In light of Covid-19 related restrictions, the Lodge will not be operating as usual in the immediate future. Meetings must, of course, still proceed, but will not be enjoying our usual festive board at Seven Dials, and therefore shall not be receiving guests. We are, however, naturally delighted to stay in touch with a number of past visitors, associated Brethren, and any that wish to ask questions or make inquiries for future occasions.
Any progress will be posted here, and on our social media accounts. We look forward to making up for lost time by receiving huge numbers, when practical. Should you wish to join us in these festivities, contact the Secretary in order that preliminary arrangements may be made.
Pursuant to notice issued by the Grand Master, The Duke of Kent, Lodge Meetings will be suspended for a period of four months, due to the latest Government guidance on the pandemic, with immediate effect. This will mean that our May Meeting will be cancelled, but we shall endeavour to resume as soon as reasonably possible. Please check here, and our Facebook page, for any updates.
The member Lodges in the Association take turns in hosting the biennial event. This year’s host, or banner Lodge, was Loggia Italia, No. 2687, which practices a version of the Emulation Ritual in Italian. For the reunion, however, they invited Loggia Andrew MacBride, No. 237, under the Gran Loggia Regolare d’Italia, the only Grand Lodge in Italy recognized by the United Grand Lodge of England. The officers of the Lodge came all the way from Rome, especially for this event. This might be no surprise for those familiar with Loggia Italia, as many of its members live in Italy and travel to London for the Lodge meetings. Amongst those attending, we counted the illustrious presence of the Grand Master of Italy, M. W. Bro. Fabio Venzi.
The Andrew MacBride Lodge has Scottish origins, as was immediately made clear from the tartan in the collars and aprons of its officers. It is among only five Lodges in the world which perform the MacBride Ritual: three in Scotland, this one in Italy, and another in Singapore. This Lodge is, of course, the only one to do so in Italian.
The Meeting took place in the Grand Temple at the Freemasons’ Hall. I had been in the Temple a few times during tours, but this was the first time I had seen it in use. As the Temple seemed somewhat empty, I was surprised to learn at the Festive Board that there had been around three hundred Masons in attendance. Thinking about it, and knowing that the Temple sits over 1,500 people, that makes perfect sense.
Upon arrival, we were provided with well-printed, A4-sized Summons, and a Ritual Book containing the MacBride version of the First Degree Ceremony, as we were about to experience it in Italian as well as in English.
Loggia Italia opened the Ceremony, called off, and then the officers of the Andrew MacBride Lodge came in to do their thing. This is where I have the desire to write the most, but doing so would spoil the fun for those not yet in the Craft. I will just say that I was so impressed that I’m now tempted to order the MacBride Ritual Book from the Grand Lodge of Scotland’s online shop. Quoting (from memory) the words of R. W. Bro. Stephen Fenton, P.J.G.W., Deputy Met.G.M., and Patron of A.F.L.A.: “this was the deepest, most thorough, and with most people involved First Degree I’ve ever seen” – and one can only imagine how many variations of the First Degree the man has seen in his time!
After the presentation, the officers of Loggia Italia resumed their positions, and called on. After closing, a host of visitors were welcomed into the Grand Temple where the Curator of the Museum of Freemasonry described the main features of the Temple.
The Meeting was followed by a Festive Board at the Grand Connaught Rooms. I had seen the rooms before, but this one was clearly where the “Grand” part comes from. Although I might have been deflated that the menu wasn’t exactly “il mangiare della nonna”, I found myself on a table of Italians, and Italian conviviality never disappoints!