At our Provincial Grand Lodge meeting on 2 May, I was delighted to appoint W.Bro James Marsh PAGDC as our Provincial Grand Secretary and he will be invested as Provincial Grand Scribe E at a private Chapter meeting in June. During my address thereafter, I mentioned that we would be supported by a different kind of Provincial Office at Bromley, with a clearer structure, and focussed primarily on servicing the needs of the Executive and our membership, and immediacy of delivery in its outlook.
In order to achieve that aim, and given the increasing workload in the Craft and the Royal Arch, I now believe that it would be appropriate to rationalise the administrative support for each of these Orders by appointing dedicated Assistants to each – reporting to the Provincial Grand Secretary / Provincial Grand Scribe E – and who will focus on their respective functions, but offer any assistance to the other when required to do so.
I am therefore pleased to confirm the following changes to our Provincial office staff:
- W.Bro Ian Fraser, PPSGW, will continue in his capacity as Assistant Provincial Grand Secretary and Manager of the Provincial Office and volunteer staff; and,
- W.Bro Paul Christopher, PProvJGW, will be appointed as Assistant Provincial Grand Scribe E
Although W.Bro Paul will commence his new duties with immediate effect, he will be formally invested in October at our Provincial Grand Chapter meeting.
I am sure that you will join me in congratulating Ian and Paul and wishing them every success in their respective roles.
Provincial Grand Master/Grand Superintendent
At the Board of General Purposes, on 16th May 2017, it was decided that Brethren attending Quarterly Communications should be expected to wear the Tercentenary Jewel. The MW The Grand Master has approved it as a permanent jewel and it may therefore be worn in perpetuity by qualified brethren at all craft meetings.
The Board have also authorised a ‘Tercentenary Master’s Collar Ornament’ that may be worn on a Master’s collar from the Tercentenary Anniversary (24th June 2017).
Details of how to obtain both the Jewel and Master’s Collar Ornament are explained HERE.
Further, at Supreme Grand Chapter on 27th April 2017, it was announced that the Tercentenary Jewel may now be worn in private Royal Arch Chapters; however, it is not to be worn at Supreme Grand Chapter.
Following this announcement, The Grand Superintendent, Excellent Companion Mark Estaugh, has approved the wearing of the Tercentenary Jewel at Annual Convocations of The West Kent Provincial Grand Chapter.
Provincial Grand Secretary
WEST KENT PROVINCIAL GRAND LODGE – 2 May 2017 – PGM’s ADDRESS – AM
Brethren, it is an incredible sight to see so many of you here today to support this very special Annual Festival.
I cannot begin to tell how privileged I continue to feel to lead such an outstanding Province and I offer my gratitude to each and every one of you for joining us in such overwhelming
numbers. I hope that it will prove to be a memorable experience, not only during our Business meeting this morning, but at the Luncheon and Investiture ceremony this afternoon, where we will be joined by our younger ranks, our families, friends, non-Masonic guests and Community leaders.
Today, a number of our Executive members have stood down – Paul Flowerday as APGM, Ted Smith as our Provincial Secretary, and Mark Eyles-Thomas as our Provincial Membership Officer – their service has been exemplary over many years, and I want to place on record my gratitude for all they have done. Of course, I congratulate their successors, Eric Hampson, James Marsh and Jason Pearson respectively.
I’d like to make a particular mention of our retiring Secretary, who has been enormously helpful in assisting me with a wide variety of issues – Ted, thank you so much for all that you have done for us as a Province and for me, as an individual.
So much has been achieved in the last 12 months and many of you are to be congratulated on the way you have embraced our Provincial Strategy. Now that you have become familiar with it over the past 12 months, our focus for the coming year will be on delivery to our strategic objectives and achievement of its goals – with reform and responsibility as a priority.
Our Membership initiative, under M E-T, and the series of training sessions for Lodge Membership Officers, have borne fruit and those Lodges that have appointed a Membership officer have seen the benefit in ample streams. We have witnessed a marked increase in new recruits and some Lodges have enjoyed a rich seam of new members and a healthy waiting list of recruits. In addition, the work being undertaken by John Perkins and his Mentoring team is assisting with the reduction of resignations, through enriching our members’ experience. Our medium term objective is to flat-line our membership attrition and then onward to membership growth, through the proactive measures you are all taking.
We usually receive some 150 new members per annum into the Province. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, in this, our Tercentenary year, supported by the increased visibility through Press and Televisual exposure, we were to redouble our efforts to be open, engage more actively with like minded friends and acquaintances, and see that ingress reach 300 new members – I lay down that challenge to you, and hope that you will rise to it over the next 12 months.
Following the inauguration of our Light Blues Club last year, it has recently held its first AGM and elected its new committee – I wish Darren Enright, its Chairman, and his team every success in the future, and I have already arranged meetings with him to underscore our support to them and help develop their membership still further.
Our new Streamline Lodge has prospered enormously, with a surge in initiates and new membership applications. I am delighted to announce that, earlier this year, it received accreditation from the Universities Scheme, with links now established with the University of Greenwich, from which two of its new members have come – and we will be active during its Freshers’ Week, to showcase how membership of the Craft might add value to its current and prospective students. The Lodge is shortly to sponsor a new Chapter and I wish it well in its development.
Following the resounding success of our Motorcycling Lodge, it will be joined by other themed Lodges in 2017, in the field of Shooting, Cycling and also a Marine Lodge, and I am also pleased to have welcomed two new Lodges into our family – Tottenham Secundus and Desaguliers.
Since my appointment, I have been greatly assisted in formulating and articulating our Provincial Vision and Internal & External Communications Strategy by Jim O’Donnell, our Head of Communications. I must also record my thanks to Fred Halligan for his contribution to the Communications Team – within the Province and in the Community – and the tireless work he has undertaken to develop our communications channels. Our Press Coverage more than doubled in 2016 and we are on target to double that 2016 figure in the first six months of this year! Our Facebook membership now exceeds more than 1,000 members and that channel has provided me with the opportunity to share with you, in real time, my activities as PGM and the large number of community events which I have supported and attended, to help raise the profile of Freemasonry in West Kent.
Our Provincial Website now carries my video messages – which I intend to record regularly. You will also notice we are filming PGL today – and hope to be able to make DVD copies available to members. We also recognise that we need to be more proactive in engaging with our local Communities – and I will return to that theme this afternoon.
Our Centres continue to flourish and I want to place on record my appreciation for Chris Roberts, our DPGM, and his team, who have set the Welling Masonic Centre on its new path. The new dining facilities at Wrotham are delightful and I know that it has further development plans. Our active liaison with our Centre Chairmen continues and, at our recent Centre Chairman’s dinner, many topics of interest were discussed, and best practice shared to their mutual benefit.
Your support to my calls for action and your magnificent generosity during the last 12-18 months has known no bounds. Bob King and his Tercentenary team, supported by Roland Stokes, our tireless Charity Steward, have encouraged you to raise incredible sums – of which more this afternoon. Your support to the Canterbury Cathedral appeal, and your superb attendance at its Service of Thanksgiving, not least the Provincial Tercentenary Ball, at which over 320 of you supported Laura and I, were a testament to their efforts. Now that their team’s objectives have been achieved, I congratulate Bob King and his team for exceeding their fundraising objectives and thank them today – at the conclusion of their task – for a job well done. Their efforts have not gone unnoticed.
Today, I am launching our new fundraising initiative to run for the next 12 months – the CALM appeal or Community Appeal for Local Mayors and my thanks go to Roland Stokes and Fred Halligan for the preparatory work they have undertaken to date. Through this initiative, we will seek to make a meaningful difference to our local Mayors’ fundraising efforts, which will hugely benefit the work of those local charities that are so reliant on local financial support – of which more this afternoon.
Brethren, the history books record a myriad of changes and evolution over the last 300 years, and we’ve certainly witnessed an acceleration of that change in recent times. All around the world things we took for granted are evolving and we must seek to capitalise on this zeitgeist for change.
The “Y” Generation, the next generation of our members, has its own aspirations, with views around loyalty, authority, intellect, speed and adaptability to change. And we must capture their imagination. They will not accept, nor understand, the “we have always done it this way” paradigm.
Of course we need to be efficient and provide VFM for our members. Naturally, we need to meet our Membership’s expectations and provide them with a fraternity, which does just that. To achieve this we need to constantly improve and refine our activities and our approach – and this is what next year will be all about. I will also be supported by a different kind of Provincial Office at Bromley, with a clearer structure, and focussed primarily on servicing the needs of the Executive and our membership, and immediacy of delivery in its outlook.
I am conscious of my responsibility to lead and develop our Province in a modern and engaging way, to make the Order attractive in a World that is entering uncharted waters. And that is where Freemasonry can offer most – to provide the principles, support, skills and reassurance that every man needs to be happy and fulfilled, irrespective of secular uncertainties, and prevailing circumstances.
We have been here, for our members and our communities, for 300 years and seen seismic change in that time. Evolution shouldn’t faze us – it will bring out the best in us – and I am proud to stand alongside you as we once again seek to evolve, succeed, and deliver.
You can, as always, continue to count on my commitment to achieve those aims. Above all, Brethren, continue to enjoy your Freemasonry and may God bless you all.
WEST KENT PROVINCIAL GRAND LODGE – 2 May 2017 – PGM’s ADDRESS – PM
Brethren, it is an incredible sight to see so many of you here today to support the Province in a new chapter in its history and am overwhelmed at your attendance today in such numbers.
To many of us present today, Freemasonry has proved to be one of our enduring passions which we are pleased to share with you today – to those of you visiting this magnificent building for the first time, I extend you hearty welcome and trust that you will enjoy the spectacle that is our Investiture ceremony.
I must start by stating how indebted we all are to Ted Smith, Provincial Grand Secretary and his administrative team, for implementing a complete change to our arrangements which have functioned for 44 years, and which have enabled us to open our doors to more of our members and so many of our loved ones. Together with Chris Clark and his ceremonial team, they have worked tirelessly and effectively to ensure today’s arrangements have progressed so smoothly.
Today, we celebrate and rejoice with those who have contributed so much to the success of our Lodges in West Kent and the development of the Province who, as a result, are rewarded with a first appointment to Provincial Grand Rank or a promotion thereafter.
I would like to congratulate Colin Wright and Ted Smith, the recipients of our Invicta Award today, who have been loyal and dedicated servants to Freemasonry in West Kent over very many years and, due to their efforts, have received the highest recognition that can be bestowed on them in my capacity as Provincial Grand Master.
I would also like to congratulate and publicly acknowledge those four members who, in this very room last week, were appointed to Grand Rank by the Most Worshipful the Grand Master, His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent. Perhaps, they would stand as their names are read, so that you can join me in congratulating them with applause once they have all stood – Ian Gallehawk, Hari Williams, Robert Order and Paul Holmes.
Brethren, West Kent currently enjoys huge success. However, the world will keep changing – and present new challenges – and we need to be prepared to meet them. Whilst we will always expect the highest standards from our members, each new generation of membership will have different expectations of us, and we must not disappoint them. We can only prosper if we evolve together.
Your fundraising efforts for those needy recipients over the last 12 months have been nothing short of sensational. During that time, our records show that our Lodges and Chapters have made donations of £141,954 to worthy causes and local charities, our Provincial Charity Committee has donated another £20,750, the Tercentenary Appeal raised £115,000, our three calls to action for TLC, MSTFC and Assoc of Friends at PGDKC raised a further £65,000, resulting in a magnificent total of £342,704 raised by the most wonderfully generous and supportive members I could have ever hoped to have been blessed by – when we add to that the additional £58k grant received from MCF, the total sum distributed to our local charities increases to over £400,000.
I would now like to welcome our Honoured guests – the Mayors of our Boroughs and Districts that fall within West Kent – in advance of the launch of our next fundraising initiative. From:-
• Bexley: The Mayor Cllr Eileen Pallen & Mr Mark Pallen
• Bromley: The Mayor Cllr Ian Payne & Deputy Mayor Cllr Hannah Grey (Mayor for 2017-18)
• Sevenoaks: The Mayor Elect Cllr Maxine Chakowa & Mr Bryan Chakowa
• Dartford: The Mayor Elect Cllr Rosanna Currans & Escort Corinna Bailey
• Tonbridge & Malling: The Mayor Elect Cllr Roger Dalton & Escort
• Tunbridge Wells: The Mayor Cllr David Neve & Cllr Julia Soyke (Mayor for 2017-18)
Our support for local charities in our Province will continue, and today, I am launching our initiative for the next 12 months, called the “West Kent CALM Appeal” – which stands for Community Appeal for Local Mayors. Each year, our Mayors undertake fundraising activities on behalf of local charities in each of their areas and the CALM Appeal will allow us to support their fundraising efforts. We plan to support each of the six Mayors across our Province with a donation of £10k, to be presented no later than our next Annual Festival in May 2018. A modest contribution of £15 per capita from each Lodge and Chapter will enable us to raise the required £60,000, with any surplus funds being ring-fenced to enable us to match-fund any donations, which Lodges or Chapters may wish to undertake. Further details will be circulated to you all tomorrow morning by Roland Stokes, our Provincial Charity Steward. Once this appeal is successfully concluded, it will be time to continue to replenish our Relief Chests to enable us to support our next Provincial Festival, which is to be launched in 2020 and is expected to be concluded in 2026.
I’m also delighted to welcome one of my personal guests, the Very Rev Dr Philip Hesketh, Dean of Rochester, who has once again generously agreed to allow us to hold our Annual Choral Evensong service this coming Sunday, which I am sure you will attend in good numbers, and who we in West Kent have been delighted to have supported today with a contribution to its Community Choir.
Whilst our membership does so much for others, it was heart-warming to see the support which you all gave to the PSA testing initiative which Colin Wright encouraged me to promote – over 800 members and their friends took part in the three testing sessions at Bromley, Tunbridge Wells and Dartford, which have proved life saving in some 80 cases where the tests have proved positive.
Going forward, it will be a pre-requisite to be more inclusive with our Membership:
• of those with differing talents,
• of those with time constraints – both business and family responsibilities
• of all ages… from our Under-Graduates in the Universities Scheme to the longest serving members in the Province, and
• at all levels of seniority – from the most junior to the most senior
And that means being inclusive with our Members’ families. We will do this by:
• an appreciation of the pressures of modern day life
• an understanding of the Communities we live in – and their needs
• our support for unforeseen circumstances and times of difficulty
• a desire to engage with you through appealing, modern, social events that cater for a new generation of members
• and finally, and most importantly – our open and public recognition that our work commitments and members’ families take precedence over everything – and always will have first call on our Members’ time and resources.
You are all part of the next chapter of history – and we are blessed with being able to craft it together – right now. The future success, impact, and popularity of Freemasonry are what we hope will be our legacy – and what future generations will be able to enjoy.
It is a big responsibility for everyone in the room – but a hugely exciting and challenging one that I am convinced is within our capacity and talents. This has been a very special day for West Kent – and I thank you all for coming along to Provincial Grand Lodge to celebrate with us.
God bless you all…