected as Worshipful Master. There V.W.Bro. the Rev. Neville Barker Cryer, Past Grand Chaplain, gave a lecture entitled "Language and Ritual of Today". This lecture, which he delivered in his inimitable style, can be listened to here [link].
This lecture, which was selected by my predecessor but coincidentally nicely fitted in with the theme of my year, in some way also prepared to set the stage for the four (!) lodge meetings of the year's programme, which consisted of:
- a lecture on the history of freemasonry in the Netherlands
- a demonstration of freemasonry (1st degree ritual) in the Netherlands
- a lecture on the innards - the methodology - of the ritual in freemasonry
- a lecture on an historic aspects of English ritual ( the "inner workings")
- a performance of English ritual by installing my successor with full 'in extenso' inner working.
Special care was also given to the selection of the various locations in which these meetings would take place. These were selected by me for either the beauty or historic worth of the lodge rooms or the freemasons' halls. So I selected Kingston-upon-Hull, not only for its famous and very beautiful old Masonic Hall, but also as a starting point for the Internet Lodge Festival as from its port there is a ferry link to the Netherlands.
It was there that on 8th August 2003 our first meeting after my installation took place. We were honoured that WBro Evert P Kwaadgras, Archivist, Librarian and Curator at the Grand East of The Netherlands. Past Master of Lodge l'Age d'Or No. 235 (GENL), and a member of Quator Coronati Lodge No. 2076 (UGLE) delivered his lecture 'Some remarks on the history of Freemasonry in The Netherlands'.
In this lecture he gave an impression of how freemasonry started and developed in the GEN, one of the oldest recognized jurisdiction on the continent. This lecture was attended by about fifty brethren. During this lecture their partners were invited to experience a audio-visual presentation about the history of the Royal Palace which they would later on visit during the Festival, which of course would take internet abroad. (See the website at www.internet.lodge.festival.2002.tiscaliweb.nl which was constructed to keep the members informed during the preparation.)
After the meeting, some 35 brethren, together with partners and/or family (making a total group of 68 people) sailed with the P & O cruise-ferry 'Pride of Rotterdam' to Europoort-Rotterdam in the Netherlands, for a three-day programme, that would be filled with many unique impressions of the Low Countries.
It started with a visit to the headquarters, library and museum of the Grand East of the Netherlands in The Hague, where we were expertly shown around by WBro Kwaadgras and members of his staff. The day furthermore included a visit to the world-famous Mesdag Panorama and the historic seaside resort of Scheveningen, depicted in that panorama.
On Saturday, the brethren assembled in the Masonic Hall in Arnhem, where they were received by brethren of Lodge l'Age d'Or No.235 (of which I am a Past Master), as according to the rules of UGLE Internet Lodge was nor permitted to hold a regular meeting in a place within the jurisdiction of the Grand East of the Netherlands.
After being assembled in the Lodge Room, and before a Lodge was formally opened, the Worshipful Master of Lodge l'Age d'Or W.Bro. Aad W. du Croix-Timmermans, according to Dutch custom, received the Grand Master of the Grand East of the Netherlands, M.W.Bro. Peter G. Roodhuyzen (who was seen wearing his collar jewel as Grand Representative from the UGLE), and presented him with the gavel, asking the Grand Master to preside over the meeting.
The Grand Master, for a few minutes, assumed the throne (very unusual in Dutch lodges) and welcomed the visiting brethren from Internet Lodge in the Netherlands. He then recalled his personal invitation to Internet Lodge to meet in the Netherlands and thereupon gave the gavel to me, requesting me to preside over the meeting. I thereupon opened a meeting of Lodge l'Age d'Or No.235, during which a demonstration was given of the ceremony of Initiation of a Candidate, according to the ritual of that Lodge, which for this very purpose had been translated into the English language. One of our members, W.Bro. Larry Porter had been selected as the candidate for this Initiation demonstration, and all of the brethren of Internet Lodge took an active part in this working during the concluding lecture in cathechismal form. While the brethren were assembled in the Lodge, the partners and non-masonic guests visited the museum of the Royal palace 'Het Loo' in Apeldoorn.
On the evening of that day, a gala dinner was held at Leiden's National Museum of Antiquities. Again, the location was selected with great care, as it enabled us not only to dine next to the two-thousand years old Egyptian 'Temple of Taffeh', but also permitted exclusive and private access to the whole of the Museum during the evening. One of the highlights of that evening was a recital by one of the members of l'Age d'Or, Bro. Pieter Korteknie, a musical actor by profession, who sang not only the Ladies' Song while distributing gifts which he previously had "dedicated to the goddess Isis", but also sang an aria from Mozart's "Magic Flute".
Finally, on Sunday, a cruise of the Rotterdam harbour, and a visit to the Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier, with an exhibition showing the struggle of the Dutch against the sea, concluded the programme in the Netherlands, which ended with the party again boarding the 'Pride of Rotterdam' on her return sailing to Kingston-upon-Hull and dinner on-board.
Our October meeting was held in the English cathedral city par excellence: the historic city of Canterbury. There WBro Dr. Jan AM Snoek, delivered to the lodge a lecture, entitled: "The Masonic Method: Initiatory and Allusive". Assisted by a Power Point Presentation in Open Lodge, he explained some of the special 'techniques' of communication employed in masonic rituals.
In addition to the Regular Meetings of the Lodge, in November an emergency meeting was held in Bath. As I and my successor had decided to install him at the March meeting using the full 'in extenso' inner working, I felt it expedient to provide the brethren of the Lodge with some background information on this particular subject. I was pleased that WBro Simon Fernie, PAGDC, SLGR, PPrGSuptWks (Middx), Prestonian Lecturer for 2001, was found willing to present his lecture: "The Extended Ceremony of a Board of Installed Masters The 1926 Controversy" to the members of the Lodge.
Finally, the Installation meeting on March in Manchester. With only some minor modifications to allow for the induction of a Master who had already been installed, WBro Derek Oliver was installed in the chair with the full 'in extenso' inner working 'according to very old custom', which proved an eye-opener to many brethren.
This brought my year to a conclusion. In concluding this report, I would again like to thank the brethren of Internet Lodge for their support and the friendship they gave me during 'my year in the East', of which I treasure many happy memories.
Immediate Past Master