Weekly Update 23rd June 2023 GMM Bro William Ramsay McGhee



The Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland

William Ramsay McGhee, MStJ, D.L., Grand Master Mason


What an incredible weekend we had in Lebanon. On Friday morning, we boarded a coach and visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon in the town of Harissa. The Shrine stands next to the Basilica of Our Lady of Lebanon. The Basilica was designed in the late 1960s by renowned Lebanese architect Pierre El Khoury, and it really is an outstanding piece of architecture.

Next stop was the ancient city of Byblos, located on the coast about 20 miles north of Beirut and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. At Byblos, also known as Jbail, we visited the Fossil Quarries exhibition, the Crusaders Church, the Old Souk (market) and the Citadel. We spent a fascinating time there learning much about the religious and masonic significance of the city.

On Saturday the Brethren, Ladies and guests embarked on another coach tour – this time around Beirut including a visit to the Beirut National Museum. Meanwhile, Grand Secretary and I remained at the hotel where we had a morning meeting and lunch with senior members of the District before heading to the magnificent function room in the hotel for a rehearsal.

The installation Ceremony was attended by over 250 Brethren – all Scottish Lodges in Lebanon were well represented along with deputations from all parts of the globe. At the conclusion of the Installation, we were joined by the Ladies for the Gala Harmony Dinner – a splendid affair greatly enjoyed by all.

On Sunday we headed south to the city of Tyre where we visited the Hiram Tomb. From research carried out with various Universities, the evidence would suggest that this was not the tomb of King Hiram but the tomb of Hiram Abiff. It was a fascinating visit, and we spent much time at the tomb before heading to Quana of Galilee which is steeped in biblical history. This is where Jesus performed the miracle of turning water into wine and it was humbling to walk where Jesus walked and take in the views of the area which have changed little over the past 2000 years. 

Sunday night was totally different. We were invited to a “Widows Sons” branding ceremony and barbeque. It was most interesting in many respects, and we were greatly privileged to witness it. At the conclusion, we joined the other guests for an excellent barbeque followed by a few Toasts – a truly superb evening with the “Widows Sons” Lebanese Chapter.

Brother Roland Prince very kindly took us on a personal tour of the Beirut blast site where we witnessed much of the devastation from the 2020 explosion which caused over 200 deaths. We were greatly impressed by the progress made in restoring property and getting back to some form of normality. Monday night was spent in the company of the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Washington DC when we attended his annual visit to his three Lebanese based Lodges.

The District is in good form – going from strength to strength – and Grand Secretary and I were both well impressed with the resilience, enthusiasm and commitment of our Lebanese Brethren.


  • The Group saw its membership rise to 7200 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 1736, submitted by 493 of its members.
  • These updated contributions can now be attributed as to being made on behalf of 439 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 Edinburgh, Forfarshire, Glasgow, Ross & Cromarty, The Scottish Borders, and Sutherland.
  • The total identifiable monetary value of the contributions now recorded has risen to £3,470,169.
SCFS Overseas Report 

The following extremely interesting posts were published this week and thanks is extended to the Brethren who provided the information. 

  • Brother Richard Luke GordonPM, shared news of Lodge St. John, No. 623, Jamaica, hosting its annual treat with the children of the Boys Town Infant School in Kingston, Jamaica … featuring Brother Leighton McKnight, Master, sharing buns and cheese with the children. 
  • Brother George Rogers, PDGM, Western Australia, forwarded a post by Brother George Buchan, PM, in which details of Lodge Menzies Doric, No. 890, and family members, recently set up a Team with Lifeblood Australia, where donations of blood or plasma could be made as a team, rather than as individuals. For a few hours on Sunday 18th June, the Lodge Menzies Doric family took over the Rockingham Blood donation centre, and gifted not just their time, but also the possibility of saving lives.
  • Brother Pédro TurnquestSWLodge San Andreas, No. 1835, Bahamas, provided information of an excellent example of the strong support of the local community given by Lodge San Andreas. At the Graduation Ceremony of the Huntley Christie High School, two students were recipients of substantial financial recognition for excellence as part of the Lodge’s Alphonso Smith Scholarship Award Program.

New members were welcomed from our Lodges overseas: Lodge Menzies Doric, No. 890, Western Australia, Lodge Tranquillity, No. 1446, Sierra Leone and the Gambiaand Lodge Hesperus, No. 1738, Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada. Brethren from other Masonic constitutions were similarly welcomed, such as Brethren under the GL of Florida, the GL of Michigan, and the GL of New York

Finally, as always, please stay safe and look after each other.

Ramsay McGhee

Grand Master Mason