Consolidation Lies Ahead Address
Grand Master of the UGLE, His Highness the Duke of Kent on 30 April
(...) As Grand Officers you have an important leadership part to play in the future of Freemasonry. By leadership I mean setting consistently high standards in your own masonic life as well as demonstrating your understanding of the meaning of the ritual and the principles and tenets of the Craft. This understanding will help you to guide others at all stages of their masonic journey, remembering to encourage them all to talk openly about their Freemasonry to potential candidates, family and acquaintances. There is a caveat, though. Although you will naturally feel some personal satisfaction at achieving such offices, I know you will all remember the words we hear each year at our Lodge installations, that humility in each is an essential qualification. And I have no doubt that that injunction should apply at least as much to those who are Grand Officers as to more junior brethren. Last November I hosted a reception and dinner on the eve of the European Grand Masters’ meeting. This was the first such gathering and was thus an historic occasion for representatives of 44 European Grand Lodges, which included no less than 41 Grand Masters. It was the most representative gathering of the leaders of regular Freemasonry in Europe that has ever been held. The Pro Grand Master planned it as a one-off meeting so that we, as the mother Grand Lodge, could make clear our views on regularity, recognition and sovereignty. The Pro Grand Master set out our position on regularity, emphasising that it is not Freemasonry, but the individual mason, instilled with the principles and tenets of the Craft, who has a positive influence on society. My view is that communication between us all is essential to the future well-being of regular Freemasonry, and I can see no reason why such gatherings should not occur from time to time in the future. I spoke last year about the Rulers’ Forum, and said that I would be happy if it achieved a focus for grass roots masons to debate issues which concern you all with the Rulers and other senior members of the Craft, and to act as a conduit for disseminating the results through their groups to lodges. I was therefore happy to hear that during year three of the Rulers’ Forum, Groups were given the task of identifying and collating best practice from Mentoring Schemes across the country. The project team has seen masons from eight different Provinces working together, sharing ideas and, importantly, learning from each other. They have now presented their ideas to both the Rulers’ Forum and at the last Quarterly Communication. Their ideas support the aim of recruiting and then retaining men of quality. The successful retention of these men will involve the careful selection of mentors at lodge level so that, once initiated, each member is fully supported throughout his masonic journey. The Brethren selected as Mentors will be those who can provide the time and knowledge required to care for the candidate, and then to develop his understanding of our Order and how it translates into his everyday life. There have been a number of advances since this time last year which I believe will bring substantial benefits. For example, the new magazine Freemasonry Today has been successfully launched, and I am confident it will become a major channel for our open communications. In addition, the four masonic charities have all now congregated in this building, a move which will result in cost savings as well, I hope, to a better understanding by the Brethren in London and the Provinces of the roles of each of the charities. With so many successful initiatives launched since I last addressed Grand Lodge, I see this coming year as one of consolidation.
From Freemasonry Today, here.