So the end of my active year as a Provincial Grand Steward is nearly here. After our summer break I will hand over my collar to another very worthy Brother. I have had a brilliant two years in office due to Covid. I have had the pleasure of visiting all of our centres and many Lodges. It has been lovely to see meetings returning to normal even though numbers are understandably low. The standard of ritual has been very good, I think this is due to the amount of time given to learning whilst our meetings were suspended. I will certainly miss being in active office but I’m very pleased to know that another brother will partake of the enjoyment I have had.
My Masonic workload will not slow down though, I am still heavily involved in managing the Social Media and Social Media team in the Province of Berkshire.
September will see me being installed as Master of The Be Prepared Lodge in Berkshire (www.bepreparedlodge.org.uk), this will be my second time as Master of a lodge, Be Prepared is a young, fun and enthusiastic lodge. Im looking forward to working with their team and supporting the new members, I am planning on having (hopefully) a ladies evening or weekend and many social activities for the members to enjoy. I will be on the circuit and visiting as many lodges as I can fit in to represent BP Lodge, I look forward to seeing many other WMs on my travels.
Some of you may be aware that I have been working on setting up an Emergency Services Lodge in Berkshire. Its been a year in the planing so far and I’m very pleased to say that we are now able to submit our application to the Province for consecration. We have all of the offices filled and a good number of founders. we are of course still taking applications for Founders and joining members. Membership is open to all past and present members of the emergency and support services, NHS, Prison and Voluntary services. We will be holding 2 meetings a year with additional meetings as and when required. We had a curry night with potential founders and members and the decision was made on only two meetings a year to ease the commitment around shifts etc. This has actually proved very popular and I’m sure has resulted in founders joining who would not have joined had we been having more meetings. I would encourage others to consider this when planning a new lodge. To find out more about this lodge and to follow our activities go to www.emergencyserviceslodge.org.uk .
I will continue to be Director of Ceremonies, Membership Officer and Preceptor of The Old Sunning Lodge: www.oldsunninglodge.org.uk. Like many lodges Old Sunning has lost a few members and is rebuilding itself. We are pleased to have two new candidates joining us and will make sure they have a great time.
The summer break will give all members and lodges time to plan and look forward to the next year. Lodges need a “game plan” and need to look at publicity for attracting new members and looking after their existing members. Update your websites, work on your social media, plan a lodge night out or jolly. Use the summer to have some down time and enjoy the company of Brethren in a social setting with their partners and families.
It is my personal opinion that due to covid Freemasonry is slightly fragile at the moment, we need to rebuild, re-energise and plan for the years to come. We need to engage with our members, especially those who feel unable to attend at the moment. Keep them informed, remind them they are still part of us as much as they have always been. Consider assigning them jobs they can undertake from home if they are willing to do so eg Festive Board, Social Planning, online help with ritual for junior members who are delivering it etc etc. We need to work on our future now, we can’t assume that all will be well.
Now I’m going to return to reading my blue book in preparation for my Installation (1st September, Wokingham Masonic Centre, all Freemasons are very welcome to attend!!). Plan for the next LOI and rehearsal, work on the provincial social media and a few other bits. Have a fantastic summer and hopefully I will see at least some of you around in September onwards.
Take care, be safe!!