On Tuesday, 24th October 2023, The Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master Robert Frankl attended a hosted meeting at Rose of Lancashire Lodge 9174. He was accompanied by a Provincial Deputation, which included Assistant Provincial Grand Master for Southern Area, Worshipful Brother The Reverend Canon Richard Whishaw Hawkins.
The main focus of the meeting was directed at recent and new members (known as light blues) who had become members within the East Lancashire Southern Area. Specifically, this took the format of a question and answer session, with the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master taking questions from new members who were present.
The first of these was from the Senior Warden of Rose of Lancashire who, having vacated his Chair, as had the Junior Warden, being replaced by officers from the Provincial Deputation, was on the floor of the lodge. The question from the Master Elect of the lodge was, “How long would it take me to get to your rank, and what do I need to do to take over from you?”. In response, RW Bro Robert Frankl, in his characteristic warm and humorous manner, acknowledged the spirit of the inquiry before delving into an enlightening explanation.
He emphasised that there was no prescribed or predefined path to attaining any Provincial Office within Freemasonry. Instead, he elucidated the principle that Freemasonry has been a meritocracy since its inception in England during the early 18th century, as documented in the 1723 Constitutions. The Provincial Grand Master underscored that, during that era, this was a distinctive departure from the prevailing norm, where most institutions were rooted in hereditary rights and hierarchical structures.
He went on to explain his ascent to PGM through periods of service in several roles, noting that in his early days as a Freemason, he had a very demanding occupation as an accountant and commitments to both work and family. This flowed into the following two questions: what had Freemasonry given him and what had he given Freemasonry, and how to balance work and family life. He stated that at all times, the commitments to work and family took priority, and in particular, the family came first.
The next question was from a 19-year-old Lewis, who was recently initiated into Denton Lodge No 5234 in May of this year, asking for advice on the Masonic journey. The PGM remarked that the questioner, following his father and grandfather into Freemasonry, should look to their example and enjoy his journey in the craft. The PGM responded to questions about other Orders and the cost of being a freemason before answering if he foresaw female Freemasons meeting in the same lodge as their male counterparts. He did not think this would happen in the foreseeable future but stressed that the wives and partners, as well as female friends and relatives, were actively encouraged to be a part of the social events that were an essential part of Freemasonry; they were encouraged to view Lodge Rooms. Some Lodges ‘Called Off’ to allow friends and relatives of both genders to enter the Lodge Room as well as join in the subsequent social and festive boards. On retiring, the PGM and his Deputation left the Lodge, taking all of the ‘Light Blues’ with them to enjoy a more informal chat in the bar.