The Learning and Development Committee
This central Committee of the Province is involved with and develops many initiatives. In the main, our work is aimed at making Freemasonry in East Lancashire more understandable and enjoyable for all who take part. We also provide support to many other activities taking place in the Province.
The work of the Committee is generally project-led, with a wide range of activities undergoing development or delivery at any one time.
Committee members bring their experience from a broad background, both Masonic and vocational, which enables them to be highly effective in the work that they undertake.
We regularly link the work of the Provincial Mentor and Provincial Chairman of Communications, and they are ex officio members of the main Learning and Development Committee. Thus the main Committee are able to support the Heads of each of these areas of activity and the work that they do in the Province for Communications and Mentoring. The members Committee largely comprise the Chairman and some 18 to 20 members.
The Conference sub-Committee has organised the very popular “Let’s Talk Masonry” Conference in the Spring of each of the last eleven years and has the next Conference scheduled for 2020.
Images from Let’s Talk Masonry 2019
If you are interested in becoming involved in any of the work being undertaken by this Committee, please contact the Chairman, John Porter, who will be very pleased to hear from you.
Each month when we visit our Lodge or Chapter the evening should be special and memorable, so that we look forward to our next meeting with keen anticipation. That may involve ensuring the company is good, the venue, meal and service are excellent and, as far as the meeting itself is concerned, that we learn something in an enjoyable, dignified and entertaining manner.
The latter is where your Mentor, District Mentor and indeed this committee can help: There should never be a masonic evening in which the business agenda fails to contain some valued masonic education, a short talk, a paper followed by a debate, some questions and answers etc.
Similarly the mentor, or whoever has responsibility for guiding and supporting the new brethren in your Lodge or Chapter, may want access to material that helps him to explain the ritual and symbolism, leading the new mason progressively to higher planes of understanding. The material here will help with this too.
More ambitiously, you may be running a hosted meeting and desire a ritual walk through and explanation, as where a narrator explains a ritual demonstration at various points during the workings. Such papers are available through the District Mentors.
The Learning and Development Committee is responsible for the production of nearly all the material available through this page and the work of the committee is designed to complement and support to the best of its ability the work of the Provincial Grand Mentor and Provincial Grand Orator. The table below take you to various places where the range of educational materials available are displayed / down loadable.
We hope you find this helpful and we will be grateful to receive any comments, suggestions for future materials or other feedback.
The Founding of the Masonic District of British Burma – The British took Freemasonry to British India in 1730 when officers of the East India Company held their meetings in Fort William in Calcutta. The Lodge was given No. 72. It was not until 1847 before Burma had its own British Masonic Lodge. The Grand Master Thomas Dundas, the 2nd Earl of Zetland, in 1868 agreed to this request by the R. W. Bro. Col. Greenlaw, to establish a new District Grand Lodge of British Burma, with Colonel Greenlaw as the first District Grand Master for Burma with seven lodges under its jurisdiction. This paper reveals the Lost District Grand Lodge Minutes and an error in Grand Lodge records, which has since corrected.
Why East Lancashire Freemasons did not join in the Liverpool Rebellion. After the Union of the two Grand Lodges in 1814, the largest province in England and Wales, that of Lancashire had its fare she of discontent. Lodges that had belonging to the Ancients were unhappy, as well as Traditioner Lodges attached to the Premier Grand Lodge. Communication across the Province was poor and the overzealous Deputy Provincial Grand Master proved to be uncompromising. The East Lancashire Cotton-towns were brought into the fold by the West Yorkshire Lodge of Probligation. It is just a pity that the towns of Liverpool and Wigan were not supported in the same way. Communications in Lancashire seemed to begin and end in Manchester.
Somewhat surprisingly the Premier Grand Lodge has had in Lancashire, a continuous succession of Provincial Grand Masters from 1734 to 1826, even though when the first Provincial Grand Master was appointed there were just four registered Lancashire lodges with the Grand Lodge, they were based in Salford, Bolton, Leigh and Bury. So who were there Provincial Grand Masters and what do we know about them. This papers starts to shed some light on these leaders in the Craft in Lancashire.
An eminent sculptor was once asked: "How do you carve such beautiful statues?" He replies, "It is the simplest thing in the world. I take a hammer and chisel and from a massive, shapeless rock, I knock off all the stone I do not want, and there is the statue. It was there all the time." In every Masonic Lodge room there is, or should be, the Rough Ashlar and the Perfect Ashlar. What is their significance? What do they have to do with Masonry?
When, late in life, Cardinal Newman was asked by an interviewer what was the most important day in his life, he did not reply 'the day I became Cardinal' as was doubtless the expected reply, but rather the day 'the day I was baptised'. In other words, the day he became a Christian. One would hope if asked a similar question, high ranking Freemasons would not reply, 'the day I received my Grand Lodge apron' but rather 'the day I was initiated into Freemasonry'. Freemasonry is an initiatory society and what that means is the subject of this short paper.
Masonic symbols are like the many buried cities of Ur of the Chaldees; similar to the many words which mean different things at different times to different people when used in different ways. It may be too much to say that all Masonic symbols have more than one meaning, but it is certainly true that most of those objects or ideas or practices which we call symbols have at least two and most of them many meanings.
The appointment of the two sons of King George lll, the Duke of Sussex as Grand Masters of the Moderns and his brother, the Duke of Kent as Grand Master of the “Ancients" enabled the two Grand Lodges to finally put their differences to one side and form the United Grand Lodge of England. Although differences and difficulties remained in many lodges across the country, the Union has stud the test of time, but not without casualties.
Whatever may be dim in the history of Freemasonry, and in the nature of things much must remain hidden, its symbolism may be traced in unbroken succession through the centuries; and its symbolism is its soul. So much of this is true, that it may almost be said that had the order ceased to exist in the period when it was at its height, its symbolism would have survived and developed, so deeply was it wrought into the mind of mankind.
A 10 minute paper on why the DC and the Deacons have wands
A 5 to 10 minute paper which explains the significance of the Charity Steward's Jewel and Trowel
A 20 to 30 minute paper - a commentary explaining the Charge after Initiation Ritual
A 20 to 30 minute paper explaining how and why Candidates are clothed and prepared in a certain manner for the Initiation ritual
A short and meaningful poem to be read at the closing of the Lodge
A 5 minute paper explaining the relationship between the Craft and the Royal Arch and why one should become a member of the Royal Arch
A 30 minute paper giving an interpretion of the three Degrees, covering morality, allegory and symbolism and touching on philosophical aspects of the ceremonies
A memorable and novel way to present the charge after Initiation. The ritual is shared by up to 12 brethren and the Candidate will never forget that special day.
A 10 minute paper exploring these questions
A 20 to 30 minute historical paper describing the origins of many of the Craft Lodges existing in the Province of East Lancashire today
A 25 minute paper describing the import of ritual to Freemasonry and its future - riveting paper from Neville Barker Cryer
A 25 to 30 minute paper on its Masonic origin and connections
Three 5 minute papers to be given together or separately on the relevance of the compass points in the Lodge, the importance of the East and the black and white pavement
Ritual Walkthroughs & Explanations
Ritual walkthroughs may be ideal to use when sitting with a Candidate after his ceremony to help explain what has occured. Think very carefully before attempting to work some of these papers in Lodge. They are probably best preserved for hosted meetings, when an experienced DCs team can arrange multiple rehearsals. Nobody likes to be embarassed by poorly worked ritual.
Address to the Brethren
Commentary on the 1st Degree
Commentary on the 2nd Degree
Commentary on the 3rd Degree
Additional Commentary on the Initiation
First Degree Lecture Parts 1 & 2
Commentary on the Royal Arch Exaltation Ceremony