Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Masonic Revolution continues: Newly constituted Grand Lodge of All England announced

On July 1, 2006, the Grand Lodge of All England was duly constituted.

Earlier this month, a new Grand Lodge in the Philippines was also constituted. And the United Grand Lodge of America was constituted on St. John's the Evangelist's day, December 27, 2005. It seems good brothers all over the world have had enough of the politics and racism they've found in their original Grand Lodges, and are taking it upon themselves to make changes as they deem necessary.

None of the new Grand Lodges that have come about in the last year are "upstarts" or "clandestine," as some entrenched Antient Masons would have the world believe. These new organizations are made not of men pretending to be Masons, but of regularly made Masons who love the Craft, who have seen wrongs they have tried to right. The Freemasons who are involved in these new Grand Lodges have worked long and hard within the system through proper channels to make needed changes, but have been met with scorn, disdaine and derision.

Just as King George's refusal to listen to the Colonies or to make concessions to their needs led to the American Revolution, so the continued deaf ear offered by current Antient and conventional Grand Lodges to the younger, more progressive Freemasons (formerly) under their jurisdiction has directly led to the formation of these new Grand Lodges.

Here is the announcement by Bro. John Gordon Graves:
Grand Lodge of All England

Brethren, this day The Grand Lodge of All England has been duly and properly formed, armed with a constitution that remains true to its predecessors, and fit for the 21st Century and beyond.

The reponement, or rebirth of our illustrious institution here in York, which dates back to time immemorial, has produced a great surge of interest and activity since our historic meeting last year. Indeed, apart from ongoing developments in Yorkshire, we are now fully committed to the inauguration, within the next six months, of a second operative Lodge, to meet regularly in London. Brethren, this and much more will come to pass.

I am also pleased to announce that negotiations are at an advanced stage with The United Grand Lodge of America. We expect to agree terms for a formal Agreement of Amity before our next meeting in December.

We send them our fraternal greetings, together with our support and best wishes for the future of Craft Masonry throughout the United States of America. They have taken on a difficult task with great fortitude, resilience and determination and, although they are a "new" Grand Lodge, they carefully and in every respect uphold the principles and purposes of Ancient Freemasonry. Not least, they provide us all with a freshness, vitality and renewed enthusiasm.

Unfortunately however, but not unexpectedly, some of the interest expressed in the Grand Lodge of All England has been malign. I am sorry to have to announce that we have found it necessary to suspend the "Latest News" section of our very successful website. This is due to the actions of a small minority in misusing the information provided in order to disrupt our lawful activities, including this very meeting of Grand Lodge. We wish to make it quite clear, of course, that we do not place any blame directly on any other Grand Lodge. The guilt lies with a few sad and misguided individuals perhaps more needful of our prayers than our disapprobation.

Brethren, this is most unfortunate. It is also unhelpful to those interested in monitoring our progress and who wish to keep up to date with the development of Craft Masonry in England, Wales, the Channel Islands and elsewhere. However, the purile actions of such delinquents cannot interrupt or delay our inevitable progress. We will continue to give out as much information as we possibly can to Freemasons and the general public alike without detriment to ourselves or connections.

In such circumstances it is perhaps timely to clarify what we in this Grand Lodge understand by true and genuine Freemasonry. In this we can best start by considering the aims and aspirations for our Brethren and candidates.

An initiate into Freemasonry first enters a Lodge unknowing, and untutored in the Craft: a so-called rough ashlar (building block). But, if he is joining for a valid reason, he anticipates that his life is about to be fundamentally changed by the experience.

Thenceforward it is his duty, and the purpose of true and genuine Freemasonry, to develop his character and knowledge to such a degree that he figuratively evolves into a perfect ashlar (a carefully measured and prepared stone), thereby ensuring that he becomes fit and ready for the challenges of citizenship, and prepared for his inevitable destiny in this life, and in the hereafter.

However, many illustrious Brethren, not least our late Brother Walter Wilmshurst, have pointed out how a Mason's understanding of the Craft often remains at an early and undeveloped stage. Whilst the literal, superficial value of our teachings is gained through ceremony in the Lodge room and through memorising of ritual, this is merely the first part of the journey.

Unfortunately, the great majority of Brethren are unable to take further steps towards a deeper understanding.

They choose instead to remain at a level of knowledge whereby the Craft is regarded as a social, quasi-secret club to which it is agreeable, and possibly advantageous to belong to in terms of the external, materialistic world.

Aspirations at this stage are often for office and apron. The ability to perform proficient ceremonial and to parrot catechism are regarded the pinnacle of Masonic endeavour. Other matters, such as the conviviality of the festive board or the amount of charitable monies raised in order to purchase public approbation regarded as more fundamental than the work itself. But such sentiments are the uncrafted, rough ashlar stage of Masonic understanding.

What then do we in our own Grand Lodge consider to be true and genuine Freemasonry?
Curiously, any such attempt at a working definition is absent from many works on the Craft. It is all very well to talk with somewhat archaic usage of "a peculiar system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols", but does this really explain very much? Should we, in any event, restrict our understanding of Freemasonry to that system which has grown up since speculative Masonry was organised into its currently recognisable structure, or should we raise our eyes to a much wider vista?

Brethren, allow me to offer something of my own fallible understanding. I see an initiatory order based upon a treasury of ancient truths and values enshrined in human experience, and resonating with the underlying philosophies of many religions. A system of spiritual alchemy based on a symbology free of dogma, doctrine, crafted to guide and assist individuals in realising their full potential in their life-journey towards self-knowledge.

Freemasonry, on this definition, or anything like it, represents a serious internal, intellectual and spiritual journey far beyond the concerns of the external, profane, uninitiated world. True and genuine Freemasonry thus represents the precise and absolute opposite of the mafia of the mediocre of popular imagination.

It is thus crucial to the survival of the true Craft, that those men humbly soliciting to be admitted to the mysteries and privileges of Ancient Freemasonry are in actual fact, and not just in empty words, first prepared to become a Freemason, in their hearts. Without such heartfelt fervency and zeal they will always remain at best as rough ashlars, and the spiritual temple of Freemasonry bereft of its living stones.

Brethren, we are engaged upon weighty matters. We could not have come so far without your support, committment and perseverance in the face of adversity. Thank you for taking the time to attend Grand Lodge today. I look forward with confidence and enthusiasm to our next Convocation in December, and offer my good wishes to you all for an enjoyable and reinvigorating Summer break.

— Most Worshipful Brother John Gordon Graves, Grand-Master Mason
This announcement has been previously posted on Alabama Free-Mason and Le Chevalier MaƧonnique.

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  1. I have a question, and I hope it is not seen as disrespectful or argumentative. It's really more for my own information, because I have been following the rift in lodges that is causing more and more Masons to form UGLA, GLAE, etc. Change is very slow in the established GLs. No one will argue with that. Is it procedurally difficult for a group of men to start a new lodge within an existing GL structure, if the area those men live in is already served by a local lodge. I ask because I am wondering if it would be difficult to try and change within. I agree that one or two brothers would have a hard time changing the old guard in an establish lodge. But could a new lodge itself become a beacon of change to others in the GL, as new Masons discover that this lodge is without racism, bigotry, favortism, etc.? The attitude of the new "grand lodges" is certainly commendable, but one should consider that procedurally these brothers are taking the easier road. It is brave to stand up against an established order that has departed from its path. One could argue that we may all be better off to make the effort to reform the current GLs, than to start competing GLs around the world. I anticipate some responses along the lines of "but I've tried, people won't change, it's like butting your head against the wall..." And that leads back to my original question. If the current GLs could use their powers to effectively prevent a new lodge of brothers seeking change, then perhaps a new GL structure is the way to go. Can anyone help me out on this one?

  2. Yes we have had similar battles, and are in the process of starting a new lodge within an old one. All elder members have either demitted or do not come around. We have 1 PM over 5 years since being out of the east. The rest of the PM's, which are three, have less than 20years of masonic experience between the three of them. Whether one lodge changes, and starts doing things differently, or only bring in their peers, it still comes down to appointments vs. elections to GL. As long as the GL appoints someone to the line, no changes will occur. Example, if I could go around to the lodges in my district and politic about the changes I would make if elected to GL instead of status quo appointments, I could believe a change at the GL level is possible, but as long as appointments is the way, no one would think of rocking the boat. Most men are concerned with Titles over results.
    My problem is why can't all forms of masonry exist and recognize. Would it be detrimental to ones soul if a GL system mason sat in a blue lodge meeting with UGLA men? NO.
    WOuld a GL mason from a southern non recognizing prince hall GL go up in smoke if he sat in a Prince Halls blue lodge? NO.
    no difference, it all stems from control freaks and insecure men. Other GL chartering lodges means less DUES as well, and we all know how much GL's NEED and WANT those entitled DUES.
    I have a question: If a GL has been in existence for over a hundred years, have they been banking and earning interest on funds for over a hundred years?
    If so, do they really need to continually fleece under funded or finacially strapped lodges?
    Again, the only way America was formed was by men realizing change would not take place from within, period. So, pick up and start somewhere new, away from intolerance and tyranny! Why is it diffucult for the elders to understand. Histry does repeat itself whether your in charge or not.

    Plus, most young men are BUSY outside of masonry and do not have the time and patience to weight for masonic funerals or wage battles to fix something that DOES NOT want to be fixed.
    Ever see the righteous attitude of Titles Winners? They are infallible and never are checked.

  3. To answer your question. In Alabama all Lodge property becomes part of the GL. The GL has the power to take away your charter and your lodge property if the GM so wishes. If you try to be differnet or more porgressive than the GL wants you to be they can shut you down.
    I was an Alabama Mason for 13 years. The SR controls our GL and its officers. They majority of the Masons in Alabama (98%) or more are racist to the core. They also refuse to be tolerant of any reglious belief other than Baptist.

    They general membership is in rapid decline but those in power or those who will be in power are controlled by the racist narrow-minded thinkers who refuse change, refuse education and generally want everything left the way it is.

  4. Please tell me y'all refer to things as The White Lodge and The Black Lodge in these divisive struggles...

    That would make it more consumable for the public to follow.


  5. The owls are not what they seem.

  6. some may think white lodge refers to good where black lodge refers to evil/satanic

  7. Good point about the GL and appointments. I had no idea Alabama GL could unilaterally act that way. You cleared up some information for me raised in my original post.

  8. Just to assist with clarification, the situation here in England is that The Grand Lodge of All England at York is not a new Grand Lodge.

    The reponement, or the taking up of an existing and undissolved Warrant of Constitution is a well established principle in Masonic and Common Law both in England and The United States of America.

    The Grand Lodge of All England is the original and Ancient Grand Lodge working under its Old York Constitution of 1705 and is the very fabric of Masonic History.

    The reponement or re-awakening of The Grand Lodge of All England at York was never intended to be and should not be seen as a criticism of The United Grand Lodge of England.

    As far as changing The United Grand Lodge of England from within is concerned, it would be impossible to change The United Grand Lodge of England into The Grand Lodge of All England at York.

  9. It is approaching 2 years since the historic reponement of The Grand Lodge of All England at York. Those who are interested in Anglo-Saxon Freemasonry may wish to update themselves on the progress of this Grand Lodge by reading the article "Sussex -v- Sussex" on our "Articles and Papers" webpage. This article states in clear terms the reason for the reponement of The Grand Lodge at York.


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