Today, I was delighted to have been installed as Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent for West Kent.
It goes without saying that I am deeply honoured to perform this role and it will be a privilege to lead such a strong, successful, and well managed Province. In this regard, we have my predecessor, Jonathan Winpenny and his Provincial Executive, to thank for their exemplary stewardship. Theirs is a legacy I am keen to preserve and develop, and in no way do I underestimate the scale of that responsibility. Today marks a new page in our history.
We welcome W.Bro Philip May as a new APGM, and thank W.Bro Doug Hughes for his untiring work during his time on the Craft and Royal Arch Executive. For those Brethren who were unable to join us today, detailed below are the key points in my address following the Installation ceremony and during the Provincial Grand Chapter meeting in the afternoon.
• This is not evolution for my sake or because it is fashionable – it is unavoidable as the world keeps changing and we must adapt too. If we don’t evolve, we will decline and ultimately fail – so, the status quo is simply not an option.
• Our Provincial strategy should be clear and understood, so that it can be explained to all.
• We will debate this further with the membership. The forthcoming Scriveners’ Conference is an early opportunity.
• Our strategy will revolve around a trident of three key initiatives – Membership, Communication and the development of our Masonic Premises.
• Our Provincial priorities will form 5 “Rs”, namely:-
➢ Retention – every successful team builds on its existing membership and retention of our existing membership must be paramount
➢ Recruitment – an essential initiative which nobody should be ambivalent about
➢ Relief – our role in assisting the less fortunate in our community must not be underestimated, especially in these austere and financially uncertain times
➢ Reform – we must adapt accordingly to the obvious changes in our society
➢ Responsibility – we must all take pride in our activities, perform our duties effectively, and expect to be accountable for our individual performance.
• A new Communication approach is now underway. This will be led by a member who is a professional in this area.
• Neither I, nor the Executive, have all the answers. We want to hear from you – and “Listening” will be a key feature of our Communication strategy.
• APGMs will now adopt a more engaged approach with our Lodges and, in a new development, our DPGM will also assume oversight for Past Masters’ and other specialist Lodges.
• I believe that a successful relationship between the Secretary, Almoner and Mentor in every Lodge is vital and, where successfully established, will assist enormously in ensuring future success.
• West Kent has a fine record of charitable giving, as evidence by our success in 2015.
• During the remainder of this year, I seek your support for the Masonic Trout and Salmon Fishing Charity and the Teddies for Loving Care. A modest donation equivalent to £2.50 per member toward each of these deserving charities by year end will raise £10,000 for each, and provide them with a sound financial base.
• Secondly, I announced the launch of our Appeal to mark our 2017 Tercentenary celebrations. This will support a major building project at Canterbury Cathedral. To achieve our goal, we aim to raise the equivalent of £15 per member during the course of 2016.
• I mentioned the Kent Masonic Library and Museum in Canterbury. It’s a huge asset, and I urge you to support it by joining the Associations of Friends, either individually or as a Lodge/Chapter.
• We will work closely with each of our Masonic Centres to formulate a strategy for successful growth in Masonic and external activity
MAKE A DIFFERENCE
• We should all strive to “Make a difference” in everything we do: the quality of our ritual and ceremonial; our duties in our Lodges and Centres; our interaction with each other as members; and our relationship with the community at large.
• Be assured of my total commitment to your happiness and welfare. Let us be proud of our membership, strive for excellence, and above all enjoy our Masonry.
Mark Estaugh – Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent