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W. Bro. Cristian Mihutoui
Installed 16th March 2019
Tewnty-Second Worshipful Master
W. Bro. Alan M. Breward
Installed 17th March 2018
Tewnty-First Worshipful Master
The themes for the year were Reconciliation & Remembrance. As my Armed Forces background and upbringing along with my introduction to semi conductors and eventually the World Wide Web.
Remembrance enhanced the reconciliation with the anniversary of the end of the “Great War” that war to end all wars, sadly we still live in hope.
Freemasonry also remembered these sad days of remembrance and reconciliation with many events at Great Queen Street.
However the Lodges visit and service at the New Masonic Garden of Remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum is still held high in my thoughts and feelings, as well as being talked about still by the NMA staff!
An oversea visit to the Emerald Isles culminating in visiting a number of Lodges included Lodge Ireland 2000 the Irish Constitution Internet Lodge topped out those visits, extending thanks and friendship from 9659.
The support of the Brethren to the charities, 1st Bangor Scouts, Fisher House Veterans support, Manchester Children’s Hospital & the Not Forgotten Association is more than thankfully received in helping those less fortunate than us.
Manchester and Installation along with the enjoyment of the new surrounds of “Brickies” the Goulburn suite looked and felt fine, the post visit to Salford A&E will forever be with me.
Ireland along with our ladies and other guests a wonderful warm week with visits to Queens Uni Lodge in Belfast and Bangor Union in Bangor along with the National Trust we need refreshments at “Bushmill’s”
Tamworth and the National Memorial Arboretum and a night in the Snow-dome who will forget that?
Wonderful Ladies Festival in Harrogate and the Lodge of Sorrows demonstration from Glossopdale Lodge
Brethren thank-you, thank-you and thank-you ALL again.
I am so proud to have been the Master of this wonderful Lodge allowing me to be your representative in my masonic this Year I now look forward to an equally full year as IPM.
Thank you ALL for your support.
W. Bro. Carl N Freeland
Installed 18th March 2017
Twentieth Worshipful Master
I thank you all for selecting me as Worshipful Master especially in the very special UGLE Tercentenary year of 2017, and to have the honour of being the twentieth Worshipful Master of the Internet Lodge. My projects have been about the future of the Lodge in terms of future succession to the key administrative offices, and supporting the amazing and dedicated Web Team, in particular Chris White, Lawrence Porter and John Dutchman-Smith in creating a new JOOMLA based private members site, which is currently under final testing, hoping in future it will meet the needs of our 481 Members spread around the world. The year took us from Manchester, to Lutterworth, with a meeting, followed by an interactive presentation called Beyond the Craft - the “Other Orders in Freemasonry”, with Brethren dressed in the regalia of the Orders. Then across the Severn Bridge to Barry, South Wales to celebrate the UGLE Tercentenary with a re-enactment of the “First Meeting of UGLE”, by the Monmouthshire Enactment Team, followed by the Ladies Festival It has been a great honour and pleasure to serve as Worshipful Master of Internet Lodge 9659 and I look forward to serving the Lodge as Immediate Past Master, and I look forward to continuing my work for our very unique Lodge.
W. Bro. Alan B Turton
Installed 19th March 2016
Nineteenth Worshipful Master
I thank you all for selecting me as Worshipful Master for the year it has been the greatest of honours. My projects have been about the future of Masonry, our future in particular and that both in how we serve our 466 members spread around our world and the themes of our meetings.
At my installation in March I presented a new management support structure worked on by a group of Past Masters over the previous eleven months and two speakers and venues I had selected to present on the future of Freemasonry. The energy of the meeting was tremendous.
A wonderful fraternal visit was made by us to Edinburgh in Scotland. The sights were wonderful as was the warmth of the Scots Brethren who opened many special doors for us.
Our August meeting in Grantham flowed with warmth and as always was amply supported by our Ladies, Partners and friends. Our speaker John Acaster filled us with many reflective thoughts causing a lively debate. Our close was wandering in the sunshine at Belton House.
October Festival weekend was held in my Masonic home Tapton Hall in Sheffield. Our speaker again on the future of Freemasonry, Padraig Belton looked at how we engage with the next generation, their hopes aspirations, views and particularly the ways in which they communicate that we may as a Craft both engage and fulfil their aspirations.
In September we flew out to Support W. Bro. Mihutu being Installed as Master of Lodge Dedal in Romania where 40 of us were present to give greeting and in October attended an English speaking Lodge in Netherlands.
It has been a great honour and pleasure to serve as Worshipful Master of Internet Lodge 9659 and I look forward to continuing my work for our Lodge
W.Bro. Ben Allen
Installed 21 March 2015
Eighteenth Worshipful Master
It was my honour to be allowed to serve as the worshipful master of this wonderful lodge. It continues to go from strength to strength. I was ably supported by many fantastic officers who discharged their duties with distinction, despite many scheduling challenges of bringing this forward by a year.
I hope that we managed to work on the excellent work of my predessors, who handed me a lodge in rude health, and I believe I handed it off in the same state.
In August we met at Great Queen street, and had a talk on some of the work the Connaught club has been doing that is now spreading to all of the provinces.
In October we went to Byker Masonic Hall in Newcastle upon Tyne, where we saw an excellent performance by Northumberland Masonic Demonstration team of a nineteenth century raising. This was one of the highlights of my mason career so far. If you get the chance to see this team I highly recommend it. We followed this with our Ladies night, which as always gave us the opportunity to thank them for their support throughout this year.
In March I was able to install as my successor WBro Alan Turton, which I was honoured to do. I feel his ideas and vision will take this lodge from strength to strength.
I am delighted to have served this lodge and have no doubt that it will go from strength to strength throughout the coming years.
W.Bro. Royston Morris.
Installed 15 March 2014
Seventeenth Worshipful Master.
My year as Worshipful Master was to be one of consolidation and I must say I believe that the foreseeable future of Internet Lodge No.9659 is looking extremely good and going in the right direction.
My officers have worked diligently in setting our Lodge on a firm and ftable foundation, long may it continue.
Membership is continuing to grow, and we are now just under 400 members in total with more applications to be announced. It pleases me to see an increase in membership from Romania, France, Brazil, Hungary, Finland, USA and so on.
We had an excellent meetings this year.
- In August in Olney where we had an interesting weekend of music and festivities.
- Our October meeting was a Ladies festival in Newport Monmouthshire my own Province. We were entertained in Lodge with the Monmouthshire demonstration team who performed a Russian 1st Degree initiation ceremony.
In the evening a ladies festival was well attended at the Holiday Inn where International artists entertained a truly international audience. The evening raised a considerable amount for charities and a good night was had by all.
Finally to our Installation meeting in Manchester 21st March 2015.
I congratulate my successor W Bro Benedict Allan on selecting a good team of officers to support him in his year of office as the 18th Worshipful Master of such a prestigious Lodge. I wish him and his officers every success for his intended programme of meetings and events.
Thank you to all the members of Internet Lodge No. 9659 for allowing me to be your Worshipful Master for this past year.
W.Bro. James W. Hogg.
Installed 16 March 2013
Sixteenth Worshipful Master.
My aims for the year were to involve more of our overseas Brethren in some way, as well as have the lodge visit areas to which it has not previously visited. Indeed, at my Installation the Working Tools were explained by W. Bro. Werner Schwab (Netherlands), W. Bro Claudiu Ionescu (Romania) and Bro. Corneliu Serdan (Romania). I also hoped to provide an interesting year both masonically and socially for the members.
The highlights of the year were:
- A Lodge visit to Romania in May by more than 40 brethren and ladies to enjoy a week of social and tourist activities, as well as Lodge visits, including performing the Hiramic Legend portion of the Third degree ceremony in R. L. Mesterul Manole Nr. 24, Orient of Bucharest and a visit to Brasov, where we were hosted to a lodge meeting by R. L. Coroana Din Carpati Nr. 116 and R. L. Trei Coloane Nr. 362.
- Our August meeting was in Bangor, North Wales for an illustrated talk by W. Bro. Dave Siviter on Staffordshire Pottery figurines and their connection with Freemasonry. This was followed by a wonderful Ladies Festival dinner, which included a recital on two harps,played by a most attractive and talented young lady. She gave renditions of a mixture of classical and popular music and performed flawlessly. Sunday morning at 8:30 AM, many of us gathered at Llanberis for the trip to the summit of Mt. Snowdon.
- The October meeting was in Manningtree, Essex, where we were treated with a presentation by W. Bro. Richard Gan of a paper entitled “Union of 1813 Between the Ancients and the Moderns,” after which W. Bro. Gan entertained questions from the Brethren. This was followed by a festive board and a return to The George Hotel in Colchester for a free evening.
- The Installation of my successor in March 2014
It was a great honour for me as an American to be afforded the opportunity to serve as Master of this unique lodge of international character and composition and I thank all the Officers and Brethren most heartily for their fantastic support and assistance that was provided throughout the entire year.
W.Bro. David H. Starbuck.
Installed 17 March 2012
Fifteenth Worshipful Master.
My aim for the year was to involve more of our overseas Brethren in some way and at Installation the Working Tools were explained on video from Sydney, Lebanon and Ohio, while physically presented by Bro Ben Allen. I also hoped to provide an interesting year both masonically and socially for the members.
The highlights of the year were:
- having the PGM present at my Installation to mark W Bro Charles Lewis’s 50 years in masonry.
- a Lodge visit to Malta in May by more than 80 brethren and ladies to enjoy a week of social and tourist activities, as well as Lodge visits, including performing a Second degree ceremony in the Lodge of St John and St. Paul and seeing a Third Degree Ceremony in Ars Discendi Lodge.
- our August meeting in Knutsford,Cheshire for an excellent lecture by the Grand Orator, “Initiation: what is the point?” , followed by a visit to Gawsworth Hall open air theatre for an “ABBA” Tribute Evening. Sunday was an informal barbecue lunch at my home and Monday was a visit to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
- the October meeting was in Kettering for demonstration of “A Lodge Night in 1759” followed by our Ladies festival at the Hunting Lodge Hotel.
- the Installation of my successor in March 2013.
To serve as Master of this lodge is a great honour and privilege and I thank all the Officers and Brethren most heartily, for their fantastic support and assistance through the year.
W.Bro. Chris Malpus.
Installed 19 March 2011
Fourteenth Worshipful Master.
My hope for the year was to build on all the strengths of the Lodge, specifically the social and fraternal aspects of our meetings, the strength and diversity of views expressed through the discussion of the email list, and the ritual skills of our members.
The highlights of the year were:
- The visit of a Lodge team to Minneapolis to demonstrate an Emulation Third Degree to 250+ Minnesota masons in the presence of their Grand Master
- The festival weekend in and around Berkeley and Bristol in conjunction with the August meeting
- The demonstration of the First Degree of Bristol Workings by Canyngeâ€™s Lodge 1388 at the October meeting by kind permission of the Provincial Grand Master of Bristol.
- The 50th anniversary (of initiation) presentation to tenth Master M.W. Bro. Charles Lewis by the (very) new Provincial Grand Master of East Lancashire, Sir David Trippier.
- The unfailing support of all the officers and brethren of the Lodge.
To serve as master was a great honour and a most rewarding experience.
W.Bro. Alan Tibbetts.
Installed 20 March 2010
Thirteenth Worshipful Master and first Canadian to serve.
My sincere thanks to all my officers for their service, and to all members who helped to make the year so memorable.
It was my pleasure to host, along with my wife Jane, over 40 members and wives on a visit to the Niagara region of Ontario for a very pleasant and hectic five day social visit.
Some highlights of the year:
- The August web cast of part of our Festive Board in Chester to our members across the globe
- The Ladies Festival weekend in Wells, and the lodge meeting within the medieval Cathedral
- Interesting and informative presentations at the two meetings: on Elias Ashmole by Bro Alan Turton, and on the Lifelites charity by Mrs. Simone Enefer-Doy
- The formation of our ladies' group, the LILies, to organize activities for our wives during the meeting weekends
- The dramatic growth in membership numbers, with 55 new joining members in 2010
It has been a great honour and a pleasure to serve as Worshipful Master of Internet Lodge.
W.Bro. Bill Holden.
Installed 21 March 2009
Twelfth Worshipful Master.
Bill Holden was a tremendously popoular and hard working Worshipful Master .
He arranged a wonderful fraternal visit to Slovenia where we spent a very happy week with our Slovenian brethren.
In August we met in Boston Lincolnshire where we saw a fine Masonic temple and received a very interesting presentation on the subject of Masonic Music.
The outstanding event of the year was the October meeting of the Lodge and the Ladies' Festival. Bill worked tirelessly to create a weekend that will be long remembered by all those fortunate enough to take part.
He commissioned and subsequently approved a wide ranging report into the use by the Lodge of Internet Technology.
Tragically Bill died suddenly on 21st February 2010, just before the end of his year of office, a very sad end to a wonderful year.
Bill will be much missed and long remembered by the Lodge.
This eulogy was given at the installation of his successor
W.Bro. Mark Griffin.
Installed 15 March 2008
Eleventh Worshipful Master.
It has been a great honour and privilege to have served as Worshipful Master of this remarkable Lodge, and I thank the brethren for the opportunity to have done so.
I have done my best to further the aims stated when this Lodge was founded, and reiterated more recently in Larry Porter's year.
In October our meeting at Brockenhurst was to visit a brand new lodge building, a personal project of Alex Viner, a wonderful Mason who has contributed so much to this Lodge.
He was also responsible for drawing up a policy document for the International Development Scheme which has got off to a great start and has tremendous potential for the future, and he served as secretary to the Short Papers Competition, which was such a great success last year.
I would like to thank everyone who contributed time and energy to this Lodge, sometimes considerable time and energy, and I know that thanks to them, the Lodge will go on from strength to strength.
W.Bro. Charles Lewis.
Installed 17 March 2007
Tenth Worshipful Master.
Let me begin my saying that I stated to all present at the Installation meeting in Manchester that I consider my membership and term as Master of the Internet Lodge as one of the highlights of my forty seven year Masonic career.
May I say that I have valued every Masonic forum and venue for Internet Lodge interchange with our members. When I was encouraged to submit a Manifesto I had some thinking to do; at the day's end I decided to venture forth. I have not been disappointed.The friendships that have been forged and the on-site UK Lodge meetings have been most enjoyable and fruitful.
I was privileged to serve during the year the Lodge ventured forth with the Short Papers Competition. What a resounding success that has been.That venture will move forward on an Annual basis.
I wish my successor and his officers a most successful year and I stand ready to assist in any way I can. Let us continue the great mission we adopted - that of using the internet to advance the purposes of Freemasonry.
W.Bro Charles Lewis passed to the Grand Lodge Above on 5th August 2020
W.Bro. Larry Porter.
Installed 18 March 2006
Ninth Worshipful Master.
Larry's main objective for his year was to improve the Lodge's interest and usefulness to our overseas members who can rarely, if ever, attend our regular meetings and events. To this end a community area was established with forums and blogs where members can share views and articles. Also a travel club was set up to facilitate get-togethers by Brethren round the world. The theme for the meetings was set in the Master's inaugural address in March which was on "the Future of Masonic Ritual". The August meeting was in Durham where we were joined by ladies and guests to hear a talk on the innovatiive project to reconstruct a Masonic hall open to the public at Beamish. Our four-day festival weekend was in Winchester where we held a debate on the future of the ritual. The dinner dance was at the Winchester Guildhall and tours included Winchester cathedral and the historic dockyard at Portsmouth. At the time Durham and Winchester were respectively the most Northerly and Southerly locations at which the Lodge had held a Regular Meeting. Much work was carried out on the Lodge processes, including a re-establishment of the Purpose and Aims of the Lodge. Further details can be found in the full report of the year.
W.Bro. Mike Herman.
Installed 19 March 2005
Eighth Worshipful Master.
It had been my intention to host the first ever regular meeting of Internet Lodge on 'foreign' soil. The plan was to meet in Portugal in October. We believed that because some English Constitution lodges meet in Portugal, we would be able to get a dispensation to do likewise. Unfortunately it was not to be, and our application was rejected. Since the arrangements were already in place we held a fraternal visit to Lancaster Lodge in Estoril, Portugal followed by our Ladies Night. The weekend in Portugal included visits to the esoteric Quinta da Regaleira, The Templars' Castles at Tomar and Almourol, and The Batalha Monastery. The star of the weekend was Prof. Jose Anes, who gave us a guided tour of Quinta Regaleira, gave a lecture in our meeting on the history of modern Portuguese Freemasonry and then continued this theme with a prequel relating the history of the Templars during our visit to the Templars' Castles. In addition to our installation meeting we held two regular meetings one in Beaconsfield at the Old School House, where we were educated and entertained by Yasha Beresiner and the other in Harrow.
W.Bro. John Dutchman-Smith.
Installed 20 March 2004
Seventh Worshipful Master.
"Some day, when the cloud of prejudice has been dispelled by the searchlight of truth, the world will honour Masonry for its service to freedom of thought and the liberty of faith. No part of its history has been more noble, no principle of its teaching has been more precious than its age-long demand for the right and duty of every soul to seek that light by which no man was ever injured, and that truth which makes man free."
These, the words of an American freemason of great foresight, Joseph Fort Newton who died in 1950, set the theme for John's year.
The summer meeting in Worcester took the form of a Lancashire "Old England Night" and introduced the Lodge to the traditional delicacies of tripe and black puddings. The Ladies Festival weekend in October was very well attended and attracted many overseas visitors (almost twenty from the U.S.A.). The Lodge meeting featured a demonstration of the building of King Solomon's temple during which the Lodge was "called off" enabling our Ladies and non- masonic guests to observe this enthralling re-enactment in miniature.
Continuing enhancements to this web site were made possible by the formation of a web team led by W.Bro Larry Porter the then Junior Warden of the Lodge.
W.Bro. Dr. Derek J. Oliver.
Installed 15 March 2003
Sixth Worshipful Master.
Always promising a period of stability and concentration on 'traditional' Masonic values, the year started with an emphasis on Freemasonry as a Family. From a well known, if sometimes misplaced sense of humour, there was also a promise that the year would be fun, on the basis that if you don't enjoy something, why do it? In terms on innovation, however, we saw the first meeting of the Internet lodge outside of England, in fact at Penarth, Cardiff in the fair land of Wales where a traditional Welsh meal followed the singing of the National Anthem, My Hen Fy N'Haddau (a.k.a. Land of my Fathers). To redress the balance, the October meeting saw us in the very centre of England, Birmingham, and a re-enactment of an 18th century initiation ceremony, with the WM as the Candidate, followed by a very traditional Ladies Festival with the WM in his family Kilt. The greatest achievement of the year, though not immediately realised, was the initiation of the working party, chaired by W.Bro. John Dutchman-Smith, which culminated in the magnificent new Web Site that you are viewing today.
Wor. Bro. Ab Goedhals.
Installed 16 March 2002
Fifth Worshipful Master.
Started by taking the members of the lodge to his native country, the Netherlands, where a three day festival-weekend was held. This began in Kingston-upon-Hull with a lecture by W.Bro. Evert Kwaadgras: "Some remarks on the history of Freemasonry in The Netherlands" was given, prior to setting sail to the Netherlands. The well-attended festival weekend included a demonstration of a Dutch first degree ceremony (over which he presided himself), a festival dinner at the Leiden Museum of Antiquities with an historic Egyptian Temple as a backdrop, and a cruise of the Rotterdam harbour by boat. During the year special emphasis was given on certain (sometimes less familiar) ritual elements of English freemasonry. Not only in the theoretical elements thereof (the orthopraxis of tradition and ritual), by having two lectures delivered on this subject (W.Bro. Dr. Jan AM Snoek: "The Masonic Method: Initiatory and Allusive" and WBro Simon Fernie: "The Extended Ceremony of a Board of Installed Masters -The 1926 Controversy"), but also in a more practical sense, as he installed his successor by making use of a form of this extended ceremony.
After a long battle with illness, Brother Ab Goedhals passed to the Grand Lodge above on 7th March 2018. He is much missed by all who knew him at Internet Lodge
Wor. Bro. Peter F. Lanes.
Installed 10 March 2001
Fourth Worshipful Master.
Was the first overseas Worshipful Master of the lodge. In order to organize and administer the lodge from 5,000 miles away with the planned very full and exciting program for his year, established many teams of officers and members. Encouraged greatly increased and harmonious communication between brethren and many List based discussions on many different and sometimes controversial issues. Improved contact with and between new members and also with overseas members through the newly formed Meeters and Greeters and the Overseas Ambassadors initiatives. Developed the web site to the latest state of the art with a Home Page recorded stereo movie welcoming viewers. Uniquely introduced a web site meal reservation enabling brethren to reserve their own meal selections, as well as web site based payment for meals by credit card. Successfully managed a busy social year with a traditional Ladies Festival weekend in Nottingham and also a week-long activity in Florida, where members were able to witness a first degree and a third degree American style, with the third degree participants dressed in costumes of the King Solomon period.
After a long and courageous fight with cancer, Brother Peter Lanes passed to the Grand Lodge above on 19th January 2008. He is much missed by all who knew him at Internet Lodge.
Wor. Bro. Chris White
Installed 19 March 2000
Third Worshipful Master.
Developed his theme of "The Internet & Freemasonry", from which all of the members of the lodge learned the experience of being able to communicate on a regular daily basis via our lodge mailing list. This facility led to many discussions and communications that would normally be impossible for a Masonic lodge without electronic mail. The lodge's web site was moved to a facility in the USA which provides full year round technical support and availability. Control of the web site was shared out to more members.
Wor. Bro. John Belton.
Installed 21 March 1999.
Second Worshipful Master.
Known World-Wide for his "Missing Master Mason" papers and concern for falling numbers in Freemasonry; was able to help Internet Lodge work to a greater degree of internal openness and inclusiveness. Recognized that the initiative for this communication lies with the Master of the Lodge, and to a lesser extent with the Wardens and other officers of the Lodge, and that this is a very real challenge for those who followed and one that is likely to influence the direction the Lodge takes as time passes.
Wor. Bro. Gordon Charlton.
Installed 29 January 1998.
Founding Worshipful Master
Established the pursuit of excellence; that we should set a precedent for quality that will be the hallmark of Internet Lodge. He successfully navigated the treacherous ground of getting a new type of lodge properly organized, resolved differences between the hierarchical structure of a Masonic Lodge, and the nonhierarchical nature of network based discussion, saw that our Docushare site was properly established and functioning.
You can view the family tree of Internet Lodge or any other Lodge in the United Grand Lodge of England here.
For Internet Lodge enter 9659 and click on submit or for any other lodge please enter the lodge number.
Please note that the chart information is copyright, and reproduced by permission, of the United Grand Lodge of England.
Also note that the computer generation of the charts is copyright and provided on the website by the author strictly for personal use only.
How we Communicate with the Public and with Members
Our Internet presence and Electronic Communications are controlled by a team of volunteers (known as the Web Team).
Communicating with the Public
The website which you are currently browsing is often called our Public Lodge Website and it is available to all. It is the public face of the lodge used to inform anyone interested about freemasonry in general and our lodge in particular.
This is one of the main vehicles we have for attracting Freemasons as joining members.
Communicating with the Members
We communicate between ouselves as members in a number of ways. All of these communications are strictly for members of the lodge only and access to them is controlled by a combination of passwords and other authorisations.
- Our main method of communicating with each other on a day to day basis is a closed email list.
Every member is joined to the email list when he joins the lodge. Non members can neither read nor post to the list. Members can opt to receive messages from this list in various ways, each choosing this most suitable for him.
- We also have our Members Only Website. This is where we have extensive resources available to members including full history of all the lodge activities, membership lists and all the summonses and minutes of meetings for every meeting of the lodge. Members also use an area of this site to book into lodge meetings and social functions.
Joining the lodge allows Freemasons to use all these methods to take advantage of the opportunity to exchange views and share objectives with other Freemasons all over the world.
The Internet Lodge exists to enable Freemasons from recognised Constitutions around the world to come together for Masonic purposes and personal friendship within the setting of a regular Lodge under the United Grand Lodge of England.
To foster Masonry Universal by enabling members of the Lodge to communicate and exchange ideas on a world-wide basis and to promote wider understanding of Freemasonry as it is practised in different Constitutions.
To provide an Internet-based environment in which members of the Lodge can work together and carry out Masonic research and collaborative projects across international boundaries.
To promote Masonic education through the medium of communication technologies.
To focus on the future of Freemasonry and in particular to lead the way in the use of new technologies for Masonic purposes.
This article was first published in the Newsletter of the London Grand Rank Association in November 2001.
INTERNET LODGE -WHAT ON EARTH IS THAT?
DOES IT MEET IN CYBERSPACE?
These are questions that members of Internet Lodge No. 9659 in the Province of East Lancashire are asked all the time. Many of us are proud to wear the distinctive lapel pin, which, in itself, invites the questions, and we are delighted to answer them.
The Lodge was Consecrated on 29th January 1998 at Freemasons' Hall, Bridge Street, Manchester after a small group of brethren who subscribe to the UK Mason List on the Internet felt that the time was right for a truly universal Masonic Lodge. Whilst all the day-to-day business is carried out either by e-mail or in the "members only" section of its web site, the Lodge holds regular meetings three times a year.
The Installation is, of course, always in Manchester. The other two meetings are held throughout the country, the venues being decided by the Master for the year. So far, meetings have been held in Sheffield, York, Oxford, Syon Park, Bromsgrove, Oldham, Great Queen Street, and Nottingham. Every meeting is distinctly different with a variety of speakers, including Bro John Hamill and Bro Neville Barker-Cryer. As one brother said recently: "Life in Internet Lodge is certainly not boring".
Another unique feature of the Lodge is a team of "meeters and greeters" set up by the current Master. Their job is to ensure that members and visitors are made to feel at home immediately the first time that they come to a meeting. Remember that whilst they probably know more about the members of Internet Lodge than they do about their other Lodges, they will, in all probability, never have met any face to face.
Membership currently stands in excess of 165 and is spread throughout the world with around a hundred more waiting to join. Their nationalities read like the alphabetical list in the back of a world atlas. Obviously, prospective members are strictly vetted before being accepted to ensure that they are genuine Freemasons from a recognised constitution. We have members from across the United States and Canada, including Past District Deputy Grand Masters (roughly equivalent to Provincial Grand Master), one Provincial Grand Master, one Deputy Grand Master, and one Past Deputy Grand Master. Our current Master is an American Freemason who has flown in from Florida for every meeting since the Lodge was formed. We have members in Australia, South Africa and throughout Europe, including the old Eastern Bloc. We have a Past Assistant Grand Master for Turkey who attends meetings regularly. Our Senior Warden is from the Netherlands. This is truly "Masonry Universal".
Through the medium of electronic communication, we are able to react instantly to the needs of brethren, wherever they may be. We get up to the minute information on tragedies such as the Turkish earthquake and the recent atrocities in the USA. We are able to make immediate decisions on what, if any, action we should take to help a brother or brethren in time of need.
It is one such brother who has touched the hearts of many members of Internet Lodge. We have a member living in the mid-west USA who, following a fall, is quadriplegic. This man 's life is filled with the kind of tragedy that most of us could not cope with. A year ago, his beloved wife passed away in the night. It was several days before anyone came to find him lying next to her. However, out of tragedy, comes brotherly love. He decided to sponsor a banner for Internet Lodge -a lodge he has been unable to visit -in memory of his wife. The banner travels proudly with us wherever the Lodge meets and reminds us of our unseen brother so far away and, in his name, the Lodge made a significant donation to his local Shrine.
Further problems were in store. Following a period of neglect by his carer, our brother found himself in a Veterans Administration Hospital hundreds of miles from home. This initially brought joy as he found a granddaughter that he dido 't even know he had. However, he was cut off from the outside world. He did not have his beloved computer. He was not allowed to make telephone calls outside of the city. He was unable to keep in touch with his friends and brethren.
After many months, he was finally allowed home and our Charity Steward found his number and called him. This was duly posted to the list and, since then, many of us have been in touch with this remarkable Freemason. He now has devoted carers and is much improved. He is determined that, when many of the members get together in Florida in November for a visit to an American Lodge, he will get there, although how he can endure a three day drive is beyond most of us. His plans received a further setback when, on being admitted to hospital for a scan, he became caught in the machine, which broke his leg.
This brother's bravery has touched all our hearts. As a result, we decided to make a video of those attending the meeting in Nottingham in August. Permission was received from the Provincial Grand Master for Nottinghamshire to film in the Temple after the Lodge was closed. The organist provided suitable background music. Brethren and their ladies were filmed during a buffet lunch following the meeting and, again, during a concert by the Nottingham Police Choir in the Temple. Much of the Ladies' Festival that evening was also committed to tape.
Our Founding Master is working on editing the tape on his computer and, shortly, the finished product will be despatched to our unsuspecting brother in the USA on CD. (Whilst CD quality is not as good as tape, it solves the problem of transcoding our PAL system to the American NTSC.) The CD will, in due course, be made available to all members of the Lodge and is expected to raise a considerable sum for charity.
This, then, is just one example of our unique Lodge. One of the friendliest and most open Lodges that any of us have ever had the privilege of belonging to. Others are set to follow us. Lodge Ireland 2000 is already up and running in a similar vein and plans are being drawn up elsewhere. Do take a look at our web site at http://internet.lodge.org.uk. Much of it is open to the public and other brethren, including a growing "virtual library" of interesting documents. Obviously, there is a "members only" section which you will not be able to access unless you decide join us in this giant leap for Freemasonry. Details of how to join, together with an application form, are available on the site.
W.Bro Vic Dorman (and others)
W.Bro Bob Waugh was later made an honorary member of the Lodge
He died on 21st December 2005
W.Bro John Dutchman-Smith
Contributed by a member of the lodge in the Lebanon
- We meet in person or we meet in cyberspace.
- We exchange ideas.
- We listen to what our brothers say with care.
- We remember a brother whom we met in a meeting.
- We know each other in person or in cyberspace.
- We laugh, we cry, we pray, we raise our glasses, we meditate, and we share the suffering of a brother whom we met in person or in cyberspace.
- We read literarily, we read mystically, we read esoterically.
- The little world of IL 9659 assimilates our readings.
- We write, we comment, we make mistakes.
- Not far away a brother is waiting for help.
- Is the little world of Internet Lodge strange and out of this world or are we strangers in a mental journey?