FOREWORD RW Bro Christopher Hayward PJGW Deputy Metropolitan Grand Master

As I pen the Foreword to this first full hard copy edition of Arena for the past eighteen months, I do so hugely excited that we are once again able to return to our beloved London Freemasonry, which I know we have all so missed during the dreadful Pandemic that our world has been through.

During that time, London Freemasons continued to gather informally virtually and to practice our tenets of ‘Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth’. But for many Brethren, these have been sad, challenging and trying times, and we remember those who have sadly passed to the Grand Lodge above or are suffering physical or mental health challenges as a result of COVID.

Your Rulers gathered recently to plan our return to London Freemasonry under the banner of Return, Enthuse, Engage and Attract. We have many new and exciting initiatives to introduce, many new Initiates to welcome into the Craft and the opportunity to renew old friendships and to make new ones. We can only get out of our Freemasonry that which we put in, and I, therefore, encourage each and every one of you to return to your Lodges with a renewed sense of optimism and a wish to fully participate in our Ceremonies and charitable giving, the latter of which has been so epitomised during the Pandemic by so many London Lodges with their generous support of so many needy causes.

Both the Craft and the Holy Royal Arch in London have remained stable, and in good heart, throughout the unprecedented challenges we have all faced, as they have done throughout the good and bad times that Freemasonry has suffered during our long history.

Today, we embark on a new chapter of that history during which we must reach out into our communities seeking new recruits whilst at the same time motivating and encouraging our members of all ages to fully engage in the many opportunities of fellowship that London Freemasonry encourages. We must, within our communities, continue to offer support to those in need and to demonstrate the many practical benefits Freemasonry brings to society at large. We must focus on looking outwards and not inwards as we share the power of Freemasonry to help to make our world a better place.

We are privileged to belong to quite simply the finest organisation in the world, unique in its values, history and contribution to society. With the privilege of our membership, though, goes responsibility and commitment and never more so than as we seek the opportunities of our new era post-Pandemic.

In this, my fortieth year as a Freemason, my reflections are on the many friendships I have made, the countless ceremonies I have enjoyed and the honour and privilege of being a member of our Brotherhood.

My warmest wishes are with you our Brethren in London, your Lodges and your Chapters as we join together to ‘Return, Enthuse, Engage and Attract’ our fellow Brethren and those that will join us in the years to come. May your Lodges and Chapters rise to the challenge and enjoy great success.

I look forward to meeting many of you in the months ahead, to visiting your Lodges and to enjoying your company.

Together, London Freemasonry will, I believe, be stronger than ever in the years ahead, and it is in the spirit of ‘welcoming you back’ that I hope you will enjoy this edition of Arena, packed as it is with all that is great about London Freemasonry.