The 19th of September 2015, was a great day for all of us at the University of Birmingham lodge no. 5628. As, not only did we have the great honour of installing W.Bro Ron Parker for the second time, as Worshipful Master of our lodge. We were able to do this wonderful and honourable ceremony in the beautiful and history drenched surroundings of the Severn Street Masonic Hall, which from that date, will be our new home.
The Installation was a smooth affair, which could only have been brought about by the keen eye and gentle guidance of our veteran lodge officers. But as some of these officers make way for younger members of the lodge, we can be assured that their guidance and knowledge will always be a guiding light in the lodge to both brethren and our new Worshipful Master.
Once the lodge was closed and all masonic work for that day had ceased, all brethren and visiting brothers retired to the elegant surroundings of the dining room, for a wonderful festive board. And there, under the gaze of all the past masters, whose emblazoned names line the walls of that dining room, we made a toast to our new Worshipful Master and to the new masonic year, which lies ahead.
We had the final meeting of our 2014-2015 Masonic year on Saturday 18th April 2015, at which we performed a triple passing. We had 2 provincial guests one of whom, W.Bro Philip Hall, has just been promoted to Assistant PGM of Warwickshire and he will be installed for next season.
It wasn’t until after the lodge and excellent festive board had finished that we learnt that it may well be the last time the University of Birmingham Lodge meets at Stirling Road; as we were on our way to the car park we were informed that all lodges would probably have to vacate Stirling Road before September and go to their new homes.
The nearby Apollo Hotel on the Hagley Road has offered all orders meeting at Stirling Road the provision of a home and have been very accommodating it seems, although any move there is expected to be temporary. There are options within Birmingham near to commuter routes and rail station, Severn Street being only one.
We have yet to investigate all and decide upon our best option.
We will let you know where we finally lay our hat!
“WOW!” exclaimed the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies W Bro David Stanford, upon re-entering the lodge. He had just escorted the Provincial Grand Master, RW David F Macey and numerous other distinguished guests and visitors of Grand and Provincial rank, out of the lodge room.
We had just witnessed a very special occasion being only the fourth time in the history of the Province of Warwickshire that such a presentation has been made. W Bro. Michael Roper-Hall, Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden, Certificate of Merit, received a certificate and badge from the PGM to mark his 70th year as an active Freemason.
The PGM sat in the centre of the lodge with the very modest Michael, reminiscing for the benefit of members and visitors Michael’s life and times, skilfully extracting an astonishing history of personal, academic, military and Masonic achievements. At the end of the interview the PGM expressed but one regret, “I only wish I could present you with another Provincial Grand Master’s Certificate of Merit. You deserve it! But if you want to express it as CM² that’s fine by me!”
There followed a flawless and entertaining presentation of the first degree tracing board by the PGM and Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies W Bro Philip Hall.
One would now expect that the very busy Provincial Grand Master had exhausted his repertoire for the day, but none of it, he proceeded to present four Grand Lodge certificates to those recent initiates of the University of Birmingham Lodge who were fortunate enough to be present on the day.
All of this was presided over by our Worshipful Master Alberto Cuomo who is believed to be the youngest serving Master in England having been installed at the age of 23.
Is it any wonder that the Provincial DC’s first words were, “WOW!”?
The University of Birmingham Lodge 5628 enjoyed an unusual occasion when it initiated a man who was already a Master Mason.
Bro Adam Doveston is an Operative Mason and recognised all the working tools as those of his craft. He joined the lodge through the UGLE University Scheme, holds an Honours Degree in Construction Management and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).
As well as Freemasonry Adam enjoys a variety of interests including Clay Pigeon shooting, History, travelling and Art. Unsurprisingly he also enjoys Architecture and Stone Carving (including taking part in the European Stone Festival), as well as good cigars and whiskey, and brewing his own beer and port!
All members are hoping that Adam will speak at one of their meetings about Operative Masonry and wish him the best of luck in the craft!
This meeting saw Brother Alberto Cuomo take the role of Worshipful Master for the year. With an excellent turn out to help assist and congratulate Alberto, an enjoyable time was had by everyone including many esteemed members of local provinces.
W.Bro Alberto Cuomo joined the Lodge via the UGLE University Scheme of which the University of Birmingham Lodge was the third member following the lead of Apollo (Oxford) and Newton (Cambridge). W.Bro Cuomo is believed to be the youngest master the Lodge has had and possibly the youngest current master in the country. The lodge is thoroughly looking forward to his year in the chair.
Always keen to ensure that we can accommodate the brethren members of our lodge, the University of Birmingham Lodge 5628 has moved its meeting dates to the 3rd Saturday of the month. Meetings will now be held on the third Saturdays in November, February, April and September.
As a University Scheme lodge we now have many members who are spread far and wide out of term time, we also have long established members who likewise travel distances to attend lodge. The move to Saturdays will make attendance a far less stressful journey to and from lodge. We hope you find this most convenient.
At the Installation meeting on September 23rd 2013, W.Bro Ben Goldsmith was made Master of the University of Birmingham Lodge 5628.
W.Bro Ben joined the Lodge as an undergraduate via the UGLE University Scheme of which the University of Birmingham Lodge was the third member following the lead of Apollo (Oxford) and Newton (Cambridge). At 24, W.Bro Goldsmith is believed to be the youngest master the Lodge has had and we all look forward to his year in the chair.
It is with great pleasure to report that two members of the Lodge received their first Provincial appointments at the Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge on the 18th May 2013. The meeting was held at the Provincial Temple, Stirling Road. A full house of Warwickshire Masons as well many honoured guests from adjacent provinces as well as further afield made the event most memorable.
The presentation of the Officers for the ensuring year were appointed and invested and the Past Ranks were conferred and confirmed by the Provincial Grand Master, RWBro David F Macey. WBro Humberto R Campos was appointed Acting Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies (Prov.A.G.D.C.) and WBro Robert L Ashford was appointed Past Provincial Grand Standard Bearer (P.Prov.G.St.B.). This was followed by address form the RW Provincial Grand Master. A hearty congratulation to both these brothers and a big thank you to them from the Lodge for all the support and dedication they’ve given to the Lodge over many years.
Another successful multiple ceremony! On the 25th Feb 2013 the Lodge again initiated four young candidates under the Universities Scheme. As Worshipful Master. Brother R Ashford oversaw the proceedings but was amply aided by many senior and junior brethren during the ceremony. In fact it was noted that the current cohort of officers, notwithstanding the acting officers for the evening, were all junior brethren and had come into the Lodge via the Universities Scheme.
On reflection this is an excellent position to be in and illustrates to a large extent the implicit objectives of the Scheme. It is also testimony to the Lodge in fully engaging the Scheme, the fruits of which are evident to all. The four new members now add to the growing critical mass of younger brethren in the University of Birmingham Lodge. And it is also worthy to note the enthusiasm these new young brethren bring not only to Lodge meetings but the festive board. This was amply illustrated during each of their short speeches at the festive board. The next meeting, scheduled for the 22nd April, will also be a test for many of the floor officers as the plan is to undertake a double raising. The Lodge is getting “geared” up for this event which no doubt will be an interesting and enthralling experience.
WBro Robert L Ashford DPodM, BA, BEd, MA, MMedSci, PhD, MChS, FCPodMed, FFPM RCPS (Glasg)
A meeting and workshop was convened in February at UGLE headquarters for Provincial Information officers.
Our IPM, WM Ron Parker, was invited along with WM Ivan Smart by WM Peter Wellings the Provincial Information Officer for the Province of Warwickshire. Warwickshire is becoming a leading light in the adoption and provision of social media within Masonry. UGLE are keen that Masonry does not fall behind in adopting the various Social Media systems universally available. It was quoted, “Some may think it a nuisance factor, some a waste of time, but it is here to stay and is growing fast. Our younger brethren are already using it more than you can imagine”. UGLE are keen to encourage all Lodges to consider some form of Social Media platform to work alongside Websites. The use of Facebook, Twitter and the like will become more active in the near future.