Grand Master Message November 2022
This month I would like to share the speech I gave at the Grand Proclamation on Saturday 29 October 2022.
May I begin by Acknowledging the presence of our IPGM, MW Bro, Peter Kirwan, and Past Grand Masters, M W Bros’ Frank Hayes, Wayne Hibble & James Maley.
In addition, I welcome our Deputy Grand Master, RW Bro Alan James Walker.
I also acknowledge the array of Past Deputy Grand Masters who have been able to join us this morning.
I would also like to acknowledge and welcome to our jurisdiction RW Bro Manar Partel, Deputy Provincial Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ireland in Zambia, Africa. Welcome Brother and may you enjoy your time with us here in Western Australia, particularly when visiting lodges in our jurisdiction.
It seems quite surreal to reflect that at this time, 12 months ago, when we were assembled at the Pan Pacific for the Grand Installation, which saw the culmination of our immediate past grand master, MW Bro peter Kirwans terms as Grand Master and the commencement of a new term and new Grand Master, together with the investiture of our Grand officers for the next 12 months, most of whom, I am pleased to say, are with us again today.
It is said that the first term of a Grand Masters tenure is a year of ‘settling in’. I am not quite certain what that means, other than to suggest it takes about that long to properly understand the enormity of the responsibility in front of a Grand Master and to work out what to do and where to start.
I have been both pleased and amazed with the enthusiasm & commitment of so many Grand officers over the first 12 months in office, and whilst the world began to transition to living with COVID and the new challenges of managing escalating fuel prices, the cost of living and returning to what is recognisable, your dedication to ensuring that our lodges and their members, enjoyed a full & proper Masonic Experience at installation & on other occasions, did not falter whilst dealing with these and other challenges.
Whilst we all experience the need to ensure family is safe & secure, and our public avocations are properly managed, which can take our attention away from performing our allotted Masonic duties, the level of engagement by all officers this year has been exemplary.
I would like to thank those retiring officers, who in some cases have given many years of service in the same position, for your enduring commitment to your brothers and their lodges and wish you well in retirement, in the knowledge of a job very well done – rest now o good & faithful servants.
2022 has been a year of focusing on the new normals’, which seem to be ever-changing in our ever-changing world, and understanding what is important to the modern Freemason, and what makes for a contemporary & relevant Masonic experience, so we meet the expectations of our new members and importantly, nourish the appetite of our existing ones.
To this end, as you are all aware, we have introduced two discreet Organisational Strategies – one that focuses on Membership and one that focuses on the operations of Grand Lodge, in delivering what we need to support & grow, creating a thriving & happy membership.
I have stated on numerous occasions that it is all our responsibility to get involved in our organisation and be part of the ‘Pivot’, if we are to have a bright and happy future – you are the agents of change, together with all members of the organisation, however, it starts with you & us, so thank you for your help to date in doing just that, and I look forward to working with each and every one of you in the coming year, as we continue to lead the Jurisdiction.
It would be remiss of me not to thank our senior leadership team for their hard work and efforts over the last year, particularly, I wanted to thank our retiring wardens – RW Bro David Benaim, SGW & RW Bro Fred Geldart, JGW, our Grand Inspector of Workings, RW Bro John Greive and the Grand Director of Ceremonies, RW Bro Gary Carseldine.
Our wardens have given of themselves, above & beyond, travelling enormous distances to ensure that installations had a leader and could take place, providing clear and effective communication to all members & lodges, together with organising a raft of social events for us all to choose from so no Grand Officer would miss out on attending at least one social gathering, further cementing the wonderful bonds that are forged within an active team.
RW Bros’ Benaim & Geldart, thank you for the men and masons you are, and the body of work completed this year, which we are all grateful & appreciative of.
RW Bro Greives – GIW, has been instrumental in working with his deputy, VW Bro Ross Flood to ensure both ritual and ceremonial matters were addressed as necessary in meeting changing times & lodges needs, as well as ensuring we were well informed and supported by a present and properly briefed DGIW team.
Thank you, RW Bro Greives, for your work over the past two years as Grand Inspector & I am certain your successor, will carry on the work started and equally guide the jurisdiction in further improving lodge workings & communication with Grand Lodge.
Our very hard-working, Grand Director of Ceremonies & his team have had to equally navigate through the fog of Lodges trying to settle back into normal operating rhythm, with in-flight corrections by lodges often creating a less than simple process for the Grand Directorate, to organise teams in meeting these challenges.
It is a testimony to them, and to each of you, who have understood the disruption that a world pandemic has created for our organisation, having recessed our craft for close to two years, and needing to be flexible in working with what we have – your ability to step up and get the job done when necessary, has been outstanding, and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your ongoing commitment to each other, the team, and our lodges.
Thank you, VW Bro Gary Carseldine, for the enormity of your work over the past 2 years, and we will do our best to emulate your example as you take a well-earned break from active duty.
In supporting the team for the past 12 months and ongoing, our Grand Secretary, RW Bro Peter Murdoch, has had the responsibility of operationalising & implementing a great deal of initiatives and projects which have stemmed out of Board decisions & the two strategies mentioned previously.
I would like to thank him for the commitment & loyalty he shows all of us day after day, and his continued effort to ensure that each member’s needs are served, and we as a Grand Lodge team, have what is necessary to continue to build on the work we have started.
The result of his effort has seen an expansion of the role, and with the service level being now set to a high standard, a decision has been taken to appoint a Deputy Grand Secretary, and it’s my pleasure to welcome RW Bro Colin Kershaw into that role, assisting our Grand Secretary with current & new project work, and providing his many years of experience both within & without of the lodge room.
What has 2022 yielded us with the amount of discovery, planning & implementation done over the past 12 months:
· Ceremonial and Lodge officer training days;
· Lodge management and operational workshops;
· Beehive 1000 membership program development;
· Lodge Health Check and business planning management tools;
· Contemporising and updating of the Manual of Rulings to ensure it meets members’ needs;
· A Style Guide that enables a consistent and managed approach to promote our brand and image within the constitution & the community;
· Reintroduction of the printed Master Masons ritual;
· The Board made significant progress in furthering the ‘Hubbing’ model for multiple lodges in a district or geographical proximity to each other.
This initiative allows lodges to consider coming together in a centrally located and purpose-built building, providing financial security and longevity to continue Freemasonry in a particular area. The Wheatbelt Regional Working Group is a prime example of lodges coming together to consider a successful future;
· A Strategic review of the Masonic Foundation undertaken by the newly appointed Donations & Charitable working group, to best promote and contemporize the foundation for all members & lodges;
· Introduction of ‘IMIS’, a contemporary, online Customer Management System, that will deliver an efficient way to manage our members’ records and information, reducing the number of hours that Lodge Secretaries, treasurers and members in general spend completing lodge business.
There are many more initiatives and supporting programs being considered by the Boards, their committees and members, that will assist us in delivering these & other key steps forward brethren, not least of which will be a simple online workflow, that will enable the assembly and delivery of lodge commands, based on a Grand Officers selection of meetings to attend, as simple as a click of a button (well that’s the idea anyway) – more to follow soon.
I am very excited for the next 12 months and the impact we as a Grand team, will make on our beloved craft in this jurisdiction.
We all have a role to play, and I ask that you do your part and contribute to the team’s effort, for it will take each and every one of us understanding where we need to focus our attentions, that will allow us to collectively achieve the success that I know we are all capable of and have already started seeing.
Thank you all and may I wish you & your families the very best for the approaching festive season and new year and look forward to working with you, your families & your lodges, as we enter the 2023 Masonic year.
MWBro Daniel Ganon