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May 14 - Next Meeting of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076 EC


Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076 EC
W. Bro Peter Hamilton Currie - Master

Thursday 14 May 2009
Freemasons' Hall, Great Queen Street, London, No. 9 Temple, 5.00pm

W. Bro John Wade will deliver:

The 2009 Prestonian lecture
'Go and do thou likewise: English Masonic Processions from the 18th to the 20th Centuries'

Bro. John Stephen Wade was born in Edinburgh in 1947, but moved to Leeds when his father was appointed lecturer at the university there. He was educated at High Storrs Grammar School Sheffield and the University of Durham where he read Classics. Following a twenty-year career as a Classics teacher in Sheffield, during which time he wrote a thesis on Philip of Macedon for his MA degree, he transferred his Classics teaching to Further Education and then on to Higher Education at the University of Sheffield, where he finished his full-time career as Teaching Fellow in Latin and Greek. Having taken early retirement in 2005, John Wade continues to teach Latin to postgraduate students at the University, to assist in the Centre for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternity in the Humanities Research Institute, and has just successfully completed his doctorate with a thesis on the Latin writings of the Tudor martyrologist, John Foxe. 

Bro. Wade was initiated into Fellowship Lodge No. 4069 in 1981 and exalted into Fellowship Royal Arch Chapter No. 4069 in 1985. He was installed as Master of Fellowship Lodge in 1991 and was the founding Master of Amadeus Lodge No 9359 in 1994. He is a Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden in both Yorkshire West Riding and Derbyshire, and a Past Provincial Grand Sojourner in the Royal Arch. From 2003-2005 he was President of the Sheffield Masonic Study Circle. Having been elected a full member of Quatuor Coronati Lodge in 2005, he was appointed Secretary of the Lodge in November 2008. Bro. Wade also manages to find time to be a member of lodges in Scotland, Ireland, Italy and the United States and to be the musical director of the Sheffield and District Masonic Choir which he founded in 1991. 

In this paper Bro. John Wade looks at masonic processions, which were a regular occurrence in many parts of England from the first quarter of the eighteenth century to the immediate pre-second world war period in the late 1930s. Very few have occurred in the last seventy-five years. This paper asks why freemasons have retreated from public space during this period, have, perhaps, become nervous about the public perception of them, or, perhaps, are embarrassed about themselves. The lecture surveys public processions of masons over two centuries and examines the association of civic, ecclesiastical and masonic bodies in public ceremonies of foundation stone laying, the dedication of completed buildings and other occasions for public thanksgiving. Bro. Wade argues that as Freemasonry moves further into the twenty-first century, it needs to be more proactive about its civic identity. He feels that for the man in the street freemasons should be demonstrating that they have an association with the community, and that they are not a secret society or private members' club -though they do have their private space. Bro. Wade suggests that freemasons explore the possibility for a return of some of these public activities. He considers that as far as the public image of Freemasonry is concerned, it has lost that civic association it has had for hundreds of years. Its forefathers among the leaders of both the civic and ecclesiastical authorities appreciated the symbolic importance of the presence of the masons on these major occasions for the community.

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