Grand Secretary inspires Warwickshire Installed Masters Lodge
Friday 29th November saw the much anticipated visit by the United Grand Lodge of England Grand Secretary, VW Bro Dr David Staples, who gave an inspiring talk to around 170 members of the Warwickshire Installed Masters Lodge. The talk, which was delivered without notes, lasted 25 minutes with a further 20 minutes of questions, which would have lasted a great deal longer had time allowed.
In his very friendly approachable manner, David Staples gave us an insight into the approaches being taken by Grand Lodge as initiatives to increase membership and to streamline Grand Lodge systems, communications and procedures.
Openness is one of the key factors being encouraged to inspire young men to join our number – wide publicity of what we do and why we do it, and the organisations we support by funding and involvement. There will be a continued emphasis on combating anti-Freemasonry amongst the public at large. Ten years ago, we were losing members at a rate of around 7% annually – that has now been turned around, and in some Provinces, membership is starting to increase. UGLE Districts abroad are seeing increases of 10% per annum – their approach is being studied to see what Districts are doing to achieve this, and what UK Lodges can do to attain that level of increase.
We were told that shortly, to increase openness, the current registration and administration area at Great Queen Street will be rehoused, and a restaurant, café and bar will be created, open to members and the public at large. New tours of Grand Lodge are being created, which will encompass more areas of the building, which is the only London ‘Art Deco’ building still being used for its original purpose.
Lodge Secretaries will be pleased to learn that much of the paperwork currently required will be converted into online methods of input – Clearance Certificates will become available at the press of a button. Annual returns will be completed online, registration forms similarly, and much more besides to make a Secretary’s role easier and less time consuming. We were assured that ‘Project Hermes’ as this initiative is known will make information much more accessible, to those that need access for their Lodge roles.
The introduction of ‘Solomon’ – the Masonic Learning and Development website is proving invaluable to all levels of membership, and is helping to provide Lodges who may have a meeting with little on the agenda, to use an informative ‘nugget’ to fill the gap. The content within Solomon is increasing at an incredible rate and helping to educate members in all aspects of our organisation – a members’ forum has recently been introduced to help even further.
Numerous questions followed, which were answered with great clarity and a promise of more streamlining to come to help the organisation and its members. An article in Freemasonry Today in this year’s summer edition, further explains some of the aspects mentioned in this short note – click here.
Finally, Dr Staples explained his bearded look – Movember – which will return to normal at the beginning of December having raised a good amount for cancer & mental health research work.
The Worshipful Master of the Warwickshire Installed Masters Lodge, W Bro Philip Hall, thanked the Grand Secretary for an inspiring and engaging talk and confirmed he is looking forward to seeing these exciting changes as they come into being. The Deputy Provincial Grand Master, V W Bro Chris Rogers, endorsed the comments of the Worshipful Master and confirmed his own commitment to modernisation for the future, for the benefit of all concerned.
A collection at the meeting raised £1000 for the benefit on the British Heart Foundation, nominated by Dr David Staples.