Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire

2017

Birmingham Crisis Centre Grants Make a Big Difference

Following grants by both the Warwickshire Masonic Charitable Association, and the Masonic Charitable Foundation Tercentenary Fund, the Birmingham Crisis Centre opened their new nursery wing in mid-September this year. The new wing has been a major project lasting over two years, and now splendidly completed. The donations by Province and the MCF have largely paid for the interior of the nursery, and have included the provision of all of the equipment shown in the photographs below. Tables, chairs, cupboards, display equipment, and much of the separate kitchen area adjacent to the nursery.

The Chief Executive was very pleased and proud to show us round the new area, where at the present time, the centre is caring for 50 children and their mothers. Now that the nursery is complete, more children in the one to five age range can be cared for than was previously the case.

It was pleasing to see the Masonic Charitable Foundation certificate firmly fixed to the wall, just inside the entrance for everyone to see as they enter the new wing, as shown in the final photograph below. The centre really are grateful for the support of the Province, the MCF and other Lodges and Orders in Warwickshire.

Birmingham Crisis Centre provides a safe haven for up to 23 women and their children in self contained bed-sitting rooms, each with its own kitchen and bathroom. Communal facilities include a residents lounge, laundry, children’s playroom, and outside play area, and of course the nursery. They are almost always at or close to capacity.

The centre has highly trained support workers who understand the needs and vulnerabilities of women who have suffered abuse and support them from the moment they enter this “safe haven” through to starting a new life in a new home. Every financial donation, whatever size, makes a difference to the work they do, and the centre is also grateful for furniture and starter equipment for a new home.

JBH

Warwickshire Installed Masters welcome a new APGM

Thursday 30th November saw a full house at the Warwickshire Installed Masters Lodge in Birmingham. W Bro Eric Rymer, Past Assistand Grand Master, the current Worshipful Master opened the Lodge and welcomed the assembled members and visitors, once the formalities were completed he handed over to the Provincial Grand Master, W Bro David Macey, who then asked the Provincial Grand Wardens to take the Warden's chairs.

The Provincial Grand Master then appointed the Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, W Bro Peter Clarke, to the role of Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies. Peter had little time to take this in, as he immediately took up post for the remainder of the work.

The Provincial Grand Master then addressed W Bro Trevor Sturt, and thanked him for his five years of service as an Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Warwickshire. Trevor has been heavily involved in the Province both before he was appointed as APGM and during his tenure. He worked closely with W Bro Eric Rymer on the 2012 Festival, which was a great success. More recently he represented Warwickshire on the committee for the MFest celebration and a number of other very enjoyable events to mark the Tercentenary of the first Grand Lodge. The Provincial Grand Master thanked W Bro Trevor with approbation, and his contribution was recognised with spontaneous applause from all assembled. The Provincial Grand Master than presented Trevor with a Past Assistant Grand Master Collarette and a silver plate engraved with his achievements. W Bro Trevor was invited to enjoy his retirement from office - but not for too long, there is always plenty of work to be done!

W Bro Trevor Sturt with the PGM
W Bro Trevor Sturt with the PGM
W Bro David Stanford with the escorting party
W Bro David Stanford with the escorting party

Having thanked one Assistant Provincial Grand Master for five years of service, it was then time to install a new one to the role. W Bro David Stanford was then escorted into the Lodge by his son, son-in-law and members of Stoneleigh Lodge. David has served the Province in a number of roles, but is perhaps best known as the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies. The Provincial Grand Master spoke of the contribution that W Bro David has made and that this experienced, energetic and enthusiastive Mason will continue to be a great asset to the Province in his new role. W Bro David was then duly obligated and invested as an Assiatant Provincial Grand Master and greeted by the brethren. Our congratulations to W Bro David and best wishes for his new role.

The Provincial Grand Master then handed the Lodge back to the Worshipful Master and the Lodge Wardens were reinstated. The Worshipful Master then congratulated our newly appointed Assistant Provincial Grand Master.

The Winners of the 2017 Masonic Paper Competition
The Winners of the 2017 Masonic Paper Competition

The winners of the 2016-2017 Masonic Paper Competition were then invited to deliver their papers to the Lodge. Bro Paul Fernandez-Montes of Stoneleigh Lodge No 725 delivered a very interesting presentation on the informal history of Stoneleigh Lodge. This was followed by a presentation on the Lodge Candles by W Bro Ian Slesser of the Lodge of Unity No 567. Both winners were then congratulated and presented with trophies by the Provincial Grand Master.

Darell Lodge Support for Charities with Local Connections

Whilst Terry Preece was Master of Darell Lodge 5945 in Rugby, the Lodge members, encouraged by Terry & his wife Kellie, made a series of donations to charities, based upon recommendations and local knowledge. Terry’s story is below:

We chose the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF) as a charity to raise money for because of a brave young girl in our local village. Her name is Eleanor Brinkley. Below is a testimonial her mother Claire has written:

When Eleanor was diagnosed with a rare form of liver disease at 3 months old, the CLDF charity stepped in with information and support from day one. Having a child with a life threatening condition can be incredibly isolating but CLDF were a life-line, putting us in touch with others in our position and providing opportunities to meet similar families. Their Young Person's Officer supports children going through transplant and beyond and I really need that support to continue as Eleanor grows ever more aware of her condition and the impact it will have on her for the rest of her life."

Terry with Eleanor Brinkley and her mother Claire, together with Lodge Almoner John Winn.
Terry with Eleanor Brinkley and her mother Claire, together with Lodge Almoner John Winn.

However, the most important aspect of this charity's work is the vital funding for research and the campaigning for better futures for children and young people with liver disease. They put children and families at the very heart of everything they do. They are always there on the end of the phone if I have a question or need to talk, they were right behind us when Eleanor was transplanted and suffered life threatening complications last year and I really don't know how we'd have got through the past 8 years without them. She has since gone on to make a good recovery and earlier this year competed in the Transplant Games in Scotland.”

During his year as Darell’s Worshipful Master, £1700 was donated to the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation, the majority of which was from events they organised.  £700 was raised for Macmillan Cancer Support from the Ladies Night – this was chosen because they had four friends in the last 18 months who have been helped and supported by Macmillan. Sadly two are longer with us but they were always extremely appreciative of MacMillan and everything they did. A further £340 was donated to the Salvation Army (Rugby) from the annual carol service when the Army band played in the Temple.

Terry and Kellie, with the Macmillan representative in the centre.
Terry and Kellie, with the Macmillan representative in the centre.

 

Whilst Terry is now Immediate Past Master of the Lodge, he has been chosen by the Lodge to be Festival Champion for the 2023 Masonic Charitable Foundation Festival, which will be launched on 15th January 2018.

Thanks to Terry & John for providing these details.

JBH

Masonic Service – Singers Hill Synagogue

As part of our Tercentenary Celebrations, a Masonic Service was held at Singers Hill Synagogue, Birmingham on Sunday 29 October. This was the fifth such service held at the Synagogue and the Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro David F Macey and his wife Sandra led the Province at this special event.

The service was graced by the presence of the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Anne Underwood and well attended by Provincial Officers and Brethren with their families and friends. Those not of the Jewish faith were treated to an unforgettable experience, amply illustrated by the choral element of the service led by Cantor Albert Chait and the Leeds Synagogue Choir. A very moving address was given by W Bro The Rev Elkan Levy which can be read below.

Following the service, refreshments were provided and grateful thanks go to Rabbi Yossi Jacobs, W Bro Sir Bernard Zissman and the rest of the Synagogue organising committee for their work in organising this very successful event.  


 The AddressPGM joins the ServiceSynagogue Service

 


Address given at the Warickshire Masonic Service

Birmingham Hebrew Congregation, Singers Hill on Sunday 29th October 2017

W Bro The Rev Elkan D Levy, PJGD, PProvGChap (Middx) Hon Gr Almoner (Israel)

Lord Mayor, RW Provincial Grand Master, Distinguished Brethren and Brethren, Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends All

To be invited to give the address at this service is a very great honour for me, and one of which I am particularly conscious. This synagogue has for me many happy associations, both with its four previous ministers and with the present incumbent. Many senior brethren in the Province of Warwickshire have been members of Singers Hill, and two of its clergy have been active in the craft. The late Rev Dr Abraham Cohen was the second Master of the Lodge of Loyalty, and the Rev Stanley Brickman is a close personal friend with whom I attend Lodge meetings in Israel.

The three great pillars upon which Freemasonry rests are BROTHERLY LOVE, RELIEF, and TRUTH. They form the reference points, and the principles, of an Order that enriches the lives of all of us who are fortunate to have been initiated into its mysteries.

The first core principle of Freemasonry is BROTHERLY LOVE. Much time and effort has been devoted to discovering the secrets of Freemasonry, which are in fact merely our ancient brethren's proofs of professional competence. What is never discussed is the biggest Masonic secret of all, the sense of brotherhood that pervades the whole of Freemasonry, in every country in the world.

One of the Ancient Charges of a Freemason describes Freemasonry as being “the centre of union between good men and true, and the happy means of conciliating friendship amongst those who must otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance." In the words of Psalm 133 " Hiney mah tov umah naim shevet achim gam-yachad - behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity " [i]

It is this sense of being a member of a vast international brotherhood, of feeling entirely at home, immediately, with any freemason anywhere, which makes the Masonic order unique.

In the land of Israel where I live our Lodges work in any one of nine languages, Hebrew English Arabic French Spanish Turkish Rumanian German and Russian. The brethren include Jews, Christians, and Muslims. We retain clandestine contact with Freemasons in several Arab countries. Despite the obvious tensions, our Masonic brotherhood, rising above political and religious differences, enables us all to sit comfortably with each other. To use Brother Kipling’s wonderful phrase, “we meet upon the Level and we part upon the Square” and for that reason alone among many others Freemasonry is important in society.

The second core principle of Freemasonry is RELIEF. In a Masonic context this means the practice of charity, and indeed its practice on a scale greater than in any other secular movement. If we but think about it, the amount and destination of the donations is staggering.

Within Freemasonry, we have charities that offer relief and support to the children of Freemasons, to brethren and their families who are sick or who fall upon hard times, and to brethren and their families in the autumn of their lives.

But Masonic charity extends far beyond the domestic preoccupations of the order. Of the literally millions of pounds raised annually by Freemasonry, less than 40 percent remains with the Masonic charities. The balance goes to general charities within the United Kingdom and abroad.

Moreover, the Masonic charities differ from all other charities in the United Kingdom. We do not canvass the general public. The monies that we give are our monies, from our pockets, raised from Freemasons and by Freemasons. The whole marvellous structure and achievement of Masonic charity is something about which we tend to be reticent, but about which we should be very proud.

The third core principle of Freemasonry is TRUTH, truth in all our actions, integrity in all our dealings. The Rabbis describe truth as being one of the Divine attributes - "Chotamo Shel HaKadosh Baruch Hu Emet - The seal of the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is Truth." [ii]

This is the same standard to which we instruct a candidate - "To steer the barque of life over the rough sea of passion without quitting the helm of rectitude is the highest perfection to which human nature can attain."

And yet there are matters today that should disturb us. Western European society has recently seen an upsurge in anti-Semitism, largely fuelled by a reluctance in the media to tell the truth and to face facts about what is really going on in the Middle East. This kind of poisoned press reporting is something with which Freemasonry has also been very familiar.

But if for many of us here today 2017 is beginning to have an uncomfortable similarity to 1933, then this is a major Masonic problem as well. A regime which becomes overtly anti-Semitic will also become anti-Masonic. We saw this in Nazi Germany, we saw this in Communist Russia, we saw this in Iran after the fall of the Shah, we have seen this in so many countries where Freemasonry once flourished and is now banned, or where Freemasonry was banned and is now flourishing with the restoration of freedom.

Freemasonry arose in the 18th century as a reaction to religious intolerance. It has flourished because of its atmosphere of toleration. As the Charges of a Freemason state “Let a man's religion, or mode of worship, be what it may, he is not excluded from the Order, provided he believes in the Architect of heaven and earth, and practices the sacred duties of morality”.

We seem at the moment to be entering an era of religious intolerance of a depth and a geographical width unseen since the Middle Ages. All over the world men are fighting each other purely in an attempt to prove the supposed superiority of one definition of God over another.

We are witnessing the largest civil war in history between different interpretations of Islam. We have witnessed religious martyrdom on a scale unknown for centuries – Muslims and Christians of all denominations, Zoroastrians, Yazidis, Jews - the list is horrifyingly endless.

In one of his most beautiful prophecies, Isaiah quotes God as saying to mankind “Lechu na venivachacha – Come now and let us reason together” [iii] but too often these days toleration is replaced by confrontation and the warmth of humanity displaced by vicious inhumanity.

The Emeritus Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks recently encapsulated our current situation in the words

Men hate in the name of the God of Love

Kill in the name of the God of Life

Wage war in the name of the God of Peace

Practise cruelty in the name of the God of Compassion

If religious intolerance is allowed to flourish unchecked, then Freemasonry will be the loser, and if Freemasonry suffers, then I believe humanity will suffer. As Edmund Burke said “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

Freemasonry as we know it today became formalised with the creation in England of the first Grand Lodge in the world in 1717. Today's service therefore is a Service of Thanksgiving for 300 years of Freemasonry in this green and pleasant land, and it is fitting that we should consider what it is for which we are giving thanks.

Firstly we give thanks for the very existence of Freemasonry, that great Order that enriches all our lives, expands the horizons of our experience, and raises the moral level and tenor of our conduct and actions. It enhances our consciousness of that individual religious heritage to which we are each heir, while at the same time encouraging the respect and tolerance for others that is essential for the peace and good order of society.

We give thanks for the friendships that we enjoy, for the fellowship and the companionship of belonging to such a unique institution, for the joy and relaxation of sitting with our brethren in Lodge assembled.

We give thanks for the opportunity to practice charity, that virtue which blesses him who gives as much as him who receives.

And above all, and perhaps most importantly, we each give thanks that we are Freemasons.

In a world of strife and tension, the peace and harmony of Freemasonry gives us all strength and serenity.

And perhaps therefore the greatest thanksgiving that we give at this service, is to the Great Architect of the Universe, for having kept us alive, and sustained us, and enabled us to enrich our existence through the Craft and Brotherhood of Freemasonry, and in so doing to raise the standards of humanity and society.

Thus may it continue for all of us, in our respective Lodges, until time with us shall be no more.


[i] Psalm 133:1

[ii] Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Shabbat 55a

[iii] Isaiah Ch 1:18

 

Warwick Hospital - Birth & Babies - The New Maternity Unit Appeal

birth and babiesWarwick Hospital wants to ensure women have the choice about where they give birth. To support this, a Midwifery Led Unit is being developed on site at the hospital.  South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust has committed to investing £1.5million at Warwick Hospital to provide a new midwife led birthing unit (MLU) for the local community in South Warwickshire, offering more choice to women and their families, considering where to give birth. 

The development of this new unit commenced in August 2017 and is due to open in Spring 2018. This will be the first in the area and it will benefit families across South Warwickshire and beyond.

The Midwifery Led Birthing Centre will enable expectant parents to have their babies in a comfortable, relaxed, homely environment rather than a more clinical setting. This will complement the full Consultant Obstetric Unit which is also based at Warwick Hospital.

The MLU will have 4 birthing rooms each with ensuite facilities, a family snug, kitchenette, dining room, a therapy room and a triage assessment room.

To ensure the new Midwifery Led Unit is the best it can be there is a £200,000 fundraising appeal. The money raised from this will go towards enhancements that NHS funds can’t provide.

  • Buy special baby cribs and stands, rather than standard plastic cots
  • Provide birthing pools for every room
  • Upgrade furnishings to make the unit feel like a home-from-home
  • Develop a therapeutic room for parents to use 
  • Provision of many other additions to provide the best birthing facilities

The Province has joined with the Lodge of Unity No 567 to donate a total of £1500 to the appeal fund. Pictured below are several midwives with former and future patients, together with W Bro Seb Samperi, Worshipful Master of the Lodge of Unity, with Assistant Provincial Grand Master, W Bro Peter Manning, and Provincial Charity Steward, W Bro John Hayward.

 Presentation of cheques from the Lodge of Unity and the Province

 

 

Contact Us

The Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire
Yenton Assembly Rooms
73, Gravelly Hill North, Erdington
Birmingham B23 6BJ

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WarwickshirePGL

For Masonic enquiries:
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Tel: 0121 454 4422

The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) is the governing body for freemasons within England and Wales and districts overseas.