Provincial Grand Lodge Meeting 2022
Again, a very warm welcome to you all. I’m very grateful for your attendance at this Annual Meeting and appreciate your support for me and our Province. I hope you’re all having an enjoyable afternoon.
I’d particularly like to welcome those brethren receiving Provincial appointments, re-appointments, and promotions today. There is no automatic entitlement to these, nor are they given lightly, so you should all be very proud of your achievement, and I hope you have a memorable day.
Those of you who are not already members, can I ask you to consider joining East Lancashire Provincial Grand Officers Lodge no. 3747, where you will have the opportunity of meeting each other as well as the Rulers of the Province.
When I had the privilege of addressing you at my Installation in March, I spoke of our membership challenge, and the need to attract new members, we are being ambassadors for freemasonry, involving friends and family, and of course, introducing prospective candidates.
Today I want to say a few words about retention. It’s obvious, isn’t it, that the first step of growing any organisation, is to hang on to what you’ve already got.
We lose more members through resignation than we bring in through initiation. Many of these are brethren who haven’t long been in the Craft.
Those of us who are longer in the masonic tooth have to think back to recall our early time in freemasonry. We found the ceremonies very strange – the setting, the ritual, and the regalia. We might not have known many people in our Lodge, and perhaps felt self-conscious, maybe nervous, both in the meeting and at the social board.
It can take time to understand the significance of the ritual, to feel comfortable at the meetings, to build friendships with our fellow brethren.
Sadly, some leave before that happens.
A quick phone call can make all the difference – before a meeting to encourage attendance, or after a meeting when someone was missing. And, of course, the hand of friendship at a meeting, making brethren feel welcome, wanted, valued and that they belong.
Yes – it’s called mentoring, and I’m aware I haven’t said anything you don’t already know, but it’s an area we can, and must improve on, so I hope you don’t mind my reflection on it today.
Brethren, its exactly one year since the technical launch of our 2026 Festival, which was followed by our Launch Banquet in February 2022. I’m very grateful to the Festival Steering Committee, the Executive and District teams, The Lodge Festival Reps, and the many, many brethren who are working so hard to follow up on that successful start and to ensure we have a successful outcome.
I am very proud of the support of East Lancashire brethren and delighted to tell you that so far, we are one third of the way towards our target of £2.4 million. Thank you for your generosity.
That target was based on all our members making an individual personal commitment of an average of £10 per month for a five-year period.
I am very aware that many families, including masonic ones, are facing financial pressures, and I am certainly not asking any Brother to commit to a contribution that adds to those pressures. I do ask that those brethren who have not yet done, but who are in a position to do so, make a personal regular payment commitment for an amount appropriate for them. It is not for me to determine an amount.
For some brethren, it may be for an amount lower than the £10 per month average, and for others, it will be higher. Whatever the amount is, it will be gratefully received.
Brethren, when I was Installed, I said it was a privilege and honour to have been appointed Provincial Grand Master of our wonderful Province of East Lancashire. I’m happy to say that eight months into my term of Office, I haven’t changed my mind!
it’s been a real pleasure to have attended many masonic meetings and other events. On each occasion I’ve invariably been received with warmth, kindness, consideration, and generosity, as has Fiona when she’s accompanied me. I’m very grateful to you all.
Thank you, Brethren.