POM ADDRESS – TUESDAY 13 MARCH 2018
Firstly, thank you for again attending our Provincial Officers Mess in such great numbers and I must say that I have long recognised the compelling appeal of a sausages and mash main course.
I will start by thanking our Deputy, Chris Roberts, for his kind words – and, indeed, his wholehearted support throughout this year and, in fact, since my appointment in October 2015. He has worked tirelessly and it has been a privilege and a pleasure to have him by my side at so many of our meetings, including Provincial Officers’ Mess, since 2015 – and the world will seem a little different without him by my side in the future.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Brian Saunders for standing in for me at the POM in November, when I was unavoidably stranded in Amsterdam. This was a request at short notice and Brian, as always, undertook the task with huge grace and professionalism – and I thank him for that.
Today, I would first like to acknowledge our Honoured speakers:
• Our dear friend, Roger Waltham, from East Kent and the Chairman of Trustees of the Kent Masonic Library and Museum, and
• Helen Dyer, representing some of the worthy charities that you have supported so generously over the last few years with the appeal for Christmas gifts for needy children.
I am most grateful to both of them for their time this evening and am sure that you have found both presentations equally enlightening and informative.
In terms of our business and announcements, I would like to begin by reiterating my delight for those West Kent members who have received appointments or promotions in Grand Rank in the Craft or the Royal Arch – it just proves the point that those who dedicate themselves to supporting our objectives or have shown tremendous promise for the future, will receive due recognition for their endeavours.
The “CALM Appeal” is now approaching its final weeks. This has been a most successful and extremely popular initiative… internally within the Province, and externally with our stakeholders and communities. It has also provided us with an invaluable opportunity to work most closely with different local authorities and charitable groups right across the Province – and raise our profile and visibility in a number of new areas.
I am most grateful to the support we have received from so many Lodges and Chapters and am led to hope that those who have yet to support the “CALM Appeal” will be doing so at some stage in the near future; however, time is running out.
If your Lodge or Chapter have yet to contribute, I would be most grateful if you could firstly ensure you advise Roland Stokes of your intentions, ensure your donation is received by our “CALM Appeal” Treasurer at least two weeks before Sunday 29th April. If you have made a very recent contribution, it would also be most helpful if you could advise him. This will allow adequate time for recording all contributions, and enable me to give you exciting news about the final outcome of the Appeal at Provincial Grand Lodge. I know you will all ensure that your Lodge or Chapter will have every reason to be proud when this announcement is made on 1 May.
I would also like to share with you my thoughts about the review and development of our Provincial Honours System. It has bothered me for some time that, as a Province, we could benefit from further detailed information on our members to ensure a proper decision is made on their Provincial Appointment or Promotion.
My concern here is that we have, historically, only seen one aspect of our members – their Lodge activity – rather than the whole person. This has, to a large degree, been because we have mainly asked for Quantitative Information (i.e. attendance figures, offices held, ritual performed, etc.) without Qualitative Information – and by that I mean an explanation of a member’s wider contribution to the Province’s stated aims and objectives, as well as his other activities which help to promote Freemasonry in our community.
For future appointments and promotions, in addition to the established routine information we have always sought, I will be asking for evidence of how the individual is contributing to the three Provincial Objectives of: Membership; Communication; and Masonic Premises – and the five Provincial Priorities – Recruitment; Retention; Relief; Reform; and Responsibility, as well as evidence of some of the member’s wider “Behaviours” and “Citizenship”.
New recommendation forms are being prepared and we will be asking Secretaries for relevant information to add to the bigger picture of the individual – and how he seeks to bring Masonic ideals to life for the benefit of the Province and his Community. When I sign off the list of Provincial Appointments and Promotions next year, I want to be able to ensure that every member on that list has evidenced where they have supported our Strategic objectives.
However, we have set out our objectives and we now need to see results, and the evidence to support it, which, is the final, and sometimes forgotten “R” in our five priorities… that of “Responsibility”. Be assured, I want to continue to reward our members, but not see a wealth of other worthy activity overlooked. We plan to hold a “Demystifying the Honours System” seminar in the near future – perhaps in June – at which time we will be able to explain to you all how the new system will work, and I call upon you to ensure that each Lodge is being represented at that time.
By the same token, I would like to share some thoughts with you about the concept of member safeguarding, a topic being actively discussed at UGLE at present. You are well aware of the fact that there is a high level of attrition within the first three years of membership, with 10% of members not remaining to be passed and 20% not staying to receive their Grand Lodge Certificate. We also lose members for a wide variety of reasons, but sadly, in some cases, it has been brought to my attention that members have resigned, or have considered doing so, because of the overbearing approach and criticism from another Lodge member – a display of what I would consider to be truly un-Masonic behaviour.
Brethren, let me be crystal clear here – as PGM, this behaviour will not be tolerated in any shape or form in this Province. There are no exceptions to this rule – from the newest and most junior member, to the most senior and highly respected.
Any such examples which are brought to the Executive’s attention will be investigated, and we will act accordingly, without fear or favour. I realise that it may be awkward, especially for a newer or junior member, to raise these issues but I remind all of you that you can always contact me directly and confidentially by e-mail – on this or any other matter you feel strongly about.
As many of you will know, the new UGLE “Members’ Pathway” was approved in October 2017, and has now been formally launched across the country. Most of you will also have seen the leaflet listing the 11 “Steps” – which was included on the cover of the Winter Edition of “Freemasonry Today”.
It is a sad fact that, historically, membership across the country has been in decline although our own membership figures have shown a marked improvement. However – I tell you this – if we continue to do what we have always done because it’s the way we have always done it, we will always end up with the same result. It is time for a new approach to membership engagement and the Members’ Pathway is a proven way to develop your membership, its concepts having worked very successfully in other organisations.
There have been a number of “Members’ Pathway” launch events held so far and I was delighted to have hosted one event recently in Manchester with Tony Harvey and Mike Baker, with a further event later on this week in Cambridge. These events are helping to bring the initiative to life and provide practical guidance on how to implement the “Pathway” in our Provinces to reinvigorate membership recruitment, retention and retrieval. Our Provincial Membership Officer, Mentor and Almoner attended the recent event in London and West Kent launch events are to be announced shortly at our Centres.
UGLE is also working extensively on a new education and learning tool called Solomon, which you will be able to access online through a portal – bUGLE.org.uk – in order to enrich a member’s experience and provide him with further information to develop his Masonic knowledge. This is another of the important new resources flowing from the UGLE’s Improvement Delivery Group – which already include the Member’s Pathway, the Masonic Halls Guide and, in the near future, guidance on Education and Training.
I think we are all aware of the recent Press and Media comments about Freemasonry – and UGLE’s “Enough is Enough” statement. Whilst we appreciate that we will always have our detractors – and that we are morally and ethically obliged to respond to absolute untruths when they appear, I think we can all make our own individual contribution here by keeping focused on what we have been doing, and continue to do so well.
If we are to generate public interest in Freemasonry and in applying for membership, or at the very least promote a degree of reasoned understanding amongst the general public – the concept itself must be attractive.
As we all know from our own personal experience – no amount of marketing will ever sell an ill-defined product. The key here is to focus on “developing a new relevance” of what we stand for, at grassroots level, and how that relevance relates to everyday life. Put simply – we need to get across where. in practical terms, Freemasonry positively contributes to the betterment of our Communities, and your support here is vital. Then, Brethren, the results will speak for themselves.
In terms of practical actions, West Kent’s Masonic Centres will be holding a further round of Open Days in 2018, which will include Q&A Sessions – where the public will be able to raise any matters they wish to about Freemasonry, and discuss them with a panel of members.
More specifically, in terms of trying to communicate more directly with our communities and the public, I have long wished to establish a more structured approach that maximises the opportunities to speak “face-to-face” with those who have an interest, curiosity or wish to know more about Freemasonry.
To that end, we have undertaken a feasibility study on the acquisition of a mobile display vehicle to promote Freemasonry across the Province to a wide variety of venues. I know this has worked successful in other Provinces, and I will keep you up to date with developments.
One aspect of my role which gives me the greatest pleasure is the presentation of Long Service Citations and I have always marvelled at the reaction of a recipient, who has given loyal service to the Craft over 50 years and beyond.
However, I am acutely aware that many of our members join the Craft later in life and despite their devoted service, may not receive such a citation. As a consequence, I believe that it is time to remedy that fact and am pleased to announce that, as from the beginning of our new Masonic season in September, we will now be issuing LSCs after 30 and 40 years service.
Whilst our APGMs will continue to present citations for 50 years service, with those for 60 years and above being undertaken by the Deputy and myself, we plan to provide the 30 and 40 year citations to the Representative and would suggest that these could be presented to the recipients annually on nights of Installation. More on this initiative will be announced in due course.
You’ll also be aware that with W.Bro Paul Christopher’s promotion to Provincial Grand Secretary, a vacancy has arisen for the role of Assistant Scribe E. I am pleased to confirm that, from May 2018, W.Bro Martin Davies has agreed to assume that responsibility and a formal announcement on Paul’s successor will be made in due course.
I also want to appeal to you to assist me in ensuring that Adelphi, the membership database on which we rely so heavily, is kept as fit for purpose as possible. If there is an event in your Lodges or Chapters which has an impact on your membership – whether it be a new member, or a change in an existing member’s status – your Secretary or Scribe E must ensure that the WK90 form is sent to the office within 48 hours of the meeting. It is vital to the accuracy of our data that this is implemented forthwith, and I ask you all to ensure that this is implemented in your Lodges and Chapters asap.
Before I close, I have a number of important reminders and dates for your diary. We have received a very positive response for bookings for the Provincial Grand Lodge meeting on 1 May, however I am aware that a number of Lodges, and indeed recipients of appointments or promotions this year, have yet to submit your bookings.
This is the most important date in our Masonic Calendar and whilst there is still time to book your tickets, I would encourage you not to leave booking you tickets to the last moment – as (i) I would not want you to miss out on, what I am sure will be, an equally successful a celebration as we held last year and (ii) it will also relieve the burden on the Provincial Office who regularly face a barrage of late bookings, which disrupts their planning and organisation immensely.
I would also like to announce, and am humbled to say, that your support for the Masonic Charitable Foundation Ball on Saturday 23 June, at which I am presiding, has been overwhelming and is now totally sold out, with a healthy waiting list for additional tickets. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to Roland Stokes who has helped promote the event and to you all, for your exceptional support for this event.
The annual West Kent Provincial Grand Stewards’ Ball – “the “Oakley State Fair” – will this year be a Wild West themed occasion and will be held on Saturday 30 June at Oakley House. I look forward to joining many of you here for what I am sure will be another popular and enjoyable summer event.
Phil May has asked me to remind you all of the forthcoming PSA testing session being held on Saturday 5 May at the Dartford Masonic Centre. Although I’m delighted that over 1,200 members and their friends have already taken the positive step to be tested so far, this only represents a quarter of the Province – do please make the effort to attend this session as, as many have found out to date, it could very well save your life
I would also like to mention the Prince George Duke of Kent Court, Easter Egg Hunt on 31 March and the Spring Fair, being held at the home, Chislehurst, on Saturday 12 May at 10.30am. I know they are always delighted to see as many of you as possible on the day and I hope you will be able to go along and support them.
Finally, my reminder that the Provincial Church Service will again be held at Rochester Cathedral on Sunday 13 May – do please support the event as I would be pleased to see the Cathedral as replete as it was last year, and perhaps I may enjoy the company of your families at the Lunch beforehand and the Strawberry Tea thereafter.
As ever, Brethren, my heartfelt thanks for your ongoing support and endeavours and I very much look forward to seeing you, your friends and families at Provincial Grand Lodge on 1 May if not before.
May God bless you all.
Mark Douglas Estaugh
Provincial Grand Master
The Kent Masonic Museum & Library Trust
A talk given by
W.Bro Roger Waltham PSGD, PAsstProvGM (East Kent)
Chairman of the Trust
On Tuesday 13th March 2018
Province of West Kent, Provincial Officers Mess
Good evening. It’s great to be over from the dark side amongst many friends – old friends and those I’ve not yet met. I thank Mark Estaugh for the invitation.
I promise I won’t speak for more than ten minutes or so – I’m conscious that it’s getting on for bedtime for some of us!
So who am I and why am I here?
I am a Past APGM in East Kent from 2010 – 2017. My first role in 2010 was as Chairman of the then Library & Museum Trust. The objective was to raise money and get the refurbishment under way – from fusty dusty to modern visitor attraction. I set all that underway and went on to run Communications for the Province in 2011.
I was delighted last year (when I stepped down as APGM) to be invited to take the Chair of the new Kent Masonic Museum & Library Trust – a newly formed CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation) to replace the former outdated Trust. Mark Estaugh is a continuing Trustee for which I thank him.
Since my appointment in September 2017, I have revisited the structure:
• Appointed new Museum Curator and new Head of Library;
• Introduced a restructured outward facing team, including external and internal marketing and outreach;
• Created a resourcing initiative to secure grants and other financial support;
• Injected renewed vitality into Association of Patrons, including the appointment of a new Chairman.
The reason I’m here talking to you is to raise awareness of the Trust and encourage a strengthened engagement with West Kent Lodges, Chapters and Members – for mutual benefit of the Trust, Freemasonry in general and the Provinces of West and East Kent in particular.
We may be two Provinces but, as is the view shared by the PGMs of both West and East Kent, we are one single county and this is, after all, the KENT Masonic Museum & Library Trust.
I hope this evening I can go some way towards positively encouraging you to engage strongly and effectively with the Trust to help achieve that mutual benefit.
So, what is the Kent Masonic Museum & Library Trust? What’s its purpose – its reason for being?
The idea of a Masonic museum and research library for Freemasonry in Kent was first mooted by Lord Cornwallis in the 1920s and was opened in 1933. The building of it was quite timely as it coincided with the works in Great Queen Street and certain items that were being replaced there were spotted by Lord Cornwallis and magically disappeared, later resurfacing in Canterbury – including some magnificent stained-glass windows which are still in place now!
For the next seventy or more years, with the exception of a few layout modifications and periodic display updates, the museum remained largely unchanged until the major refurbishment of 2011 to 2013 when it was reopened as a modern visitor attraction and research library for both Masonic and Family History research.
In the constitution of 2015, which is when it was rewritten for the CIO incorporation, the main object of the Trust was stated as being the advancement of the education of Freemasonry by the maintenance of a museum and library.
So that’s it, in a nutshell. The Museum and Library are there to educate and enlighten people about Freemasonry.
It occurred to me, as I wrote that, just how tight a fit that is with the recent Enough Is Enough campaign by Grand Lodge to dispel myths and educate those around us positively about Freemasonry. That’s been quite something for those of us who have been involved in presenting ourselves to the public for the past twenty years – from the early days in the 1990s at the combined West and East Kent stand at the annual Kent Show, right through to our modern sophisticated relationships with the press, broadcast media and social media presence.
That’s been quite some journey – hasn’t it Charles (Marchant) and Bob (King)?
Anyway, I digress!
So what does the Trust want from the Lodges and Chapters of both West and East Kent?
Engagement and support sums that up, Brethren.
Engagement in terms of general interest, occasional visits – personal, family, friends, and Masonic groups.
Support in terms of general enthusiasm for and acknowledgment of the work of the Trust; on-the-ground support in terms of becoming a volunteer steward for one or two days a month; and monetary support to help the Trust carry on its good work effectively, which is only possible from a securely resourced position.
Why do we want that engagement and support?
The benefit of increased engagement, connection and support is that the education and positive awareness of Freemasonry is spread wider and wider and wider, which is so very important to the future of this wonderful fraternity that we all love. It is our responsibility Brethren, is it not, to work as hard as we can to secure the fraternity for the benefit of future generations? These are challenging times, Brethren, and the Museum & Library provide an invaluable platform for that essential educational and positive awareness process… so that, whenever someone is said to be a Freemason, the world may know that he is one to whom the burdened heart may pour forth its sorrow, to whom the distressed may prefer their suit, whose hand is guided by justice and whose heart is expanded by benevolence.
We here in Kent are unusually blessed, Brethren, by the presence of this wonderful visitor attraction and research resource, which is a first-class, formally accredited museum and library connected to, and created for, ALL the Brethren of Kent. Let us then take advantage of that near unique resource, for which many Provinces would give their right arms.
So, what do we actually want in tangible terms from you, your Lodges and your Chapters?
There are three equal needs for you to please consider deeply, Brethren.
The first is to engage regularly through visits and the encouragement of others to visit. Apart from visiting for the interest and education of yourselves, your friends, families, Brethren and Companions, you could encourage potential Candidates to have a day trip to Canterbury and take-in the museum while they’re there – perhaps bring them along yourselves for a visit followed by lunch (either in one of Canterbury’s many restaurants or by arrangement, have a quick tour of the amazing Temple next door followed by lunch in the Canterbury Masonic dining room and bar).
The second is to seriously consider becoming a volunteer Steward for one or two days a month and helping the many thousands of visitors that come through the doors every year. Or volunteer some of your time in other ways – perhaps by joining the internal and external marketing or outreach teams to assist in spreading an understanding of our fraternity far and wide, or joining the Curator’s team, or Head of Library’s team, to care for and build displays of our unique collections, promote our collections to other museums and libraries, and generally help-out with collection care and management.
The third is to support the Trust financially. The best way of doing that is by taking annual membership of the Association of Patrons – available for both individuals and Lodges or Chapters. The Trust will soon be contacting Secretaries and Scribes E with a request to do so, which will contain a link to a website with all the details (including the ability to sign-up and pay online if preferred). So, please watch this space and help us by encouraging your Lodge or Chapter to become a Patron. That would be immensely helpful and will not break the bank. Thank you.
In closing I would like to acknowledge the invaluable work and support of Phil Moore and Adrian Wagstaff, both of whom are tremendous supporters of the work of the Trust. Thank you both.
I would also like to repeat my thanks to Mark Estaugh for inviting me here this evening to speak to you.
Mostly though Brethren, I would like to thank you sincerely for listening to me this evening and, I hope, thank you in advance for your very welcome, valuable and enormously appreciated support, both now and throughout the years ahead.
Please visit www.kentmuseumoffreemasonry.org.uk and consider becoming a Patron – either as a Lodge/Chapter, or as an individual. Thank you.
W.Bro Roger Waltham PSGD, PAsstProvGM (East Kent)