Brethren, welcome to this first Half Yearly Communication of District Grand Lodge for this year,2010. The turnout is good and I thank you for having made the effort to be here in response to the summons to Masonic duty. I welcome Bro Neville Browne, Right Worshipful District Grand Master and his delegation of Brethren under the Grand Lodge of Scotland and I also welcome Bro Samson and other Brethren of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the Caribbean and Jurisdiction.

Brethren the call to Masonic duty is a strong call and a clear call which will not be denied. So here we are this Saturday afternoon resplendent in our beautiful regalia paying homage to the principles we live by and promising to renew our commitment for another year or thereabouts.

We congratulate those who have been promoted in rank and those who have attained District Grand Rank for the first time. Your new status is acknowledged to be a reward for service to our Order on the one hand and an earnest of further endeavours on the other. Now is not the time to rest on our laurels but rather, having achieved the just reward for our efforts to take a fresh guard and to continue to build the innings towards another and even better and more scintillating outcome.

I would like to thank all the Brethren who comprise the various Boards that manage the affairs of this District and who work unstintingly against great odds and in some cases, I regret to say, amidst the indifference of some of us, to help us to achieve the fraternal objectives that enhance our position in the community in which we live, work and have our being.

Every year I make the appeal to Brethren to come out to various events we organise, whether it be to raise funds or, indeed, to distribute funds to worthy beneficiaries but, unfortunately, these appeals often fall on deaf ears. Only recently we distributed a million dollars to ten worthy charitable organisations at a small function downstairs and we invited brethren to attend and very few answered the call. They were not required to do anything except lend their presence and I am not sure that most even offered an excuse for absence. It’s a great pity! But all is not gloomy because lodges have been making worthwhile contributions at Installation time so that that habit has now become institutionalised to the great benefit of the District Grand Charity.

I here wish to recognise the leadership and indefatigable contribution of W Bro Dr Davis who heads the important Board of General Purposes. I recognise the contribution of W Bro Clifford Reis whose invaluable leadership of our charitable thrust keeps us in a position year after year to make significant charitable donations to deserving objects in our country and even overseas. I recognise the sterling efforts of W Bro Barrow who heads our Board of Benevolence and whose imagination and skill have moved them to bring comfort to Masonic widows at year end thus causing them to send me letters of thanks. I recognise the critical contribution of W Bro Saywack who handles our finances as District Grand Treasurer and has been doing so for a few years now. All these Brethren and those who assist them are Masons to whom we owe a debt of gratitude as we do also to W Bro O’Brien our hard working and efficient District Grand Secretary without whose tireless efforts, I ask you, where would we be. Thank you Brethren!

If we wish to be truly fraternal and to strive to bring our Brethren closer together we need to ask ourselves what can we do to strengthen the bonds of brotherhood between and among us and to deemphasise the things that tend to divide us. O what a good and joyful thing it is for Brethren to dwell together in unity!

My brothers there are as usual a few housekeeping items I have been asked to mention to you at this time which need to be addressed before we get into real difficulty. First, lodges have not been submitting registration forms for new candidates but yet have been writing their names in on the annual returns. This is a recipe for confusion and makes our statistical returns inaccurate. Secondly, lodges are not applying for Grand Lodge Certificates for their new members. Thirdly, and alarmingly lodges and other units are not paying their contributions to the management of Freemasons’ Hall. All of these shortcomings need to be immediately rectified if we are to avoid serious trouble and, therefore, I am appealing to Masters and their Secretaries and Treasurers to pay heed to what I am saying and address these issues.

Now I wish offer you a reprise of some views I first enunciated some years ago but which I feel are ever relevant to us as Masons of this excellent Brotherhood.

Fraternity is about looking out for our brother and putting ourselves last. That is essentially what the five points of fellowship encapsulate. H to h I greet you as a brother. Thus the first point takes us directly in the direction of fraternity or brotherhood. F to f I will support you in all your laudable undertakings. Here again the emphasis is on service to your brother. It says “I will support you” and not you will support me. But it doesn’t matter because the mutuality of our fraternity and the reciprocity inherent in the concept of brotherhood ensures that just as you support your brother he will support you. K   to k   the posture of my daily supplications shall remind me of your wants. The implication here is that my principal concern in relation to my brother is see that he is not in want, always, of course, without detriment to myself or connections. B    to     b your lawful secrets when entrusted to me as such I will keep as my own. This point gives the lie to those who would accuse us of cronyism or of protecting the criminal secrets of others because it is only valid where those secrets are lawful. Finally h     over b     I will support your character in your absence as in your presence.

Brethren, if we lived our Freemasonry in accordance with these excellent principles I have enunciated and illustrated from the beautiful ritual of the Craft, how much more enjoyable, uplifting and satisfying our lives as men and Masons would be.

I have come to the end of my address today Brethren. I thank you for your attention to my discourse and for the manner in which you received it and I greet you all well!


Richard B Fields SC

District Grand Master


Dated 13 March, 2010