Provincial Grand Lodge - September 2021

 

An additional Provincial Grand Lodge meeting was held on Saturday 11th September 2021 at University of Wales, Trinity St David's Lampeter. The Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Ross was delighted to welcome distinguished guests from many neighbouring Provinces for the first time for 2 years. There was also a large turnout from the Brethren of West Wales and the meeting was held under the banner of Frenni Lodge no 8427.

 

Provincial Grand Master's Address

 

Brethren, I have already thanked and welcomed our distinguished guests, but I would like to start by thanking you all for being here today. Zoom has its advantages. During the pandemic I have been able to attend multiple lodge meetings in one evening from the comfort my own home, but there is no substitute for meeting in person. I am delighted to see the room so full of friendly faces this afternoon.

 

I have been immensely proud of the enormous effort which the brethren of West Wales have put into supporting the masonic and wider community in our beautiful three counties. I will avoid giving an enormous list of the projects we have supported, but I will just mention the brethren of the Mackworth Club who organised and delivered £10,000 worth of clothes and toiletries to the Hywel Dda Patients Comfort Appeal, the £14,000 BMW motorcycle we gave to Blood Bikes Wales and the £25,000 we have given to CYCA in Llanelli, both of these thanks largely to the efforts of our Provincial Grand Charity Steward, W Bro Dirk den-Hartog and his contacts at the MCF. Large, headline grabbing donations are great, but what makes me even more proud to be your Provincial Grand Master are those small daily kindnesses which go unnoticed and unreported. We have all had our part to play in getting through the dark days we have had to face in recent times. I thank every member of the province for the help and support that they have given to the province and each other since March 2020.

 

I have already thanked my outgoing Deputy, VW Bro Lionel Hughes for his help and support during my first two years as Provincial Grand Master. Lionel has provided continuity and most importantly an immense knowledge of freemasonry in general and the Province of West Wales in particular. I know he will continue to be a great asset to the province, and it has been a privilege to have worked so closely with him for the last 10 years.

 

With apologies to those of you here this morning, I would like to pay a special tribute to our outgoing Provincial Grand Almoner, W Bro John Watson. John has put in a huge amount of work during the pandemic. I would like to publicly thank him for all his efforts, both recently and over the last decade. I would also like to thank him for staying on as Assistant Almoner to help our new Provincial Grand Almoner Companion Chris Buckley settle into the role.

 

I congratulate everyone who has been invested at this meeting. I look forward to your company at Installation meetings in the coming season.

 

I would also like to congratulate W Bros David Rayson and Tony Trumper for their appointments to the rank of Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in the United Grand Lodge of England and W Bro Ryland for his promotion to Past Senior Grand Deacon. These Brethren have served the province for many years in both the Craft and the Royal Arch, and I very much look forward to working with them in the years to come.

 

Brethren, I think the pandemic has taught us that the things we hold dear can be very fragile and that they can be snatched away from us without warning. I sincerely hope that this makes us treasure our freemasonry even more than we did in the first place. It certainly gives us the opportunity to push the reset button and restart our journey into the future of freemasonry with renewed vigour.

 

The good news is that we have plenty to get our teeth into, both this year and in the future.

 

  • As a Province we have a Festival to deliver in 2026. The festival team under the direction of the new Deputy Provincial Grand Master and Festival Chairman W Bro Ryland James have been working hard during our enforced layoff to get everything in place to hit the ground running. I thank you all for your support so far and I am sure that we can make up for lost time this masonic season.
  • In the Autumn, West Wales will be taking part in a national campaign designed to create interest in freemasonry and attract new members. Grand Lodge research has shown that the under 40’s are the most likely to be interested in joining freemasonry. There is no intention, or desire to lower our high standards to boost membership, but some professional help to identify and engage with potential members must be a good thing. I don’t want to get too caught up in the details, but the campaign is going to use targeted social media which can accurately predict those most likely to be interested. Our new Membership Officer, W Bro Stephen Fearn, ably assisted by the Provincial Grand Mentor, W Bro Chris Harding will be available to assist the Lodge Membership officers to deal with enquires. They will also be rolling out a new and improved Pathway document in the Autumn.
  • Hermes, the new administrative system for lodge secretaries and chapter scribes ezra will roll out later in the year. Meetings have already been held to brief those who are involved, and I am sure that the new unified and streamlined system will make everyone’s life much easier.

 

Finally, brethren, on behalf of us all, I would like to thank the brethren who have put in so much work to make today’s meetings so successful. The Provincial Grand Secretary, W Bro Tony Trumper and Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, W Bro Gareth Owen and their teams have worked closely together on the meetings themselves.

 

In conclusion Brethren, I would like to thank you all once again for attending today and I thank you in advance for your support and enthusiasm, as freemasonry heads towards a bright and exciting future.

 

Diolch yn fawr iawn i chi i gyd

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