David S. Pratt
Provincial Grand Master
My Beloved Brethren,
Increasing Membership * Raising our Civic Profile * Enhancing Member Experiences
You will know that I have set these three specific Objectives for this Province that dovetails beautifully into the UGLE Strategy:
It is tremendous to see some of our Lodges being successful with an abundance of candidates. Well Done! We all need to share the best practice of success and to plan how to maintain the interest of all new members through Mentorship, education and involvement.
The Membership Pathway - Proven Solutions & All in one place!
The plans to provide briefings and support to Lodges are in final preparation.
WBro. Andy Brown, PAsstGStdB, our Provincial Membership Officer and Team will be delivering presentations around the Province. The Membership Pathway? It works!
My thoughts? I am not interested in having any “targets” as I only want to attract quality candidates of the right calibre. Just think! If every Lodge in our Province admitted just two new members, then that would mean an overall membership increase of nearly 400!
Three new members would nudge an increase of nearly 600!
Now wouldn’t that be tremendous?
I do firmly believe that there are literally many thousands of suitable candidates “out there”.
Our challenge is to make contact and to show them just how much that they would enjoy by joining our ranks.
We will assist, motivate and support Lodges with guidance, enthusiasm and tangible ideas.
There is no intention to recruit members for Lodges centrally as I need individual Lodges to seize the initiative. If however, a Lodge does not wish to do anything and just wait for a miracle to happen then there is not much can be done.
Considering the predictable consequences of such inaction will be important.
As the Bard put it – “Nothing will come of nothing!” (King Lear, Act 1)
I need all of our members to feel empowered and confident in being pro-active in asking suitable family members, colleagues and friends to join their Lodges.
As this may be a new approach for some, some Brethren may feel uncomfortable initially.
I have asked W Bro. Andy and his Team to cover this specifically during the Briefings to show how the “Best” do this successfully and comfortably.
Looking for initial discussion points within your own Lodge to start the process?
“What is the profile and culture of our Lodge? Why should anyone want to join our Lodge?”
Open Days - Demonstrating to the World the beneficial effects of Freemasonry
I am encouraging different types of Open Days: Awareness events in City Centres and Lodge/Building Open Days for prospective candidates. Provincial financial support needed? Please discuss this with your Liaison Officer and Assistant Provincial Grand Master.
Raising our Civic Profile.
Yorkshire Day - Ripon - 1st of August
We were there again - Among many Civic Leaders and with an increased contingent!
A splendid day at Ripon and so well organised by Ripon Council and the Yorkshire Society.
There is something tremendously uplifting to march behind a military band.
“Yorkshire Freemasons United“- Together with my counterpart and friend from the North & East Province, RWBro. Jeff Gillyon, we marched with our Brethren through the City in the procession to the Service of Celebration at Ripon Cathedral.
The 2019 celebration will be held in Whitby, and we shall be there again and in force!
Why not come and join the Masonic contingent with your wife/partner, families and friends?
Provincial Grand Master’s Fund
It is a delight to see the press coverage when presentations are made to the worthy recipients. More, please! The community impact of our donations is enormous, and the generosity of Freemasons is always appreciated. Let’s choose to make a difference.
I was delighted to be informed that over 400 of the special ties have now been purchased by Brethren. Please accept my sincere thanks. As we wear the ties during the month of November, it will be a fitting and discreet tribute to all those who have made the supreme sacrifice during times of conflict.
“When you go Home, tell them of us and say, for your Tomorrow, we gave our Today” John Maxwell Edmunds.
Three “Masonic” Mayors
I have written to three of our Brethren who have attained the distinction of becoming Mayors this year. We are all very proud of any Brother who becomes a “First Citizen”.
Enhancing Member Experiences
As a “Member” Organisation, I would like every Brother to derive the greatest of personal satisfaction and enjoyment from being a Freemason. I am always looking for ideas and encourage every Brother to give suggestions - both within your own Lodge and also for Province-wide.
Company of Provincial Grand Stewards
I was inspired as I watched proceedings at the inaugural meeting held at Castleford Masonic Hall on the 20th of August. Positive energy and enthusiasm abounded with the objective of providing support for Provincial Projects and Initiatives. History was made! Congratulations to WBro. John Williams, PProvGStwd who was elected as the first ever Chairman of the Company. I have thrown down the gauntlet for the Company to “make a difference” and based on the motivation exhibited at the meeting, I am sure that the response will be positive. You will see members of “The Company” supporting such activities as the cascade of the “Membership Pathway” and Remembrance Day Parades. The “2019 Provincial Quiz” is under the banner of this band of Brothers, and following the outstanding success of the 2018 Quiz, great things are anticipated for 2019. Watch this space!
First Team Outing for the 2018/2018 Acting Officers
Well, we went to Boothferry Lodge in Goole and had a great evening!
“Oh, what a Night! What an Atmosphere!” An absolutely brilliant first Team outing of the year. We witnessed with pleasure the delivery of a tremendous Third Degree ceremony that was enjoyed and appreciated by all. An excellent standard of ritual and clearly the product of hard work, dedication and rehearsal. Out thanks to the Master, Warden and Brethren.
It was wonderful to hear the buzz of conversation at the Festive Board – Great Team bonding. My especial thanks to my Provincial Grand Stewards for getting stuck in to assist with serving and also clearing the tables. “Here’s to the next time Team!”
Our New Provincial Website
This Project is coming to fruition, and all seems “good to go” as scheduled. This is great news!
I want to thank Lodges for supplying our Webmaster with examples of their Lodge badges/emblems for the Website. We live in a visual age, and such illustrations add interest and enhance the on-screen presentation. More, please!
Electronic Provincial Honours System
First indications are very positive. We already have had forms submitted at a much higher response rate than the former manual system.
UGLE League Table - Media Coverage
No: 1 on the UGLE League Table - Again! This is not luck but down to really hard work by W Bro. David Simister, PProvSGW our Provincial Information Officer and the Team.
I would like every Brother to feel confident to talk about Freemasonry in any setting and especially if with the Media. I have asked the Provincial Education Team to conduct some research to see if there is an appetite for providing support learning activities for Members.
The trained members of the Provincial Communications Committee stand ready to assist with advice and guidance should any Brother needing urgent support.
Dealing with the Media? Always best to get it right - first time!
Installation Panel Briefing - Batley
Many Brethren look at September as the start of the new Masonic season.
It’s true that several Lodges meet every month of the year and never have a close season. For me, the Briefing Meeting for my Installation Panel Members heralds the start of the new Masonic season and focusses the mind on our successes and current issues.
How times have changed! Masonic news and information are now more readily available than ever before and available almost instantaneously. The important role of my Installation Representatives continues – For the night of an Installation when one of my Representatives attends, they are the most senior Provincial Representative. All are carefully selected and are both knowledgeable and approachable. I would ask every Brother to listen carefully to their comments at the Festive Board. There is no set script, and each Representative is empowered to shape the content of his message as appropriate for the audience and for that moment in time. Together with Lodge Liaison Offers, my Representatives provide a vital conduit for information to flow between the Province and Lodges. I am always most interested to read the Reports regarding Installation Meetings. Reported standards of conduct and ceremonial continue to provide satisfaction, and if there is ever a situation revealed, this allows resources to be allocated to provide appropriate and timely support.
Your Province is calling
Confirming that will have seen the request for volunteers to join the Provincial Professional Register:
1. Provincial Grand Treasurer
2. HR Generalists - Ideally CIPD Qualified or similar
Please do not be shy! These are golden opportunities to be seized and enjoyed!
I cannot promise that every volunteer will be asked to become involved however I will try to involve as many as possible in Provincial activities as required.
Provincial Office - Staff Changes
We are all saddened to have received the resignation of our Office Manager, Mrs Ruth Waythe. We will all miss that cheery Welsh voice on the telephone.
Thank-you Ruth for your service that has been most appreciated over the years.
We all wish you every success in your future career. It will be a challenge to replace you.
As a result of receiving the resignation, the need to move quickly has been paramount.
The Office Manager vacancy details have been circulated, and a recruitment and selection schedule agreed. It is anticipated that there is likely to be a resource gap until the Office Manager vacancy is filled. I would ask Brethren to carefully consider if they need to contact the Provincial Office during September. Interim arrangements have been put in place to ensure that essential activities continue and I am grateful to all involved in ensuring the smooth operation of our Province.
Some Personal Musings to Close August
Masonic Stone Laying Ceremony at Ripon Cathedral - The Re-run!
There was a technical malfunction, of the camera, on the actual day of our Tercentenary Celebratory Service. It was, therefore, necessary to re-run the ceremony to record the event for posterity. With some clever “cutting and pasting”, this now appears on YouTube here
Brethren, this is really worth seeing and for sharing with family and friends.
Celebration Lunch - Retired Provincial Grand Secretary
The Rulers and Past Rulers of the Province hosted a farewell and thank-you lunch for our Past Provincial Grand Secretary, W Bro. Keith Tolan, PAGDC.
Thank-you for your service W Bro. Keith! It was a goodly turnout and a lovely occasion.
W Bro. Keith continues to serve as ProvGSE in the Royal Arch until November.
Britannic Lodge of Madeira (Regular/Legal Grand Lodge of Portugal)
My thanks to W Bro. Doug Mills, PProvSGW who has sourced some Working Tools in response to my appeal. Many thanks, W Bro. Doug!
Gratefully received, they will be faithfully applied across the water.
Now here’s a thing! On the 1st of October, I will be installed as Master of the Lodge much to my amazement! How did that happen I ask myself?!!! I said that I was happy to assist the Lodge and the next thing I knew ... Does that sound familiar Brethren?
If you happen to be in Funchal on the 1st of October - Do let me know.
You would be very welcome to attend the meeting and then to enjoy excellent Madeiran cuisine and wine at the Installation Banquet.
2018 - Best Year Ever!
Fraternal Regards and My Very Best Wishes to All,
Right Worshipful Brother David S. Pratt - Provincial Grand Master