March 2008

Charles Lewis WM, Internet Lodge 9659EC, 2007 - 2008

Let me begin my saying that I stated to all present at the Installation meeting in Manchester that I consider my membership and term as Master of the Internet Lodge as one of the highlights of my forty seven year Masonic career.

I drift back to John Belton's year when Helga and I went to Edinburgh to share in the Scotland visit. It was a most meaningful visit. Since that time we have made several j oint visitations and I have made as many visits as I could individually within the parameters of prudent expenditure.

May I say that I have valued every Masonic forum and venue for Internet Lodge interchange with our members. When I was encouraged to submit a Manifesto I had some thinking to do; at the day's end I decided to venture forth. I have not been disappointed. The friendships that have been forged and the on-site UK Lodge meetings have been most enjoyable and fruitful. Let's advance the clock.

I was privileged to serve during the year the Lodge ventured forth with the Short Papers Competition. What a resounding success that has been. And as you have been informed , that venture will move forward on an Annual basis. We can credit Vic Dorman, Alex Viner, our panel of judges, the Province of East Lancashire, and UGLE for the support we had in postulating the competition.Notwithstanding is the sponsorship that the MW Pro Grand Master, Lord Northampton, gave to this venture. His physical presence at the Awards Ceremony and Dinner, and that of the Grand Secretary of UGLE,, Nigel Brown, and the Provincial Grand Master, Paul Rink, the Deputy Provincail Grand Master Nigel Bramley-Haworth and the Assistant Provincial Grand Master Robert Mitchell , assured the success of the evening.I trust I got the titles correct!

The scheduled meetings in Rugby, facilitated by WBro. Stephen Wall and his wife, and the Ladies Festival in Cardiff, faciliated by WBro. Naunton Liles and his wife, were outstanding events. We all enjoyed the paper by WBro. HolloTas on Hungarian Masonry in Rugby and the Festive Board which followed. A special treat was the tour of Rugby School. What a place of distinctive British history in terms of the service of its graduates and its special contribution to the sporting world. Cardiff took us to a special place in the lives of Helga and Charles Lewis. It was there in 1999 that I served on the University of Wales Institute Cardiff faculty for a Fall term. It was there that I enjoyed many Province of South Wales Lodge visits and the beginning of a strong friendship with James Bevan, Provincial Grand Secretary , and WBro. Naunton Liles, our faithful Lodge organist and later officer. How well I recall Guilford Street and my several Lodge visits there and in the province. How well I remember attending the World Cup at Millenium Stadium and the recount of the Welsh National Anthem resounding in my ears! Can I be so bold as to say that the Pruitts, Terry Laurie, and Fred Fox and his wife Betty became such valued friends through this time period and how much we were pleased that we could rejoin at the Ladies Festival.

Then there was the Atlanta visit. Fifty brethren and their wives came to Georgia for two and one-half days in May. Our Internet Lodge Brother , WBro. David Herman, enabled me to pull off the visit. I had only been in the State of Georgia for a year at the time of the visit. The Grand Lodge of Georgia F&AM stepped up and enabled us to visit Pythagoras Lodge and Chamblee-Sardis Lodge for two exceptional Masonic visitations. Our social evenings in the Decatur area were superb fellowship events. Our visit to Milledgeville and the Governor's Mansion and the Old Capital Museum gave everyone a flavor of Civil War history. The Brer Rabbit Museum visit added to the history exposure. This was enhanced by the visit to the Cyclorama in Atlanta and the tour of the Fox Theater and the environs of Atlanta. Helga and I hosted the entire group for a Georgia BBQ at our Lake home to conclude the visit. How much we enjoyed the fellowship, and particularly that of WBro. Peter Lanes and his wife from Hawaii/California. We lost this dear Brother during my term of office.

Finally, back to Manchester a week ago. We had a fabulous weekend. Friday night was addressed above. WBro. Mark Griffin was Installed on Saturday in due and ancient form. I wish him and his officers a most successful year and I stand ready to assist in any way I can.

Let us continue the great mission we adopted - that of using the internet to advance the purposes of Freemasonry.

May the GAOTU bless us all.

Charles Lewis
Immediate Past Master
March 2008