W Bro Nick Saalfeld, Editor


Brethren and friends, It’s a pleasure to welcome you to Arena 54. As you read this, something approaching Spring should be in the air.


I think you’ll find a similar spirit of change, renewal and rejuvenation in this edition of Arena and across Metropolitan Grand Lodge as well. Yes, we’re traditionalists; people who celebrate a spoken and written culture passed down through generations. But we’re also happy to move and change with the times.

Hence, in this issue alone, as well as bidding a fond farewell to our Metropolitan Grand Master, Sir Michael Snyder, and welcoming his successor,  Warren Duke, you’ll learn about “multiple” ceremonies where Lodges are working very effectively with up to eight candidates for a Degree in one ceremony (spoiler alert: everyone seems to enjoy it tremendously).

You’ll see news on the Special Interest Lodges initiative, which is bringing more Brethren together than ever before. And we’ve spoken to the MAGI – Metropolitan Assistant Grand Inspectors – about their hopes for a more connected and agile future framework for the administration and improvement of the Craft.

What’s it all for? Well, doomsayers have predicted the terminal decline of Freemasonry with predictable regularity, but despite the cost-of-living crisis, Freemasonry is showing a consistent and ongoing uptick in membership. Fading Lodges are being rejuvenated. And we are creating friendships based on our fundamental values which endure across the generational divide. All at a time when people of all walks of life seek a more connected and meaningful existence with like-minded friends. I hope this edition of Arena feeds that enthusiasm.

In this issue, you’ll also meet one person who doesn’t need any rejuvenation: W Bro Flt Lt Colin Bell, DFC AE FRICS, a committed Brother, war hero and – at then 102, now 103 – the oldest person ever to abseil. His story is truly an inspiration.

As ever, let me invite you to contribute to Arena. I regularly ask for comments and feedback on the London Masons Facebook group; you can also always contact me at arena@metgl.com, and we always welcome new writers, too. Above all, please keep in touch with your news – if my fabulous team don’t know about it, we can’t write about it.

Sincerely, fraternally, and always inquisitively,
Nick Saalfeld, Editor