Chris White WM, Internet Lodge 9659EC, 2000 - 2001
A new millennium has dawned, Internet Lodge 9659 has completed another year and I have transmitted our warrant to the first overseas Master of the lodge, W. Bro. Peter Lanes, from Florida, USA.
During the past year, although the Internet bubble has burst and the enthusiasm for all things Internet seems to have waned, our lodge has gone from strength to strength, we now have 166 members from around the world. All of the members of the lodge have learned from the experience of being able to communicate on a regular daily basis via our lodge mailing list, this facility leads to many discussions and communications that would normally be impossible for a Masonic lodge without electronic mail. (We estimated that our expenditure on stamps would be in the order of £65,000, had we used snail mail). Our web site has been moved to a facility in the USA which can provide full year round technical support and availability. Control of the web site has been shared out to more members, various sections are now being organised by individuals who have expressed an interest in that particular subject. The Guest book never ceases to amaze me, we have over 3000 messages from all 4 quarters of the globe, Masonry truly Universal.
Our meetings have been well supported, in August, (on the Glorious 12th), we had a meeting in York at which W. Bro. David Mann gave a lecture on the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, CITO lodge and the LifeLites project. The lodge has supported this £7m project during the past year and some of our members are assisting provinces with voluntary help to ensure the success of it. In October, W. Bro. Peter Walker came to Great Queens Street and in the magnificent surroundings of the Indian Temple gave us a lecture on the background and formation of Telephone Lodge. (One senior Member of Parliament at the turn of the century commented that there might be one, (A Telephone), in each city one day!). After the meeting the members and their partners dined together in the Russell hotel.
In January of this year, the lodge dedicated its banner. The crest is featured on our web site. This ceremony was held in East Lancashire at Freemason’s Hall, Bridge Street and again well supported by the brethren and guests of the lodge. The Assistant Provincial Grand Master and his Provincial Team performed the ceremony excellently and the lodge are grateful for the support of the Province during the past year. Internet Lodge has already raised over £15,000 from individual members and guests that has been donated to charities around the world, both Masonic and non-Masonic alike.
The year 2000 brought with it the creation of another Internet Lodge. “Lodge Ireland 2000”. The consecration of the Irish Lodge was held in Dublin and performed by the Grand Master of Ireland. I attended the ceremony with a few of our members, at the invitation of the incoming worshipful master and conveyed the best wishes of Internet Lodge 9659 to the Master, Wardens and Brethren of the lodge.
During the year our influence on Freemasonry has been felt. The Board of General Purposes of the United Grand Lodge of England has approved the use of email to send minutes and summonses of meetings. I wonder whether we had any effect in this matter. Email is generally becoming accepted as the defacto method of communicating with members of organisations across the world. As recently as the Installation meeting this March, the Representative of the Provincial Grand Master for East Lancashire stated that Internet Lodge was seen as the “New Order” amongst Freemasonry. Long may it continue and prosper.
I wish Peter Lanes well in his year and wish everyone reading this annual report the best health and happiness for 2001.
Immediate Past Master