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MESSAGE FROM THE PRO GRAND MASTER – 21st SEPTEMBER 2020

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This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is front-page-2.jpgABOUT GEORGE

George Strachan our Lodge Tyler and Chapter Janitor, was born 90 years ago on 20th September 1930 and it was our intention at our Lodge Installation Meeting on Monday 21st September 2020 to mark this special birthday both during the proceedings and also during the Festive Board.We were going to invite all the other Lodges and Chapters that meet in Weyland Hall, and others that knew George from within the Province, so we could have a bumper well attended meeting.
A big part of George’s life before Freemasonry was his naval career and in particular when he was appointed Ship’s Chef of HMS Amethyst shortly after her return in late 1949 to Hong Kong following her escape under fire, in what is now known as, the Yangtze Incident. We thought this would be good theme for his Birthday

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George was to be reappointed as our Lodge Tyler and it had been planned that Bob Dixon, a fellow Round Table Chapter Companion and Ex-Naval who knew George back in the days, would “Pipe” him in wearing a Petty Officers Cap, with a Bosun’s whistle when he approached the Worshipful Master to be invested. The Temple was to be adorned with a large White Ensign Flag and during the Festive Board he was to be presented with a large Birthday Cake in the shape of HMS Amethyst produced by RD Catering Services, the Weyland Hall catering team, to be sliced and distributed to all, whilst a large Birthday Card was circulated for signature by all.
Regarding George’s Masonic Career it can be said that whereas he looked after the stomachs of his ship’s crew, in Freemasonry he looked after our Temple’s Furniture and Regalia
It is said that sailors never complained to their Chef about his food because they would probably have ended up wearing it rather than eating it. Similarly it is true that no one ever complained in Freemasonry about George’s setting up of the Temple but that was not because they were frightened of his drawn sword, it was simply that he was always right.
He became a Mason in 1974 and his first appointment as Janitor was in 2003 and since then he has Tyled for 3 Lodges and was Janitor for 5 Chapters, totalling in all 278 official ceremonies (plus others when he stood in for someone).
He has been our Lodge Tyler for 13 years and our Chapter Janitor for 11 for which we have been and will always be grateful.
The Most Excellent Grand Superintendent at the Installation Meeting of Oxfordshire Installed First Principals Chapter on March 2016 recognised George’s service to many Chapters and his reputation for attention to detail when preparing the Temple and awarded him a Meritorious Service Award, commenting on the fact that one prominent Director of Ceremonies referred to George as the “Scary Janitor” in tribute to his exacting standards.

Although all the above are why we wanted to celebrate George’s special birthday we cannot do as we had hoped due to current Covis 19 restrictions, we can only hold a basic Installation Ceremony under Quorum.
So we have instead produce this file.
Also in lieu of a large cake in the form of HMS Amethyst to be cut into slices and distributed at the Festive Board a smaller HMS Amethyst cake will be delivered to George’s home on the Saturday before his birthday, for his and his family’s personal consumption when they meet on the Sunday.
In lieu of a Birthday Card being circulated for signature by all present at the meeting emailed best wishes have been invited and are attached below.
Sadly we cannot replicate the “Piping In” of George nor fly a White Ensign, but here below is a picture of the family sized cake made by RD Catering of Weyland Hall.

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READ GEORGE’S MASONIC HISTORY (NOTE: This is password protected – Members only) CLICK HERE

READ ALL THE GREETINGS FROM AROUND THE PROVINCECLICK HERE

READ THE LATEST ‘FIRST RISING’ FROM UNITED GRAND LODGE – SEPTEMBER 7th 2020

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INSTALLATION MEETING – CANCELLED

Unfortunately the planned Installation Meeting on Monday 21st September has had to be cancelled. The recent changes in Covid restrictions, the fact that the Bicester Centre has not yet re-opened, and the lack of a quorum has caused this. We will keep you informed of future plans as soon as they are formulated..

 

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MESSAGE FROM THE PROVINCIAL GRAND MASTER

Brethren / Companions

RESUMPTION OF MASONIC ACTIVITIES

I hope that you will all have seen the announcement in the First Rising issued on Monday 6 July, regarding the resumption of masonic activities.  It is, of course, welcome news and marks a key step on our return to normality.  However, if I may use a well know masonic phrase, I was taught to be cautious.  We cannot run the risk that freemasonry returns to lockdown because of a precipitate rush back to meetings, like holidaymakers streaming down to Bournemouth.

The first priority is that our centres are ready for our return.  As a minimum, they have to comply with Government guidelines, so that there is a safe environment for those who do wish to meet.  I know our centre management teams are working hard to achieve this, but compliance with these minimum standards is something that the Provincial Executive and I cannot, and will not, compromise on.  I would prefer them to take a bit longer to ensure that they are 100% ready, rather than rushing to achieve 17 July.  1 September may be a more realistic goal, but for some of our centres, even this may present a challenge, purely because of the physical constraints of the building.

Our second priority is that our meetings are safe, when we resume them.  We have to remember that many of our members are particularly vulnerable, either because of their own age or health, or their partner’s age or health.  Indeed Government guidance is that this group should continue to stay indoors and not attend any meetings such as ours. Many will have been members for many years; we should remember that they could well feel left out and abandoned. We must be alive to that possibility and find ways to ensure that all members continue to be included in Lodge activities to assure them that they are indeed members of the family whose absence will be much missed. Continue to meet by Zoom and keep in contact on a one to one basis, whether by telephone, e-mail or some other means.

We have been given much guidance on how to make meetings safe, and how to perform our rituals, at least those we are allowed to.  This guidance is not discretionary, and Lodges and chapters cannot unilaterally decide to ignore bits of it as they choose.  As above, the Provincial Executive and I will not compromise on this.

One word on “business” meetings, if I may.  There has been talk about holding business only meetings.  Where you do not have candidates, consider using the opportunity to make a daily advancement in masonic knowledge – there is so much material available on Solomon – or demonstrate bits of the ritual that are not often used, such as the Lectures in the three degrees.  I am sure also that a member of Provincial Executive would be happy to come along to help.

I have no doubt that many questions will arise.  Please do not hesitate to contact the Provincial Secretary or Scribe E in the first instance, but remember that they are only human and may need to consult further to find an appropriate answer.

Let me finish with two messages.  The last four months have been immensely challenging for all of us, and those challenges have not finished yet.  It is a great source of pride how you, as individuals, and Freemasonry, in general, have responded.  Let’s not lose the benefit of that and continue with the good practices we have developed.

And secondly, I am sure that many lodges and chapters have a backlog of work to do, and we have also seen an increase in enquiries from the public who have seen the benefits of Freemasonry over the past four months and want to be part of that, which is great.  Let’s ensure that as we return to ceremonial work, we maintain our high standards and traditions, but above all we make the meeting an enjoyable experience.   Feel free to ask for support, and we will see what we can do.

Finally, and above all, brethren, stay safe and well

James Hidlitch signature

Provincial Grand Master / Grand Superintendent

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IMPORTANT INFORMATION FROM GRAND LODGE:

In March, the Most Worshipful Grand Master suspended Masonic activity in England and Wales until 17th July 2020. Having consulted the Grand Registrar, Sir John Chadwick, who has studied the UK Government’s advice (in particular the guidance for safe use of multi-purpose facilities), we are content that there is presently no requirement to extend the suspension in England, and accordingly Masonic meetings may begin again from this date. We recognise that, excluding emergency meetings which some Lodges and Chapters may wish to hold under appropriate dispensation, the vast majority of meetings will not begin again until September.

Meetings may only be held in obedience to prevailing National Guidance, local rules from Hall and Venue Companies, and in conformity with the General Guidance given, jointly with Mark Masons’ Hall, below.

READ THE GUIDANCE

 

READ THE LATEST EDITION OF ‘THE FIRST RISING’

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READ THE LATEST EDITION OF ‘THE SECOND RISING’ FROM OXFORDSHIRE PROVINCE

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NEWS FROM THE MASONIC CHARITABLE FOUNDATION

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PROVINCIAL APPOINTMENTS – ROUND TABLE LODGE

1st Appoinments:

  • Robin Barter – Provincial Junior Grand Deacon
  • Alex Macdonald – Past Provincial Grand Standard Bearer

Promotions:

  • Bill Winter – Past Provincial Grand Registrar
  • David Wallis – Past Provincial Grand Registrar
  • Ian Elkington – Past Provincial Senior Grand Deacon
  • Rory Gear – Past Provincial Senior Grand Deacon

Congratualtions to all!

MASONIC PIES FOR FREEMASONS, FAMILY & FRIENDS!

Meat Pie

Following the issue of the new guidelines from the Prime Minister, R&D Catering at Weyland Hall  are planning to supply a selection of freshly made pies ready to oven bake or freeze.

You will be able to place your order for your choice/choices via Email or by Phone.

They will be preparing them on Friday for pickup on Saturday morning between 10:00 and 12:00 from Weyland Hall Masonic Centre in North Street Bicester. A strict adherence to the social distancing guidelines will be in place at the hall.  This will include clear signage guiding you through the process of pickup and departure with your goods.

With a cut of for last orders on the Thursday 17.00 of that week.

They will all be prepared in foil containers which can easily be recycled.

Price: £6.00 each Pie

Selection

Chicken and Leek, Chicken and Vegetable, Minced Beef & Onion, Cottage Pie, Steak & Ale, Chilli, Apple

HAVE YOU MADE YOUR WILL?

Read about the way the Masonic Chairtable Foundation have teamed up with the Goodwill Partnership and are offering a free will-writing service.

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HAVE YOU SUPPORTED THE OXFORDSHIRE 2022 FESTIVAL APPEAL?

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In support of the grants and services provided by the Masonic Charitable Foundation, the Oxfordshire 2022 Festival appeal is now in its second year.

The Foundation took over the work of the four central Masonic Charities in April 2016 and now provides a wide range of grants and services to Freemasons and their families who have a financial, health and care or family need. The Foundation also supports other charities.

The Province of Oxfordshire is one of the first Masonic Provinces to launch a Festival appeal for the new Foundation.

For further information and to make a donation CLICK HERE

BUY A ROUND TABLE LODGE POLO SHIRT!

RTLO Polo

The fashion statement for everyone in Round Table Lodge!

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WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

What is going on? Do you want to suggest something? Have you news we have not heard of? We want to hear from you. CLICK HERE to send us a message.

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WELCOME TO EVERYONE!

Welcome to the Round Table Lodge of Oxfordshire’s web site. Our aim is to bring news and information about Round Table Freemasonry in Oxfordshire and beyond to Freemasons and the general public. We hope you enjoy your visit.

Here we will introduce the Lodge and try and explain what it does, its background, and how it is part of a worldwide organisation of Freemasons.

Click the links at the top of the page to find out more!

If you have any queries on the content or ideas for improvement, please contact the Lodge Secretary CLICK HERE

The Round Table Lodge is registered in The United Grand Lodge of England.

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Greetings

Emailed Birthday Wishes in lieu of signing a circulated card.


Grand Superintendent & Provincial Grand Master
Dear George
With very many best wishes on your 90th birthday. No doubt you will be smiling, and I hope your happy smiley face will continue to cheer us all up for many years to come

Kind regards
James Hilditch

Most Excellent Deputy Grand Superintendent

”Young” George I am sorry that I am unable to be with you at the Round Table Lodge meeting where I am told there are a few surprises for you to mark your 90th birthday. I could not let the occasion pass without documenting and sending my appreciation to you for the number of years you have been a member of our order and for the input you give, and commitment you show. You represent everything that our institution promotes and are a great example to the newer members, many of whom know of you, even if it is only by your reputation! On completely personal grounds I would like to thank you for your company over the years and say that without exception I enjoy every one of our meetings and hope that there are many more to come. Enjoy your birthday, and I wish you good health to enable you to have many more. Stay safe in these unusual times and I look forward to our next merry meeting.

Kind regards, Sincerely and fraternally Les L. C. Steward PGSwdB Deputy Grand Superintendent Oxfordshire

Worshipful Master Round Table Lodge of Oxfordshire
Just to say, that all the members of Round Table Lodge of Oxfordshire No. 9509, really appreciate what you have done for us over the past years, and are proud to have you as a full subscribing member. George, have a very happy 90th birthday, it is a shame that we all couldn’t be together at a meeting to celebrate it with you. We all wish you well and look forward to being with you soon. Have a wonderful day. Yours Bill Winter


Most Excellent Zerubbabel Round Table Chapter of Oxfordshire

Dear George It has been an honour and privilege to have met you and have practiced Masonary alongside you for some circa 15 years now. Such service cannot be justified with words alone, but unfortunately the world as it is has forced me down this route. May I wish you a Happy and Enjoyable Birthday and I look forward to seeing you again in person to pass on my regards in person. S&F Best Wishes Alex Macdonald

OTHER GEETINGS:

To George,Between the two of us, we’ve bounced around some’ roughers’ over the years, and enjoyed a few sherries in the China Feet Club, followed by a quiet, educational stroll through the Wan Chai in the evenings before returning on board to do our dhobying, stone cold sober of course! We were a good deal younger in those days though,nowadays its more likely to be off to bed with a cup of kai. Enjoy the day and I hope we’ll all be able to get together soon. Very best wishes to you from the ‘Stokers’ mess. Bob.


A very happy 90th birthday, George, wish I was there to say it to you personally. I shall always remember your smiling face — and it was good to see you at Henley a couple of times in recent years. Have a memorable time. All the best. John Luker


Congratulations George. That’s a Bull plus a double top! May you have many more. Richard Owen


Best wishes on your 90th Birthday to a perfect gentleman who has served his country with pride and my Lodge courtesy, kindness and humour. Long may you enjoy your life.
All the best
Derek Knowlden

I hope that you and the members of RTL Oxford and families are all well in these strange times. Stuart Derrington forwarded me your email below re George Strachan. It is always a pleasure to see George at your meetings. A very happy 90th birthday and best wishes to him. I am sure it will be a memorable day for him. Sorry I cannot join you on 21st September as I shall be at a family wedding in Penzance! Fraternal regards to you and all members Jack J H Maunders LGR PPJGO(Surrey) Past Master and ex-member of Table Fellowship Lodge 8989 PZ and ex-member of Table Fellowship Chapter 8989

Dear George,
Many happy returns!
I do hope that you have a wonderful birthday.
Try and find some time to put on a Jimmy Shand record and
look at some lovely pictures of Helensburgh!
All good wishes
lan Elkington

Hello George,
Have a wonderful Birthday!
Enjoy the cake, I hope to see you again soon. Best wishes,
Jon Allen

George
Many congratulations on reaching such a young milestone!
I’ve always enjoyed your sense of humour, wit and sense of fun.
Long may it continue!
Have a very happy and safe birthday.
With kind regards
Karl Gorner

Wishing you a very happy Birthday George and many more years to come.
Cheers,
Mark Nolan & Olga x

Dear George,
A Very Happy 90th Birthday to you!
It has been an honour to know you over the past few years, and to hear your many stories from your illustrious past.
I hope you have a lovely birthday and you have many good wishes and greetings from the many friends and relatives you must have. It is such a shame that under all the current restrictions we are all unable to help you celebrate!
My very good wishes and ‘keep safe” Yours sincerely & fraternally
Martin Green

Happy 90th birthday George.
I hope you have a wonderful day and look forward to seeing you again
in the Lodge and Chapter. Best Wishes
S&F.
Nathan Varndell

Many Congratulations on your 90th Birthday
I hope you have a really great day.
S&F,
Robin Barter

Dear George,
Wishing you a very Happy Birthday and huge Congratulations on this ninetieth milestone!
I hope you have a wonderful day with your friends or family and have a chance to celebrate an amazing 90 years. Looking forward to seeing you again soon.
Take care and stay safe!
Rory Gear

Dear George, Here’s wishing you a very happy 90th birthday. I hope you have an enjoyable and memorable day. With very best wishes, David W.Bro. David F. Charlton, JP, PrJGW

Happy Birthday to you Happy Birthday to you Happy Birthday dear George Happy Birthday to you You will have to add your own music George. Many Happy Returns from your Car Share Buddy Mark Baker

Well George you certainly picked a fine time to sail through a Ninetieth Birthday! Have a good one and from a half full whiskey glass point of view you can I am sure look forward to another celebration when it is safe for us all to meet again. W Bro. Stephen L Bentall, PPrJGD

Dear George I wish you a very pleasant birthday. You have done so much good in your life and it has been my honor to know you. From the day I joined the lodge up to now, you were always there to support and teach me, and of course adjust my tie! Best Wishes and Stay safe Masood

Happy Birthday George. Sorry I can’t greet you in person, but have a great day. With best wishes, David Wallis

Happy 90th Birthday George With our very best wishes on your 90th birthday. Have an amazing day Love from all at R & D Catering
Richard, Sher, Yvonne

I can remember you telling me, at one of my first Provincial Chapter Annual Convocations, to go and tell the Provincial DC that he had set the candles out wrongly. I didn’t know what to do, being new on the executive and in awe of everyone, and frightened not to do what you told me but I finally plucked up the courage to tell the DC. His response was “Well if George says so you’d better do it he is always right”
Your eye for detail as Tyler or Janitor is only surpassed by your generosity and humour.
You are an asset to our Lodge and Chapter.
Best Regards ever
Tom Byrne