Provincial Grand Lodge Of Gloucestershire

Provincial Grand Lodge – The Provincial Grand Master’s Address

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Provincial Grand Lodge – The Provincial Grand Master’s Address

The Provincial Grand Master (Head of Craft Freemasonry in Gloucestershire) addressed those present at the Provincial Grand Lodge held on 25th May 2024 at Tortworth Court. These speeches have now been transcribed for all to read and are set out below.

Immediately following his installation as The Provincial Grand Master of Gloucestershire – Ian Michael Davies delivered these words.

Brethren, it is my very great pleasure to now welcome and thank our visitors from Grand Lodge.

Firstly, the Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master, Sir Michael Snyder. We thank you Sir for spending part of your bank holiday weekend with us and trust that the journey was not and will not be too onerous. I’m also aware that I am your first Provincial Grand Master that you have installed so a new experience for both of us. I’m not sure who was more nervous, although I expect it was me. I hope it has been as enjoyable for you as it has for me.

A warm welcome too to your team of the Acting Grand Director of Ceremonies Worshipful Brother Thomas Hawley and his fellow Deputy Grand Directors of Ceremonies Worshipful Brothers Matthew Burrows, Ravi Sahnan and Paul Grier. It was a well-drilled ceremony and I thank you all for coming and delivering such a masterclass. Ceremonial freemasonry at its best.

To the Assistant Grand Secretary Worshipful Brother Ben Gait for a most delightful reading of the patent with a voice from the land of my forefathers or at least some of them and finally to Worshipful Brother Graham Daly the Grand Tyler for ensuring that the chains, VSL’s, furniture and other equipment were in the right place at the right time. As a logistician, it was very pleasing to see it so well executed.

I speak for all those assembled that we appreciate your time and hope that you too have all enjoyed your trip to the edge of the Cotswolds.

I would also like to extend a welcome to our distinguished visitors from our neighbouring Provinces and other orders. I also thank Right Worshipful Brothers Richard Davies and Jonathan Davis for their roles as Senior Warden and Junior Warden.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our own Provincial Grand DCs and the Provincial Grand Stewards team for all of the work they have put in thus far and for what they will be doing this afternoon.

My final thank you goes to the Provincial Grand Secretary and his team for organising the whole day to perfection. I know the hours of work they have put into making it all happen and their forbearance for the many silly questions and constantly changing needs

that I have had over the last couple of months. These events don’t just happen but none of us appreciate just how much has been done to ensure that it runs so smoothly.

Brethren, it’s been a truly magnificent morning. However, having skipped breakfast this morning, I’m very much looking forward to lunch and look forward to seeing most of you again when we resume at 2:40.

Immediately following this speech the meeting was called off. The Deputy Grand Master, accompanied by The Provincial Grand Master and their respective teams, distinguished guests and Grand Officers withdrew from the lodge.

The meeting was called back on at 3 pm for the business of the Annual General Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge. Following the appointment and promotion of brethren receiving provincial honours for the year, the Provincial Grand Master close with this address.

Brother Wardens and brethren,

Firstly, I extend my hearty congratulations to all of those who have been appointed, re-appointed and promoted today. They are all well deserved for your contributions to your lodges and to this Province over many years. They are also in recognition of what is yet to come. A piece from the Royal Arch ritual demonstrates this when it says, “Let me, however, strongly impress on your mind that the further you advance in the mysteries of Freemasonry, and the higher you are elevated in rank, the greater are the duties and the more important are the services required of you.” These sentiments are just as true in the Craft as they are in the Royal Arch. However, I trust, and I include myself in this, that we will all enjoy our new ranks and responsibilities over the next twelve months and beyond.

On behalf of my predecessor, I thank the outgoing Wardens Worshipful Brother William Durman and Worshipful Brother Andy Fautley. I know that Right Worshipful Brother Henderson Ross has welcomed your involvement and appreciates the effort that you have both made.

Brother William, I was in awe of the fortitude with which you dealt with your issues at the beginning of your year. I was also impressed with the support shown by Brother Andy, in a selfless act of brotherly love, swapping duties with you so that he could fulfil all of the Wardens’ obligations at the beginning of the year, and you could similarly fulfil them at the end of the year. I hope you have both enjoyed your year and thank you for your contributions.

I was delighted to be able to appoint Worshipful Brother Mike Newcombe as my Senior Warden. Brother Mike is a prolific fundraiser supporting many worthy charities not only in his capacity as a freemason but also as an individual. He has worked tirelessly in the background with the Charity Team over many years. Despite running several businesses, which I know can create tension and stress, he never seems to be anything but cheerful. Brother Mike is a force of nature with an infectious enthusiasm that rubs off on all those around him. I am therefore confident that he will be a very welcome addition to the executive and will fit perfectly with my desire for us to “unite in the grand design of being happy and communicating happiness.”

As Junior Warden, I was very pleased to appoint Worshipful Brother Peter Trotman. A brother who exudes quality and poise, very much like the luxury cars that he sells. Brother Peter has supported the Province in a variety of ways over many years; as an Area Membership and Mentoring Coordinator and more recently as the Advertising Manager for Square Talk. He has led that team in an exemplary fashion. Brother Peter puts a great deal of thought into all that he does and is meticulous in his planning and consideration. I am certain in addition to those qualities he will also bring an element of sartorial elegance to the role of Junior Warden.

It is usual too at this time to comment on those brethren living in this Province who received Grand Rank at the Installation Festival at Great Queen Street at the end of April. Worshipful Brothers Tony Allcock, Sid Yule and Paul Leadbeater all received first appointments of Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies while Worshipful Brother Paul Turner was re-appointed as Deputy Grand Superintendent of Works as he continues to assist in the management of the fabric of Great Queen Street. One of the jewels in the crown of Freemasonry, at least as far as buildings go. All four brethren have given so much to Freemasonry and their appointments and re-appointments are all thoroughly deserved. Please join me in congratulating them all.

I’m sure like me you all remember quite clearly certain parts of the night of your initiation. One thing that sticks out for me was that instruction by the Junior Deacon, to step off with my left foot. That simple instruction tells the candidate to trust implicitly in his conductor and step boldly into the unknown towards experiences the like of which we may never have encountered before.

Never for a moment did I imagine my first step would lead to this position. I was just eager to find the answers to the burning questions of life the universe and all that which Douglas Adams suggested was forty-two. I secretly hoped Freemasonry would provide the answer for me and I believe it has. I haven’t found the Babel fish yet although Duo Lingo is a help albeit a little addictive.

Our ritual, if we are prepared to put the time in, oozes quality messages that enable us to build on the firm foundation that that first step with our left foot, led us to, at the North East corner of the Lodge room.

Our further progress through the various offices helps us to learn, grow, develop and strengthen ourselves as individuals. The result is that we are all unique products to varying degrees of a wonderful system of personal development and comradeship as relevant today as it was over 300 years ago.

Many people have asked me how long my tenure will be. I’m sure that’s not because they can’t wait for it to end but just out of curiosity. I’ve replied that my letter said that it is for a maximum of ten years with a review after seven. That seems like a long time, but I am sure that it will fly by. It also brings into sharp focus that in the greater scheme of things it is but a brief moment in time. I like you am just custodian for a moment or two. I for one am very grateful to the brethren that have gone before and I believe, it is incumbent upon us all, to repay the nourishment that we have received during our membership thus far, by ensuring that Freemasonry remains strong so that it can continue for another 300 years when time with us will be no more.

I believe therefore that it is my mission to take up the challenge facing us today and with the support that so many of you have pledged, I believe it is more than possible and that we will see this wonderfully diverse province continue to grow and flourish in the next six to seven years.

I am grateful to my predecessors for the hard work and dedication that they have expended on our behalf, and they leave the Province stable and buoyant. We must now take up the challenges ahead with vigour and enthusiasm. Be proud of what has been and what will be achieved.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my journey so far and while the personal growth and development of each brother is a core of the organisation, the way that it is done is vitally important. In the address to the brethren, it says that “we should have but one aim in view, to please each other and to unite in the grand design of being happy and communicating happiness”. To my mind, this means that where we can let’s have some fun. Yes if it is done with decorum, it maintains our own very high standards, and it remains inclusive and tolerant of others. We must ensure that brethren leave our lodges eager to return to our next merry meeting.

In addressing the Membership Challenge and the Seven Year Strategy the executive have been careful not to set any specific targets thus far, but brethren, I’d love to see

every lodge growing by at least one member more than they were the year before. It sounds simple, doesn’t it? We have the tools to do it within the Members’ Pathway which the Membership and Mentoring team are eager to help you implement.

Our challenge now and for the next 6 years is to build on what has been achieved so far; by attracting the right people to join our organisation, by managing their expectations – don’t hide the requirements but explain them fully. Ensure, where we can, that the lodge they join is right for them and, once they have joined, nurture them, encourage them and help them to grow and we will grow.

Apart from personal growth and a sense of belonging, another amazing thing that we do collectively is to provide financial, physical and practical support to those less fortunate than ourselves. This can be in the form of lodge donations or through the CAST team at a local level. Some of the aid we provide is to our brethren or their dependants through the almoning team led by our Provincial Grand Almoner Worshipful Brother Jonathan Steel. He and his team can call on the support of the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF). The MCF also makes donations to Gloucestershire Charities every year. The donations, given in our name, are focussed on supporting both the young and old and certainly those who are facing huge difficulties in their lives. The funds that flow into our province from the MCF regularly run at between £220 and £250k per year. That’s an immense amount to support our brethren, our families and our communities.

As many of you know, the MCF is funded through what is called the festival system which runs on an eleven-year cycle. Each Province during their eleven-year cycle will have a five or six-year window to focus on raising funds for the MCF. Our five-year window starts this year with an end date of November 2029 so it gives me an immense amount of pleasure to be able to announce that in September and October, we will be launching our Festival Appeal in support of the MCF with a series of workshops and events. It’s not rocket science to realise that over eleven years more than £2.5M will flow into our Province. While we don’t have a specific target wouldn’t it be a wonderful way to give back if we were able to match that?

Brethren, since my appointment was announced I have been humbled and seriously overwhelmed by the flood of messages of congratulations and support. It gives me a tremendous amount of strength knowing that you are there. With that level of support, I

believe that the challenges which lie ahead will be manageable, certainly enjoyable and fun provided we are enthusiastic and energised. Leading sportsmen and women focus on improving all of the small things under their control in all areas of their regime one small step at a time. Together we too can continue to improve in all areas and as a result, we will achieve our aims. Brethren let’s step off together with our left feet, and step boldly into the future.

Additional pictures from the day are attached to this article.

 

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Provincial Grand Lodge
Provincial Grand Lodge – The Provincial Grand Master’s Address