What a proud moment it was when I was Enthroned as Grand Master of our beloved Fraternity on 30th January 2014. It was the culmination of a long journey which began in 1976. I can remember that long distant day when I was Initiated as a member of the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons in 1976. I had witnessed first- hand the beneficial effects of Freemasonry on both my parents and also my husband. At the behest of my mother I agreed to become a member of Constance Leaver Lodge No. 39. I hadn’t been sure what to expect although having previously met several of the members I was confident that it was something I would enjoy.
As my ceremony progressed I became aware of the beauty of the ritual and the symmetry of the ceremony we were engaged in. It wasn’t long before I took my first office and started to learn the ritual for myself. Since then I have joined all the Orders of our Fraternity and have marvelled at the poetry of the ritual in each of the Degrees.
Part of our masonic teachings tells us that the three grand principles of the Order are Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. Love for our Brother mason and love for our fellow man are the cornerstones of our organisation. Our ritual constantly exhorts us to look for the good in a person and to overlook their faults.
To provide Relief is to practise Charity, not just by giving money but by giving of ourselves to help others. When our new University Lodge, Wisdom No. 55 opens its doors to students from Brunel University we shall be emphasising how important this precept is.
To seek for the Truth is to find our true selves using the moral truths expounded in our rituals and to acknowledge our relationship with the Supreme Being.
Whenever I am present at any of our Lodge meetings I am always conscious of the great debt of gratitude we owe to our founders who fought against prejudice and ignorance to bring Freemasonry to the women of the UK. We have inherited a wonderful tradition of always striving to excel in what is good and great.
Having established a Lodge in Bucharest, Romania in 2011 we are now looking forward to seeing the first Romanian Master taking the Chair later this year. Our Lodge in Gibraltar has just celebrated its 25th year and our two Spanish Lodges will be 10 years old next year. So we have been able to expand the fraternity in a way undreamt of by our founders.
I have seen with delight the way the younger generation of women have embraced Freemasonry, I am therefore thrilled for HFAF to have the opportunity to participate in the Universities Scheme. In a world which is fast paced and constantly looking towards the next newest thing, Freemasonry represents a constant and unchanging beacon of ethical guidance for young women.
We have developed a Mentoring Scheme to provide pastoral care to our newer members which we hope will be taken up throughout the Fraternity.
I feel that the future holds great opportunities for HFAF if we can but grasp the nettle and that the enthusiasm displayed by our senior members will be transmitted through our Lodges from generation to generation.
Most Worshipful Bro. Christine Chapman