The Swan of Avon Lodge, No. 2133 - Stratford-upon-Avon

Masonic Year 2017-18: highlights


Stratford Masonic Hall.jpgThe Masonic ‘year’ for Swan of Avon begins in February with the Installation of the new Worshipful Master (WM) for the coming year.

During the year, Lodge meetings take place on the first Tuesday of the month in February, March and April followed by a summer break. We resume business again in October, November and December. In January, the Lodge has dispensation to meet on the second Tuesday of the month because of the proximity of New Year.

Although we have a break during the summer months, Swan Brethren keep in regular contact by means of social and other events. On 20 May 2017, ten Brethren from the Lodge and their partners attended the Tercentenary Meeting of Warwickshire Provincial Grand Lodge at the home of English Masonry, Freemasons' Hall in Great Queen Street in London. Over 1,500 Masons from across Warwickshire, together with their friends and families, attended this special event, a highlight of which saw W.Bro. Mike Barry, from Swan of Avon Lodge, be appointed Past Provincial Superintendent of Works, in recognition of his long and distinguished service to Freemasonry. The event, which culminated in a Festive Board, was extremely enjoyable; full of pomp and ceremony but infused with an atmosphere of fraternity.

On Friday 2 June 2017, the Worshipful Master, accompanied by W.Bro. David Stevens (Lodge Mentor) attended the Installation of Bro. John Thomson as the Worshipful Master of Lodge Niederrhein No. 892 (Grand Lodge of British Freemasons in Germany) in Düsseldorf, for 2017-18. This was followed by a very enjoyable Festive Board, after which, the Brethren took a coach trip into the city centre to enjoy the scenic delights of Düsseldorf (and an occasional Altbier!). The Brethren of Lodge Niederrhein, which is an English speaking Lodge in Germany, came from over fifteen different countries to take part in the Installation, with members and visitors travelling from the UK, Canada, Italy, and Greece, as well as different parts of Germany. Over the last four years, very strong fraternal links have developed between the Brethren of Swan of Avon Lodge and their counterparts in Lodge Niederrhein, and, in addition to Swan Brethren joining in the Installation of the new Worshipful Master in Düsselfdorf, a large contingent from Germany comes to Stratford-upon-Avon in February, each year, to attend our Installation ceremony. Our flights are booked to attend their next Installation in June 2018 and we look forward to welcoming our Masonic friends to our next Installation in February.

On Thursday 8 June 2017, the Worshipful Master (WM), accompanied by W.Bro. David Stevens, attended the Warwickshire Installed Masters Lodge No. 4538, where the WM was admitted as a member of the Lodge. After an interesting and enjoyable ceremony, the Brethren took part in the traditional Festive Board and welcomed Clare Cashmore MBE, a four-time British Para-Olympian and Gold Medallist as the keynote speaker. Clare gave a fascinating and inspiring talk about her journey to Olympic glory which was very well received by the Brethren.

On Sunday, 28 June 2017, the Worshipful Master and his wife held an ‘at home’ for Brethren of the Lodge and their wives. The weather was warm and sunny and everyone had an enjoyable time in the garden catching up on life, consuming good food and an occasional  beverage!

On Tuesday 5 September 2017, the Worshipful Master, accompanied by W.Bro. Peter Woolley (Immediate Past Master) and W.Bro. David Stevens (Lodge Mentor) attended a presentation at the Swan of Avon Lodge entitled ‘2020 Vision – The Future of my Lodge’. The Seminar, which was attended by Worshipful Brethren from a number of Lodges across south Warwickshire,  builds on the ‘Three Year Plan Initiative’ introduced in 2015 by David F. Macey, the Provincial Grand Master for Warwickshire, and focused on ways to ‘grow’ our Lodges. Topics covered included Succession Planning, Recruitment, Retention, Re-Engagement, Mentoring and the use of Social Media and Communication to promote Freemasonry. It was agreed that this was a very interesting, challenging and informative event.

Continuing the social theme within Swan of Avon, on Saturday 9 September 2017, a number of Brethren from Swan of Avon Lodge and their partners attended the races at Stratford Racecourse. Following last year’s enjoyable, if somewhat damp event, the Brethren began the afternoon hoping to end the day in profit; or at the very least break even! Despite the thunder, lightning and torrential rain which fell at times, forcing the reluctant Brethren to take shelter in the bar(!), a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon was had by all; enhanced by the fact that the WM ended up in profit – a minor miracle in itself! After the races, a number of the group were joined by other Brethren at a local Indian restaurant, for a very enjoyable curry. 

On Tuesday, 12 September 2017, the Worshipful Master, accompanied by W. Bro Mike Barry (Senior Warden) and Bro Steph Bailey (Junior Warden), will attend this year’s Master and Wardens Dinner at the Tally Ho Conference and Banqueting Centre, Birmingham. The gathering affords the opportunity to meet with Masters and Wardens of other Lodges across Warwickshire as well as with the Provincial Grand Master and Provincial Team for Warwickshire.

On Wednesday 20 September 2017, the Worshipful Master attended Choral Evensong held at Coventry Cathedral as part of the Tercentenary Celebrations. The event followed the successful Choral Evensong held in October 2015 and formed part of the on-going strengthening of the relationship between Warwickshire Freemasons and staff at Coventry Cathedral.

Between 11th and 13th October 2017, Bro Tim Johnson and W Bro David Stevens and their respective wives took part in the production of Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer. The play, which will run at The Bear Pit in Stratford-on-Avon and the Memorial Hall in Henley-in- Arden has been adapted by Bro Tim, who has also added lyrics. Bro Tim has extensive experience in the amateur dramatic and operatic fields and the event should be highly enjoyable.

During the weekend of 20-22 October 2017, the Worshipful Master and his wife, together with other Brethren from Swan of Avon Lodge joined Brethren from the David Garrick Lodge, a daughter Lodge, for the Fiddlers and Friends Ladies Weekend in Cardiff. The weekend provided an opportunity for Brethren to visit the castle, shops, arboretum, Millenium Stadium and other attractions locally, as well as explore the beautiful scenery of the Pembrokeshire Coast. The event culminated in a Gala Dinner with entertainment.

On Sunday 29 October 2017, the Worshipful Master and his wife, accompanied by W.Bros. Peter Woolley and David Stevens and their respective wives attended a Masonic Service held at Singers Hill Synagogue, Birmingham.

On Tuesday 31 October 2017 Swan of Avon Lodge was represented by Bro. Jose A. Perez Diez (Senior Deacon) in the Tercentenary celebrations of the foundation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717, the first Grand Lodge in the world. The event, held at the Royal Albert Hall, was presided over by the Most Worshipful Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent, and was a momentous event. The ceremony was attended by representatives of all regular Grand Lodges across the globe and featured the dedication of the reconstructed Ark of the Masonic Covenant, originally designed for Freemasons' Hall by the legendary British architect W.Bro. Sir John Soane, Past Superintendent of Works, and destroyed in the fire that gutted the Grand Temple in 1883.

Once again, Swan of Avon Lodge held their annual Christmas Dinner at the Lodge in Great William Street on 9 December 2017. Entertainment was, once again, be provided by Shipston Town Band. The event was open to all Brethren and their family and friends.