Major Sinclair Memorial Pipe Band
Our very own W. Bro. David Beggs, and W. Bro Willie Cardwell have had a busy summer with the pipers and drummers of Major Sinclair Memorial Pipe Band.
Major Sinclair Memorial Pipe Band had been invited to be part of the delegation that represent Ireland in the Festival Interceltique de Lorient in August 2014.
The invitation to play at this prestigious festival was extended to the Band at the beginning of this year in recognition for the work it does in the local community and its emphasis on youth development.
Each summer approximately 800,000 people from across the globe, descend upon Lorient to experience around 200 events and shows, with over 5000 performers on the bill.
Taxi on the long road Home
My first year as a Freemason
by Bro. Paul Francey
In September 2011, I first entered the doors of Freemasons’ Hall, Arthur Square, Belfast.
As with many like minded people before, I had known something of the Masonic as my grandfather was a Mason and my nephew is currently one.
It was by chance that I am now a member of Lodge 669.
I was walking through the barrier at Central Station where I work when I was involved in a conversation with W. Bro Raymond Heald about an upcoming Ladies Night.
I expressed an interested and he told me I would be most welcome. However I was unable to attend but, a few weeks later I got talking to him again, and I told him that I was interested in becoming a member, as I had a history of the Masonic within my family. So I gave him my details and here I am now.
I was met at the door of the Arthur Square building by W. Bro. Raymond and he brought me up to the Donegal Club. as I entered the building and ascended the stairs the old nerves were starting to tingle, noticing the pictures as I was being escorted up the stairs wishing we had taken the lift as we got to the top of the stairs. I walked into the Donegal club and there the room was filled with my now brothers. I was introduced to a few members and a few jokes were passed like another lamb to the slaughter or don’t worry we’ll take it easy on you. (the nerves were reallystarting to get to me now) This was my first time in Arthur Square, unlike most that get to meet the brethren at a festive board before hand, I was going to go through the entered apprentice degree with the only person that was known to me and that was Brother Raymond Heald.
So as I’m standing around looking at all the strange faces trying to put on a brave face and a smile to everyone that catches my eye, and shaking hands with complete strangers (now mynerves are really starting give me jip) I’m introduced to Brother Neil Merritt and was told that he also would be doing his first degree (what a relief I wasn’t on my own)
The Lodge started and we were taken to a small room, myself and Neil were left on our own until we were wanted. Sitting in the room with Neil trying to make conversation, with the unknown still ahead of us, the door opens and W. Brother Ronnie Craig enters to prepare us (now the nervesexcitement and whatever else have hit thered zone). At this point I must stop……….. after the meeting I and Neil now newly made Entered Apprentices made are way up the stairs once more for the festive board with huge smiles on our faces and a great sense of relief and the puzzling fact the we couldn’t remember anything.
W. Brother Brian McBride informed us that we should stand up after the meal and make a short speech just to thank those that had taken part.
Totally unprepared and a couple of pints later we did. (thanks Brian for that)
The following month I got the chance to see an Entered Apprentice degree being done to someone else and sitting saying to myself: I don’t remember that bit, or that, or that, or that, and when the meeting came to order, could I remember what I was meant to do or say, not knowing where I should even sit, but I need not of worried as Iwas truly welcomed as a fellow Brother in the Lodge. So for the next couple of months I attended each meeting and in myself started to grow as an Entered Apprentice.
In December 2011 there was an invite to a Philippines night at the 45 Club which I attended, and had a really great night, and the food was nothing but fabulous. I was one of the last to leave and I was asked if I would like to take some of the food that was left home with me and there was quite a bit. So, a number of our brethren from the Philippine’s started to bag up some of the food. Take some of this and this and this, before you knew it I had a huge amount of food.
I was able to have a Philippines night at my home on the Sunday (and I still had some left for the Monday and Tuesday)
January saw myself coming to my first Installation and dinner and what an experience, and such a happy time, not just for the fellowship with the brethren from our lodge, but meeting many others from other lodges as well. A couple of months went past and in March 2012 I, and Brother Neil Merritt went through our Fellow Craft degree.
Although the nerves weren’t as bad as they had been when I had gone through my first degree, I still had butterflies in my stomach again of the unknown. We were again prepared and yes you got it I must stop at that point…….
As the months rolled toward the summer Break I attended each meeting with growing confidence and getting to know more of the brethren, and letting it be known that I wished to help out in whatever way I could (put 100% in you get the same back that’s what I say), so alas it came to the summer break. Oh Woe how depressing, I wasn’t going to get a break from the wife, Oh what was I to do??????? (My better half says I seemed to have withdrawal symptoms on the fourth Saturday of July and August.) I couldn’t wait until September.
In September 2012 we as a Lodge took the train to Dublin where we had a chance to see around and take the tour of the different rooms at the Grand Lodge or Ireland, Molesworth Street.
A great day out was had by all and a few drinks were consumed on the train home. (Just for medicinal purposes you understand)
This piece is entitled “Full Circle” and the reason for this is that on Saturday 27th October 2012, I attained my Master Masons Degree, thus completing my own circle and my first year as a Freemason. The question is: what it has meant to me? I have met likeminded men who I trust without questioning. I have had many laughs on the way, and made a lot of what I can call life friends, and I’ve met a number of people I work with who were as surprised to see me as a Mason as I was them, and I feel pride in knowing that I am an active member of the Sir George Clark Memorial Lodge 669. I know that should I ever need help or I can give the same, itwill always be there. Imust at this point mention again Brother Neil Merritt, who is now overseas.
As we both went through our first and second degrees together we will,I feel, always have a special bond between us, and will forever have that. I have written this piece to encourage those that have started on the same path as myself, and those who are about to begin their own circle. Enjoy the fraternal Brotherhood, attend the meetings, and take part as much as you feel you can. Attending the meetings every month will fill your cup to over flowing with the fraternal love which can only be found within the body of the lodge. Not attending the meetings your cup will surely run dry. You will always have Brethren you can turn to for advice, and don’t be afraid to ask if you are unsure of anything. I have enjoyed every moment and I’m sure I will continue to do so. Always on the level and keeping to the square.
So here’s to the next thirty or so years Peace Love and Harmony to all that read this…..
Personal reflections on William Blake’s “Ancient of Days” (1794) or… “The Great Architect of the Universe”
Bro. Alexis Lambert, June 2012
The title “Ancient of Days” has been used as a source of inspiration in art and music, denoting the Creator’s aspects of eternity combined with perfection. William Blake’s water colour, and relief etching entitled:
“The Ancient of Days” is one such example.
We all know this impressive painting by William Blake, showing an elder man in the clouds and whose hand forms a compass – or a square.
Let’s have a closer look at it.
First, the character is obviously situated in some high luminous space in the clouds (the cosmos) and within a heavenly circle or a sphere, which is the image of perfection. The man has white hair and beard, which shows that the Grand Architect has wisdom, his apparent old age referring to experience, practice and mastering of skills.
He is clearly focused on a work of Sacred Geometry as he is using a Masonic Working Tool which can equally be either the Square, considering the angle, o r maybe the Compass as the hand can open and close likewise. Is it a clue to suggest that our tools are in our hands, or better, ARE our hands ?
The colour scheme makes that “tool” two rays of light in the darkness of the bottom of the image, forming an unfinished triangle, whereas the Architect is surrounded by light.
Now let’s consider the body: brawny, tensed, it is a mighty representation of strength – but a mastered strength, channelled and dedicated to the Work. As the Architect is squatting within a circle, his body has the shape of a square – apart from the working arm. Coincidence?
Strangely enough, the body that seems so elaborately painted, is… unfinished ! Indeed, the right arm and shoulder are missing or are not visible. It cannot be a mistake: it is significant, considering that the left arm and hand refer symbolically to the heart. Also, a strong wind seems to blow sidewise from right to left, as suggested by the beard and hair in motion. It suggests the breath of inspiration, the energy, without which nothing can be created. And interestingly it blows from the right, where the sun rises every morning
The combined geometric shapes of the Architect and the Compass form an hourglass, the arm being the neck of the hourglass through which what is up goes down and vice-versa : what is below is also at the top.
Wisdom, Strength, Beauty, Light, Darkness, Circle, Triangle, Compass, Square, Work… All these concepts and symbols are included altogether in the painting.
If the message of that painting could be summed up in two phrases, maybe it could be these:
“With strength and wisdom and with the breath of inspiration, your work will be beautiful and perfect if you use the energy of the heart.
Thus you will bring light into darkness if you use your tools skilfully.”
Wear your apron with pride.
by Bro. Keith Johnston
Like many aspects of Freemasonry, the Masonic apron is an item of imagery and symbolism. While Masons will recall the lessons they learnt during their degrees on the importance of the apron they wear and its symbolism, this article is simply a few additional thoughts which are universal to all.
The wearing of an apron has a long and traditional history. Dating back to ancient times, sacred aprons were worn by Cretan fertility goddesses; Assyrian priests wore ceremonial aprons, and Egyptian pharaohs wore jewel incrusted aprons, which indicated specific ranks based on their shape, placement and folds. The Bible references Adam and Eve sewing fig leaves together to make themselves aprons to work in the garden. In more modern times, occupations such as butchers, welders and bakers have always used aprons to protect both their clothing and bodies from their work. Or in other words, the apron has always been associated with work, occupation and servitude.
One of the finest examples of this is found in the Christian New Testament where in John’s Gospel Chapter 13 we read that Jesus took a towel, tied it round his waist and washed his disciple’s feet. The symbolism of the apron symbolised an act of service, a willingness to humble oneself, to work for the good and benefit of others, and a willingness to get dirty for one’s fellow man.
When we adorn ourselves with our Masonic aprons at every Masonic meeting, this should be the attitude and spirit in which we present and conduct ourselves at our communications, as free men, willing to work for the good of our order and in service our fellow man.
An Historical Meeting of Lodge 669
by W. Bro. Norman Lacey
Saturday 27 October was a busy and enjoyable day for Sir George Clark Memorial Lodge 669.
Two separate meetings were held in Freemasons’ Hall, Arthur Square. The first an emergency meeting in the afternoon where the Master Mason degree was conferred on Brother Paul Francey with Brother Paul Lockhart receiving his Master Mason Degree at the regular communication in the evening.
This was also a historic day for the Lodge as W Bro Neil Ritchie, Provincial Grand Organist, attended and returned to the Lodge a Maul which he had been given to him at a Masonic funeral at which he was the Organist. The Maul had been found in a rubbish skip. Neil cleaned it and returned it to its’ rightful owners.
This Maul had been presented to L669 at the consecration of the lodge in 1938. It was presented by W Bro A Brown, a foundation member, who subsequently became WM in 1951. The names of many former WMs are inscribed on the Maul and the lodge agreed to add as many more Past Worshipful Masters as possible. A new Maul would also be obtained and the tradition continued.
On arrival at Arthur Square that same day the Lodge Secretary had received a parcel containing the Apron which had belonged to W. Bro Henry Harrison, the foundation Junior Warden and WM in 1940. This, together with a booklet used at the Consecration of L669, had been returned to the lodge by the family of a recently deceased mason W Bro Jim Ferguson. The Lodge agreed that the serving WM would wear this apron during his tenure and the Maul was used during the MM degree on Bro Paul Lockhart
L669 is becoming truly international. Bro Alexis Lambert, born in France and now an Irish Mason, had travelled from Dublin where he now lives to attend the communication. (Cable Tow!!!!)
Four of our Filipino Brethren assisted at the meeting; Bro Bal Madrid was Junior Deacon. Bro Fred Presbitero acted as Inner Guard for the first time in that office, doing an excellent job in the Calling Up of the Lodge and the MM degree. Bro Romeo Godines was Chaplain and received the Candidate while Bro Benji Barga instructed the candidate on the Working Tools.
A ballot was held for two prospective candidates. William Kingsberry from Belfast!!! and Jorge Garcia originally from Mexico. I am pleased to report that both passed.
A prospective candidate attended the Festive Board. Dr Dimitri Bakiritzis originally from Greece. Dimitri is known to several masons through his Church connections and the Tongue of Good Report had been favourable.
Last but not least W Bro Neil Ritchie had added to the dignity of the evening and the enjoyment of the brethren by playing very appropriate music during the meeting and degree. Thanks Neil. We always enjoy your company and if you ever feel like joining ANOTHER Lodge please consider 669.
Carrickfergus Masonic Centre
By : W.Bro. Brian Getty PGI
My duties as Provincial Grand Inspector require me to visit those lodges assigned to me in the County Antrim area and report on the wellbeing of the lodges concerned with regard to financial strength, membership, attendances, initiatives to encourage new or
additional memberships etc.
I enjoy the responsibility and the opportunity to visit various lodges and I am lucky that the lodges I have been assigned all meet in different Masonic Halls. Three of my lodges meet in Crumlin Road, Parkgate and Carrickfergus respectively. All the halls are different and each has unique characteristics.
On Friday night the 9th November I was visiting with Fergus Masonic Lodge No. 900 in Carrickfergus. I was aware from previous visits to this lodge and Lodge no. 1014 that a refurbishment of the lodge rooms in the hall has been ongoing for approximately one year now.
On entering the hall on Friday night and proceeding upstairs to the ante-room I was amazed at the transformation. Entry to the lodge room itself left me overawed, totally “Gob-Smacked”. You will see from the pictures included what a wonderful job has been achieved in this refurbishment.
The new carpet from Germany, furniture supplied locally, the wall murals and the secretary desk presented in memory of W.Bro. Frank Keep a member of St Patricks lodge no. 43 also sitting in this hall,make it one of the most beautiful lodge rooms I have been in.The members of lodges 900, 1014 and 43 deserve the highest praise for funding this refurbishment. Members gave of their time in the stripping out of the old furniture, flooring, walls etc leaving the room ready for the local craftsmen to complete their vision. The murals on the wall behind the dais are especially eye catching and are thanks to a brother having the vision to apply computer images into a finished product.
I strongly recommend any members of Sir george Clark Memorial Masonic Lodge No.669 to visit this hall in Carrickfergus and experience the “X Factor” emotion felt on entering the lodge room.
I could write more about the furniture, the carpet, the engraving on the altar but I believe the best I can do is encourage you all to visit if possible and see for yourselves. Our recent visit to Dublin was an eye opener for many of our brethren, and I can assure you so will a visit to Carrickfergus.
I would like to thank the Worshipful Master Officers and Brethren of Fergus Masonic Lodge No. 900 for making me so welcome and allowing me to share their pride in such a beautiful room.
The digital age
By: Bro Nathan Phillips
I am in no way a good writer but here goes. I had a great curiosity in freemasonry from a young age, mainly because my grandfather was a member. When I asked him where he was going on a night he would just say to a meeting. Obviously my young brain was working overtime thinking why he would be going to a meeting at that time of night. As I got older more was revealed and he told me it was a Masonic meeting he was attending. What was this Masonic meeting all about?This confused me even more. When I asked my grandmother what it was all about she just said it is where men go and meet and discuss charity, socialise etc. I even think a goat was mentioned in one discussion!.
At the age of sixteen I moved from Ballinamallard which is just outside Enniskillen to Belfast in the hunt for work. This meant I couldn’t really have that adult discussion with my grandfather about what freemasonry was all about. This brings me to the title of my input “the digital age”.Because of my interest in Freemasonry I thought the best thing to do would be to hit google and the Internet. I found some really interesting and useful information on the fraternity. I then came across the great website of Sir George Clarke Lodge 669. I browsed the website and thought if I was going to join freemasonry this would be the lodge I would like to approach about membership. What way would I contact the lodge? Of course digitally by email! I got talking to the then secretary WBro Brien McBride. He answered all my questions with great detail. He guided me through the whole process from the first meet with himself and WBro Norman Lacey straight through to the first festive board I attended and met my now Brothers. WBro Ivor McAllister became the lodge secretary and continued contact through email and text messages by sending newsletters and minutes etc. I have to say at this part that I am sure you will all agree with me that WBro McAllister’s digital minutes are a piece of art and so much effort is put in.
I had the pleasure of telling my grandfather about becoming a member of this fantastic organisation and this great lodge. He said that was brilliant and inquired how I joined lodge 669. I explained through the Internet and he couldn’t believe it, “it wasn’t like that in my day” he said. I told him lodge minutes and agendas where sent via email and he said in his Fermanagh accent “that’s some job cub!”
I don’t think I will be writing for the Tele any time soon but I thought I would give people an idea of my journey so far.
The new official image of HM The Queen.
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
Picture by kind permission of W. Bro. Mike O’Keefe
Custodian of the Official Royal Image Library
for HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
To mark 60 years of The Queen’s reign the Diamond Jubilee will take place in 2012.
The celebrations will centre around an extended weekend in 2012 on 2nd – 5th June.
The Queen came to the throne on 6 February 1
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will be visiting England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2012 to mark Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee.952 and her coronation took place on 2nd June 1953. Her Majesty celebrated her Silver Jubilee (25 years) in 1977 and her Golden Jubilee (50 years) in 2002.
Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary); born 21 April 1926 is the constitutional monarch of the United Kingdom, and of all the sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms, and head of the 54 member Commonwealth of Nations.
On Wednesday, 6 February 1952, Princess Elizabeth received the news of her father’s death and her own accession to the throne, while staying in a remote part of Kenya.
The tour had to be abandoned, and the young Princess flew back to Britain as Queen. She was greeted by Prime Minister Winston Churchill and other officials at the airport.
Her Coronation took place in Westminster Abbey on the 2nd June 1953.
It was a solemn ceremony conducted by Dr Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury.
Crowds of people viewed the procession all along the route, despite heavy rain.
The ceremony was also broadcast on radio around the world and, at The Queen’s request, on television for the first time. Television brought home to hundreds of thousands of people around the Commonwealth the splendour and significance of the Coronation in a way never before possible.
The Coronation was followed by drives through every part of London, a review of the fleet at Spithead, and visits to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
By Bro. Rudyard Kipling
There was Rundle, Station Master, An’ Beazeley of the Rail,
An’ ‘Ackman, Commissariat, An’ Donkin’ o’ the Jail;
An’ Blake, Conductor-Sargent, Our Master twice was ‘e,
With ‘im that kept the Europe-shop, Old Framjee Eduljee.
Outside — “Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!”
Inside — “Brother”, an’ it doesn’t do no ‘arm.
We met upon the Level an’ we parted on the Square,
An’ I was Junior Deacon in my Mother-Lodge out there!
We’d Bola Nath, Accountant, An’ Saul the Aden Jew,
An’ Din Mohammed, draughtsman Of the Survey Office too;
There was Babu Chuckerbutty, An’ Amir Singh the Sikh,
An’ Castro from the fittin’-sheds, The Roman Catholick!
We ‘adn’t good regalia, An’ our Lodge was old an’ bare,
But we knew the Ancient Landmarks, An’ we kep’ ’em to a hair;
An’ lookin’ on it backwards It often strikes me thus,
There ain’t such things as infidels, Excep’, per’aps, it’s us.
For monthly, after Labour, We’d all sit down and smoke
(We dursn’t give no banquits, Lest a Brother’s caste were broke),
An’ man on man got talkin’ Religion an’ the rest,
An’ every man comparin’ Of the God ‘e knew the best.
So man on man got talkin’, An’ not a Brother stirred
Till mornin’ waked the parrots An’ that dam’ brain-fever-bird;
We’d say ’twas ‘ighly curious, An’ we’d all ride ‘ome to bed,
With Mo’ammed, God, an’ Shiva Changin’ pickets in our ‘ead.
Full oft on Guv’ment service This rovin’ foot ‘ath pressed,
An’ bore fraternal greetin’s To the Lodges east an’ west,
Accordin’ as commanded From Kohat to Singapore,
But I wish that I might see them In my Mother-Lodge once more!
I wish that I might see them, My Brethren black an’ brown,
With the trichies smellin’ pleasant An’ the hog-darn passin’ down;
An’ the old khansamah snorin’ On the bottle-khana floor,
Like a Master in good standing With my Mother-Lodge once more!
Outside — “Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!”
Inside — “Brother”, an’ it doesn’t do no ‘arm.
We met upon the Level an’ we parted on the Square,
An’ I was Junior Deacon in my Mother-Lodge out there!
Sounds just like Lodge 669!
Artist Dan George’s Description
“The Spirit of Belfast” is a focal point in Arthur Square for celebrating our present and integrating our future with our past. Weighing seven and one-half tonnes, yet radiating the textural beauty and lightness of linen molded to the structural power and curvilinear grace of an ocean liner, it is composed of four curved stainless steel structural elements.
From within the groove formed by the two legs in each of the four curved components, a ribbon of light provided by very energy-efficient light emitting diodes will flare and travel around the curved elements. The intensity, color, and movement isl programmed as called for by events, the time of day with its changing light conditions, or special celebrations within the city, such as a New Year’s countdown.
The Spirit of Belfast will be the hearth of our city centre, drawing people to its robust and interactive character. As we walk through the bright light of Arthur Square today we experience a city manifesting its rebirth. The Spirit of Belfast reminds us of how our history and future are woven together delicately as linen and strongly as steel.
“Masonic cherubs on the lamp posts outside Belfast City hall”
You Are Never Alone
For at the festive board you got to beat the horde
I tell you now you won’t be boredGo for the curry, chips, salad and meat
For it will surely keep you on your feet
We talk and talk and talk and talk
Until it is time to for us to walkFor as a brother Mason you are never alone
Trust me friend you’ll never moan
Friends for life that you will never lose
The Masonic family you should chooseSo come on friend, join our lodge
fraternal brotherhood you will forge
Click on the Title to Open
An Ulster Fry!
“The absolute ultimate in Irish hospitality.”