A New Grand Lodge
The following report has been compiled by brethren outside the circle of mixed Masonry, so we apologise for any inaccuracies.
IT is not often that one is present at the creation of a new Grand Lodge, but the Square was on duty on Sunday 18 February at London's Royal National Hotel as the officers of the new Grand Lodge of Freemasonry for Men and Women processed out of the temple, having witnessed RW Bro Pearl Helen Mellows King enthrone John Michael Westcott as Grand Master.
Why a new organization? After all there is international Co–Masonry already up–and–running, as you can see in Useful Addresses. Regrettably, this new Grand Lodge is the result of a schism in the International version – a schism which really took root offer 100 years ago, in 1877
On 5 December 1877, a committee appointed by the United Grand Lodge of England met to discuss events emanating front the Grand Orient of France. They discussed the fact that the grand Orient had altered their 'Rule 1' which originally read 'Its principles are the existence of God, the immortality of the soul and human solidarity'. Rule 1 now read 'Its principles are absolute liberty of conscience end human solidarity'* Thus the mention of God had been eliminated
The UGLE Committee were unanimous in proclaiming that '. . . this belief (in God) is an essential landmark of the Order.' And as a result the UGLE proscribed the Grand Orient – as did most of the world's grand lodges.
Although that happened over 126 years ago, the situation remains unchanged to this day. with most grand lodges considering the Grand Orient of France to be irregular
What has this to do with International Co- Masonry? Well this organisation has, from this very beginning, had its origins in French freemasonry; although the English Co-Masons have always maintained a belief in God for its ceremonies. What seems to have happened, is that the hierarchy of the 'French Connection' suddenly decided that International Co-Masonry should, in effect, adopt the Grand Orient perspective worldwide.
Understandably the 'English connection' were miffed to say the least. More than a century of a belief in God had been replaced with a sort of 'you can if you want to, but it's entirely up to you ' And you know what masons are when it comes to changes in the rituals, or laws – indeed any change at all! So they decided to go their own way, Oddly, the a Climate of unrest in all French Freemasonry at the moment - see 'French Fractures' in the Overseas section.
The New Setup
What this means in terms of English co–Masonry, is that while there is still an international Co–Masonry presence, English mixed masons now have their very own Grand lodge – a first of its kind. What is more, the International version may well Suffer more splits, because some other nations may well decide to go their own way; either because they object to the new ruling, or to reconsider their allegiance to a foreign authority.
One can only admire the courage the the English mixed masons, in embarking on the awesome undertaking of forming a new Grand Lodge. Apart from the Grand Master, MW Bro Michael Westcott, the rest of the officers include RW Bro Nicholas Ferrari, Deputy Grand Master, RW Bro. Jeanne Heaslewood, Assistant Grand Master, VW Bro Valerie Coles, Grand Secretary, and W Bro Hilda Tully, Grand Treassurer.
The Square was there at the birth of the GLF for Men and Women, and we intend to keep an eye on them and report back
(naschrift JB: helaas is bovenstaande informatie niet helemaal juist. De nwe Grand Lodge F? is opgericht na een fikse ruzie over het recht wie een lid de 32° mag toekennen. De eigen Federatie of de Opp.AASR.
Volgens de Opp. hadden zij dit monopolie, waarop de bovenstaande leden de Fed. dekten en een nwe O. stichtten.