The Tercentenary Celebrations of United Grand Lodge
were held at the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday 31st October. 2017 and was a feast for the senses. The whole event was being streamed live and is available to watch as a catchup at RAH300.org was superbly organised and ran smoothly despite the Piccadilly Line’s attempts to make me miss it by its glacial approach to mass transfer.
What a glorious occasion with some 4,500 Freemasons including 136 Grand Masters from around the world seated in one of London’s premier entertainment venues, enjoying a spectacular theatrical presentation, led by Sir Derek Jacobi, profiling the progress of Freemasonry over 300 years.
The Diversity of our Lodges
Images were also displayed on overhead screens of the diversity of many modern day Lodges, using social activities which have used to attain and retain its membership, we were pleased to have been one of those selected by Grand Lodge of the Annual North Harrow Lodge Sailing Trip.
The Masonic Charitable Foundation
The MCF highlighted the support it has given to various Masonic and Non Masonic Charities over the years and have regularly supported air ambulance and rescue service charities, donating a total of around £1.5 million to 22 rescue services since 2007. Every air ambulance charity in England and Wales has received funding, and grants are made to equivalent services in areas where they do not operate.. and In recent years, over £2.5 million has been given to support emergency aid and resources such as the 2015 earthquake in Nepal and major flooding in the UK during 2014 and 2015
Music from Gilbert and Sullivan (the Mikado) and from Mozart (the Magic Flute) combined with extracts from the ceremonial delivered with Shakespearean panache……and throughout the celebration meeting I was alternately moved and informed by the display of both history and the aims & ideals that survive today. Sir Derek Jacoby gave a bravura performance and the ladies who played Faith, Hope & Charity were exemplary. There was even a tribute act to Cab Calloway with “Mini the Moocher”. To watch a Grand Officer singing “Hi dee hi dee hi – hoo de hoo de hoo” was priceless. “I Vow to Thee my Country”, “Jerusalem” and the National Anthem (two verses) were ‘sung’ with gusto and enthusiasm with mixed results but it filled many an eye – mine included.
A replacement Ark was inaugurated to replace the one that was lost to fire in the nineteenth century (I think) and will be on display in the main temple in future. The original contained the original articles of association drawn up at the ‘Goose & Gridiron’ and the new one contains copies of those articles and the original three great lights from the one of the four lodges that made up the Premier Grand Lodge of 1717.
The Grand Master
Letters of congratulations were receive from Her Majesty the Queen and a Tribute was paid to the Grand Master ‘by a considerable margin, the longest serving Grand Master in the history of English Freemasonry’
The Battersea Evolution
was the venue for what was a sumptuous affair with about 2,000 brothers being fed royally on a superb meal of treacle-roasted beef fillet and the red wine, which was just fabulous. Great chance to catch up with old friends and make some new ones.
Brethren, do make an effort to make the 400th – I know I will !
Acknowledgements : My grateful thanks to W.Bro David Russell for his initial review and Images: courtesy of United Grand Lodge and various Twitter Lodges and Members. Thanks guys !! e&oe