Phone a Friend
There was a clear message from the Grand Master, HRH the Duke of Kent, at the Annual Investiture at Grand Lodge: the need to trace Lodge members who have left and ensure they stay in the fold.
The Grand Master pointed out that the retrieving of lapsed members is initially a task for the Lodge Almoner, especially where financial or health difficulties have caused a brother to resign.
But, he added, there is an increasing body of Masons who resigned from their Lodge because of business, career or family pressures, who may have found those circumstances have now eased or disappeared.
His point was echoed the following day at Supreme Grand Chapter by the Pro First Grand Principal, the Marquess of Northampton, and it is important that the message is taken on board by all Masons.
Members leave Lodges for a variety of reasons ranging from moving to another area to financial. As to the latter, often financial fortunes change for the better, and the brother concerned may not be active in Freemasonry.
Some may have joined local Lodges if they have moved, but it would be a big boost if those who proposed candidates who are no longer members or do not attend, were to get in touch with them and inquire after their health and ask about their Masonic activities.
If the Craft is to show it is a caring fraternity, then getting in touch with these brethren is an excellent way to put it into practice.
Even if they are unable to rejoin a particular Lodge, if they are inactive, it can be suggested that they might take up Masonry again locally, by, for example, giving them the contact details for the Provincial Grand Secretary or London Management.
So let's take a leaf out of the Who Wants to be a Millionaire TV programme and 'phone a friend'.
Now it's the 'Royal' MTGB
Heartiest congratulations to the Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys in being honoured with the 'Royal' prefix by the Queen (see p44). No greater honour can be bestowed on a charity, and none deserves it more than the RMTGB.
As can be seen from p45 in this issue, the RMTGB received £6.5m in the financial year ended 31st December 2002, and the latest figures for the Trust's giving is £8.4m. For more than 200 years the RMTGB and its predecessor charities have been helping the children of deceased and distressed Freemasons - a record of which all in the Craft can take pride.
The four main Masonic charities - the Grand Charity, RMTGB, New Masonic Samaritan Fund and Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution have received £24.1m in total during their respective full financial years - an outstanding achievement.
While many brethren give generously at Lodge raffles and ladies festivals, as well as covenants, it should not be forgotten that legacies are also an excellent way of helping the charities.
London's Big Day
A Masonic spectacular is promised for 1st October at the Royal Albert Hall, where the Grand Master will preside at the consecration of both the new Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London and the Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
This is one of those unique events in which someone can say later: 'Do I remember the occasion? I'll say I do - I was there.'
Tickets can be purchased direct from London Management both for the meeting and the luncheon - seated or box-type meal - and take part in Masonic history in the making.
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