By Peter Brooks, Assistant Provincial Grand Master
They say you find out who your friends are when times get tough – and that’s been perfectly illustrated over these last few weeks of uncertainty and worry.
As far as Freemasonry in Lincolnshire is concerned, I haven’t the slightest doubt that our members are being ‘friends’ within their own communities. Certainly, there is evidence of that in the news pages of our web site.
The ‘global’ picture in the Province is one of help and support being delivered, but the details are worth looking at too. Take the case of the man who, had everything gone to plan, would have become a Freemason earlier this month. With no meetings taking place he instead volunteered to help out with a community project being organised by the Lodge he he’ll eventually join. I’d say they have a good candidate with him. He also got his son to help, so he could be yet another candidate in the years ahead – both sound like the kind of people who’ll benefit from Freemasonry, and whom Freemasonry will benefit from.
And what of the member of a Scunthorpe Lodge for whom the opportunity to work alongside other brethren in support of a community project has re-energised his view of the Craft? After an absence of several years, he’s looking forward to coming back and sharing in our ceremonies again. In a way, I suppose that’s what most of us are feeling, after this long suspension.
But that prompts me to ask you all a question. What are we doing about other soon-to-be initiates, and those in their first and second degrees, as well as the new-made Master Masons, whose Masonic journey has come to a standstill? Then there are the people we have become accustomed to not seeing regularly at meetings, and even the ones who have recently resigned. There are also some who may be unattached having recently moved to our Province. It’s in a Freemason’s DNA to care about all of these individuals, and we need to make sure we stay in touch with them in the most appropriate way for them and us, to preserve the ‘masonic family’. This is especially true of the more junior brethren; this pandemic offers us the chance to show what, beyond the ritual and the festive board, makes Freemasonry so special.
I am in touch with our excellent network of Lodge mentors and membership officers, through David Buckenham and David Price who hold those roles at a Provincial level, to make a concerted effort to keep newer members engaged, and to re-engage those who we don’t see quite so often.
But we all have a role to play. I’m reminded of days in industry when a visitor asked the receptionist: “Who’s in charge of quality?” She replied: “All of us, but Mr X leads the team.” And so, it is for us when it comes to supporting fellow members. Our PGM Dave Wheeler leads the team, but supporting other members is down to all of us.
Brethren all, stay safe and remember that better days will return when we will be with our friends again, we will be with our families again, and we will meet again.