Tuesday, August 14, 2007

British Masons donate heart monitor to health center, give cash to church building fund

It seems our British brethren are a charitable lot, and that's a good thing.

Six lodges in Corby, Northamptonshire, England, put their funds together to buy a $5,000 electro-cardiograph heart monitor for the Corby Diagnostic Centre after they learned that the town of Corby has a 48% higher rate of heart disease than the British national average.

Corby Diagnostic Centre outpatients' manager Julie Hodgkins said, "We want to thank the masons very much indeed for thinking of us. We see a lot of people with heart-related problems in Corby and the ECG machine is a very valuable tool for us.

"An ECG machine records the electrical activity of the heart and is used to monitor and diagnose heart disorders. We can also use the equipment for pre-assessment before operations to ensure that people are fit for surgery.

"The new machine will be a major benefit for the department and will replace our old one which was reaching the end of its useful life."

Meanwhile the United Grand Lodge of England gave a bundle of cash away, too, but personally, I can't see how their gesture helps mankind in general. I'd certainly not want my dues or donations being given away to a church building fund.

The Anglican Church site even states their "concerns" about the activities of Freemasons, which I assume means they don't hold the fraternity in very high esteem. But the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity was only too glad to accept a check for over $10,000 from the English Freemasons of Gibraltar for its "Rock of Ages Campaign." Alfred Ryan, Deputy District Grand Master in Charge of Gibraltar's English Masons, presented a check to Dean Alan Woods, on behalf of the Freemasons' Grand Charity of the United Grand Lodge of England.

I don't know the details, but giving that much money to a church's building fund, to "a worthy and most needed cause [to] help in the repairs and restoration of the Cathedral Holy Trinity" seems to me to be some sort of "hey, we're not such bad guys after all" public relations move.

Unless, of course, English Freemasons built the Gibraltar cathedral back in 1832, and feel some resposibility to help in the renovation.

Image: The Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Gilbraltar

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  1. ... or unless they have a lot of members who also attend that church.

    Let's not forget that many, if not most Masons are devout members of their faith; wanting to do something for a favorite institution is not necessarily a bad thing. Presumably, they had the support (i.e., votes) from the Craft to do this.

    Not that I agree with the action - just that I understand that there could be more than one motivation.

  2. Gibraltar isn't just a short hike from UGLE headquarters; it's down there south of Spain.

    Chris said this in a recent comment he made to a recent article here:

    The only case of which I have personal knowledge is the relatively recent departure of the Grand Secretary of UGLE. This was caused by his perceived interference in the internal affairs of the Spanish Grand Lodge -- there are many English Masons who have retired to Spain and [have] their memberships there; the UGLE Grand Secretary allegedly got acquaintances and friends in Spain to try to influence local Masonic affairs. There was quite a bit of a kerfuffle about it but information was quite thin on the ground and we heard of it only by word of mouth.

    I wonder if there is any tie-in between the "kerfuffle" about the former UGLE grand secretary and this donation to a cathedral 1,100 miles from London.

    — W.S.

  3. May I just correct you with the concept that Dues are used in any of the Charitable Donations, no matter if it be Church, Disabled Children, Heart Clinics or similar.

    In my County , Province on Essex in the UK. The GM had a notion to help the local Cathedral with a rebuilding fund. In fact it was to add a rehearsal room and Crèche.

    An appeal was launched and some donations were collected, some raffles, quiz Nights etc were created all over the County. We raised the set sum and they had a day at the Cathedral to celebrate. Its built now , it has a six inch plaque on the wall, donated by The Freemasons of Essex.

    Now this is common practice and everyone knows very well where there donation is going and what it is to be used for. In fact it is unlawful in the UK to raise Charitable Funds without first telling the donator where the funds are going.

    The main point however is that the annual Fees are never used for Charitable donations they are always kept separate.

    With regard to the Grand Secretary, the Brother served Freemasonry for many years and those who should know better should not get involved with gossip, it demeans Freemasonry. It is amazing how easily the Masonic oath is fogotten when a juicy bit of gossip comes into the cross hairs.

    The Grand Secretary was not sacked, he was just not re appointed. Sometimes your face just does not fit. Thats life. My close friend who is a friend of ex Grand Sec. tells me you could not find a finer Freemason, thats good enough for me. His Father was too as was his Grandpa.

    Easy thing to call a mans honor into question, about as easy as forgetting your Masonic oath.

  4. Bro. McElligott: Nobody is breaking any oaths by wondering what the kerfuffle was about the former Grand Secretary's "disciplinary hearing" and non-reappointment. We're speculative Masons; that's what we do — speculate.

    Stories from UK news outlets about the matter were linked to and commented on here on The Taper back in May, 2006.

    The news reports indicate there was more afoot than just "his face didn't fit." It's more than "gossip" when it becomes a news story.

    And that's so cool... there's a plaque recognizing Freemasons on the church wall. Masons love plaques.

    — W.S.

  5. oqeyI always felt that Masonry and religion should be kept seperate.
    Helping a hospital or some local charity is always good, but when you start tying it to religion I it find annoying.
    We are men of all faiths and when we start donating to a certain faith it makes us look biased.
    I wonder how much was donated to other faith organazations in the area.
    My guess? None.
    Lets just keep religion out of the craft and know one will feel slighted.

    Shadrack 498

  6. I would have to have some more information on what the Grand Lodge's motives were in this donation to the church before I could form an opinion. I agree with some of the previous comments. However, I could see situations where it would be fine to donate to a Church. Let's say a historical site like the Old North Church in Boston was in need of repair. This place represents a particular faith, but also an important part of Brother Paul Revere's contributions to the American Revolution.


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