The Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland
William Ramsay McGhee, MStJ, D.L., Grand Master Mason
Last Saturday it was back to Fife for the second time in two weeks. Once again, we received a great welcome from the Province of Fie and Kinross and from the Brethren Lodge King Robert de Bruce No 304 with whom we were celebrating 200 years of Freemasonry in Ladybank. My sincere thanks to all those involved in organising the celebration, your welcome, hospitality and generosity knew no bounds.
On Monday afternoon I travelled down to Edinburgh and was collected at 03.30 on Tuesday morning by Grand Secretary for an 06.00 flight to Freetown via Paris. The flights were uneventful then we hit Sierra Leone. What a welcome we received from the DGM, Brother Chrispin Bishop Deigh and his team at the airport. We were then transported to the ferry terminal for the 30-minute sea crossing into Aberdeen. Once checked into the hotel, we were whisked off to a reception in a nearby hotel. On arrival, we were met by traditional dancers, jugglers, stilts people and musicians while inside there was well over 100 brethren, wives and friends. After the official welcome we spent a couple of hours circulating and meeting people while enjoying the music of a local band. We finally got back to our hotel about 23.30, some twenty hours after leaving Edinburgh.
Wednesday morning, we had an 07.00 breakfast meeting with the Chairman of the organising committee, Brother Centus Macauley before heading off at 08.00 for a rehearsal at the Georgeacland Masonic Temple. Rehearsal complete, by 09.30 we went off to meet the staff in the District Grand Lodge secretariat and spend some time with them.
We then travelled to the home of the British High Commissioner, Her Excellency, Lisa Chesney who was born, raised and educated in Glasgow. What a charming lady who was extremely interested in the work of Scottish Freemasons.
From the High Commission, it was back to the Masonic Temple and a press conference with the local media during which I and Grand Secretary, had the privilege and pleasure of presenting sizeable cheques to both the local Salone cancer charity and King Charles Home.
It was then a short journey to the View Restaurant where we enjoyed a light lunch before returning to the Lodge to get changed ready to carry out the Rededication of the Temple. Once the official photos were taken, it was straight into the ceremony. Three things stood out for me – the excellence of the Acting Grand Chaplain, Brother Victor J O Hastings-Spaine who carried out his duties impeccably, the Acting Grand Organist, and the singing of the Brethren. It was awesome. When it came to the Benediction, the Masonic Choir excelled in a beautiful rendition of the Lord Bless Thee and Keep Thee.
The following Banquet was excellent in respect of food, company and entertainment. A truly memorable night. Around ten o’clock, we left the Banquet and travelled across town to the DGM’s abode where we enjoyed further hospitality and entertainment. We finally returned to the hotel at 00.30 hours and had to be back up at 04.00 to catch the ferry at 05.00 on the onward journey to Nigeria.
Last night we arrived in Lagos about 18.00 and after an informal meeting with the main Office-bearers, we were taken to a nearby Karaoke Bar – a totally different experience.
Today, we start off with several visits before heading to the Lodge for a rehearsal.
The Group saw its membership rise to 7280 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 1788, submitted by 505 of its members.
These updated contributions can now be attributed as to being made on behalf of 445 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 Fife & Kinross, Glasgow, Inverness-shire and Stirlingshire.
The total identifiable monetary value of the contributions now recorded has risen to £3,639,843.
An excellent example of cross constitution support of almost £300 by the Brethren in the Philippines was posted by Brother Cameron Sloan, PM, Past Depute District Grand Master, (Far East). Lodge Perla del Oriente, No. 1034, Manila City, Far East, donated a cheque for P10,000 (over £140) to representatives of United Service Lodge 1341 EC of Hong Kong to be added to their fund-raising efforts to assist in the costs of dialysis of a Filipino Brother of that Lodge. The donation was matched by Widow’s Sons Scotland - Perla del Oriente Chapter
- This week we welcomed Brethren from Lodge Ratanakosin, No. 1833 (Thailand, Middle East).
- Brethren from other Masonic constitutions were similarly welcomed, such as Brethren from Lodges under the GL of Newfoundland and Labrador, GL of the Czech Republic, GL of Nebraska, GL of Indiana, and the GL of Ireland(Middle East).
Grand Master Mason