Provincial Grand Master’s Address – 18th October 2018


The first thing I want to remind everyone is that enjoyment is the first and foremost principal of a successful lodge.

Our responsibility is to continue that tradition and ensure that our lodges are happy places to meet. Everything else we do is easy to achieve if we are happy in our meetings. A successful meeting is one where the Brethren go home looking forward to the next one.

You will soon receive updates and recommendations from the Pr GR Membership officer and Pr Gr Mentor on the new pathway structure which considers all the implications of membership and ways in which to make that first step into our brotherhood easier and more enjoyable. Lodges will receive documents that underline the importance of this initiative which will be in an easy to understand format so that we can be more effective in our application of them. The Pr Gr Mentor has set a timetable for the implementation of  the members pathway and lodges are ,or will soon be in receipt of these documents  

It is important that all communications are acted upon swiftly, but firstly by the lodge officers responsible and then lodge committees before communicating to the membership when an understanding of the  implications have been thought through properly. Experienced officers should consider when the time is right to discuss and communicate recommendations and indeed not until it has been discussed in lodge committee.

It is necessary to give new members time to take in that important decision taken by them to join our Brotherhood, by not encouraging them too early into lodge offices and other orders. We should allow time for them to get used to a completely new life style before we introduce them to the next step

New initiatives such as sharing the work emphasise the need to lessen the load on new WMs and lodge officers who are sometimes asked to perform lengthy ritual after only a few years of membership, which is sometimes difficult for them. Most of us had many years to watch and learn before we were asked to take office and even then it was a daunting task.  Most PMs have spent years learning and perfecting ritual and most of them will be pleased to share the work and exercise their skills and be involved . Eventually the new master will take his part in these shared rituals when he has more experience,

When taking the next step we must prioritise the Royal Arch which is accepted as the completion of the craft before encouraging membership of other degrees. At the same time we must also support and work with all those other degrees to keep them healthy, which in turn has to be good for Freemasonry in general. They are all part of the  big picture and should expect our support, as we expect theirs.

  We must also take a look at how we can look after those whose work takes them away from home from time to time and have not always returned in time to get to their lodge. If they feel they cannot attend because they are not there by lodge starting time  then after a while they  may feel discouraged and simply become another statistic. They should be encouraged to come when they can and feel comfortable about asking for admission. Because this is becoming recognised as a problem, many lodges outside this province are adding another agenda item after the minutes , which simply says 2nd admissions and the Tyler will let latecomers and guests enter before the main business without embarrassment for the new or young mason.

We must,

Make them welcome.

Keep them involved

When we have speakers at our lodge meetings and their talk is non masonic, we should open, complete the business before the lodge, then close in due form and retire downstairs. We should then invite our guest speaker to talk before the festive board and invite prospective members to join us and listen to our speaker. This will give them an introduction into who we are and an insight into our formality and friendliness.

You will all be aware that we are developing a new website and this is well under way thanks to W Bro Ian Grant who took up My D Pr Gr Masters challenge to help him to do so. The best way you can support him is by patience and constructive comments when you experience difficulties with the new system or contact Bill Morley who will pass on your comments.

I encourage you to support the provincial lottery which is laying the foundation for the next festival .I have no idea when that will be but it will mean whoever has the responsibility for it will have finances to start with and not have to start from scratch . Which will in turn lessen the load on brethren of that time if we have made substantial investments for it. 

 We are at a crossroads in Freemasonry because of positive press reports and the initiative from UGLE where (enough is enough). The remarkable tercentenary year which elevated the Craft higher in the public perception than ever before and heightened awareness of our charitable works. Our challenge is to ensure that positive message continues so that the public and future members are aware of our high standards of responsibility, to ourselves, our country and indeed all mankind. We accept any good man as a member with his own beliefs and have no prejudice in that respect against anyone., we know that, but we must continue to communicate that to others.

This year I would like all group chairmen to select a charity within their group to support and ask the lodges in those groups to support that initiative by donations, collections etc. The provincial charity will then top up each groups donation by a further amount of matched funding up to a maximum amount( of £3,000 )per group , provided it complies as a charity within the terms of our Pr Benevolent fund. The provincial Gr Charity Steward has already outlined the initiative to all group reps here today and all lodges will receive details from Michael Mashiter the Pr Benevolent fund  advisor along with details of how  best to collect and bank those collections from the Pr GR Treasurer

We have spent many years raising funds for our last festival and the brethren of this province surpassed themselves in their generosity to it. You  have also recently contributed generously to the local blood bike schemes and I am pleased to tell you that another one has been ordered for the Northern part of our province and I have asked W Br Brian Ferrington to organise that purchase and presentation.

I believe we need to invest inwardly for a while to our own county charities as we have already done so by supporting the blood bike charity. I would like the assistant PGMs and group chairmen to present these cheques at the provincial festive board each year and hopefully our Pr and regional Coms officers will get those presentations into local newspapers and all other new means of communications..

All communications from provincial officers are considered before being sent to lodges by the executive so when you receive them you can be sure they have our agreement and support. Communications from myself will always be an overview of the progress and initiatives within the province. Details of these initiatives will always be in the respective officers reports and  they will supply details to lodges and representatives after having been considered by myself and the executive.

As I said before we are at a crossroads and if we continue with the same level of progress being made by UGLE to counter untruths and malicious reporting that we have had to endure in the past, but will no longer tolerate, plus an ever increasing interest in membership nationally, then our future is secure and we will, by our own efforts, and by being positive leave a legacy which will enable our successors to look back in another 300 years and say thanks to those brethren who had the vision to overcome the difficulties of their time, and pass down  the legacy of this wonderful brotherhood with its timeless principals based on brotherly love ,relief and truth and a tolerance and understanding of our fellow men.

I would like to thank the Grand officers for their continued support and work they continue to do for the province, quietly and conscientiously visiting lodges offering support and the benefit of their experience if required.

The provincial team of officers who diligently work as a professional team under the watchful eye of the Pr Gr D of C who is always vigilant with our ritual and all those brethren whose work sometimes goes without thanks but upon whom we rely.

My congratulations to all those brethren who have received promotions and provincial rank . These are not given lightly but are an honour earned for hard work and effort in their lodges, the province and the many charitable and other works associated with us. You brethren are worthy recipients of those honours and I congratulate and thank you for your continued support of freemasonry in this province. By your support and continued efforts we will continue to flourish.

Finally brethren, I have asked my DPGM to consider a new design and colour for a new provincial Tie. He has therefore organised a competition with the winner being given a free tie of his own design. There really is no end to the D Pr Gr Ms generosity

I will not ask those to wear it who are happy with the old one but I will expect all provincial officers to do so. The black ties, in my view no longer compliment the new vision of  freemasonry as a modern progressive force for good in society and we need to communicate that to those outside our brotherhood when we meet them before or after our meetings and add a little brightness to their perception of us.

Thank you for your attention

I look forward to meeting many of you at the festive board at the Shepherds Inn


RW Bro William Bewley

Provincial Grand Master.

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