Dear Brethren all,
As we are now approaching a busy time in our Masonic calendar, I thought this might be a good time to explain some of the things that I, as the Provincial Grand Communications Officer and the Provincial Secretariat in general have been doing over the last few months. before life becomes even more hectic. We have not been idle!
One of the earliest events to take place was the Provincial Grand Assembly which was a great success. For the first time the Provincial Grand Master took the time to meet all of the existing Worshipful Masters from across the Province and also every new Initiate. This was a great honour for the newly initiated and hopefully gave them a little better understanding of what Province does and how it works.
There have been many other notable successes some of which you are hopefully already aware. The Provincial website is now up and running better than ever before. The Calendar section is updated every week and the Yearbook section every month. This has resulted in much more up to date information with the result being that many more Brethren are now using the Website than ever before. Remember that it can only be as good as the information that we receive. If you do not tell us what is happening we cannot action it.
There is now more information available on the Website than ever before. As well as the very useful Calendar and Yearbook sections there are other areas which show Summons’ for every Lodge meeting available (As long as Lodge secretaries send it to us). Not only can you read it, you can also download it, so you can always receive the Summons that you want. There is another section of ‘Upcoming Events’. If you tell me that your Lodge is holding an event, and ideally send me a flyer, I will ensure that it is placed on the Website for all to see. Ideally, there will come a time when ALL Masonic information will be placed solely on the web. This will curtail the need for reams and reams of paper to be sent here, there and everywhere. This is obviously dependant upon you visiting the Website on a regular basis. The more you use it the better it will become. It is now a vast trove of information so please use it on a regular basis.
In July the Province of Valencia also took the lead role in sending under-privileged children, once again, to the Masonic Summer School in Guadalest. This year we raised enough money to support no fewer than forty-two children, a new record. This gives the children a short break from the regular hum drum of their lives and allows them to mix with other children, learn new skills and will hopefully help to make them better citizens. It might also foster a long-term appreciation of what Freemasonry can do to help less fortunate people. We visited the children mid break and the Provincial Grand Master of Valencia, RWBro Michael Shilan came along with his Provincial Charity Steward WBro Trevor Bagnall and the Assistant Grand Master of Spain RWBro Barrie Roy Mansell, though he was attending this event as the District Grand Master of Mark Master Masons who also contributed to this scheme. Twenty-two of the children came from the El Preventorio school in Gandia, eleven from the Red Cross in Javea and another nine from other areas.
Most recently we have also held an incredibly successful golf tournament which saw fifty-six Masons have a fantastic day out while raising no less than two thousand, eight hundred euros for the Provincial Grand Charity. A magnificent effort!
The booklet, ‘Introduction to Masonry’, is already on it’s second edition and is proving most successful. It is now presented to every new Initiate upon taking his first degree. This is presented, usually by a senior member of the Provincial Executive, with a letter from the PGM welcoming the new Initiate into Masonry. This is intended not only to help and guide the new Initiate but also to introduce him to the Provincial Grand lodge and help him find out what they can do to help him.
I have recently sent out a request for information from each Lodge secretary giving brief details of the charities they are supporting. Some of you have kindly returned this information but most have not. Please do so as this will enable us to see which charities we are currently helping and, to some extent, by how much.
The publicity generated by the Website and press is having good results. As a direct consequence of the press coverage since September of last year I have received fifteen requests for further information on joining a Lodge or joining Freemasonry in general. This may well lead to new members which is what we all want. A recent letter has gone out from the Provincial Grand Secretary asking you to send details of all articles, events and photos to myself for entering on the Website and publishing through the press. Please make sure you do this and as quickly as possible. I can only publish that which I am given. I do attend as many functions as I possibly can but, with the best will in the world, I cannot attend all of them. If someone is kind enough to send me the details and a few decent pictures I will do the rest.
At present I send each article to about eight Provincial English language newspapers every week, plus two Provincial Spanish papers, El Oriente and a couple of international websites. I cannot guarantee every article in every newspaper but I am getting a very good hit rate. I can almost guarantee at least one of these papers will publish my articles and often five or six. On occasion I get a full-page spread, the most recent examples being the Summer School article, the golf day article and my interview with the Grand Master of Spain The MWBro Oscar de Alfonso Ortega.
Finally, may I also draw your attention to the Summer LOI’s which are being run by Marina Alta Lodge of Installed Masters. This has proven to be even more successful this year than last. These are a great opportunity for all Master Masons, and on some weeks for junior Masons as well, to come along and learn many things about Masonry which they are unlikely to learn anywhere else. As well as practicing ritual there are question and answer sessions and also a discussion about particular aspects of Masonry. These Lodges are run by WBro Brian Imber who acts as Preceptor and who does an extremely good job. I have been delighted to hear very fulsome praise of Brother Imber and the LOI in particular. It is gratifying to meet junior Masons who are both interested and willing to learn. I can recommend these wholeheartedly to the whole Province. There is another such scheme running in the south of the Province. This effort will be repeated next summer so please let either WBro Brian Imber, WBro Matt James or myself know if you are interested in attending. All those who have attended this year have been fulsome in their praise and I am sure each would be happy to recommend it to you if asked.
If you have any (polite) suggestions for Provincial Secretariat which you feel might be of use please again contact me. My address is:
WBro William G Turney