Education Dinner at Lodge Prince of Wales

The Provincial Grand Lodge of Renfrewshire East hosted its biennial Education Dinner on Friday, 22nd April in the premises of Lodge Prince of Wales, Renfrew No.426.

Among the guests were five members of Grand Lodge, headed by RW Past Depute Grand Master, Bro. Archibald McGown along with seven RW Provincial Grand Masters.

Bro. Bob Cooper in full flow.
Bro. Bob Cooper in full flow.

Principal speaker for the evening was VW Bro. Robert Cooper, Curator of Grand Lodge Museum and Library who gave a fascinating and entertaining talk on the origins of Masonic ritual.

He spoke of the success of the new Facebook page set up recently by Grand Lodge that enables Brethren all over the world to exchange information and ideas instantly and compared this with the situation 400 years ago when the only book that most stonemasons had access to was the Bible.

Bro. Cooper supposed that, being stonemasons, they would be interested in the main building described in the Bible – King Solomon’s Temple – which plays such a major role in Freemasonry.

He also pointed out that the earliest written records referred to Intenders whose job it was to educate new Freemasons and that ritual played an important part in that education.

Bro. Cooper pointed out that there was a change of emphasis particularly around the time of the two World Wars when the volume of men wishing to join the Craft meant that Lodges concentrated on putting them through Degrees as quickly as possible.

With the numbers of applicants now much reduced, Bro. Cooper believed the time had come for a return to spending more time and effort on the education of new Brethren and pointed out that PGLRE – with its Intender training programme – was at the forefront of just such a movement.

PGM Bro. John S Miller presents Bro. Keith Carpenter with a bottle of whisky
PGM Bro. John S Miller presents Bro. Keith Carpenter with a bottle of whisky

Later in the evening, RWPGM Bro. John S. Miller introduced Bro. Keith Carpenter PM Stondon Massey Emulation LodgeNo.7881 E.C. who had generously donated his collection of thousands of electronically stored copies of Masonic books to the PGLRE digital library which meant that more than 3000 such books on a wide range of subjects were now available on-line.

Thanking Bro. Carpenter for his donation, the PGM presented him with a bottle of whisky and a gavel hand-carved by Bro. Alistair McTaggart PM of Lodge Sir George Cathcart No.617.

In his closing remarks, PGM Bro. John S .Miller thanked Lodge Prince of Wales for the use of their premises and invited other Provinces to share the on-going programme of Masonic Education and Intender training that was going from strength to strength in Renfrewshire East.