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The plan should deal with re-engagement and retrieval which are natural extensions of retention and recruitment. The appointment of a membership officer is a basic requirement but please not the Lodge Secretary who has enough to do. And of great importance, a brother should be made directly responsible for the social media activity of the lodge. How a lodge manages these issues is crucial to its future.
No organisation can expect to develop, still less thrive, in the present environment without a clear vision of where it is going and how it will get there. The world has changed immeasurably from when I was initiated almost 40 years ago, and the pace of change is ever increasing. These changes can provide great opportunities, if we consider them and incorporate them into our plans; or we can ignore them in which event they are a threat to our future.
Communication and Community
their own meetings separate from relevant lodges and also organise events attended by ladies and non-masons. They have now been replicated in every area and additionally in some centres. They provide a social focus for our new members outside the lodge environment, and give an opportunity for family involvement at an early stage regardless of the ethos of the individual lodge. Facebook and Twitter have played a significant part in the development of these ideas.
We are creating new lodges based on special interests. Our scouting lodge Pax Hill which I consecrated just 18 months ago has been a great success. I will consecrate a rugby lodge later this year which has 44 founders, 20 potential joining members and 3 initiates in their early twenties. There is great interest in a motorsports lodge and another motorcyclists lodge; and a Lodge of Brevity which will demonstrate that our lodges can cater for the busy working man, with a start time of 7pm and finish no later than 10pm without losing any of the important areas of ceremonial. Some of our lodges, who prefer not to put back the start time, have introduced an additional agenda item to admit latecomers, those who, for whatever reason, are unable to get to the start of the meeting. These latecomers may include officers of the lodge which can open and deal with items of business leaving the main agenda item to last. An additional benefit is that brethren not in office will gain experience from the opportunity
to work as a stand in.
opportunity to reach out to the public so that we are once again recognised as a force for good in an increasingly turbulent world. UGLE now have their own YouTube channel, which includes a video, a DVD of which has been given to all freemasons for them to show to their family and friends. The province has also produced a video, which is available in DVD format and is on YouTube. Part of the objective is to dispel the myth that we are a secret society; part to educate the public, and our family and friends, so that they understand what we do and why, and want to be part of it. Freemasonry has changed over the years in line with the community of which it is part, the only difference now is the pace of change. This is being driven by outside forces which the community have to live with; and so do we.
Looking to the future, I am delighted to announce the launch of our new provincial members’ website. This new site has a completely fresh design with live social media feeds and is completely optimised for viewing on mobiles and tablets, and reflects the 6 new areas in our province. In addition, it has a completely new admin area, where lodge secretaries, directors of ceremonies and treasurers will be able to find helpful advice and guidance to support them in their crucial roles within their lodges. The web site itself will be open to the public; and includes a link to our public site which is unchanged.
In this province, we have embraced the
developments in social media; each area
and many of our lodges have Facebook
and Twitter accounts and are benefitting
enormously as a result. It is a great means
of communication and involvement at no
expense, and gives us an opportunity to
demonstrate to the world or anyone who
will listen that we are an open, transparent
and relevant organisation. The province,
through the VOs and area committees
established for the purpose, will give
lodges every support and I do hope that My response to those all our lodges will take advantage of this who are concerned support and the resultant benefits. Many that we are creating lodges have, and are reaping the benefits. new lodges at a time In some lodges double initiations, at one when some of our time thought to be a thing of the past, lodges are having are now the norm. Young men are joining a hard time is that the craft on the back of the freemasonry such lodges need to in the community initiative, Dine-A-Friend change and embrace evenings, the Light Blues clubs, white the various provincial tables, open days, social activities; all initiatives which are promoted by Facebook and Twitter. These available to them. The young men are enjoying their freemasonry future is in their own and bringing their friends into the craft. hands and in short Clearly, enjoyment is key; lodges must you cannot prevent live up to the expectation of men joining deaths by prohibiting who expect our work in the lodge room to births.
be balanced by a fun and vibrant festive board, camaraderie, and fellowship.
These are exciting
times, brethren. The “Charity Evenings”, when charities are world is changing at invited to attend, receive donations and an ever increasing talk about their charitable work, have pace and freemasonry now spread from Bournemouth to all must change too if areas of the province and in some cases it is to re-establish are combined with open days. Each has itself as part of the been enormously successful and, quite community. There apart from the charitable donations, has is a move across the produced a number of serious enquiries constitution to arrest from prospective candidates. A number of the decline in our Light Blues clubs have been established. membership; and the These social gatherings, open to brethren tercentenary of United who have not been appointed to provincial Grand Lodge to rank, comprise a complete cross section which I have referred, from initiates to past masters. They have provides an ideal
Insight • Issue 8 4

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