The Stability Ritual Association
Changing times and circumstances made it increasingly evident over a period of many years that informal communication between the Stability Lodge of Instruction (meeting under the sanction of Lodge of Stability No. 217) and Lodges elsewhere practising the Stability Ritual could not be relied upon to maintain the integrity of this antient 'mainstream' Craft ritual.
Grand Lodge's decision in 1986 to remove the traditional penalties from the Obligations brought matters to a head and. Lodge of Stability No. 217 took the initiative in convening a meeting of all English Constitution Lodges known to use the Stability Ritual, at Freemasons' Hall, Great Queen Street, London, on 20th January 1986, and. inviting W Bro Colin F.W, Dyer OStJ, ERD, OSM, PDepGSwdB, the renowned Masonic historian, author and authority on Masonic ritual and ceremonial, to chair the meeting.
Virtually all those Lodges approached expressed to W Bro T.J. Pike PM Secretary of Lodge No. 217, their interest and support in varying degrees and, in the event, the meeting decided. unanimously to inaugurate a Stability Ritual Association and elected W Bro Philip F. Sayer JP, PAGSuptWks as its founding Secretary.
Pending the first AGM all founding Lodges were to be entitled to representation at committee meetings, and terms of reference were agreed. The first Annual General Meeting of the Association was held at Freemasons' Hall on 29th September 1987, by which time five committee meetings had been held. and thirty-one Brethren, representing fourteen 'Stability' Lodges had attended. At the first of these committee meetings W Bro J.E.D. Watkins VRD, PAGDC was elected Chairman and W Bro P.Saunders, PPrDGReg(E Kent) Treasurer. At the AGM, W Bros Watkins, Sayer and Saunders were elected Chairman, Secretary and. Treasurer respectively of the Association, ratifying the appointments made by the Inaugural meeting and the committee.
In the ensuing four years frequent and regular committee meetings and 'working parties' have been held and have concentrated on the objectives identified by the founding committee and expressed in the Chairman's report to the first AGM, as follows:
(a) the desirability of reducing differences of working between our Lodges, without prejudice to the continuation of traditional customs in individual Lodges, where not incompatible with basic Stability working.
(b) Philip Broadfoot and Peter Thomson should be followed wherever practicable and that any changes which might be made to working practices in individual. Lodges should tend towards, rather than diverge from, those forms. Further, that the oldest forms are those taught in the Stability Lodge of Instruction (founded 1817).
(c) that visiting between 'Stability' Lodges, and the exchange of invitations to Masters to do work in sister 'Stability' Lodges (e.g. Working Tools at Installations) is desirable as a means of promoting friendship, harmony and consistency in working practices.
Scripts and information provided by a number of our Lodges have been exhaustively scrutinised and, in particular, the detailed script setting out the floor-work and practices of the Stability Lodge of Instruction, prepared and submitted by its Preceptor, W Bro Jack Dean, LGR in close cooperation with three senior members of Neptune Lodge No.22, W Bro W.R. Cotton, OBE, PAGReg, W Bro Colin C. Hubbard, PAGDC and W Bro Kenneth Keith, SLGR together with W Bro L.E. Nichols, PAGDC of De Grey and Rippon Lodge No.905. This script has formed the basis of our work, as in providing the rubric of the ceremonial it is complementary to -the existing printed. version of The Standard. Ceremonies of Craft Masonry first printed in 1902, which, in common with all recognised books of ritual prior to the issue of the so-called Nigerian ritual in c.1939, is primarily' a Preceptor's aide-memoire, containing very scanty details of floor-work and procedures.
W Bros Colin Dyer, Bill Cotton and Len Nichols have, alas, passed to the Grand Lodge above, leaving us everlastingly in their debt. Our labours in the preparation of a complete and definitive book of ritual have been brought to the point of fulfilment by the prolonged and dedicated efforts of, in particular, W Bro Jack Dean, LGR (No.905), W.Bro Ken Beckett, PrDGDC (W Kent) (No.83ll), W Bro Arthur Thame, PPrJGD (Middx) (No.7324); W Bro Peter Hamilton Currie (WM No.7722) for his devoted work in transcribing the entire script, W Bro John Grumbridge, PPrDGReg (E Kent) Secretary since April 1990 (No.7868) and the continuing support of W Bros Philip Sayer, Terry Pike and Peter Saunders, mentionedsupra, Ken Packham (No.7722) Martin Carter (No.6623) and others during nearly five years of devoted teamwork. This Association, in its endeavours to preserve and to promote Stability Ritual is indebted to each and every one of them.
J.E.D. WATKINS* VRD
PAGDC, PPrDGDC (W Kent)
PM Nos. 217, 8311 & 8462.
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