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November 24th

A large gathering of over 100 Brethren attended the Hosted Meeting in the presence of the RWPGM Sir David Trippier at Freemasons Hall, Manchester.

The PProv DC, Wesley Marchant brought the RWPGM into the Lodge with a Provincial Deputation and after taking the Chair he commented on how wonderful it was to see the Derby Lodge room so full.  He thanked the WM and the Brethren of Minnehaha Lodge for the work they had put in in hosting the meeting and how important such meetings were to enable him to meet as many brethren as he could in the Province.

The Provincial Deputation were introduced which included VWBro Stephen Blank APGM and both Provincial Grand Wardens, Simon Archer and Gerry Hodgson plus the Provincial Grand Secretary John Farrington.  The Brethren gave a warm and rousing round of applause in acknowledging and welcoming them.

RW PGM with V WBro Stephen Blank, APGM flanking WM Bro John Bissett with the
Provincial Deputation and the Officers and Brethren of Minnehaha Lodge.

The main part of the evening was to be a presentation of ‘Light Blue Entertainment’ which was introduced by the WM John Bissett who started it with his own talking briefly about his masonic family history which is extensive and the reason for his early interest in becoming a Freemason.

His great grandfather Jim Thompson was initiated into Constitution Lodge (3392) in November 1920 which sadly closed in the early 2000’s. He joined Minnehaha lodge in April 1930 and was WM from 1939-1941 and became a Provincial Officer in 1952.

Jim’s brother Herbert was also initiated into Lodge in May 1925 and he followed his brother to Minnehaha in March 1931. He was master from 1943-1945 and DC for many years.

His Grandfather JM Bissett (Mac) was initiated into Minnehaha in 1955, Master in 1966 and a provincial officer in 1972. In 2005 he achieved 50 years in Masonry.

His other great Grandfather John Bissett (commenting that they were not very original at names in his family!) was initiated into Trafford Lodge (1496) in March 1915. He was master in 1930 and became a provincial officer in 1934.

John also mentioned his Great-Great Grandfather John Schofield (another John) who was initiated into the Earl of Latham lodge in 1905, which still meets in Bury.

John commented the he really had no choice but to join however since becoming a Freemason he has found the comradery to be an important aspect  and that Minnehaha is a friendly Lodge and where he has had many positive experiences in the last 7 years.

RW PGM Sir David Trippier with the WM Bro John Bissett of Minnehaha Lodge and the Brethren who gave the ‘Light Blue Presentation’

The Senior Warden of Minnehaha Lodge Ed Rowan delivered his presentation.

He explained that he was intrigued by a work colleague, Simon De Wynter, telling him that he ‘was off to Bridge Street after work’.  On further enquiry he learned that this was to go to a Lodge meeting and this was to see another work colleague initiated into Freemasonry.  This eventually led to him telling Simon that he would be interested to learn more and after a while he was to be put forward as a candidate.  Prior to this he told the brethren that he had a number of concerns and misgivings regarding the craft fuelled by rumour and false information in the media and in particular the internet.  He had no masonic background in his family to fall back on but fortunately found the East Lancashire Provincial website and the UGLE site to be full of useful and helpful information that re assured him.

Ed also met with the Lodge Secretary which enabled him to have his questions answered and then attended a Ladies Evening and met a number of brethren including the Worshipful Master.  He enjoyed the evening and this helped him reach his decision and wish to become a mason.

Ed explained that he was Initiated in December 2009 and made sure that he didn’t read any of the ritual before the meeting.  He was greeted in the Derby Bar by brethren and was intrigued by the mention of ‘a goat’ on a number of occasions however everyone told him to relax and enjoy the evening.

Ed commented that his Initiation, Passing and Rising all worked out well and that he was now standing  5 years later in front of not only brethren from his  own lodge, but also Provincial Grand Lodge and others from the Province.

He stated how sad it is that a few of the Brethren whom were here when he first joined are now in the Grand Lodge above and how thankful he was to have met them on his journey mentioning Worshipful Brother's John Knowles and Keith McCloud.

He is looking forward to the next chapter in his Masonic career which is about to begin next year when he hopefully becomes the Worshipful Master of Minnehaha.

He also confirmed on a final note that no goat' were harmed during the preparation of this speech!

A special night for ‘Father & Son’ Colin and Scott Bagshaw with the RW PGM as
Colin the WM of Britannia Lodge No. 3005  recently Initiated his son into the Craft.

The next presentation was given by the Junior Warden Luther John Williams

He told the meeting that he had been initiated into Freemasonry on the 23 January 2009 and since that day Freemasonry and its Philosophy has formed a large part of his life. It is his belief that it has not only improved the way that he deals with people in his everyday life but it has also helped him develop a strong belief in himself which has enabled him to progress in his professional life.

Luther told the brethren that he has made a great deal of friends through his Freemasonry most of whom he would never have met in any other environment. He has have visited many Lodges all over the UK including North & South Wales, Sheffield, London, Leeds, Liverpool, Cheshire and countless Lodges here in his home Province of East Lancashire.

Luther has recently moved to Saudi Arabia to start a new job. He left the UK to start this daunting new adventure on his own however his involvement Freemasonry gave him the opportunity to meet brethren that had already been living there for some time.  They were able to advise him on day to day living and also made him aware of certain customs that need to be adhered to whilst living in Saudi Arabia, this in its self was extremely helpful.

It also presented him with another masonic visiting opportunity as there was a Lodge meeting in the residential compound where he is living. They work under a warrant from the American Canadian Grand Lodge and he has visited this Lodge on quite a few occasions.

He explained the Freemasonry practised in Saudi is very different to our own but very enjoyable all the same; although the existence of this Lodge is not for common knowledge outside of Freemasonry due to the very strict regulations that are currently in place in Saudi Arabia.

Luther stated that having been in the Craft for coming up to 5 years he cannot see himself ever not being a Freemason concluding by stating “I enjoy every minute of my freemasonry and I am truly passionate about it.

I will be forever grateful for the positive changes it has inspired in me and in my life.”

RW PGM Sir David Trippier congratulates WM Bro John Bissett

The next brother to speak was another Steward-Ionut Vamanu

He opened by expressing his thanks you for giving him the honour of learning so many things and meeting so many brothers when he is at the beginning of his journey in this brotherhood.

For many years, he was attracted and impressed by this society, so he decided to go ahead and “knock at its doors and ask for admission.” He made his first step in Freemasonry 6 months ago, in this building, very curious and with a lot of hope.  However, he didn’t expected Monday of 28th of April to become a day that he would never forget and his first “left foot step” into the Lodge to be one that would change him into a better person, and that has “opened him a unique path towards light.”

Ionut told the brethren that during his first rituals and meetings, he had tremendous support from “my brothers, and there are no words to describe my gratitude for their help.” They managed to help him understand Freemasonry and motivate him to gain knowledge, grow and respect the true values of this sacred society.  He commented “It’s no wonder why this Lodge is 125 years old.”

He concluded by explaining that 6 months ago, the reasons he’d entered Freemasonry were to develop himself, learn and become a better person. Now he can say he has an additional one and he wants to make sure that as long as he is a Freemason, together with his brothers, he will transmit to all new candidates or generations the same passion and values that he felt and received from Minnehaha Lodge this year.

The Brethren then heard from two brethren from other Lodges.  Bro George Deer from Ark Scroll had been introduced to Freemasonry through a work connection and thoroughly enjoyed attending meetings and meeting such diverse people.  He said that the charitable element was of particular interest to him and he thanked his Lodge Mentor, Laurence Rickless, for the help and guidance he had afforded him since becoming a mason.  Bro Domingos Mamede from Virtue Lodge who was a recent initiate said that he felt he had started an “amazing journey” and once that he was sure would help him improve himself in his private and professional life.

This was the last of the personal presentations and the RWPGM congratulated and thanked the junior brethren for the effort they had all put into delivering their individual views and experiences of Freemasonry.  He added that listening to them was so much more enjoyable than hearing yet another explanation of the 2nd Degree Tracing Board!  The brethren gave a long and loud applause in recognition of the presentations given.

The WM John Bissett then presented a cheque for £600 for the RMBI Festival which was gratefully received by the RW PGM. 

In the Social Board thanks were again expressed by the RW PGM to the WM and Brethren of Minnehaha Lodge for all their efforts in hosting the meeting.  He emphasised that the Festival which had now raised over £2m was in its last period and that there would be a Grand Dinner in October 2015 at the Macron Stadium (Bolton Wanderers FC) to bring it to a conclusion.  He explained that once it ended their would be a 7 year period when the Province would be able to concentrate once again on the ELMC and Non Masonic Charities and encouraged everyone for a final push to swell the coffers of the Festival.  He said how impressed he was with the presentations given in the Lodge and how varied they were.  He recognised how nerve racking it must have been for each of the brethren and thanked them all.  He concluded by repeating something he had said recently at East Lancashire Provincial Grand Lodge; “A brother might forget what you say or do, but he will not forget how you make them feel.” 

In his toast to the WM, VWBro Stephen Blank, APGM took the opportunity to thank both District Chairman in assisting in the arrangements for the meeting and Manchester Masons for helping with some of the costs.  He also told the brethren that with the help of WBro David Hudson he had discovered the reason for the name of the Lodge.  It had been created by some travelling Masons who had a musical group called the Minnehaha Minstrels who provided entertainment and hence the name was adopted when the Lodge was created.

Responding Bro John Bissett, WM, expressed his thanks to WBro Ken Palmer for the work he had invested in the meeting and also his wife Glynis who had ‘taken the register’ this evening.





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