One of many things that UGLE is good at is celebrating important milestones. There have been many, many instances of this over the years, recently culminating in our Tercentenary celebrations in 2017. In 2023 we have another very significant event to acknowledge and enjoy, as it was in 1723 that the then ‘Grand Lodge of London and Westminster’, founded only six years previously, published and distributed what are sometimes referred to as “Anderson’s Constitutions”. This document gave the world the “Ancient Charges”, which were an astonishingly bold, almost revolutionary, proclamation of values for the young Grand Lodge, and it gave a set of organisational principles and rules about how a Lodge – and, by extension, any secular society or group of individuals – should conduct itself.
We shall celebrate the fact that, starting with the promulgation of the Constitutions, Freemasonry became an important vector for the principles of the European Enlightenment, confidently propagating notions of religious tolerance, meritocracy, self-improvement by education and even democratic elections. These ideas, new in their day, spread to and were enthusiastically embraced by countries on the Continent of Europe and by our then Colonies in America, shaping governance models at every level.
2023 is, therefore, a most important anniversary and our own excitement about the power of the message, ‘Freemasonry: Inventing the Future’, is shared by Grand Lodges around the world. Our own celebrations will begin with a Special Meeting of Grand Lodge, to be held on Tuesday, 31st January 2023, and to which we shall invite overseas Grand Lodges.
Seminars and conferences are currently scheduled to take place in Cambridge, Paris, and at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Virginia, during the course of 2023, as well as a dedicated Exhibition.
Peter Geoffrey Lowndes, Pro Grand Master, 30 July 2021