At the beginning of February I completed my first year as Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe E. It has been, in a very positive sense, a challenging, happy and successful year. With the approval of the Board of General Purposes, we have re-organised the staff reporting lines so as to run a much more efficient administrative system. I am crystal clear, as I talk to people around the Provinces and Districts, that we need to be still more efficient and this will continue to be a priority aim for me. Several key initiatives have been launched during the year, all with the long term interests of Freemasonry in mind. Importantly, I have taken every opportunity to get to know the Provincial and District Grand Masters, Grand Superintendents, Grand Secretaries and Scribes E. Although I very much look forward to meeting more people in the Districts – having until now travelled to Ghana , Sri Lanka, India and Gibraltar – I will have met everyone else by the time we get to the annual Investitures at the end of April and beginning of May.
It was with great delight that I announced, just before Christmas that our people at Freemasons’ Hall, 60 Great Queen Street, could at last move back into their refurbished offices. During the refurbishment they had to work in very cramped conditions for far longer than anticipated and I thank them for all their patience and endurance. I am also happy to report that all the Charities have now moved into the Garden Level here at Great Queen Street. This has already produced a new, exciting energy in the building and we welcome them all. Apart from the strategic good sense of this move and the benefits of the synergies between the Charities, we are very keen that you should all know more about what the Charities can do for the membership and the wider community. The Charities will be regular contributors to Freemasonry Today.
Since last writing I have accompanied the Assistant Grand Master to New Delhi for the inauguration of the new District of Northern India and the Installation of their District Grand Master and Grand Superintendent in early January. In February I also accompanied the Deputy Grand Master to Gibraltar for the Installation of their District Grand Master and Grand Superintendent. During this period I, accompanied by the Assistant Grand Secretary, had meetings with all Provincial Grand Secretaries and Scribes E. These meetings have been extremely constructive and, coupled with the meetings last year when I accompanied the Pro Grand Master on his Provincial Conferences, I feel that we now have a very good relationship building between the Provinces and Grand Lodge. That rapport is growing daily and underpins the Grand Secretary’s core aim of working with and supporting the Provinces and Districts.
Now that I have one year ‘under my belt’, I have often been asked what three things I would like to highlight about Freemasonry. The issue with answering that question is that people might think it arrogant or that those three things are the only points. They do not necessarily answer key questions such as, ‘Is Freemasonry relevant in today’s society’ or ‘Is there a long term future for Freemasonry in the new world order’. The answer, by the way, to those two questions is a resounding ‘Yes’. With those caveats here are three points. First, Freemasonry is to be enjoyed. Secondly, we should all – yes, all – be able and then willing to talk openly about our Freemasonry to potential candidates, family, friends and new acquaintances. Thirdly, always chose men of quality – remembering our aim to make good men better.