Berk­shire Ma­sons

The Wokingham Paper - - SOCIETY - TIM SHER­WOOD

THE cul­mi­na­tion of the United Grand Lodge of Eng­land’s Ter­cente­nary was held at the Royal Al­bert Hall in Lon­don, on Tues­day Oc­to­ber 31.

The Pro­vin­cial Grand Lodge of Berk­shire was de­lighted to at­tend this his­toric oc­ca­sion, where over 3,900 Freema­sons from Prov­inces, Districts and other Grand Lodges from around the world were present.

It’s been 300 years since four lodges met at the Goose and Gridiron Tav­ern in St Paul’s Church­yard on St John’s Day, June 24 1717, to es­tab­lish the world’s first Grand Lodge. In 2017, the United Grand Lodge of Eng­land (UGLE) is cel­e­brat­ing the Ter­cente­nary of this date.

The cel­e­bra­tions at the Royal Al­bert Hall were the high point of a year-long pro­gramme of var­ied events that have taken place through­out the Prov­inces and Districts. This gala event in­cluded ad­dresses and pro­ces­sions, pro­fes­sional mu­si­cians and per­form­ers and a lav­ish the­atri­cal ex­trav­a­ganza that show­cased the his­tory and her­itage of Freema­sonry.

At­ten­dees in­cluded UGLE’s Grand Mas­ter, HRH The Duke of Kent, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, HRM Otum­fuo Osei Tutu II and HE John A. Ku­fuor.

The event was also livestreamed to wider au­di­ences at UGLE’s head­quar­ters at Freema­sons’ Hall in Covent Gar­den, Lon­don. Around 2,000 of those at­tend­ing the Royal Al­bert Hall then pro­ceeded to Bat­tersea Evo­lu­tion for the Ter­cente­nary Din­ner.

Bri­gadier Wil­lie Shack­ell, Grand Sec­re­tary of the United Grand Lodge of Eng­land, said: “2017 is a year to look for­ward as well as back. Through­out th­ese 300 years we have con­tin­ued our strong tra­di­tions of friend­ship, open­ness and char­ity and our Ter­cente­nary cel­e­bra­tions have been very much about high­light­ing the val­ues of Freema­sonry that we all hold dear.

“We were de­lighted to be in the com­pany of so many Freema­sons from around the world at this grand event to mark an his­tor­i­cal mo­ment cel­e­brat­ing 300 years of Freema­sonry.

“I feel that our role and rel­e­vance in so­ci­ety to­day could not be stronger and we now look for­ward to our jour­ney through the next 300 years.”

In Berk­shire the Lodges and Ma­sons meet in 13 dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions through­out the Province, rang­ing from Wind­sor in the East to Far­ring­don in the West and from Abing­don in the North to Read­ing and Wok­ing­ham in the South.

There are some 3,000 mem­bers and nearly 100 lodges; we have been meet­ing in Berk­shire for most of the last 300 years. Our mem­bers are drawn from all walks of life, and from widely var­ied so­cial and cul­tural back­grounds.

Martin Peters, the leader of Berk­shire Ma­sons said: “This is the cli­max of our cel­e­bra­tions for the 300th An­niver­sary and it helped re­in­force the rel­e­vance of Freema­sonry in Berk­shire and en­cour­aged us to put even more back into the com­mu­nity. Help­ing oth­ers, as we have been do­ing in Berk­shire for more than 200 years, is cen­tral to our ethos.”

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