“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, 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!”?
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.
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.
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)