Welcome! Below is a copy of my address to Provincial Grand Lodge on 17th October 2019. It was a great pleasure to welcome so many of you to the meeting .
Honoured guests, Brethren, firstly my thanks to all of you for attending and supporting this Provincial Grand Lodge meeting today.
It is of course our responsibility to meet and attend here once a year for that most important duty, the promotion and appointment of our new Provincial Officers.
Freemasonry being progressive means that whilst new blood comes to the fore, brethren that we have worked with, and learned from, must move on to other responsibilities to give opportunities for others to progress.
Today we have added some remarkable talent to our ranks of Provincial Officers who will in some cases, at a later date, become the next generation of leaders when we too move aside to enable them to do so.
There are still some small misunderstandings in relation to how the promotions system works. Those who are unsure should communicate with your Group Chairmen for details to ensure we get it right.
I would now like to thank the amazing team who have assisted me in my first year in this office. There is an old adage (never be afraid to appoint or take advice from those who are better than yourself). I am not, and subsequently the province has a team running it, from my Deputy Provincial Grand Master down, who are second to none. They all take their individual roles seriously, with enthusiasm and they work together as a single unit on your behalf.
Today sees the retirement of my first two appointed wardens who are now well known to you all because of their regular visiting and in doing so have spread good cheer to those lodges they have visited .I thank them for all their hard work and effort during the last year.
I have every confidence that W Bro Caunce and W Bro Kane, who I have appointed today, will visit regularly and communicate to others the best that Freemasonry is and by their enthusiasm encourage others to be the best that they can be. I look forward to your regular reports Brethren and hope you have a good year visiting.
To the Grand Lodge Officers of the Province, whose presence at any meeting is welcomed ,and who represent this office on their many and valued visits, I do not underestimate the value of your support and input into this Province of ours. Grand rank is not easy to come by and you the Grand Lodge Officers of Cumberland and Westmorland deserve the respect that comes with that honour, which is not only for work done but for the work that you continue to do.
The Group Chairmen, whose responsibility of care to those lodges in their individual groups is second to none, who collectively are responsible for communications and the encouragement of our masonic ethos within those groups, are ably supported by many unseen and dedicated Freemasons within those lodges they represent . These I consider to be the lifeblood of Freemasonry.
The group vice chairmen whose responsibility as Chapter liaison officers has become an increasingly important role in our structure. It is their responsibility to communicate and stress that important link between the craft and the chapter, making brethren aware of communications and initiatives in that respect . Theirs is a very important role indeed and I thank each one of you for the time you spend on that work.
At one time visits from the provincial team to lodges were where new information and initiatives were communicated and needed long addresses from those visiting officers to pass on that new information. However the ever increasing speed of communications in this day and age, means that efficient secretaries can communicate news to most brethren as soon as they get it , keeping every brother informed and up to date. The good news is that addresses from our visitors can be shortened, simply reminding brethren briefly of those initiatives and any other good news in their addresses to enable lodges to enjoy more time at the festive board in convivial company.
I would also like to thank all those who have helped W Bro Nick Wilson with the road show trailer, promoting our order in the public perception at county shows, town centres, etc and has proved such a success in creating interest in membership as we become more open with our aims and ideals.
My thanks also to those Brethren who responded to my matched funding initiative and who will be entertaining recipients of those donations later at the Shepherds Inn. I will introduce them all to you after we have eaten.
Since ancient times Brethren, such as you have been looking after each other in times of need as well as the communities in which you live. You, here, are continuing that example today in the way you exercise those principals. At one time we told no one of our charity, our purpose, or in many cases who we are. Brethren, times have changed and we will no longer tolerate ill advised comments by anyone so we must be more proactive and are encouraged to be more open in our interaction with others in the community to dispel the myths that have accrued because of our silence and privacy. Throughout the fraternity this action is paying dividends as the public are now realising the good works that you do.
Today you have invited recipients of your help to dine with us after this meeting which would not have even been considered at one time. We are proud to be Freemasons and we must encourage others to be open and not to be afraid to tell family, friends and indeed anyone else, the good we do. By doing so we will lay a new foundation for others to emulate and encourage pride in who we are. Remind them of the four great principals by which we are motivated; Integrity, Friendship, Respect, and Charity.
Thank you Brethren, I am now going to call off Provincial Grand Lodge and introduce to you Professor David Elliot and Dr Jennifer Munkley to give us a short address on the unspoken problem of men of our age, Prostate Cancer. You will be aware that tests for this have been going on here today for any Brother who wished to avail themselves of it. Many Brethren in this province and others who took this test last year have reason to be thankful and in some cases are still alive and well because of it.