Sydney Morning Herald
Masons must choose lodge or church: synod
By Malcolm Brown
October 21, 2003
The Sydney Anglican Synod has called on all Christian members of Masonic lodges to withdraw their membership and for church facilities not to be used for activities linked with Freemasonry.
The motion, passed yesterday, also "requests that councils of all Anglican schools . . . consider any association that their school may have with any Masonic lodge, and to withdraw from any such association".
The King's School, Shore and Trinity were specifically mentioned during the debate.
The motion was put by Reverend Bill Winthrop, Rector of St Paul's Church, Lithgow, whose parish council last December passed a motion calling on Freemasons and members of the Order of the Eastern Star to choose between those movements and continuing membership of the congregation.
Mr Winthrop said yesterday that though the synod had passed a motion in 1988 condemning Freemasonry as leading people away from God, it was not cast in strong enough terms and it was now up to the synod to pass an unequivocal motion stating its position.
He said it was especially important as the United Grand Lodge of Sydney and the ACT was on a membership drive and it was up to the Anglican church, which itself had embarked on a long-term campaign to boost church membership, to counter this.
The motion said that Freemasonry and Christianity were "fundamentally and irreconcilability incompatible" and that Freemasonry "teaches and upholds a system of false religious and spiritual beliefs that are contrary to biblical Christianity".
Speakers for the motion held the floor, including Reverend John Davies, from Northbridge, who said that in the Royal Lodge the secret name of God as revealed was in fact a combination of the biblical name and the names of several "ancient, pagan gods".
Another speaker drew parallels between Freemasonry and witchcraft.
Sandy Bennet, from the parish of Kurrajong, put an amendment - "synod encourages ministers and other Christians to reach out in love to all Freemasons to share with them the Gospel of Christ" - which was adopted in the motion.
George Curry, former Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Sydney and the ACT, said last night that the lodge would have to study the text of the motion before it responded.