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  • Ali Yenidunya

Integrity Gets The Third Degree – Scottish style

St Peter’s Lodge No 7334 has a close and longstanding connection with the Lodge St Bryde No 579 that meets in Uddingston, South Lanarkshire, near Glasgow. Their meetings often clash. This October, it meant that St Peter’s needed to find another day to invite a retinue of Scottish Brethren to Birmingham. This is where the Lodge of Integrity came in, agreeing to host our Northern friends and a plethora of Warwickshire Brethren keen to witness something a little different.

The temple at Yenton was delightfully full, with nearly 60 Brethren present. Having opened the lodge and dealt with the usual business, the lodge was called off. The Worshipful Master, W Bro Martin Sleigh, then invited his counterpart, Bro Ian Cowan, Right Worshipful Master of the Lodge St Bryde, to take the chair. Bro Ian then asked his Scottish Brethren to assume their places ready to perform an exemplification of the third degree. In need of a candidate, W Bro Martin Parrack, the main protagonist for the joint meeting being a member of both St Peter’s and St Bryde, volunteered and made a wonderful candidate having never personally been through the ceremony before.

It was a delight to both see the many differences in the Scottish ritual and also discover the familiar snippets. At times, with broad Glaswegian accents, subtitles might have been useful but the English Brethren were able to easily follow the magnificent story that is told through the ceremony. Without giving anything away, the two wardens came onto the carpet to make trial of the candidate, which they did with somewhat unexpected enthusiasm. All in all, it was fantastic to see a much more involved version of a very familiar ceremony and one that explained the story in much greater detail for the candidate. Put simply, the Brethren didn’t just have a daily advancement but, as was mentioned at the Festive Board, rather a week’s or perhaps even a month’s worth!

The assembled throng then proceeded to enjoy an excellent Festive Board with some scrummy Yenton fayre and a wonderful atmosphere with the Scottish visitors spread around the room with conversations aplenty. An alms collection and raffle, both supporting the 2023 Festival, saw a tremendous £620 raised. The senior member of the Scottish contingent, V W Bro James Jack, responded most generously and sincerely to the visitors’ toast. He is the Grand Librarian of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, which made the procession into the temple interesting as no one knew exactly where a Grand Librarian should go. However, he is also a Past PGM of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Lanarkshire Middle Ward, which made it much easier!

Following an excellent meeting and a wonderful Festive Board, the Scottish Brethren plus a few hangers-on enjoyed their ‘harmony’ in the bar. Reports of what time they managed to find their beds at a nearby hotel are hazy but all were assured that they headed north the following morning, safely returning home after their splendid trip to Birmingham.

So, if you ever get a chance to visit a lodge in Scotland, you are encouraged to leap at the opportunity. Surely, you will be made most welcome and will certainly witness some tremendous ritual. Just make sure that your bed is within walking distance!

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