Grand Master Message June 2023
Linda and I were privileged to have had the very recent opportunity of traveling to both the United Kingdom and Israel, to meet with representatives of the Membership and Marketing Committees of the United Grand Lodge whilst in London and attend the 18th World Masonic Congress for regular Grand Lodges in Jerusalem, Israel.
The event is held every two years, however with COVID putting an end to the event in 2022, the organising committee chose to meet in the alternate year to re-establish the event and change the terms of reference, to ensure a better overarching management structure was identified and adopted, rather than relying on one jurisdiction from the member countries to have responsibility for an organise – decision making was often reliant on one countries approach which was seen as being too limiting.
Prior to the conference, I had the opportunity of meeting with the Deputy Grand Chancellor, Assistant Grand Master, and the Project Managers of the United Grand Lodge of England’s ‘Membership Pathways’ program – their implemented membership program.
The Chair of our Membership Committee, WBro Jonathan Daventry SJD (Old Guildfordians Lodge), was in London on business at the same time and accompanied me to this meeting – London was alive with activity being coronation week.
We were well hosted and provided with an open, collegiate and honest view into the journey UGLE have been on, particularly as it relates to retention and acquisition of their membership, in both the constitution as a whole and the respective provinces – their provinces are approximately the size of our entire jurisdiction so provided for a like for like comparison of what we might encounter with our lodges and members.
They are working on a Version 2 of the original Pathway program, which has been augmented from their experiences of the first iteration, providing us with some insightful findings that can help us with what not to do in some cases, rather than what to do.
The team were very generous with their time and resources and are happy to continue the relationship with us and share what information and findings they have, so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel’ in some cases.
A morning well spent in Masonic discussion on the challenges we are all facing with membership, coupled with a very quick yet informative tour of the areas of Great Queen Street that we could see (there was a film company shooting for a Netflix series whilst we were in the building, restricting access).
Linda and I said farewell to London and headed to Jerusalem for the World Congress meeting.
The Grand Lodge of Western Australia has had a limited number of representatives to sister constitutions around the work for a few years now (not withstanding COVID) and this was a unique opportunity to fire up our Fraternal relations program and for WA to step back onto the World stage as a recognised regular Grand Lodge.
The conference was focused on what defines a regular Grand Lodge, recognition amongst regular Grand Lodges, a number of historic papers prepared on the evolution of Grand Lodges and Freemasonry in differing parts of the works and most importantly, the vexed questions of membership in all its forms – acquisition, retention and renewal of past members, together with a bevy of technologies on show which allowed Grand Lodges to harness information and quickly and easily, identify the bone fides of a freemason from anywhere in the world. I was particularly interested an app out of the States called ‘Amity – Travel Safely,’ which replaces the no longer published hard copy “List of Masonic Lodges” used globally by Grand Secretaries. ‘Amity – Travel Safely’ be able to link to the our new members database iMIS, allowing anyone travelling around our great State, Interstate or Overseas to jurisdictions also using the app, to be identified as a member in good standing (or otherwise) by a lodge or Grand Lodge. All Australian and New Zealand Jurisdictions are already using Amity informally for some years.
The conference also allowed a number of important relationships to be developed and some old ones renewed, hopefully leading to seeing a number of these Grand Lodges represented at our Grand Installation in November 2024.
The Conference lasted for 4 days and was largely reported through the Freemasons WA FB page, with a number of images, most of which will be uploaded to the website for members to view very shortly.
The balance of the time away was an opportunity for Linda and I to immerse ourselves in our respective cultures and religions and complete a pilgrimage together, which we will remember for a lifetime – not to mention have a well earned rest from normal duties.
On a few separate matters, members of the boards of The Grand Lodge of WA and Masonic Care attended the annual 7 News Media Young Achievers awards held at the Pan Pacific.
There were again several outstanding young Western Australians who were identified as finalists in all categories, the overall winner, Drisana Levitzke-Gray, a young deaf woman who has championed and lifted the profile of the deaf community through her advocacy for Auslan sign language and also a finalist in the Freemasons WA/Masonic Care Community Service and Volunteering awards.
The winner of our category was Ben Healey, who founded Give Write, a charity that takes donations of new and used school stationery to recycle, repackage, and re-gift to kids in need in WA. As of December 2022, they have distributed almost 10,000 Give Write Packs. Ben’s roles include delivering and collecting donations to schools, conducting presentations, and hosting the Free Teachers’ Store for teachers who visit Give Write.
Ben is a model of both community giving and service and volunteering as he clearly demonstrates his commitment to all those who have little and simply need a little help which makes a significant difference.
We offer our sincerest congratulations to Ben, Drisana and all the winners and finalists in each category – our society and the communities and organisations these inspiring young West Australians serve are in very safe hands (you will hear a lot more about Ben shortly).
We have two important events happening in June which I trust as many members as possible will endeavour to attend.
On Sunday the 17 June 2023, will be the Commemoration ceremony of the Foundation stone, through the laying of a foundation tablet, to mark the completion of the Dr Bill Babe Centre, within the Middle Swan Residential Care facility.
We have not performed a ceremony like this previously, now participated in a foundation stone laying ceremony for over 40 years, so I trust as many members as possible will attend.
Bookings are via a QR code that has been e-mailed out to all members and as the ceremony is open to the public, we trust that family and friends may also like to attend the historic event.
In addition, the month of June also sees the Service of Thanksgiving occur on the Thursday the 19 June 2023, at the Temple David Synagogue complex, Clifton Crescent in Mount Lawley.
MWBro Daniel Ganon