The latest edition of the Link Magazine is now available online.
We invite you to our inaugural Widowers Luncheon on the 21st December.
Victory Lodge No. 3954 was consecrated 11th July 1919 in Newbury, Berkshire and intended to have celebrated its centenary in 2019, however, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic this was not to be. However on 23rd November 2021 the celebration was finally able to take place and what an evening it proved to be!
The lodge room was packed with members of Victory Lodge and visitors from other lodges from far and wide to see the WM proclaimed and his officers invested, all with great aplomb before the main event, The Celebration of Centenary. The RW PGM for Berkshire, Anthony Howlett-Bolton, OBE took the Chair of KS for this part of the evening, ably supported by the PGSW, PGSW, PGChap. PGDC, PGADCs and the PG Organist. The Victory Lodge Secretary stood in for the PGSec who was unwell.
During the Celebration, the minutes of Consecration Meeting read and countersigned by the ruling PGM. The roll-call of the founders was read by the Secretary and the brethren called to order in respect of departed merit. The PG Chap. lead the prayers and presented a splendid oration concerning freemasonry, how the Victory Lodge founders demonstrated the involvement with the local community. Throughout the oration and the PGM’s opening remarks and later, his speech at the celebration dinner were the core values we espouse and how each of us should strive to ensure that we all enjoy our life and work as freemasons.
During the evening the PGM presented these worthy Brethren with certificates to mark their 60 years as Freemasons. Their achievements were warmly applauded by all present.
The menus for both the Consecration and Centenary Celebration festive boards included that very English main course of Roast Beef with Yorkshire pudding. The raffle held during the meal raised over £700 for the Berkshire 2023 Festival. The dining charges were 6/- (30p) and £32 respectively, how times change!
Photographs courtesy of and © Gavin McCoy and Brian Page.
Berkshire fielded the largest contingent of Companions at Supreme Grand Chapter and The Pro First Grand Principal The ME Peter Geoffrey Lowndes mentioned this in his opening remarks.
Following the Convocation, the Berkshire Companions enjoyed a splendid lunch in the presence of the MEGS Ian Given Hopgood and PGM the RW Anthony Howlett-Bolton together with a panoply of members of the Provincial Grand Chapter Executive.
Following the meal, the MEGS presented EC Brian Bicknell with a gift and certificate in recognition of all his work in arranging the meals for many years, EC Brian responded in his inimitable style and received great acclaim from all present.
Original photographs courtesy of and ©Roger Jones. (Photographs edited by Brian Page).
The leader of Berkshire Freemasonry, Anthony Howlett-Bolton OBE has signed the Armed Forces Covenant on behalf of the Province.
Over 140 Freemasons, their partners, and families gathered at the Masonic Centre in Sindlesham on Sunday the 7th of November for a Service of Remembrance. Given the nature of the event the Provincial Grand Master felt it was a fitting opportunity to sign the Covenant.
The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly.
Anthony Howlett-Bolton, said “There has always been a special relationship between the Armed Services and Freemasonry, as both institutions value the same principles of Integrity, Respect and Friendship. With so much conflict existing in the world and with the evidence of selfless commitment shown on a daily basis by men and women of the Armed Services, it is only right that Freemasons publicly support and uphold the Armed Services Covenant and so it has given me great pleasure to sign it on behalf of The Province of Berkshire.”
The Covenant was jointly signed by Brigadier John Kendall (SERFCA Berkshire Chairman), on behalf of the Ministry of Defence. Also in attendance was the High Sheriff for the Royal County Berkshire Willie Hartley Russell, who witnessed the signing.
The event was staged as a military themed Drumhead service, and marked the 100th anniversary of the Royal British Legion. All of the usual ingredients of remembrance where included, including the playing of the Last Post, and a poppy fall. The service was led by the Rev. David Joynes.
The Flavell Suite at Sindlesham was the venue for the second workshop for Lodge Membership Officers, organised by PMO Iain Marnock and his team. Twenty-six LMOs from across the Province attended the half-day event which included presentations by Membership Team members, discussion and question times.
Following the usual introductions. W Bro. Iain Marnock gave the opening talk outlining the topics to be covered during this workshop and reprised the subjects covered at the previous workshop. There was also some discussion of the various points and ideas gained by the attendees at that workshop.
In his presentation, W Bro. Steve Ricks described the process for following up on initial enquiries or expressions of interest from the general public. The whole process is designed to make sure that such enquiries are promptly responded to while, carefully and discretely, checking the bona fides of the enquirer. W Bro. Steve then decides what further action should be taken in respect of the enquiries which he deems to be legitimate. He keeps in mind factors such as the location, availability, occupation and interests of the potential candidate. Following all this, the enquiry is passed to the appropriate LMO for further action in line with the documented procedure and in a timely manner. Care must be taken to ensure that potential candidates receive a prompt response at every stage and that they are assigned to the most appropriate lodge.
In his session W Bro. Dave Whyatt presented an overview of the Revised Members’ Pathway and explained how the original incremental concept for the Pathway had been transformed to a cyclic model. This emphasised that each segment or step could or, in most cases should, be re-entered or re-visited from time to time as the Pathway does not have a finite endpoint. He went on to explain that on the revised version the LMOs are responsible for all the processes in the light and dark blue segments of the Pathway. When the UGLE releases the full working version, users will be able to click their way through to documents explaining or expanding the topic of interest.
During the mid-session break for refreshments, the LMOs split into small groups covering a masonic centre or cluster of lodges, for discussion on future collaboration between the lodges. In your correspondent’s case, this resulted in a WhatsApp group for Abingdon, Faringdon, Wallingford and Wantage LMOs being set up.
The workshop concluded with a wrap-up session led by W Bro. Iain, in which he reiterated the importance of and stressed the need for the LMOs to be proactive in this role. He also reminded the meeting that the Provincial Membership are always ready to assist the individual LMOs. Finally W Bro. Iain thanked everyone for attending and hoped to see them again at the next workshop in February, following a Happy Christmas.