The year 2017 has been a landmark year in the history of Freemasonry generally across the globe and in particular for English and Lincolnshire Freemasonry. It is a great honour to serve the Province of Lincolnshire as Provincial Grand Master but it is a special privilege to be in Office during the Tercentenary year. Great celebrations have taken place throughout the country and indeed in Lincolnshire.
It is remarkable that a Meeting of four Lodges at the Goose and Gridiron Public House on the 24th June 1717 close to St Pauls’ Cathedral set us off on a magical journey to where we are today. The Goose and Gridiron Lodge is now the Lodge of Antiquity No 2. There are as of this year some 200,000 Freemasons in England and millions across the world. Masonry universal came together in 2017 to celebrate 300 years since the birth of organised Freemasonry.
Some time ago I formed a Committee under the chairmanship of the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Very Worshipful Brother John Hockin, to oversee and deliver the Tercentenary celebrations in Lincolnshire. I express my deep gratitude to the members of the Committee who gave up so much of their time in order to ensure that the celebrations were such a success. They all worked with great enthusiasm and efficiency.
It was decided to place all the Lincolnshire ‘eggs’ in three baskets and to have three main events.
On Saturday 3rd June there was a very special event held at the East Kirkby Aviation Centre. We enjoyed a family picnic, dance and entertainment in the hangar which holds the awesome Lancaster bomber ‘Just Jane’. We were blessed with wonderful weather and the event was fully subscribed. It was a 1940’s themed event and it was heartwarming to see the Brethren and their families thoroughly enjoying themselves.
On Saturday 1st July the Lincolnshire Masonic Social Committee organised a youth celebration Concert which was held at St Botolphs Church in Boston which is of course that iconic Lincolnshire building commonly known as ‘the Boston Stump’. It was a beautiful setting for such an event and again the weather was kind. The Church was brimming with Lincolnshire Freemasons and their families. We were treated to some inspiring music from the Lincolnshire Youth Wind Orchestra and the Boston Youth Pop Choir.
The main event in Lincolnshire was a Service at Lincoln Cathedral followed by a luncheon at the Events Centre, Lincolnshire Showground. This was a truly special day. There were over 800 people at the Service and over 700 people at the lunch. I shall always remember the splendour in the Cathedral and seeing all the masons in full dress regalia. The Service was led with skill and dignity by Worshipful Brother the Reverend John Spriggs, Provincial Grand Chaplain. It was a very fitting climax to the Tercentenary celebrations in Lincolnshire.
The main and special event organised by Grand Lodge was at the Royal Albert Hall on 31st October. This was followed by a banquet at the Battersea Evolution. The Most Worshipful Grand Master His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent presided over the day supported by the Rulers in Grand Lodge. There were some 4,000 Masons from all over the world in the Royal Albert Hall and in full regalia. It was a magnificent sight. We were enthralled by a Theatrical and Musical Celebration of 300 years of organised Freemasonry entitled ‘Bringing Light to the World’. Again it is a presentation that I shall never forget and I am sure that that goes for all who were present. I was so pleased to be supported by many Brethren from Lincolnshire. The Most Worshipful The Grand Master called upon the Deputy Masters of the Time Immemorial Lodges to present the Great Lights and the Wren Maul. A reconstructed Sone Ark was brought onto the Dais. The Great Lights were then placed in the Sone Ark and blessed and dedicated by the Grand Chaplain. After being addressed by The Most Worshipful Pro Grand Master The Most Worshipful Grand Master replied and addressed the Assembly. All present then sang ‘Jerusalem’ in rousing manner and similarly followed that with the first two verses of the National Anthem.
We then proceeded to the Battersea Evolution for a magnificent Banquet to conclude a wonderful and unforgettable day.
Brethren, I shall always have very happy and fond memories of the Tercentenary Celebrations in Lincolnshire and indeed in Grand Lodge. It was great to have so many of you and your families with me. That was particularly important and special to me.
By coincidence the year 2017 coincided with the 225th Anniversary of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Lincolnshire. Hence on Wednesday 21st June 2017, which was the date of the first Meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Lincolnshire, there was a special Church Service and Meeting in Grantham. The Church Service was lead by Worshipful Brother the Reverend John Spriggs, the Provincial Grand Chaplain, at St Wulfran’s Church. We then proceeded to the Masonic Hall where there was a re-enactment of the Installation of the First Provincial Grand Master for Lincolnshire, the Reverend William Peters. It was a very fitting way to celebrate 225 years since the first Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge. Again I have very fond memories of the day.
Over the last 300 years Freemasonry has evolved and changed but we have remained loyal to the principles which applied in 1717 and indeed are so relevant today. It is extremely important to look upon and enjoy our past but we must always look to the future. We are all very proud of our principles and values and I am sure that the Tercentenary celebrations will form a platform for us to move forward into the future with great confidence and optimism. We have been able to demonstrate to the community yet again the beneficial effects of our antient institution. As always we have ‘united in the grand design of being happy and communicating happiness’. I very much look forward to enjoying your friendship and company in the years ahead.
Right Worshipful Brother Graham Ives
Provincial Grand Master for Lincolnshire
22nd November 2017
Picnic and Dance
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