David S. Pratt
Provincial Grand Master
My Beloved Brethren,
June is indeed “Bustin’ Out All Over” and so said, Rogers and Hammerstein.
It’s a lovely day, and I know that many Lodges will be in their Summer recess whereas a number of other Lodges are still meeting. The Rulers are also very busy and having only just conducted the Annual Provincial Meeting and Investiture at Harrogate, the essential business of the Province continues. This includes identifying potential, and the planning for 2019 has already begun. Now it does not happen very often, but sometimes a Brother, e.g. a joining Brother from another Province is not picked up by the automated records system.
It is ever my intention to prevent any Brother being disadvantaged by a systems deficiency so if you think that you are due for consideration for a first appointment or promotion in Provincial Grand Lodge in 2019 – Please talk with your Liaison Officer.
The Summer months are packed with Ruler planning meetings to ensure that we offer the best of member experiences for every Brother in our wonderful Province.
Decorum Matters - Yes indeed it does!
The longevity and ongoing health of Freemasonry can be put down in some considerable part to the very high standards that we have long upheld and practised – This includes the delivery of our ceremonial.
I must say that I am delighted with the quality of the ceremonial that I have had the pleasure to have witnessed in my Provincial perambulations. The participation of so many Brethren in the delivery of our ceremonies provides opportunity and creates a culture of involvement to ensure that the experience for our candidates is memorable. We are all the current custodians of standards and must be careful to pass on high standards to future generations.
Now the following may not apply to your own Lodge, however, I have observed an increasing trend of loud celebration and applause after individual pieces of the ritual are delivered.
On the one hand, no-one ever needs to tell a Brother that their delivery was not up to the mark – They know! On the other hand, some of our Brethren do the very, very best that they can, and it may not be perfect. These Brethren also need to be encouraged and celebrated.
So my request: To demonstrate to candidates that we always expect high standards and that a well-delivered piece of ritual is generally the rule and not the exception – By all means congratulate the delivering Brother(s) discreetly after the Lodge has been closed.
Please do not over-interpret my request Brethren – We should indeed celebrate success appropriately and at the same time not forgetting the efforts of Brethren who do their very best and who may not be able to achieve the levels of ritual perfection demonstrated by others. My request is to avoid raucous applause during the actual ceremony.
The Provincial Grand Master’s Fund (ProvGM’s Fund)
One of my very pleasant duties as Provincial Grand Master is to Chair the PGM’s Fund Committee where applications, sponsored by Lodges and Royal Arch Chapters, are considered. Approval of applications and any subsequent donations are certainly not my personal prerogative, and I do not carry a cheque-book or any cash with me to make immediate payment. After due deliberation and often robust discussions, the ProvGM’s Fund Committee recommends such applications as are considered worthy of support to the Directors of the West Riding Masonic Charities Limited who make the final decision.
I am delighted to see the names of certain Sponsoring Lodges appearing regularly. However, I cannot help but note that many Lodges (and Royal Arch Chapters) have never made an application to the ProvGM’s Fund? This is most perplexing as I am sure that in every one of our communities there are potential causes worthy of consideration by the ProvGM’s Fund.
If you are not sure of the process or the ProvGM Fund qualifying criteria for an application, please would you consult the Provincial Website? If you do not know what to do, please ask for guidance regarding an application. Our ProvGM’s Fund Administrator, WBro. Ian Wright who does truly splendid work tells me that there is never such a thing as a daft question.
The 2018 Provincial Quiz - An Outstanding Finale
This was concluded at the very end of May. A wonderful evening of tense enjoyment at Castle Grove Masonic Hall, Leeds.
My congratulations to all who participated at every stage throughout the Province and also to the Organising Team.
The worthy winners were the “Four Just Men” from Zetland Lodge No: 603 who will hold the cup for the next year. Team “The Hidden Mysteries” from Kirklees Lodge No: 4710 were runners-up with a three-way tie for third place. All great fun and a keenly fought contest.
Watch this space for details of the 2019 Quiz! It will be even bigger and even better!
Provincial DCs’ Workshop
I had the pleasure of visiting a “Training Day” at Wetherby Masonic Hall to witness our Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, WBro. Ian Smith leading a highly participative Workshop, ably assisted by WBro. Alan Hurdley. As you know, I am always keen to identify talent, and the team of Provincial DCs will be refreshed annually by Brethren with ability.
The identification period for 2019 is already in full swing. This will culminate later in the year with certain Brethren being invited to attend an awareness and assessment event.
The successful candidates will then be invited to join the 2019 Team of Provincial DCs. Interested? Please talk with your Liaison Officer.
General Data Protection Rules (GDPR) Training
Excellent feedback received from the training sessions in our Five Areas in the Province. One comment that does resonate – “Personal data must be treated as money, and some wicked criminals have no scruples about stealing it from the unwary”.
Electronic storage of information and communication is wonderful! – I caution every Brother to take great care when holding the personal data of others to make use of encryption, install virus software and to change passwords regularly.
Communications - Further Successes:
Our Province continues to be the “No: 1” on the Grand Lodge table of media coverage.
(Dare I say it? “By a country mile!”)
Every Brother is a part of our extended Communications “Team”. There is so much that is good about Freemasonry, our Province, our Lodges and what we do for our communities. We should have no hesitation in telling the World. The Provincial Office staff will be pleased to point you in the right direction should you ever have an opportunity to share good news.
The long-awaited “New” Provincial Website will go live on the 3rd of September
November Remembrance Month – The “Masonic” Tie
It is always pleasing to note the number of Brethren who read my Monthly Message and who let me know their thoughts. Overseas Brethren especially tell me that that learn much from our Province and that is a credit to every “Yorkshire, West Riding” Brother.
Last month, I introduced the topic of a special Masonic tie that may be worn during the month of November only. This appears to have been exceptionally well received as a fitting tribute to fallen heroes – Yes indeed – All Brave Men and Heroes.
13% of all the Holders of the Victoria Cross were/are Freemasons. As one recipient told me – a very modest man who was very reluctant to talk about his award – “Surely anyone would have done what I did to save my friends, but the last bullet that hit me did sting a bit!”
(He repeatedly ran across the field of battle through open fire to collect wounded comrades and was shot five times!)
It is also pleasing to note that it has been clearly understood that the wearing of such a tie is entirely optional and a personal choice. Ties will be on sale soon – please watch out for details on how to purchase in the Lodge Monthly Mailing and on the Provincial Website.
Fraternal Greetings to All. Home or Away? Happy Holidays!
(If you are watching the FIFA World Cup - Come on England!)
2018 - Best Year Ever!
Right Worshipful Brother David S. Pratt - Provincial Grand Master