W.Bro Carl N. Freeland
18th March 2017
Worshipful Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Brother Wardens and Brethren All,
I am honoured and delighted to be in this Chair, as the twentieth Worshipful Master of the Internet Lodge in the UGLE Tercentenary year, and what makes it more special to me is the fact I am only the second Master Mason ever to take this Chair in our Lodge’s history. The first being WBro Chris White on the 18th March 2000 exactly seventeen years ago today, and we can all admire and congratulate him on his progress in Freemasonry, from the Internet Lodge to the United Grand Lodge. I submitted five manifestos before I succeeded in the 2014 ballot, I want to thank all those who supported me through the years, and to the Brethren of the Internet Lodge for giving me this honour. I want to say to any Brother who wishes to become Master of this Lodge, keep submitting manifestoes, and take all the advice and guidance that is offered, and in time you will succeed. I wish to thank the Immediate Past Master, Worshipful Brother Alan Turton and all the Installing Officers who have taken part in the excellent and “unabridged” installation ceremony.
I am very pleased to welcome WBro Christopher John Welton PSGD, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master to the Internet Lodge, and I hope this will be one of many more visits to the Internet Lodge.
It is also a great privilege to have WBro Satinder Lal with us here today celebrating his fifty years in Freemasonry, receiving a Certificate of Merit from WBro Christopher John Welton PSGD who presented it on behalf of our Provincial Grand Master, Sir David Trippier, may I add my own sincere congratulations to WBro Satinder, and offer my very best wishes for many more years in the Craft.
This Lodge is so different to "ordinary" craft Lodges, by virtue of its universal membership of around four hundred and forty spread worldwide, we have almost daily communications via our e mail list, we have two excellent websites, and some groups are meeting socially via Skype, so no brother however distant should ever feel left out.
I want this year to be a year of harmony, teamwork and mutual support amongst the Lodge Officers, consolidating some of the excellent work done by previous Masters of the Lodge, in the identification and training of future successors to the Lodge’s key administrative support roles, and to help me to achieve this I was delighted when two key members of the Lodge’s administration for many years WBro Brian Cozens and WBro John Dutchman-Smith, agreed to return to office and take on the critical roles of Lodge Treasurer and Web Team Leader. I hope these appointments, together with our Brother Secretary and Assistant Secretary will lead to a harmonious, effective administration, building on the foundations for future succession laid down by previous Masters, and providing the Brethren, and our many joining members with timely communications, regularly updated websites and advance information on the Lodge’s meetings, activities and administrative arrangements. May I add my thanks to all those Brethren who are not continuing in office this year for all their hard work and dedication, in support of this amazing Lodge.
WBro Ben Allen, has kindly agreed to take the lead in the Lodge’s “Future Technology Study”, the objective is to achieve a better understanding of the needs of the Lodge and to return the Lodge to the position of technological eminence that it gained from the last study, undertaken in 2010, as e-communications have moved forward in the last six years or so, with the consequent threats to data protection and confidentiality etc. Put simply, the terms are to bring the 2010 report up to date by reviewing those platforms within it, updating those still current, removing those which are either obsolete or which have lost prominence, and adding later technological developments for further consideration by the Lodge.
My aim this year is to have an interesting Tercentenary year, socially enjoyable and especially to get more Brethren involved in our meetings by trying to keep the fixed costs down, allowing Brethren more choices and flexibility on how they spend their time and resources to attend our meetings. Our meetings have been held all over England and Wales, within the jurisdiction of UGLE, from Cardiff to Coventry and London to Newcastle. This gives us opportunities to see other towns and cities, old and new Masonic Halls and meet many other brethren, who arrive as visitors and become friends. This year we will meet in Lutterworth, Leicestershire in August and in Barry, Wales in October to celebrate the UGLE Tercentenary. Considering the low attendance numbers on some of the previous overseas visits, I have decided not to follow the tradition of having an overseas visit in May 2017, perhaps the low attendance is due in part to the pressures of modern life, the number of days away, time of year and the cost. But I hope future Master’s will give consideration to holding further overseas visits, in response to the wishes of the Brethren.
Following recent reactions to a charity proposal, I have decided not to continue with the 2016 / 2017 WM’s Charity. But with the consensus of the Brethren to focus on a local Manchester based Charity Mothers Against Violence, where our donations will make a real difference to people, living a matter of a mile or two from our Manchester Installation Hall. I will also be looking to support Reverse Rett, and perhaps a local Macedonian Charity to be confirmed later.
Brethren, I thank you all once again for being here today in Manchester, for all the years of support and I look forward to seeing as many Brethren as possible in August, October and in March 2018 to support the installation of our twenty first Worshipful Master.
This year is going to be a truly momentous occasion for Freemasons throughout the world, let’s work together and make is a very special year for this Lodge in particular.
Bro Carl N. Freeland
Worshipful Master, Internet Lodge No. 9659