March 2012

Chris Malpus PPrGJD (Glos.) WM. Internet Lodge 9659 2011 - 12

I have great pleasure in reporting on the Lodge Year 2011 - 12, in which period I had the honour of serving as Worshipful Master. The differences between the actual programme of the year and the one proposed in my Manifesto of August 2009 were surprisingly small.

The Installation Meeting on March 19th was, as usual, held at the Manchester Bridge Street Freemason's Hall, preceded by the now-standard convivial social evening at the hotel. The installation ceremony was conducted in excellent fashion by outgoing WM Alan Tibbetts - with occasional diversions into Canadian ritual - ably supported by a selection of the Lodge's ritual experts.

The first major event of the year was the visit to Minneapolis. How this came about requires a short back-history. The Sir Winston Churchill Lodge no. 351, Grand Lodge of Minnesota, was warranted as a Lodge of Research / instruction in 2009, sponsored by several past and future Grand Masters, and specifically charged with becoming proficient in (English) Emulation ritual. On a visit to Minneapolis in 2010 I met senior members of the Lodge (of which the late Frank Harris was then Secretary) and floated the idea that a group of UK 9659 members might visit and demonstrate a degree ceremony. Within days this had escalated into an invitation for an official visit and the opportunity to perform a formal demonstration under the patronage of the Grand Master.

This duly took place in early June under the title of "Atlantic Brotherhood". The demonstration was performed within a meeting of the Sir Winston Churchill Lodge, before an audience of over 300 brethren. It was followed by a gala "Festive Board". The team delivered a full Third Degree ceremony, complete with openings and closing in the three degrees, to very warm applause and congratulations led by M.W. Bro. Thomas Hendrickson, Grand Master.

Next came the August Regular Meeting and Festival weekend. With the able assistance of W.Bros Jones and Mennie, and much help and advice from John's wife Judy (and the Lillies!), brethren, their ladies and guests enjoyed a social programme which included a guided water cruise in Bristol's historic floating harbour, a reception and private viewing at the Edward Jenner Museum in Berkeley, a social evening in the historic Berkeley Arms Hotel and a gala dinner dance at the group hotel. On Saturday August 13th the Lodge met in the function room of the Berkeley Arms hotel, where our hosts (and my mother Lodge), the Royal Lodge of Faith and Friendship No. 270, has met for over 160 years. The guest speaker, W.Bro. Richard Brown, Provincial Grand Orator for Gloucestershire, delivered an entertaining and thought-provoking lecture on "The Masonic Legend of Jack the Ripper". He drew attention to the fact that three of the womens' gruesome wounds were similar to the penalties of the three degrees.

At the October Regular Meeting held in Coventry, the Lodge was extremely privileged to receive a demonstration of the "Bristol Workings" First Degree ceremony. This is very different from UGLE emulation workings, and is only usually demonstrated to Installed Masters' Lodges and on important anniversary occasions. It gave me particular pleasure that the demonstration was given by Canynge's Lodge 1388, which has many links with my mother Lodge. The Demonstration was conducted with great skill and feeling, and I had the high honour of being Acting Organist for the ceremony!

In March I had the great pleasure of representing the Lodge at the Installation of R.W.Bro. Sir David Trippier as Provisional Grand Master of East Lancashire, a very grand ceremony in Blackburn.

The Worshipful Master's year normally ends by conducting the Installation ceremony of his successor. This year, I had an additional duty (and the honour) of welcoming the PGM to our installation festival and handing him the gavel so that he could preside over, and make the presentation of, and award to our Past Master, M.W. Bro. Charles Lewis, in celebration of his 50 years of service to Freemasonry.

The 2011/12 year could not have succeeded without the unstinting support of my Officers and all the brethren of the Lodge. I am eternally in their debt, and must single out W.Bro. Frank Harris, without who the Minneapolis meeting could not have succeeded, and who regrettably passed to the Grand Lodge above late in the year. His life and service was celebrated at the installation meeting.

Chris Malpus
Immediate Past Master
March 2012