London Grand Rank and London Rank Investiture
W.Bro. Trevor Koschalka PAGDC reports
Wednesday 2nd November saw the annual investiture of brethren who had been awarded London Grand Rank and London Rank. Around two hundred brethren were invested in a morning and afternoon session.
The magnificent Grand Temple was the setting for this colourful ceremony, with those to be invested proudly wearing their new regalia with which the Metropolitan Grand Master, Sir Michael Snyder, would shortly invest them, whilst their friends and family, observing from the balcony, were able to share their achievement with them.
The Metropolitan Grand Master entered the Grand Temple in procession accompanied by his officers, to warm applause from those present. This being the first occasion that Metropolitan Grand Lodge had met since the death of her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Sir Michael immediately called all to stand in quiet tribute to her late Majesty.
Sir Michael then invested the new holders of LGR and LR, taking time to have a short conversation with each recipient.
In addition to the investiture, Sir Michael and all those present welcomed into the Temple three members of the London Search and Rescue ‘LONSAR’. This is a charity that has been supported with a donation from the London Freemasons’ Charity. LONSAR is a volunteer organisation which supports lowland police search and rescue operations within the M25. Mr Patrick Duffy, a LONSAR volunteer, presented an overview of their work.
Mr Duffy explained that lowland rescue encompasses all rescues which do not involve mountains or cave systems, and the organisation works closely with the Metropolitan Police and the City of London Police, looking for vulnerable missing persons ranging from very young children to older people who may be suffering from illnesses such as dementia.
The London Freemasons’ Charity had recently made a donation of more than £250,000, allowing the organisation to buy and equip a control vehicle and a water support vehicle to assist with their work. (A fuller article covering the work of LONSAR and how the donation will be used can be found on page 27).
In his address, Sir Michael said that the primary reason for the meeting was to acknowledge the effort of the investees and for their continued commitment to London Freemasonry. He commented that, “…they can be rightly proud of the contribution that they have made in reinvigorating our Lodges after the upheaval of the last two and a half years.” Sir Michael went on to say “…that London Grand Rank and London Rank do not just come up with the rations.”
There is an evaluation process that the nomination passes through where it is evaluated by the Lodge Visiting Officer, Metropolitan Grand Inspector and ultimately the Deputy Metropolitan Grand Masters. Recipients will have shown that they not only support their Lodges and local community, but it is expected they will continue to do so in the future.
Sir Michael spoke of the support he receives from his three Deputies, the Assistant Metropolitan Grand Masters and the Metropolitan Grand Inspectors, who do much of the day-to-day work. He also thanked those others who work tirelessly to support Metropolitan Grand Lodge in its work and in their individual Lodges, including almoners, charity stewards, the communications team and many others.
Sir Michael then said that he had earlier the pleasure of investing the new Metropolitan Grand Secretary, Matthew Christmas, who has taken over recently from David Swain, who had retired due to ill health, and has “…already started with enthusiasm and gusto.”
He added, “I would like to pay tribute to the Metropolitan Deputy Grand Secretary, John Wood, for all he has done and is still doing to keep everything running in David’s absence and for his induction of Matthew.”
Sir Michael then spoke about the re-launch of the ‘Leading Lights’ project. “This initiative encourages London Freemasons – irrespective of rank or Lodge office – to work with and learn from others about the best way of keeping Lodges healthy and vibrant.”
This development is being championed by the Metropolitan Learning and Development Team, working to promote the UGLE Members’ Pathway initiative.
The Metropolitan Grand Master said that the signs were that we would have up to 1,500 initiations in London this year; a Discover Freemasonry event was recently held in the Grand Temple with nearly 200 people attending, and there were already indications that many of them are now seeking to become London Freemasons.
Sir Michael also mentioned the ‘Welcome Project’, which ensures that new members have an early opportunity to learn that there is more to Freemasonry than just their mother Lodge. Care is taken with the development of our new members so that the best way forward is identified for an individual and he is supported and accompanied on a visit to see an initiation shortly after his own ceremony.
This encourages him to develop friendships not only in his own Lodge but also with others. Sir Michael asked those that he invested today to think about how they could contribute to this or to the many other initiatives that support our new members as well as our more experienced brethren.
After thanking all those who had made the day possible and after the singing of the National Anthem, Sir Michael retired in recession with his officers.
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 50 December 2022 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 50 here.