Report of the District Grand Orator


2011 Annual Communication of District Grand Lodge of Guyana



W Bro Lennox J Hernandez DistGOrator PDistGStwd (RA)




R W District Grand Master and Brethren, as this is the first report by the District Grand Orator, I will highlight the activities of the office from the beginning of the office in 2009, both in terms of the mandate given by the District Grand Lodge and that of the Grand Orator on behalf of United Grand Lodge.


During the first year of the District Grand Orator’s office, some Lodges were visited (at their request) and the duties of the office explained.  The District Grand Orator also made presentations at the Half-Yearly and Yearly Communications of District Grand Lodge in 2009 and 2010.  A small committee to augment the work of the District Grand Orator was also formed.  At an Orator’s Committee meeting in October, 2010, it was agreed that visits should be made to Lodges outside Georgetown and that a Masonic Seminar should be conducted in 2011, with a tentative time of late January 2011.  Thus, a visit was made to Ituni Lodge and Phoenix Lodge in New Amsterdam at a regular meeting of Ituni Lodge on Monday, November 29, 2010, by two members of the committee, W Bro Keith Williams and W Bro Claude Housty, and I.  W Bros Williams and Housty presented Masonic papers, whilst I gave a brief talk on the role of the District Grand Orator.  From discussions in the Lodge and afterwards at the festive board, we believe that these were well received.  We thank W Bro Michael Davis for his assistance with transportation, at a fair cost, and the brethren of New Amsterdam for receiving us.  We expect to be in Linden soon.  With respect to the Masonic seminar, I decided to put that off for later in 2011 having joined the Orators’ Forum in December 2010, and wanting to push Grand Lodge’s mandate for awhile.  This I will now detail.


The Orators’ Forum is a website set up by the Grand Orator, W Bro Lt Cdr Kai Hughes, RN, on behalf of United Grand Lodge.  The website, opened around mid-2010, is administered by the Provincial Grand Orator of Devonshire, W Bro Dr Richard Ebrey and W Bro Hughes.  According to the Grand Orator, the Forum is key to Provincial and District Grand Orators developing their understanding of the Orations as well as in developing their relationships with each other and to share experiences so as to further the Oration Scheme.  The Forum will also be their direct link to the Grand Orator.  I should mention here that United Grand Lodge has approved a number of orations written specifically for the scheme, for presentation to Lodges.  To enhance the working of Provincial and District Grand Orators there will be an Annual Orators’ Conference; the first was held on Saturday, January 22, 2011, at Freemasons’ Hall, Great Queen Street, London, England.  I did not attend as I thought it was a mite too far for a one-day meeting (unless financially supported, of course).


However, I can give you the major decisions coming out of the meeting:


  1. Orators are allowed to make minor amendments to the words used in the orations to make them more understandable and less academic if they so appear, but the sense of the oration must not be changed.


  1. It is essential to score Orations so that the less popular can be improved upon or omitted altogether.  (This is one reason for asking you to rate the Orations after each is presented.)


  1. Guidelines are to be produced for those persons writing Orations, and Orators are encouraged to write Orations themselves and submit to Grand Lodge.


  1. There is need for a job specification for Provincial and District Grand Orators to ensure the correct person is selected.


  1. There need to be Orations for the Royal Arch.


There is also the hope to have District Grand Orators involved in future meetings by the use of technology, such as teleconferencing.  I should mention that there are 78 members in the Forum at present, mainly from England, but there are also the District Grand Orators from Bermuda, Trinidad, Barbados, Sri Lanka, and some African districts, et al.


From January 2011, I have thus shifted the operation of the District Grand Orator’s office here to presenting approved Grand Lodge Orations.  After studying the list of fifty-six (56) approved Orations, my approach is to send to Masters and Secretaries of Craft Lodges, two or three titles I have selected to be presented during a particular month.  Masters/Secretaries of Lodges that are willing to host an Oration will then select a topic and I would make a list of all to be presented during that month.  That list, giving time, place and hosting Lodge, is then sent to Lodge Masters and Secretaries whom I expect to disseminate same to the brethren of their respective Lodges.  At the moment, this is done by e-mail only, but in the future I hope to have a hard copy sent to each lodge as summonses now are, so that the list can be read out in open Lodge, as was done at Roraima’s meeting yesterday.  After a slow start in January, and a little faster movement in February, I am pleased to say that the improvement in requests in March show that Lodges are interested in the Orations; four Lodges have asked to host Orations this month on three different topics.  Note that in selecting Oration topics in the future, I will be considering suggestions received via the Response Form you complete after presentations.


Brethren, I use the words “host an Oration” to indicate that an Oration is not meant only for the Lodge in which it is presented.  Unlike Installations that attract a high number of visitors, and Workings which attract some numbers of visitors, Orations, the new kid on the block, attract extremely few visitors so far; in fact, sometimes no visitor is present.  Does this mean that Lodges see the need for Masonic Education, but Brethren themselves generally do not?  Or are there more enticing attractions that keep us away from such a dull event?  R W District Grand Master and Brethren, being an academic and on both sides of the table in our country, that is, giving public presentations and attending public presentations, I believe that this trend is a national one.  We simply do not like attending public talks and lectures (though there are a few times when this would be an incorrect assumption).  For example, nearly four weeks ago, and again just two days ago I was at the Umana Yana for different presentations of national importance – at the first I was one of the presenters and at the second I was an attendee.  The “national habit” of our people not seeming to like attending public talks and lectures was again evident in both cases.


Brethren, as Freemasons we have to do better than that.  One of the greatest scientific groups in the world – the Royal Society – was formed by Freemasons.  According to Dr Robert Lomas in a 2007 paper, two precepts taken from Freemasonry into the Royal Society by Sir Robert Moray, Scientist, Freemason and Founder of the Royal Society, were:


1.     “That the study of the works of nature can lead to an understanding of the underlying plan of God. i.e. that there is an underlying order of the laws of nature that can be determined by observation and experiment.”

2.     “That all men are equal.  If they come together to discuss learning, and forbid discussion of religion and politics they will be able to co-operate.”


Thus, Brethren, studying, learning and discussing, are important precepts of Freemasonry; let us be Freemasons.  The District Grand Orator thanks Lodge for their involvement in the Oration Scheme and welcomes further requests for presentations of the approved Orations.  Any suggestions you may have to improve the Oration scheme would also be welcomed.


I thank you for your attention.



LJH 2011-03-19