Since the moment my appointment as your Assistant Provincial Grand Master became public knowledge I have been greeted and welcomed with nothing but kindness and warmth by all I have met in the Area. For that alone I am hugely grateful and that is why I started by addressing this letter to “Friends” for that is what you are.
I am honoured to be appointed an AProvGM, something I never ever expected, and I am thrilled to take over responsibility for Audenshaw, Ashton and Mossley from John Pearson. I know John is greatly loved throughout the Districts and has worked tirelessly for the good of Freemasonry in the Southern Area. I would like to express my thanks to him not only for all he has done over the years as AProvGM but in particular for the guidance and help he gave me prior to my appointment and indeed is still giving me as I settle in – I have him on speed dial !
I have already met a number of Brethren, Companions and their wives / partners but I know I have many more to meet and, in conjunction with the District Chairmen, have arranged a programme of visits. Whatever the occasion I attend your Lodge, whether that be a meeting or a function, then I will be looking forward to an enjoyable evening in your company. I am aiming to try to get to almost every Lodge before the summer 2020 break.
Freemasonry is for me a hobby – I enjoy my hobby and want others to enjoy it with me – it should be fun and not a drag. I have to confess I have never been good at learning long passages of ritual so I encourage lateral thinking in how ceremonies can be creatively shared amongst the Brethren so all feel they belong and have a part to play. One of the most important things in life is to know that we “belong” and are valued as part of a family, whether that be a biological family, adopted family or the family of the Lodge, District or Area.
Christmas is a time to be with family but I am acutely aware that many are alone. Loneliness which can so easily be intensified when one is surrounded by others who are understandably focused on their own families. So, Brothers and Friends, I ask you to look around your Lodge / Chapter do you know if everyone will have a Christmas meal with family or friends or are they going to be alone ? If you don’t know – ask them and be ready to add an extra chair at your table.
Friends, I look forward to meeting everyone, I ask your forgiveness if I forget your name or don’t realise we have met already – it is going to take time !
May I take this opportunity to wish you, those most important to you, and all our Masonic family a very Happy and Peaceful Christmas and a healthy 2020.
WBro Richard W Hawkins PAGChap, AProvGM Southern Area