David S. Pratt
Provincial Grand Master
My Beloved Brethren of our own wonderful Province and Families and Friends and everyone from elsewhere and also overseas who read my Monthly message.
It’s July 2018, and plenty of exciting things are happening!
(That’s in addition to the FIFA World Cup and The Championship at Wimbledon!).
I have been amazed and delighted by the number of positive comments received in support of my June comments on this subject. It does go to show just how easy it is for new practices to creep in and then to become accepted as the tradition! We all have a part to play in maintaining high standards, and I do look especially to my Grand Officers, Provincial Grand Officers and Past Masters to assist and support the Masters of their own Lodges in this matter. The solution is “More Light than Heat” please when correcting any bad habits that have crept in! Gentle guidance is always more effective than public admonition.
Volunteers - The On-going Provincial Talent Search
My personal mission to identify and harness potential and ability within our Province continues! No Past Master is ever a Past Mason, and our newest members also have specialist talents. There is always much to do - So with apologies to the famous RW Bro. Kitchener poster:
The invitation for volunteers included in the Monthly mailing to Lodges was of a non-specific nature. May I ask any Brother who is keen to respond to the invitation to hold fire as such requests will only be circulated when specific skills being sought? Of course, I cannot guarantee that every Volunteer will be called upon however willingness is always noted.
Our Provincial Grand Treasurer, W Bro. Brian Priestley, PJGD has intimated that he wishes to stand down after many years of stalwart service to the Province. Thank-you indeed W Bro. Brian for your prudent and professional stewardship of our financial affairs. W Bro. Priestley has been such a reliable Brother who has always been a source of wise counsel to me and also to my predecessors.
You will be aware that I have advertised for a successor Provincial Grand Treasurer and I take this opportunity to confirm that the current rank or age of any applicant is irrelevant. The essential attributes are professional competence and experience to be able to discharge the duties of the important Executive Office. It is likely that the Office will appeal to Past Masters and the Role Profile in circulation provides details of what is expected.
Do not be bashful! If you would like to become involved in the efficient running of our magnificent Province and its many and varied, exciting activities, please email the Province Grand Lodge Office with details of your specific skills and experience when you see something that is right up your street.
The evolution of the Governance of our Province to a “Cabinet and Council” approach is already proving beneficial. Each of the Council Functional Heads has developed the first drafts of impressive strategic and operational plans. The final versions will be published on the **NEW** Provincial Website that will be released on the 3rd of September.
The Provincial Company of Stewards
Sometimes we get it wrong! A final check of all the operational documentation and working practices revealed something! The use of the word “Board” for anything under the United Grand Lodge of England is restricted, so the name has been changed to “The Company”.
The inaugural meeting will be held in August to introduce this new and exciting support service for designated Provincial Projects.
Remembrance Day - Ties & Parades 2018
I will be delighted to provide a general dispensation for Brethren to wear regalia in Public at Remembrance Day Parades. All Brethren have my encouragement to attend as representatives of the Craft to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in time of conflict. Discretion and the weather will determine the choice of regalia to be worn if any,
I do ask Brethren not to wear their Masonic jewels as this can cause confusion to the general public can mistake Masonic Jewels for gallantry and/or service awards.
In my July Message, I introduced details of an optional special “Masonic Remembrance” tie that may be purchased and worn at Craft and Royal Arch meetings in this Province during November only. This approval extends beyond 2018 and is granted in advance for each November until further notice. The details of how to purchase this optional tie are in current circulation.
I am grateful to the Provincial Grand Master of the Province of Derbyshire who has advised me regarding this tie. My approval extends for the tie to be worn at our Meetings by visitors from outside our Province for November only. I reiterate that the wearing of this tie is optional and entirely a matter of personal choice.
Charity and Making a Difference for Families and our Communities
Personal or Family Distress? Our Provincial Confidential Helpline Number continues to provide a discreet option for communication with our Provincial Grand Almoner and his Team: 0344 902 0220. A similar Confidential Helpline Number also exists at the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) in London: 0800 035 6090. It is occasionally appropriate to remind the Brethren that we are indeed a Fraternal Organisation and no Brother or his Family should ever be in distress or in need. I ask every Brother to ensure that that wives, widows, partners and children know about Masonic Charity and what to do and who to contact in cases of distress.
Our Communities? Grants from the Provincial Grand Master’s Fund (ProvGM’s Fund) and also from the MCF continue to provide significant and very welcome support to our local Communities. Many and varied worthy local causes have been supported both big and small. One thing that continues to surprise me is that many Lodges and Chapters have never, or have rarely, applied to the ProvGM’s Fund for a grant to support a local worthy cause? I do suggest that everyone takes a look around their own communities as I am sure that additional opportunities exist to provide local support from the ProvGM’s Fund.
Provincial Honours Process - If you are due for Consideration in 2019 - Read On!
It’s goodbye to paper! A letter from the Provincial Grand Secretary has been included in the Monthly Mailing to Lodges detailing the changes to the Honours process with a move to full electronic completion and transmission.
NB: In terms of Data Protection and General Data Protection Regulations, the inclusion of such details on the documents falls within the ‘legitimate interest’ basis for the use of personal data.
It is vital to note that the Brother being considered for either First Appointment or Promotion in Provincial Grand Lodge now has the personal responsibility to complete and forward the document outlining personal contribution made to the Lodge, the Province and the wider Community. Brethren, I encourage you to be expansive and accurate on these forms by stating the facts and describing the impact of what you are doing or have done.
This does enable a consistent and objective analysis of each and every Brother under consideration.
The late RWBro. J. Trevor Broadley, one of my predecessors, captured the essence of Provincial Honours with that very apt Yorkshire saying: “You don’t get owt for nowt!”
If any Brother does not have access to electronic support there is no problem, please talk with your Liaison Officer for guidance and support as there will be an alternative solution.
Masonic Meeting Places
Our Province has the “distinction” of having the greatest number of Masonic Meeting Places.
You will know that the Masonic Meeting Places is one of the integral aspects of the UGLE Strategy for the development of Freemasonry.
The emphasis is focussed on both financial viability and quality of Member experience.
As Provincial Grand Master, I am charged with the responsibility of ensuring that each and every Masonic meeting place in this Province is fit for purpose and that I am satisfied that Lodges may continue to meet in the premises. This decision is not just based on the basic legal and regulatory requirements such as Fire, Hygiene, Health & Safety, etc.
As far as I am concerned these are givens and must always be in place to allow any building to accommodate a Lodge Meeting. My focus includes the immediate, mid-term and long-term financial viability of any Masonic Building and also upkeep, appearance, decoration and furnishing. A special consultative Team has been established to undertake the process of analysis. This Team is already performing well by offering suggestions for improvements and economies.
Some questions that every Brother should ask about his own Masonic Meeting Place:
I am pleased to learn that the Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works and his Team has received completed copies of the Masonic Meeting Places survey from 25 of our meeting places. On the other hand, I am perplexed by the fact that questionnaires have yet to be returned by 29 of our meeting places despite the form having been distributed to all Masonic Halls in January earlier this year.
I urge those Masonic Hall management teams which have not returned their completed survey to do so as soon as possible to avoid the necessity of further enquiries by the Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works. I know W Bro. Martyn and his Team are willing to meet Hall management and to assist with the completion of the surveys if necessary.
Please do not hesitate to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 07778 230851
Full Team Visit of the 2018/19 Acting Officers
All of the Team are very much looking forward to our first outing of the year:
Boothfrerry Lodge No: 7637 at Goole where we will be treated to a Third Degree Ceremony.
A reminder that the Provincial Office is open: Monday to Friday 10.00am to 3.00pm.
As I am passionately committed to ensuring that we have the most competent colleagues supporting this Province, the Office will be closed on the morning of Thursday 26th July and the afternoon of 31st July and 7th, 14th and 21st of August for staff training
Heads of Other Orders Meeting - “Our Extended Family of Freemasonry”
Our Annual Meeting was held at Morley where we discussed matters of mutual interest and ways in which can work together, especially in growing our respective memberships.
This is always a most convivial and worthwhile gathering. We all appear to share similar challenges and are happy to share ideas and initiatives.
It was a delight to learn that the “2018 Northern Masonic Variety Show” held at Bradford Grammar School and organised by the Order of Mark Master Masons was a great success and enjoyed by all. (I agree!). The “2020 Northern Masonic Variety Show” will be in support of the Provincial Grand Master’s Fund.
The Great Yorkshire Show
The sun shone, and the crowds came! Indeed they did! Once again a magnificent opportunity was seized to engage with the general public. For the first time, The Order of Women Freemasons joined us on the Stand, and their presence was warmly received. There is nothing new about such joint representations at events, e.g. it would not be possible to participate in a Fresher’s Week event at any University as a single-sex Organisation.
This fact is particularly relevant to the Universities Scheme Lodges. I can state without any hesitation that there is absolutely no intention for our respective Orders to become any closer as we both enjoy and indeed celebrate the fact that we are individually separate and distinct.
My sincere thanks to our “GYS Team” for their hard work in making this event happen.
A Request from Our Brethren “Over the Water” in Madeira
Being a new Lodge, they are short of a few items of equipment and need two Working tools:
1st Degree – Chisel
2nd Degree – Plumb-rule (Wooden)
Can anyone assist, please? Do please drop me a line.
Fraternal Regards and, as always, my very best wishes to All,
Right Worshipful Brother David S. Pratt - Provincial Grand Master
David S. Pratt
Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Yorkshire West Riding