Archive for the ‘Masonic’ Category

Over the past year, I’ve developed a taste for whisky. For many years my thought of whisky was one of diesel fuel, however, this changed a year ago after a friend won a quality single malt in a raffle at an open evening we held at my Masonic Lodge.

A deep breathe and preparing to expel the vile liquid, I took a sip of a 5-year old Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or, and immediately felt this delicious, warm honeycomb gold fluid flowing down my throat.

Having dispelled my youthful drinking sprees many years ago, I’m not one to drink  at home or in a social environment. One glass of red wine would suit my evening.At times, even a glass of wine tends to be too much.

I finally found the perfect sundowner, which minimal quantity provided relaxation and stress relieving downtime. I have tried different versions of whiskies, from single malts to various blends and distilleries. From cheap to expensive, I’ve found my favourites and those that could pass off as Jet Fuel.

When Hillbrow Lodge hosted a Whisky tasting evening, I jumped at the opportunity to attend. An incredible evening, complete with a 3 course meal, had us pairing 3 Single Malts with various types of chocolates, under the guidance of our District’s resident whisky connoisseur, Simon Knutton.

IMG_4132 Expert knowledge and experience had our small group of Masons, wives and guests enthralled with the history of whisky, the methods of distilling and tasting Simon’s choice of “The good, the bad and ugly”

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My favourite of the three, was the Glenkinchie.  Matched perfectly with white chocolate, adding a creamy sweetness to the fresh fruity and oak palate.

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In 1837, the Glenkinchie distillery was founded in the  south of Pencaitland, drawing its waters from the Lammermuir Hills in East Lothian. Marketed as ‘The Edinburgh Malt’, the Glenkinchie distillery is just fifteen miles away from the city.

After the main course, we were treated to the Ardbeg. From where we were seated, as the glasses were filled on the presentation table, we could smell the strong aroma of fruity peat with a hint of vanilla.

IMG_4129Paired with dark Orange chocolate, my mouth was overwhelmed with sweet vanilla and lemon and lime, with a smokey caramel after-taste.

Dessert served, with the ambiance in the room bubbling with newly formed  whisky enthusiasts, the 3rd whisky was presented.

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Aberlour’s long-running A’Bunadh range, matured exclusively in Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks and bottled at cask strength.

Simon explained that Aberlour sits at the base of the rugged mountain range, Ben Rinnes. Nestled in the village of the same name, the distillery was founded by Peter Weir and James Gordon in 1826, though Peter was to pull out a year later. The village lies on the Lour Burn, which converges with the River Spey just 270 metres from the distillery. The 6th century Celtic saint St Drostan, baptised local chiefs in the distillery’s water source.

Whisky experts describe the nose as Jamaican Ginger cake, chocolate buttons, a kick of black pepper and sugary coffee.

Me?… well, It reminded me of Christmas Cake!

Now this whisky is aptly referred to “the ugly” by Simon. No, not the taste, as it had a delicious sweet palate with flavours of chocolate and rum soaked rum. Its the staggering 60% alcohol/volume content that makes this a very slow sipping sundowner.

A big thanks to our host, the Worshipful Master of Hillbrow Lodge, and the insightful talk and presentation by Simon Knutton.

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My journey continues

Posted: October 2, 2016 in Masonic

And so my Masonic journey continues. This time last year, I received my first appointment as an active District officer for the District of South Africa North at the 2015 Annual meeting

This year has been an awesome as a District Officer, having gone to many lodges I normally wouldn’t have gone to, and met extraordinary Brethren from all walks of life. This is one of the aspects I love in Masonry,  all men are equal, regardless of stature outside.

The 2016 Annual Meeting was no less exciting. With the English Constitution Tercentenary coming up in 2017, plans are beginning to unfold preparing for the celebrations worldwide, including here in South Africa. The Annual Meeting was an ideal place to start, by selling  shirts with the improvised emblem.

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The Annual Meeing is open for all Masons with the rank of a Master Mason and above, and an opportunity for all to buy new regalia, gloves, lapel pins and many other items…

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Before the Craft Annual Meeting, the District Royal Arch Chapter invests the officers for the ensuring year, which attracts many very senior Grand Officers from the respective constitutions recognised by the English Constitution in South Africa, being Scottish, Irish and Grand lodge of South Africa.

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..The District Second Grand Principle Officer , waiting for the proceedings to start…

 

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..The ceremony being coordinated with authority by my mentor E.Comp. Vaughn Williams…

And so it came time for the District Grand Lodge to invest the new officers for the year.

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(photo courtesy of W.Bro Epstein)

I was honoured by the Right Worshipful District Grand Master with a promotion to District Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies

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I’m very excited with the new year starting, in my new position as Distr. Ass. ADC, representing the District at Lodge Installations and assisting the District ADC in conducting the installations.

A great year ahead, and congrats to my fellow Brethren with their promotions.

Farewell Uncle Bill

Posted: August 12, 2016 in Masonic

I awoke this morning with very sad news. Worshipful Brother Willis Barrie had passed away.

At my initiation in Freemasonry at Victory Lodge many years ago, Uncle Bill (as he was affectionately known) was the Tyler of the Lodge. Being exceptionally nervous, having absolutely no clue what I was in for, seeing Mason after Mason walking past me into the Lodge, only making the nerves worse.

Once all the Brethren were inside, whilst hearing the opening ode being sung, Uncle Bill came to me with a reassuring smile, and told me to change into the initiate clothing. He took me to the Lodge room door, blindfolded me and knocked on the door  with the heavy door knocker.

The door opened, and Uncle Bill announced me, as I entered, he gave me a squeeze on the arm, and whispered, “relax and enjoy” LOL, took me a few moments to realise what he said that very heavy Scottish accent.

Uncle Bill made my time at Victory Lodge very enjoyable, with his many anecdotes and Scottish antics.


I got to experience a brilliant depiction of the “address to the haggis” at the   Brakpan Burns evening, the Scottish Lodge he belonged to.

 

 

The Old Tyler
By Rob Morris

It was a happy thought
To have these gavels wrought
By the old Tyler, for the honored Craft
Though placed without the door,
To make the Lodge secure,
You know him as a bright and polished shaft.

How many a year he’s stood,
Old Schreiner, brave and good,
And guarded you while secret works went on!
How many a Brother’s dead,
Since first his honored head
Was seen amongst you in the early June.

Can you forget him? No
His earthly form may go,
His kindly smile be hidden in the sod
But when those gavels ring,
Fond memories they will bring
Of the old Tyler gone to rest with God.

Then let his gavels sound
At every annual round,
And when you hear them think of him that gave
‘Tis but a fleeting day,
And then the Craft will say,
The Lodge has joined old Schreiner in the grave!

A knock will yet be heard,
The sheeted dead be stirred,
With all that are and have been we shall rise
Oh, may each Brother come,
Thus summoned from his tomb,
And share eternal glory in the skies!

So as a final final toast to an old friend.. “happy to meet, sorry to part, happy to meet again”

 

New blood in Orphic Lodge

Posted: August 2, 2016 in Masonic, Uncategorized

Masonic growth has been on a decline worldwide over the last few years. In my opinion, we have caused this internally, and it’s up to all Masons to re-build the Fraternity with young enthusiastic candidates in their respective Lodges.

Historically, Freemasons were forbidden to recruit in anyway, and the requirement was for those interested to approach a Mason he know well and discuss the potential of joining the Craft. Fathers would usually encourage their sons to join, however, with the strict restrictions in place, couldn’t explain too much of what Masonry was.

This has resulted in a decrease in membership in my generation and especially the current one, as our respective generations are more cautious to join something they do not understand or obtain the relevant information to make an informed decision.

Fortunately, this has been recognized with all Grand Lodges worldwide, and amendments to the respective  Constitutions are allowing recruitment and Masons being more “open” about the Fraternity.

Bringing in young blood is crucial to Fraternal growth and in line with that focus, our District have introduced ,University Scheme Lodges and active recruitment project aimed at young students.

Our Lodge have open evenings, as posted by my sister, Jeanette, A Night with the Freemasons, where we are able to explain what Freemasonry to non-masons and attract potential candidates.

Through being able to speak openly about my Masonic passion and the journey I have taken thus far, I have been honored by initiating four close friends and colleagues into Masonry as the Worshipful Master over the past few months.  Being a Past Worshipful Master, I was able to conduct the ceremony personally, which made the evening even more special.

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Unfortunately, due to a stigma attached to Masonry by ignorant/uneducated persons, family members and work colleagues, many Masons still need to remain incognito 

 

 

Farewell to a gentleman

Posted: May 4, 2016 in Masonic, Poem

Today was a very somber day indeed. It was one where I said goodbye to a dear friend, Brother and mentor. 

The very first Lodge I visited after being initiated into Freemasonry, 11 years ago, was Phoenix Lodge.  My Father-in-law, Keith, (and my proposer) was a long standing visitor of Phoenix and had become very good friends with the Brethren there.  Whilst being introduced to the various Brethren, I met an extraordinary man that evening. An average sized man who projected a presence that seemed to attract the attention of all the Brethren. With a kind friendly face, silver hair, and welcoming demeanour, he walked to me and introduced himself. Little did I know then, the role Worshipful Brother John Malone would play in my Masonic journey.  

Every month from then on, I visited Phoenix Lodge, and eventually had the honour of being made a Star Boarder. Being a close friend of Keith’s, he naturally took over as my mentor and guide in Masonry when Keith passed on, and stood by my side through my Second Degree and becoming a Master Mason. The following few years went by very fast, with John always being around, offering words of wisdom and advice, both from a Masonic perspective as well as a personal one. 

Now, when a Mason is installed as the Worshipful Master of his Lodge, he would generally have three masons who played an important role in his life, to present the 3 respective Working Tools. When I asked John to present the 3rd Degree Working Tools, he was thrilled and immediately agreed to do so. 

Hearing the news of John’s death, hit me very hard. There are very few people that have played such an important role in my life,  and John was one of them.  

His funeral was surreal, with a large contingent of Masons all expressing their grief, and recalling their respective memories of John. And every single one, including myself, all agree on his most dominating quality. 

John was a true gentleman! No matter what was happening in his life at the time, he stood upright, always smiled and shook the hand of everyone he met, and offered anecdotes of advice for every situation. John shows the ultimate respect for everyone he met, never had a negative word to say of anyone, and even in the moments before Phoenix Lodge shut its doors in South Africa, and their charter moved to Mauritius, he remained positive for his Brethren. 

I recall one time I visited him in ICU, after being knocked of his motorbike, he just smiled at me, laughed at himself and proceeded to help me with my Masonic workings.  To me, I’ve always had the impression John’s sole purpose in life was to project a positive image to others, to uplift his fellow man.  

So today, I said goodbye to a gentleman, scholar, friend and Brother, and wished him well on his journey to the Grand Lodge above. Masonry, and my world, will not be the same.  


I came across a beautiful poem, which I feel is fitting to share

By Brother David Barker(1924) 

Brethren of our mystic order,

 Bound together by a tie,

Olden, sacred and enduring,

Come and see a Craftsman die.

Watch like angels round my pillow,

Till the ransomed spirit flies

To its Excellent Grand Master,

In His Lodge above the skies.

Oft we’ve met upon the Level,

Let us part upon the Square —

Perfect Ashlers in the temple,

May we meet together there.

Let no stranger’s hand entomb me

Underneath the tufted sod,

None except a brother Mason

Should consign my dust to God.

Heave no formal sigh of sorrow

O’er the ashes of the dead,

Only plant the priceless symbol,

Freshly blooming at my head.

When death’s gavel sound shall call you

Off from Labor unto rest,

May you, Craftsmen, find Refreshment

In the mansions of the blest.

So mote it be 

Posted: April 16, 2016 in Masonic, Poem, poetry, Uncategorized

I read this poem today, and felt I had to share…. 

So mote it be

written by: Skyrock Pinkrose
I know a man of faith, hope and charity
This man whom I know for years of nobility

His honor is mine to wear

A name he was proud to bear

He live in the sunlight of Freemasonry

And walk in the ranks of right 
I am my father’s daughter

I carry his name with pride and honour

He was always true 

To the best he knew 

Looks down on me 

To carry his standard high

He is a man and a brother who is “Square”

in all that he “Compasses” 

And to me he gave an honest name, 

integrity and pride
He made me a better person with his light

He made me live my life with heads held high

The man I call my father

Gave strength of me standing tall

He stands my guiding force

My light, my god in disguise
He always said, no matter how old I get

That within thy heart, a princess remains timeless

Biggest fan I am, the man I call my father 

the everlasting image of making good men better

so then with pride let the musical waltz of life to play forever forward 
As I lightly tip toe, across destiny’s ballroom floor.

My dancing card remains eternally full, 

written within one name stands out,

 it is yours my dearest father “Mason”.

So Mote It Be.

  

Every year, the District Grand Lodge of South Africa North, of the Grand Lodge of England, hosts its annual banquet in honour of the charity recipients selected by the Masonic Benevolent Committee. 

   
   
Over the past 20 years, over R 25 Million has been donated to non-Masonic charities. 

  
The recipients  this year were  the Three Church feeding schemes, Impilo Home for Aids Orphans, The Gordon Foundation Swaziland, The Hero Burns Unit Pretoria and the Green Beings Solar Lighting Project. 

As usual, the recipients receiving the larger donations attended the banquet to receive their respective cheques, and to provide some background to their charities. 

  
The Amazing Grace Children’s Home received a generous donation to build a new laundry. 

And then, the recipient who received the larger amount, was one that shares a special place in my heart. As an Emergency Practitioner, I have seen the devastation traumatic head injuries cause, so seeing an organization like Headway benefiting from our charity  drives really warms my heart… 

  
.. And what made it even more special, was they were represented by two amazing women I worked with, and became good friends with, many years ago at Glynnwood Hospital. 

  
Sally and Bianca, we are all so proud of your achievements at Headway. Well done and keep up the amazing work you do for the patients and their families.