The Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland
William Ramsay McGhee, MStJ, D.L., Grand Master Mason
Greetings from Johannesburg
Another busy week, first of all in Cape Town, where I was joined by a great Deputation from the District Grand Lodge of East Africa who are accompanying me throughout South Africa. Their DGM, Brother Kalpesh Shah is my acting Grand D of C while District Grand Secretary, Jeremy Holley is acting Grand Chaplain. Both Brethren are doing a splendid job. First call was on Saturday 4thMarch, when I had the privilege and pleasure to install Brother Frank Winter as the 21st DGM of the District Grand Lodge of the Western Province of the Cape of Good Hope. Brother Winter takes over from Brother David Gallacher who has been a real stalwart for Scottish Freemasonry in the Western Cape. On the Sunday, I accompanied Frank and Dave to the fossil site of Langebaanweg. It is a fascinating place that gives a real insight into life in the area 5 million years ago when sabre toothed cats, short necked giraffes and many other now extinct species were commonplace.
Monday 6th March began with an early morning flight to Port Elizabeth. We arrived at 07.45 and over coffee had a planning session with DGM, Brother Craig Jessop, and his team followed by lunch where I met with most of the District Office-Bearers. That afternoon we met the Rector of Grey’s School who kindly gave us a guided tour of the excellent facilities the school boasts. There is a strong Masonic link with the school – the founder was in the Craft. Lodge St Andrew 608 thereafter hosted a reception in the Grey’s Pavilion at which I met many of the District’s Reigning Masters and Past Masters. On Tuesday I was privileged to present an achievement award to Adrian Gardiner, Founder of CCFA (Community Conservation Fund Africa) in recognition of all he has done for wildlife and conservation. From Nyosi Wildlife Estate it was back to the Lodge rooms where Lodge Koodoo hosted a reception prior to working an excellent FC Degree. I was delighted to meet up with the outgoing DGM, Brother Wayne Corney who has been another steadfast and determined District Master – a real credit to Scottish Freemasonry.
Early on Wednesday 8thMarch we attended a meeting of Lodge Sonheuwel. This has been changed to a “Pensioners” Lodge and meets during the day. Later, we enjoyed breakfast with the Brethren and I presented a cheque to a local school where autistic children are taught. This was followed by a presentation from local politician, Annette Lovemore, on the water shortage currently affecting the Eastern Province. Then it was back to the guest house to get changed for the Installation of the new DGM, Brother Craig Leonard John Jessop, and his Commission. The Lodge was full to capacity for the Ceremony after which we were joined by the ladies at the Banquet at the Thatchwoods Hospitality venue. A truly remarkable day enjoyed by all.
Thursday morning, cases all packed once more for the two-hour flight to Johannesburg. We arrived mid-afternoon which gave me some time to compose the Update before having dinner with the outgoing DGM, Brother Jim Kerr and his charming wife Dorothy.
Today we are meeting up with a Deputation from Lanarkshire Middle Ward, led by PGM Andrew D Millar and including Proxy DGM Gordon Mather. They are there as part of their twinning arrangement with the District of Central South Africa, and together we toured Soweto before an evening braai with the local Brethren. Tomorrow heralds the Installation of Bother Jim Kerr’s successor, Brother Julian Apfel.
SCFS Overseas Report
Masonic support doesn’t always have to involve financial outlay. This was demonstrated in a post shared by Brother Scott Bartlett, IPDGM, Newfoundland and Labrador, which featured Brethren from Lodge Newfoundland Kirkliston, No. 1754, giving of their time and efforts to support the “Gathering Place” in order to serve breakfast to its users. The Gathering Place is a community health centre which provides much needed services including food, clothing, overnight shelter, and social supports to people in the Lodge’s community who struggle every day to find enough food to eat … providing 3 meals a day, 7 days a week; an average of over 3000 meals each week.
• Overseas membership of the SCFS group again increased as Brethren from Lodge St. John, No. 623, (Jamaica), Lodge Naval and Military, No. 848, (Hong Kong, Far East), Lodge Tullibardine in the East, No. 1118, (Malaysia, Middle East) joined. Members were also approved from Lodges whose Grand Lodges are in amity with the GLoS, this week from the GL of India, GL of Nigeria, and UGLE.
Brethren, this week, Grand Secretary has circulated a letter regarding an exciting new journey to increase the active participation of young and new members of the Scottish Craft, by establishing Scottish Constitution Young & New Masons groups, worldwide. Please ensure that the letter is read in all Lodges.
Finally, as always, please stay safe and look after each other.
Grand Master Mason