On Saturday 20 July, members of the Foundation Club visited the Lodge of the West Indies No. 9424, meeting at Freemasons’ Hall, to witness the Installation of one of our members as he became Master of the Lodge.
Standing Room Only
A huge turn-out from far and wide was present, including many who travelled especially from many of the Islands of the West Indies, as well as our contingent from Surrey. So many were present that extra chairs had to be found to allow everyone a seat otherwise it would have been standing room only, as close to one hundred brethren were present.
The meeting was held in the presence of a Metropolitan Grand Inspector, his Escorting Officer and the Lodge’s Senior Visiting Officer, but with a packed agenda there wasn’t any time to waste.
After the Lodge was opened and the usual formalities catered for, the Lodge was then opened in the Second and the Master Elect took his obligation. It was long thereafter that all those below the rank of an Installed Master retired to allow the Inner Workings to be carried out.
With the inner workings complete, the Lodge was called off, a perfect chance for all present to cool off given the temperatures were more akin to those in the actual West Indies than in London.
The Brethren of Lodge of West Indies then treated us to their unique hospitality as they served up Rum from across the West Indies and a whole host of sandwiches. There was more than enough for everyone in attendance to have a glass to toast the new Master (in some cases two!) before heading back to see the him install his Officer for the year.
The newly installed Worshipful Master then instructed the Junior Warden to call the Lodge back on, all present being slightly merrier than before. The rest of the meeting was then carried out flawlessly, before the Lodge was closed and the Brethren headed off to dine.
On 9th May, the Foundation Club visited Castlemartyr Lodge the Provincial Executive’s private Lodge to partake in a debate regarding change entitled, “This House believes, that in order to have a future in the 21st century, Freemasonry must evolve.”
This was a unique event with the Foundation Club taking on the Provincial Debating Team. Mark Budds and Iain Pompei represented the Foundation Club, taking on W. Bro. Forbes Cutler ProvSGD and W. Bro. Klick Rahman PPSGD.
The debate was opened by the Chairman, W. Bro. Mike Harding Assistant Provincial Grand Master who introduced the two teams.
Proposal for the Motion
Mark Budds gave the opening statement for the motion, declaring that Freemasonry must evolve reflecting the change in lifestyles and working practices and that Freemasonry to avoid being Dinosaurs needs a kick-start to bring it in line with the modern world and modern technology.
Proposal Against the Motion
Forbes Cutler then responded on behalf of the Provincial Team, asserting that Freemasonry has continually adapted to change, and in his own opinion had never been more vibrant. However, short term changes to match current vogues could have a long-term negative impact on our institution, to a stage that Masons of earlier generations may say that it no longer counted as real Freemasonry.
The Cases for and against the Motion
The Chairman of the debate then called upon Iain Pompei to make the case for the Motion on behalf of the Foundation Club. Iain argued that Freemasonry faces a new frontier and a journey in the 21st Century. That Freemasonry should explore new ways and seek new and exciting futures and to boldly go where no Mason had gone before. Klick Rahman then responded on behalf of the Provincial Debating Team, making the point that evolution is natural, and good. Freemasonry had evolved for 300 years and will continue to do so, how change for change’s sake could mean a short-term gain in numbers, but with the loss of the very essence of Freemasonry.
Comments from the Floor
The Chairman then invited comments from the floor and a lively discussion ensued with the general consensus being that change was necessary, but the debate focussed on just how fast and radical the change needed to be. The final commentator said that radical change was not needed, but the change that was really was required was to focus on younger and newer Brethren.
Closing the Debate
The Chairman then invited the Bro. Mark to again take the floor to argue for the Foundation Club. Mark argued that he was not for advocating the scrapping of the traditions and heritage of Freemasonry, but that they needed to reflect the technical age that now permeates their home and business lives of the members.
W. Bro. Forbes then took the floor to summarise the case against the motion, but because that Freemasonry is founded on Truth and not on public perception is that we spin ourselves in to listening to the outside world and thereby lose our self-belief. That Freemasonry is based on beliefs, not numbers or turnover; it is based on quality, not quantity.
The Chairman restated that the Motion that had been debated was “This House believes that, in order to have a future in the 21st century, Freemasonry must evolve. “and that the floor had heard arguments for and against, and many of those were elegant points, given in a heartfelt and sometimes humorous way. The chances were that Members and guests had come into Castlemartyr Lodge on that evening with an opinion already formed on the topic. He wished to remind the floor that they were being asked to vote on the substance of the arguments in the debate itself, and not on what their opinion was when they had first arrived. The Chairman invited the four speakers For and Against the Motion to withdraw from the Lodge.
A vote was taken and the Scrutineer passed the result to the Worshipful Master and W. Bros Cutler, Rahman, Pompei and Bro Budds were re-admitted. The Worshipful Master, W.Bro. John Milner PAsstProvGM then declared the result, as follows:
For the Motion 11 Votes – Against the Motion 26 Votes
The Motion was therefore defeated and the Provincial Debating Team were declared the winners. The Worshipful Master congratulated and thanked the Teams for presenting an entertaining and lively debate and the “Floor” for its excellent contribution.
Whilst we may not have won the argument on the night, we did succeed in getting all to admit that changes for new and younger Freemasons are necessary.
Our thanks got to the Worshipful Master and Members of Castlemartyr Lodge for inviting us to partake in the debate, it certainly was an evening and occasion to remember.
On Monday 20th May, I returned to Crescamus Lodge to see one of the Club’s newest members Passed to the Second Degree, along with many other members of the Foundation Club.
Having been at their last meeting I was asked along with several others if I could assist at their next meeting. Due to holidays several of the Lodge’s members would not be able to be present. Given that the candidate is a member of the Club this was a great opportunity for us to support him and fantastic for him to have so many guests present for his ceremony.
It was great to see a Temple full of so many new and young light blue Masons, all received such a warm welcome.
After W. Bro. Chris, himself a member of the Foundation Club, opened the Lodge and welcomed the many visitors. He then asked several members of the Club to act as Officers for the ceremony, including W. Bro. Michael who acted as Junior Deacon. I was delighted to act as Inner Guard, knowing that I would be the first to receive our Brother in the Lodge. The candidate gave a superb and word perfect response to the questions, before W. Bro. Chris then delivered an excellent ceremony to the delight of everyone.
Following the conclusion of the lodge meeting business, the brethren opted for a pre-dinner drink. The festive board topped a great evening, with everyone enjoying themselves, ensuring it was a very lively evening in the best of company.
If you have yet to visit Crescamus Lodge, do make sure to put it on your to-do list. The Brethren of Crescamus are a fun lot who enjoy their Freemasonry and have a unique take on Taylor’s ritual, including some very special floor work. Their perambulations around the Lodge are a must-see for every Brother in Surrey.
If you have a ceremony coming up and would like a contingent of members from the Foundation Club to visit please do get in touch!
Over 20 players descended on Sutton Masonic Hall on Friday 22 March to battle it out and to be crowned the 2019 Annual Foundation Club Poker Champion.
Now in its fifth year, the annual poker tournament is one of the Foundation Club’s most enjoyable and best-supported events each year. As usual, it was a great evening with everyone having a great evening, enjoying great company.
Fifth Annual Poker Tournament
The players were split over three tables before the chip champions from each table came together to face off in the final.
It was a great evening, with many new faces, and plenty of friends and family, masons and non-masons alike, including several who are considering joining Freemasonry.
At times the tension was gripping, with lots of bluffing and double-bluffing going on as they all tried to hide behind their poker faces.
As with every tournament, there can only be one winner, and that was Colin from Coulsdon Lodge who won the prize pot of £75 and the end of the night. However, it was a close call with Colin, being pushed right to the end by Danny of Old Sinjin’s Lodge and the Club’s own Chairman Mark Budds finishing third. However, the standout player of the evening was Szymon who was only recently initiated into Crescamus Lodge, and who finished a very credible fourth, playing poker for the very first time. Beginners luck or a card shark in the making?
Masonic Charitable Foundation
The evening managed to raise £200 for the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which provides support to Freemasons, their families and the wider community. You can find out how the MCF supports Surrey by viewing their impact report.
Sutton Masonic Hall
Our thanks go to all at Sutton Masonic Hall for their incredible welcome year in year out and whose support ensures that the event goes without a hitch.
On Friday 15th March, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a very special Initiation by Castle Lodge at Farnham Masonic Centre.
This was my first meeting in Farnham and also my very first visit to the town. I have to say its a very attractive and interesting place. The Masonic Centre itself is relatively small, having a single temple upstairs and a good size dining room downstairs. but the building has lots of history with links to the English Civil War, the Castle itself which is just a little further up the hill, falling into Parliamentary hands, and the building the Masonic Centre now occupies, providing lodging to their army.
Castle Lodge itself was until quite recently looking at the prospect of closing. But thanks to the efforts of all the members things are now on the up. So much so, they regularly are having to get dispensations to hold for extra meetings. Such is the waiting list of new members waiting to be initiated.
This was the second Initiation this year for Castle Lodge. I had to pleasure of the company of two of the Lodge’s most recent initiates and a new Fellowcraft. I also had the pleasure of meeting a recently initiated member who was visiting from Godalming.
However, the reason for my visit was for a very special and unusual occurance. A son initiating his father! At the begining of the ceremony, The Senior Warden took to chair from the WM in order to perform the obligation It was great also to see so many new and young masons in the lodge. The future looks bright or (Light Blue) for this Lodge.
I look forward to visiting this centre again and the Foundation club supporting local events at this centre.
A big thank you to W. Bro. Rob Smith for the invitation and opportunity experience this special occasion, and once again congratulations to W. Bro. John and his father Ben.
Before he was initiated, Foundation Club member Richard Mead had expressed an interest in Freemasonry to his Grandfather, who told him that his Father had been a Mason, but he didn’t know where or how to get in contact with anyone from the Lodge.
Sadly, Richard’s Grandfather passed away in late 2018 but on clearing out his loft, he found a little leather case containing some very familiar looking regalia. Carefully moving his apron out of the way, he found his Great-Grandfather’s Grand Lodge Certificate As instructed he had kept it safe and not in public view. The Certificate detailed that he had been Initiated into Adur Lodge No. 2187, under the Provincial Grand Lodge of Sussex. A few phone calls later, and Richard had managed to contact the current Secretary of the Lodge. Richard then put together a plan and arranged for several members of the Club, and also members of his Lodge, Beddington, to visit the Adur Lodge for their Installation meeting.
Adur Lodge was founded in January 1887, and initially met at the Assembly Rooms in Henfield. In 1909 it was decided to move to Brighton, to be more convenient for its members. Meetings were then usually held at the Old Ship Hotel, Brighton, until 1928, after which they again moved to the Sussex Masonic Temple, Queens Road, Brighton, where they still meet today.
On the 27 March, the contingent from Surrey went to Brighton to visit the recently refurbished Masonic Centre to visit is Great-Grandfather’s lodge. All of the party from Surrey were all in awe from the moment they walked in the temple.
Just after opening the Lodge in the First Degree, the Worshipful Master welcomed the visitors then, pausing for a second said: “I’d also like to extend a very special welcome to Brother Richard Mead, whose Great-Grandfather was a member of this Lodge and sadly passed away in 1954.” He then wished Richard a good meeting and hoped that he would aIso enjoy the Festive Board. Adur Lodge practice Taylor’s ritual, always squaring the Lodge, paying particular attention to their floorwork.
There was then a report at the door, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Sussex was in the anteroom and demanded admission to the meeting. As his Escorting Officer reported to the Worshipful Master, it turned out that his own Grandfather was also a member of Adur Lodge! Truly, it felt like a very special meeting. Unfortunately, Richard had to leave for the Inner Workings to be conducted – but the Surrey Brethren from the Foundation Club who remained said it’s like nothing they’ve ever seen before.
Following the meeting they enjoyed a fabulous Festive Board, where the Worshipful Master took wine with Brethren who had Ancestor’s in Adur Lodge, which Richard found really touching.
Richard truly enjoyed his visit to Adur Lodge, finding it fascinating to see the different ways Lodges operate and was not exaggerating when he said he felt that he was treated like royalty. The visit completely summed up what Freemasonry is about, it’s a family and even though he’d never met any of the members of the Lodge before, he was welcomed and treated like one of their own. Their Secretary is now planning to come and Richard’s Lodge in the near future and no doubt Richard will certainly be organising another trip to Brighton, where any member of the Foundation Club would be more than welcome to join him.
In April 2018, Crescamus Lodge kindly hosted a demonstration of Bristol Workings for the Foundation Club. With their Worshipful Master, W, Bro. Chris a member of the Foundation about to be Proclaimed as Master for a Second year, I thought it was time to make a return visit and to thank the Brethren of Crescamus Lodge for their hard work in supporting the club.
W. Bro. Chris was first Installed as Master of Crescamus Lodge in February 2018, and faced a very challenging year; no more so than his very first meeting in the Chair, when nearly 200 Brethren packed Croydon’s Wheeler Temple. Also present that day was R. W. Bro. Ian Chandler Provincial Grand Master.
Returning to Crescamus Lodge, I could see just how Chris had grown into the Chair. After the short Proclamation Ceremony, Chris Installed his Officers in a superb manner, including four other Foundation Club members. The meeting was very moving, as Chris had been Installed last year, by his Father-in-Law who very sadly passed away towards the end of 2018.
Crescamus Lodge is a small, but super-friendly Lodge who use Taylor’s ritual, but have their own unique take on it, including some very special floor work. Their perambulations around the Lodge are a must-see for any Brother in Surrey. Most importantly, and obvious for all to see is just how much fun the Brethren of the Lodge have. It was a delight to see just how much enjoyment the members have in their Freemasonry.
Visting Light Blues
It was great to be part of a number of visiting Brethren, including members of the Connaught Club, Metropolitan Grand Lodge’s Club for Light Blue Freemasons, who had come to support W. Bro. Chris.
Following the meeting, we retired to the bar for a quick libation, before enjoying a splendid Festive Board. Throughout the meal, however, my mind turned to other things, as I had been invited to give the response to the Toast to the Visitors. On such an auspicious occasion, I was cautious to ensure that I struck the right balance, paying tribute to the Lodge as a whole, but also congratulating W. Bro. Chris, and thanking the Lodge’s Secretary W. Bro. Sam for all his efforts in establishing the Foundation Club.
I will be sure to visit Crescamus Lodge again, and look forward to their next meeting, where they will be Passing a member of the Foundation Club, which again will no doubt be a very special occasion.
In the first of a new regular series, Bro. Mark Budds gives us an insight as to what he has been up to in his new Chairman’s Blog.
Whilst recently visiting Rosehill Park Lodge, I was invited by W. Bro. Ray Turner, their Immediate Past Master to witness his exaltation into the Holy Royal Arch.
Holy Royal Arch
The Holy Royal Arch is the completion of every Mason’s journey in pure and antient Freemasonry. It is also a requirement for joining many of the subsequent orders open to you in your Masonic career. To become a member of the Holy Royal Arch, you will need to be a Master Mason for one month or longer. The ceremony of entry is called exaltation and is a truly beautiful and colourful ceremony, unlike any other you would have been through in Masonry.
To become a member of the Holy Royal Arch, you will need to be a Master Mason for one month or longer. Members of the Holy Royal Arch are called Companions and meet in Chapters. The meetings themselves are called Convocations. These Chapters meet less frequently than Lodges, usually three times a year, and the Annual fees are considerably less. In recent years the ritual has been modernised, and the ritual is now often shared between three or four companions, to make it easier to learn.
Worcester Park Chapter
W. Bro Ray’s exaltation into Worcester Park Chapter, was set for 14th February. I was of course more than happy to attend Ray’s special day… my wife was not quite as happy given the date, but it all turned out fine in the end, especially as I was treating her to a night out the following evening at the Foundation Club’s Annual Quiz Night.
The night was extra special for Ray, as he was the third generation of his family to be exalted into Worcester Park Chapter. The members put on an excellent ceremony for him, with excellent renditions of the Historical and Mystical lectures.
W. Bro, now Companion Ray, had previously spurned my repeated invites to join the Foundation Club, but at the Festive Board following the convocation, Ray expressed an interest to join us. I am sure Ray will make a great addition to the Club. We, of course, welcome new members no matter how far they are down their light blue Masonic journey.
On Friday 15 February, the Foundation Club held its third annual Quiz Night at Croydon and District Masonic Halls.
Unfortunately, our regular Quizmaster was unable to make the evening, so Mark Budds, The Foundation Club Chairman, took the reigns and became Surrey’s very own Jeremy Paxman.
Before the quiz started, the participants were treated to some Brain Food in the form of another one of Croydon’s amazing curries which was enjoyed by all.
With 35 members and their guest’s taking part, there were five teams battling it out to be the Foundation Club Quiz Champions of 2019.
After seven hard-fought rounds (Including a picture round) we had a winning team, Titanic Swim Team who enjoyed winning and the added bonus of Red roses as a nod to St Valentine’s Day the previous day.
The “winners” of the wooden spoons were Sat Nag who were equally pleased, and in fairness, they were the smallest team on the night, so should be congratulated for their efforts
Our raffle, with prizes donated by the members, raised an impressive £140. All in all, a great deal of fun was had by all.
A big thank you to all those involved in the night and all those who turned up to support us.
We look forward to repeating this again next year and at our next social event, the Foundation Club’s Annual Poker night on 22nd March at Sutton and District Masonic Hall.
The Foundation Club was founded to give new and young Freemasons in the Province of Surrey a means to meet and socialise with like-minded people; of similar experience, whilst bridging the large geographic area and diversity of Surrey’s many Lodges.
The Foundation Club is unique among Light Blue clubs across the country. It is run by the members for the members. As a new or young mason, the Club is an excellent way to increase your knowledge of the Freemasonry. Many visits to Lodges are arranged so you can experience other Lodge’s work. It also allows you to get involved in activities and events beyond your own Lodge. The Foundation Club’s aim is to organise events to give you an opportunity to extend your Masonic knowledge. You will see from the list of activities below we try to offer a good variety of events; but please do let us know the kind of events you would like us to organise for you.
We kicked off proceedings this season by holding a Summer Disco boat trip on the Thames, starting at Kingston. This was great success with over 40 members and their partners attending. It allowed everyone to get re-acquainted after the summer break and let their hair down (those that still have it, anyway!). By popular demand we will be repeating the event in 2019, but a little earlier in the year.
In October we held our AGM at Surbiton. Sadly this saw our long-standing Chairman, W. Bro. Nick Tamila, stand down, having received Provincial Honours. We thank him for his outstanding contribution to the Club; being a founder member in 2014, and we wish him well on his Masonic journey. Nick has been succeeded as Chairman by Bro. Mark Budds. After our meeting we dined and the evening ended with a fascinating presentation by W. Bro. Peter Cartwright on “Freemasonry and the British Empire”.
At the AGM we voted on how to distribute our charitable funds raised this year. As we enter the final year of the 2019 Festival there was a unanimous decision to make this our focus of the year, and to that end we donated £780 to the Festival.
For those who were unable to join us at the AGM, we held a New Members’ meeting at Godalming Masonic Centre on 27thNovember. This was a chance for “Light Blue” Masons to come and find out more about the Club.
At Christmas, we organised a visit to Harmony & Progress Lodge where one of our members was recently Installed as Worshipful Master. A fabulous night ensued as W. Bro. Iain initiated out newest member.
A quiz night, a charity poker evening, and a visit to the very special Pilgrim Lodge are all in the pipeline along with much, much more either planned or being planned.
We look forward to seeing you at one of our events soon!