ON THE 14th – 17th OF MAY 2014 THE NATIONAL GRAND LODGE OF ROMANIA HAS ORGANIZED AND HOSTED IN BUCHAREST THE 13th SESSION OF THE WORLD CONFERENCE OF REGULAR MASONIC GRAND LODGES. The works of the 13th World Conference were followed by the Annual Communication of the National Grand Lodge of Romania, which took place on the 18th of May 2014.
The 13th World Conference of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges has been the largest Masonic international conference and the largest gathering of representatives of Grand Lodges in history. Without the observers, 106 Grand Lodges from all the continents were represented in the Conference and there were registered 76 Grand Masters, 32 Grand Secretaries, as well as an impressive number of Deputy Grand Masters, Pro Grand Masters, and many other Grand Officers of the attending Grand Lodges. There were 21 keynote speakers, who delivered lectures in the workshop sessions of the Conference, some of them being registered to more than one panel discussion.
The session of the World Conference held in Romania focused on ensuring and enriching a round-table dialogue between the participants by means of the six Workshops whose vast variety of themes of discussions were centered upon the relation between Regular Freemasonry and the civil society, the contributions that can be brought by the Regular Freemasonry for the benefit of the society, the role of the Masonic teachings and values in creating righteous characters and the ways in which the Regular Grand Lodges communicate with the society. The ample program of panel discussions gave the opportunity to the representatives of every present Grand Lodge to partake of the experience and challenges of the international Masonic life, to come to a common and unitary vision in addressing globally the Masonic matters and in identifying common guidelines for the general interest of Universal Regular Freemasonry.
Each one of the six Workshops was moderated by a Chairman and a Co-chairman, who are renowned Freemasons, from the entire world, who brought major contributions to the development of Regular Freemasonry in their countries and in the entire Universal Bond of our Brotherhood. The Chairmen and the Co-chairmen and the main themes of the six Workshops were the following:
- Workshop 1: Freemasonry as a Social Commitment. How the Values of the Craft Can Change a Mason’s Life and How a Mason Can Change the Society; Chairman: M:.W:.Bro:. Rüdiger Templin, Grand Master of the United Grand Lodges of Germany; Co-chairman: M:.W:.Bro:. Ranko Vujačić, Grand Master of the Regular Grand Lodge of Serbia, A. F. & A. M.;
- Workshop 2: The Brotherhood of Freemasons – the Place Where Loyalty and Morality Acquire New Values. The Masonic Experience and the Guiding Role of the Lodge; Chairman: M:.W:.Bro:. Oscar de Alfonso Ortega, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Spain, A. F. & A. M.; Co-chairman: M:.W:.Bro:. Etevaldo Barcelos Fontenele, General Secretary of the Confederation of Symbolic Masonry of Brazil, Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the State of Ceará (Brazil);
- Workshop 3: Equality and Tolerance. The Masonic Values that May Fundamentally Define the 21st Century, a Century of Dramatic Changes; Chairman: M:.W:.Bro:. Roggy Kossi Paass, Grand Master of the National Grand Lodge of Togo; Co-chairman: M:.W:.Bro:. Vasudev Masurekar, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of A. F. & A. M. of India;
- Workshop 4: Freemasonry and the Challenges of the Media. The Manner in Which We Communicate. What We Communicate. Adapting to the New Reality of Electronic Media; Chairman: M:.W:.Bro:. Jean-Michel Mascherpa, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge “Alpina” of Switzerland; Co-chairman: M:.W:.Bro:. Živko Gruevski, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Macedonia;
- Workshop 5: Masonic Altruism. Specific Ways to Get Involved in the Life of the Community; Chairman: M:.W:.Bro:. Iraci Da Silva Borges, Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Paraná (Brazil); Co-chairman: M:.W:.Bro:. Rafael Aragon Guevara, Former Executive Secretary of the Interamerican Masonic Confederation, Past Grand Master of Grand Lodge of Guatemala; Assistant: R:.W:.Bro:.Cristian Adrian Flores Maldonado, Deputy Grand Secretary for Foreign Relations of the Grand Lodge of Bolivia;
- Workshop 6: How the Ancient Principles and Experience of Freemasonry Can Contribute to the Making of a Better World; Chairman: M:.W:.Bro:. John L. Cooper III, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of California; Co-chairman: M:.W:.Bro:. Avi Baranes, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the State of Israel, A. F. & A. M..
The Masonic program was complemented by cultural and artistic events, by a wide variety of touristic tours and by the Ball of the World Conference, which were addressed to Brethren, as well as to their Ladies and other members of their families who accompanied them. The common Masonic work has been relevant not only for the purely Masonic experience sharing. The Masonic share of realities has been interwoven with the share of realities of every country that was represented in the Conference. Therefore, the 13th World Conference of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges has also represented a benefit for all the countries whose Regular Grand Lodges were represented and last, but least, for the host country, Romania. On this occasion, the National Grand Lodge of Romania could offer to its esteemed guests the opportunity to discover the authentic traditions, profound spirituality, cultural inexhaustible richness and natural wonders of Romania.
On the 17th of May 2014, in the 13th World Conference of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges, the participants who attended the Conference, with a vast majority of votes, ELECTED out of the three candidates M:.W:.BRO:. RADU BĂLĂNESCU THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF THE WORLD CONFERENCE OF REGULAR MASONIC GRAND LODGES, for a term of office of 4 years and a half, with the possibility of being re-elected for another mandate with the same term. The position of Executive Secretary of the World Conference of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges is fully compatible with the office of Grand Master of the National Grand Lodge of Romania, according to Section 4, Article A.1 of the Constitution and Bylaws of the World Conference.
The highly esteemed former Executive Secretary, R:.W:.Bro:.Thomas W. Jackson, who has held this office for 16 years, has become the Honorary President of the World Conference of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges.
After his election as Executive Secretary, M:.W:.Bro:. Radu Bălănescu appointed the Board of the World Conference of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges, whose members are illustrious Freemasons from all the continents, world-wide appreciated for their Masonic experience and deeds.
In his election address, M:.W:.Bro:. Radu Bălănescu emphasized the following guidelines of the World Conference of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges:
- the World Conference shall always strictly respect and profess the Ancient Landmarks, the Principles for Grand Lodge Recognition and the Aims and Relationships of the Craft;
- the purposes of the World Conference shall only be to collect and share information from the Universal Masonic Bond of Regular Masonry, to work out and to propose solutions, which shall promote the stability, progress, strength and the universality of the Regular Craft Freemasonry;
- the World Conference of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges shall always fully respect the Sovereignty, Independency and Equality of all Regular Masonic Jurisdictions. The World Conference shall never try to evolve in any “superstructure” above the Regular Grand Lodges and no actions taken by the World Conference shall have any binding effect on the Sovereignty and Independency of the Regular Grand Lodges. Each Masonic Grand Lodge is sovereign and independent within its territory, and the strict observance of the principles of regularity is the tie that binds all the Regular Grand Lodges in the Universal Bond of Universal Regular Freemasonry;
- the World Conference will be open to Regular Masonic Grand Lodges only, as its Constitution requires.
M:.W:.Bro:. Radu Bălănescu mentioned that in the quality of Executive Secretary of the World Conference of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges he will also have the delightful duty to promote the true and positive image of Romania in the entire world.
The participants at the 13th World Conference of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges have appreciated the fruitfulness of the Conference, the quality of the works, the excellent and complex organization of the events and the traditional hospitality of the Romanian people.
The National Grand Lodge of Romania has built and has been maintaining the website of the World Conference of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges. Also, the National Grand Lodge of Romania develops the content, publishes and distributes internationally the World Conference Magazine. The World Conference Magazine is published biannually, in June and December. Every issue is focused on a specific topic, which is announced in due time to all regular Grand Lodges. The Grand Masters of Regular Grand Lodges and many illustrious Brethren around the world, who have contributed or can contribute to the developing and strengthening of the Universal Regular Chain of Freemasonry, will be invited to submit papers on the topic of each issue.