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.
In his role as the Provincial Lodge Website Coordinator. our IPM, W.Bro. Ron Parker, presented a guide to creating websites and how to achieve Provincial Approval, the award needed to gain permission to publish a Masonic Website. Over 50 Lodges were represented at the inaugral workshop. Attendees expressed their pleasure at the day and new websites are already under construction. The profile of the University of Birmingham lodge with its membership of the Universities Scheme and involvement in Lodge websites is heightened, the lodge is still growing from strength to strength with an ever increasing active membership.
Another year in the chair for W.Bro. Robert Ashford, The University of Birmingham Lodge’s new Master. W. Bro Robert Ashford was inducted as Master of the Lodge for a second time in October. The ceremony was conducted by the outgoing Master W.Bro Ron Parker who became the IPM. Robert has another busy year ahead with 9 candidates awaiting initiation already!
We were graced with the presence of the Assistant Provincial Grand Master the Worshipful Brother John R Emms Past Senior Grand Deacon, who gave the address to the master.
Another splendid evening! The University of Birmingham Lodge held its Master’s Dinner on July 9th. There was a diamond jubilee theme with Red, White and Blue table decorations and a first prize of Diamond Jubilee Bubbly, for raffle winner, proceeds of which were donated to the 2012 Festival.
It was far more than a Ladies to Dine evening with guests bringing friends and relatives. It was a pleasure to have the company of new candidates to sample the social side of Freemasonry. It was an opportunity to thank our partners for their patience in allowing us to follow our Masonic calling and show non-Masons what we are all about. The Worshipful Master, W.Bro. Ron Parker, make a short speech during his toast to the visitors to explain the history of Freemasonry, its tradition and the chartable acts to both Masonic and non-Masonic beneficiaries.
We were graced with the presence of the Assistant Provincial Grand Master the Very Worshipful Brother Eric Rymer, Past Senior Grand Deacon, and his wife.
The Dinner culminates the very busy Masonic season for the University of Birmingham lodge. The Master Elect. W.Bro Robert Ashford will be made master at the next meeting, the Installation (dates and details will be seen on the diary page). He has again a very full season of initiations and ceremonies.
A busy year got busier this evening when we intiated two more candidates into the craft.
With a lodge room swelled by visiting members of neighbouring Provinces the double initiation ceremony went smoothly. Bro Jake Harvey presented the EA Working Tools, whilst his father and members of his Staffordshire lodge looked on. Grand Lodge cerificates were presented by W.Bro Stephen Tucker PGDC and of Apollo Lodge Oxford with whom the University of Birmingham Lodge have close ties. There followed another splendid festive Board displaying the fraternal union amongst Masons.
Two days later on the 26th at our daughter lodge, The Birmingham Old Edwardians, members of the University of Birmingham Lodge were entertained regally as the BOEL passed two of our candidates. The BOEL were also hosting guests from the Association of School Lodges of which they are now a member. The Master of the University of Birmingham Lodge was invited to close the BOEL which is a custom between our lodges. We are now looking forward to our next merry meeting at which we shall hold another ceremony of double raising.
What a splendid evening it was! The University of Birmingham Lodge was graced with the presence of the Provincial Grand Master the Right Worshipful Brother David F Macey, his deputy the Very Worshipful Brother Alan J Wellan, Past Grand Sword Bearer,his assistant the Worshipful Brother Eric J Rymer, Past Senior Grand Deacon and members of Grand Rank and Provincial Rank from around to the country to witness the historic quadruple initiation. 36 Masons sat in lodge witnessing the spectacle presided over by the Worshipful Master Ron Parker, ably assisted by his floor officers with much appreciated help from the Provincial Support Team managed by W.Bro Michael Midgley. A more expanded account of the evening will soon be published on this website, please check in for updates regularly. W.Bro Eric J Rymer Asst PGM, W.Bro Ron Parker Worshipful Master, Rt.W.Bro David F Macey PGM (Warks), V.W.Bro Alan J Wellan Asst PGM sat before the new initiates and the members of the lodge and visitors to the Ceremony.
The University of Birmingham Lodge was the second to join the ever increasing ranks of the University Scheme initiated by the Assistant Grand Master David Williamson, the first being Apollo Lodge of the University of Oxford. This is rather fitting since Apollo is one of our Mother lodges from whom so much of our ritual was inherited.
The Master of our lodge, W. Bro Ron Parker, accompanied by our hard working secretary, W. Bro Clive Neal-Sturgess, attended a conference at Freemasons Hall, Great Queen St, London on Saturday October 15th specifically to discuss the progress and possible improvements of the scheme. Most the 40 or more participating lodges were represented.
We were personally greeted well as representatives of our lodge by the Assistant Grand Master R.W.Bro David Williamson and co-ordinators of the scheme, including W. Bro Stephen Tucker. Their comments about how well we were performing in our role were taken kindly.
Right W. Bro David Williamson and W. Bro Stephen Tucker introduced us to the Grand Secretary, W.Bro Nigel Brown after his introductory speech to the delegates and we took the opportunity to have a photographic record made whilst standing in front of the Grand Master’s Chair on the dais of Grand Lodge!
W.Bro Clive Neal-Sturgess (secretary), W.Bro Nigel Brown (Grand Secretary), R.W.Bro David Williamson (Asst. Grand Master), W.Bro Stephen Tucker , W.Bro Ron Parker (Master University of Birmingham Lodge)
On November 28th 2011. The University of Birmingham Lodge 5628 celebrated its 75th birthday and 300th meeting by raising two of its members in a double ceremony. Bro Jake Harvey and Bro Dipesh Bhundia had entered Freemasonry though the Universities Scheme being initiated into the University of Birmingham Lodge. The Lodge benefited from the assistance provided by the Provincial support team who supplied assistant deacons for the evening. Jake Harvey is a Lewis and his father W.Bro Ade Harvey, a member of Chase Lodge in the neighbouring Province of Staffordshire, assisted W.Bro. Ron Parker, the new Master of the University of Birmingham lodge, by raising his son Jake. The evening was further complemented by members of Foundation Lodge, No. 82 in the Province of Gloucestershire, who presented some elegant regalia and jewels that had belonged to a deceased brother who had also been a joining member of the Lodge. The provinces of Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire were all well represented.
“Have you ever driven along the Hagley Road in Birmingham and wondered about the strange windowless building near Stirling Road? Thanks to Ron Parker, we now know some of the answers”, quoted a Senior Mensan in their magazine. The building houses the Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire which oversees activities in almost 200 Lodges throughout the province. On a Saturday in early September a group of Mensans from the West Midlands were delighted to accept an invitation to attend a day at the Warwickshire Masonic Temple in Edgbaston.
Gathering at the Clarendon Suite in Stirling Road in the Buttery Bar for a complimentary tea or coffee, they were then escorted by a Mason, resplendent in purple Masonic clothing, to one of the temple’s lodge rooms where meetings are held. The group were officially greeted by a very senior member of the Masonic Province of Warwickshire. After this they were given an informative talk by another Mason, who described the layout and meaning of the room, its artefacts and what Freemasonry is.
A display of Masonic aprons and badges was explained and thus began a question and answer session. A lady Mensan began by asking about the Masonic Lodges for Women she had just read about in the literature given to us all and was informed that there are at least two in Birmingham. “Who can be a freemason?” “Anyone of good character and who holds a belief in a supreme being!” was the answer, “However, we never discuss religion or politics in lodges”. A tour of the library unearthed many interesting and rare books, including such treasures as a Breech’s Bible of 1599 and an original Baskerville Bible. These were rediscovered in 1971 after they had been hurriedly stowed in packing cases for safe keeping at the outbreak of war in 1939.
The Mensans were then invited to browse the museum, containing items related to such dignitaries as Rabbie Burns, and to wander in and out of the various lodge rooms where masons were present to answer any questions. The tour ended in the main concourse, containing displays of the charities to which Masonic money is donated, and where we were treated to a small buffet. A Mason from the charity fund explained that Masons donate in excess of £20 million to charity each year, which is the main outward sign of Masonry. At least 25% of this money goes to organisations with no link to Masonry whatsoever.