Consecration Inaugural Address to Internet Lodge 9659

29 January 1998 by WBro Gordon Charlton, Worshipful Master

Brethren, before I introduce this meeting's guest speaker it is my duty and my honour to make the first Inaugural Address, something which I hope all Masters of Internet Lodge will make after being installed. The purpose of the Address is to lay out the Masters' intentions for the coming year and to reaffirm the Lodges aims.

We have chosen, by the nature of our formation, and by our choice of name, to be an unusually open Lodge. Much of our activities, by virtue of being on the Internet, will attract interest from the general public, and we have a duty to them to be truthful and accurate in portraying ourselves.

We are a Service Lodge, we are not here primarily to perform the ceremonies of Initiation, Passing and Raising, but to make such use of the opportunities that global digital communication presents as will benefit the Craft.

I would like to see the Lodge acting as information providers to the Craft. An important aspect of the website is the Library section. Ultimately this could
be vast, but first I want to establish a precedent for excellence, and aim for a fairly small but excellent collection of documents.

Yes, research papers, the history of the Craft is fascinating, when it is well researched and well written. Age is not a criterion - there are thousands of out of print Research Lodge papers hiding some gems that demand to see the light of day again. If you are a member of a Research Lodge, why not talk to the Lodge archivist or librarian - they might have some good suggestions.

Not only research papers, but also good practical advice about running Lodges, and art! If we are in the business of accurately portraying our Lodge then we must remember that we are founded on the pillars of Wisdom, Strength and Beauty. I would love to see a gallery of Masonic art on the Web, and poetry, and music, and humour. We speak of the Grand Design of being happy and communicating happiness. Masonic jokes are a part of our Masonic experience, we should reflect that too. And we should reflect the dignity and solemnity of the Lodge meetings.

In the first year, our aim should not be quantity, but quality. Let us establish a pattern of excellence for the website, and let us establish the will to achieve within the Lodge. Things do not just happen, they happen because we make them happen. Two years ago Internet Lodge was just an idea. It took a lot of effort to make it happen, but we did it because we have the will to achieve.

Internet Lodge will be of service to the Craft, because we have the will to achieve, and because we will make it happen.

Charity is a major part of our Masonry. We will be using the opportunities presented by the Internet to raise funds for charity. I have chosen to support the Aidis Trust, which provides computers for disabled people in the UK, during my year in office. They have suggested that our expertise as well as our donations would be welcome. If you feel confident to act as a local expert visiting a recipient of Aidis Trust equipment please let me know.

Internet Lodge will have a regular feature in the Masonic magazine, The Square, formerly Masonic Square, starting from the next issue. It is to be a couple of pages, portraying the best of the Masonic Internet, pieces from Masonic websites, eZines, newsgroups and so on, and news of events happening on or via the Internet. The first article will be about the formation of Internet Lodge.

Brother Adrian Peel has offered to act as editor, and is looking for interesting articles and graphics on websites and so on, and for short reports written by members of the Lodge.

The back catalogue of Masonry Universal... is available to the Lodge. I would be interested to hear suggestions as to how it may be put to best use.

We have work to do. Right now we are in the position that it would be true to say "the Lodge hasn't done that before" of absolutely anything. It is not good grounds to turn down a proposal now, and I sincerely hope it never will be. It is important, if we are to achieve, that this Lodge is a place where it is all right to come forward with an idea, where we discuss what we do, and where we are willing to work to make good ideas come true.

We have a lot of strengths. We have diversity - of Masonic experience, of skills and abilities, we are geographically diverse, but we can discuss in a way no other Lodge in the world can - via the Lodge mailing list. We have the economic advantages of the Internet - we can publish electronically very cheaply. And we are a Lodge - and we are here to work together with love and harmony. We all have something to offer. Our challenge is to find what it is we have to offer, to see how it can be applied to Internet Lodge, to make a project of it, and to see it to completion. I do not know what skills, what interests, what hidden treasures are out there, but I know that all of them can be a key to involvement in the Lodge, and a means to realising the vision that inspired our Lodge.

Perhaps you collect Masonic Postage Stamps. Perhaps you know a Brother who would scan a sample of your collection. Perhaps another can research a little of the history behind the events depicted on those stamps, perhaps yet another can turn these words and graphics into a new section for the website. Or maybe you have some skills with brush and paint, or the tools of a graphics package, and can show in the flickering pixels of an online gallery some of those feelings that words cannot express, but are an integral part of your Masonic experience. Or do you have ideas and know who amongst us can realise them, and can bring ideas and Brethren together. And so the list goes on.

Brethren, I have put forward a lot of suggestions, but there are three key elements to my inaugural address, and these are what I want you to come away with.

The first is the pursuit of excellence; that we should set a precedent for quality that will be the hallmark of Internet Lodge. The second is the will to achieve; that Internet Lodge will be a place where things can happen because we will make them happen. The third is cooperative effort; that we are a Lodge, and when our talents are combined there is nothing beyond our reach.

These are not just fancy words. They are why we are here, and they are true. This I know because I have seen them happen before, and when at the consecration the Brethren assembled burst into spontaneous applause as the first meeting of Internet Lodge began, I knew they would happen again. Brethren, I have spoken for long enough. The future of the Lodge is in your hands - nothing more needs to be said, except to introduce our speaker,

Worshipful Brother Philip Thomas, and to thank him for giving me the opportunity to share in the enjoyment of working with him on the Temples at Jerusalem website, which forms the basis of his presentation today.

Gordon Charlton.