Installation Inaugural Address to Internet Lodge 9659
15 March 2003 by WBro Derek Oliver, Worshipful Master.
I have taken as my text for this short presentation, a slightly amended version of the words of an ancient and prophetic verse, translated, I believe, by the well known medieval philosopher and nun, Sister Sledge:
"We are Family: I've got all my Brothers and me We are Family: come on, everybody, and see"
This verse, Brethren, offers us two great messages. The first is that we are, indeed, a family; we refer to ourselves as a Fraternity and to each other as "Brother", indicative indeed of the fact that we are all of the same family.
It is said that we choose our friends but have to live with our family and this, too, is fundamentally true of our institution. 24 years ago this month I was initiated into Anima Lodge no.3634 knowing only my proposer and seconder and here I am today, the Worshipful Master of the finest representative of our truly international family, the Internet Lodge.
And what a fine example we are: a society, working with that love and harmony which should at all times characterise Freemasons yet representing so many different races, cultures, faiths, political persuasions: a microcosm of the finest principles of the Craft.
Like all families we have little squabbles, minor arguments that are usually founded on a misunderstanding, all too easy with our chosen communication method of e-mail. How many times have we all thought "I wish I hadn't said that"?. Yet, like all families, these are soon forgotten and forgiven.
All families have the occasional free spirit, one who just isn't able to fit in and we are no exception. As a family, we must try an understand such individuality, perhaps even compromise but, to use the words of another great philosopher, the Vulcan Mr. Spock, "the needs of the whole are greater than the needs of the individual". As an aside, surely the Starship Enterprise is the greatest example of Freemasonry; so many races - Vulcans, Cardassians and even Romulans living and working together in peace and harmony.
I wonder if there are Lodges on the Enterprise? Is RW Brother James T. Kirk the Provincial Grand Master of the Romulan Sector? My apologies, I digress.
Moving on to the second message in my little text: "We are Family, come on everybody and see". The subject of Masonic Openness is too big and too difficult to discuss here today.
Difficult because it must be acknowledged that in some countries, Masonic membership could cause a Brother to fall foul of State legislation; in others membership is not socially acceptable and even in lands where individual freedom is enjoyed, misunderstanding of our Fraternity causes individuals difficulty with their employers.
I dream of the day when the World will understand the fundamental principles upon which we are founded, Brotherly love, Relief and Truth, allied to our special and deeply held belief in freedom, justice and equality; in the peace and harmony that must come from tolerance and understanding, from respect for the culture and beliefs of our fellow creatures. All the things that this microcosm of the universal family of Freemasonry, to which you have this day installed me as "Patriarch", so well represents.
When that day comes, Brethren, we will all be proud to stand up and say:
"We are Family: come on everybody and see".
Brethren, I thank you for the honour you have given me today: I can only give you my pledge that I shall work diligently for my Family and, I trust, will have it on, pure and unsullied, to my successor a year from now.