The Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland
William Ramsay McGhee, MStJ, D.L., Grand Master Mason
Greetings from Lusaka, Zambia
Thursday morning, and I am writing this week’s update from the Kenneth Kaunda Airport in Lusaka awaiting a flight to Johannesburg on the first leg of my journey back to Scotland.
Last Saturday saw over 300 Brethren assemble in the Scottish Masonic Centre, Johannesburg for the Installation of Bother Jim Kerr’s successor, Brother Julian Apfel. It was a splendid day – the organisation for the day was top class resulting in the whole day going according to plan. Once again, I was delighted to have Brother Kalpesh Shah as my D of C and Brother Jeremy Holley as my Grand Chaplain. It was good to see the hall packed to capacity for the ceremony which went well. After the Installation, we were well entertained by the Benoni Pipe Band in the grounds of the Masonic Centre while the hall was converted into a dining hall.
On Sunday morning we travelled to Nigel for a Church Service at which there was a large attendance of Brethren all in Regalia. The Service commemorated the laying of the Foundation Stone of Nigel Methodist Church on 14th March 1903 which, like our experience in Kalgoorlie, involved the local Scottish Masons. In the Lodge Minute Book in 1903 it states – “It was noted that the Methodist community of Nigel was in need of a place of worship” – thereafter the members of the Lodge proceeded to build the church.
I left Johannesburg on Monday, accompanied by the Brethren from East Africa and flew to Lusaka in Zambia where I was met by Brother Frank McCully, the outgoing DGM and Brother Douglas Ironside, the incoming DGM. We enjoyed a pleasant meal together on Monday night during which we planned the remainder of the week.
On Tuesday morning I had a very useful meeting with the Commissioned Office-bearers which lasted until lunch time when we were joined by the East African Brethren for lunch. In the evening we attended an excellent FC Degree worked by Lodge Lusaka No 1368 under the guidance of their Master, Brother Maaya Chipwayambokoma.
It was back to the Lodge on Wednesday morning for a rehearsal for the Installation. All went well and at 18.30 the District Grand Lodge was opened, and I had the honour of Installing Brother Douglas Ironside as the new DGM. Another tremendous night which ended with a Banquet in the hotel where we were joined by the ladies. A great ending to a long but very enjoyable trip.
- The Group saw its membership rise to 7094 Brethren from not only the Scottish Constitution but from many of our Sister Constitutions throughout the world.
- This week saw the total examples of charitable giving recorded within the group rise to 1603, submitted by 459 of its members.
- These updated contributions can now be attributed as to being made on behalf of 430 Lodges, from within 59 of its Provincial Grand Lodges, District Grand Lodges, Superintendencies and Lodges abroad under the direct supervision of Grand Lodge.
- During the week posts were submitted by group members representing the Provinces of Caithness, East Lothian, Fife & Kinross, Glasgow, Linlithgowshire and Orkney & Zetland.
- The total identifiable monetary value of the contributions now recorded has risen to £3,127,955.
SCFS Overseas Report
Very interesting posts were published this week.
- Brother Dave Munroe, SDGM, District Grand Lodge of the Bahamas, shared information on the District’s Annual Blood Drive which will assist and support those who are in medical need, the Drive was featured on the TV programme “Our News Bahamas”, along with an interview with Brother Munroe. A donation of the gift of life … in which 28 pints of blood were donated by the Brethren.
- Following the news of the Brethren from Lodge Newfoundland Kilwinning, No. 1754, giving of their time and efforts to support the “Gathering Place” in order to serve breakfast to its users, we were delighted to share a further post featuringLodge Newfoundland Kilwinning. This time showing its recent financial donation to Stella’s Circle in St. John’s, Newfoundland, which will go towards supporting women under 30 at the Naomi House Crisis Shelter.
Overseas membership of the SCFS group again increased as Brethren joined from Lodge Royal Stuart, No. 893 (Western Australia), Lodge Roodepoort Caledonian, No. 865 (Central South Africa), Lodge Koodoo, No. 1317 and Lodge Kirkwood Kilwinning, No. 1393 (both Eastern Province of the Cape of Good Hope), Lodge Harry S. Truman, No. 1727 (Far East), and Lodge Academic, No. 1150 (Nigeria).
All being well, I will arrive in Glasgow on Friday morning via Johannesburg and Heathrow. I will be met in Glasgow by the Brethren from Renfrewshire West. On Friday afternoon accompanied by the Provost Drew MacKenzie and Brother Alan Beck I will visit Highland Mary’s grave and Greenock Burns Club after which I will have dinner with some of the Renfrewshire West Brethren. On Saturday, I’ll have the honour of installing Brother John Williamson Black as the new PGM of Renfrewshire West.
Finally, as always, please stay safe and look after each other.
Grand Master Mason