Questions to the Grand Master - Two Years On!
8 Feb 2011 - 10:43am
Looking to the Last Year of our Grand Master
A discussion with the Grand Master and the Director of Community Relations
“Grand Master, we have previously reported in the Journal an interview prior to your Installation, ‘10 Questions for the Grand Master Elect’; then in another article after your Installation as Grand Master, ‘The first 100 Days’.
Now that your ‘Second Year’ is nearing completion, can you provide an update on milestones achieved and what you are planning for our jurisdiction over the final year of your term as Grand Master
10 Questions for the Grand Master – Two years on...
1. Official Lodge Visits have featured prominently over the past two years. What are your plans for the year ahead?
The Official Visits have been positively received by Lodges and provided great opportunities for communicating to brethren and hearing any concerns of brethren. It is planned to continue Official Visits ‘in between’ Lodge Installations beyond my tenure as Grand Master.
2. Grand Masters Challenge Are you satisfied with what has been achieved by Lodges with your initiative?
The Grand Masters Challenge has seen many Lodges achieve progress beyond their former levels. The new 2011 Challenges will see this momentum continue for Lodges to strive for higher levels of excellence.
3. Survival and Revival Are the initiatives to assist Lodges meeting your expectations?
A number of initiatives have been put in place to assist Lodges. Our analysis has identified around 15 Lodges for special support and attention over the next 12 months
4. Information Technology What developments are occurring and are these progressing according to plan?
Excellent progress is being made. The Grand Secretary has been appointed as Web Administrator and Bro Gary Holzer is the Web Construction Engineer. The new Web site can be found at www.freemasonrysaust.org.au/ and will rapidly be developed to be the information source for Freemasons and those who may be interested in Freemasonry.
5. Promotions and Marketing This embraces activities internally and externally. Where do you see Freemasonry developing in these areas?
The Web site development will be the major promotions and marketing tool. Along side of this, community Lodge activities play an important part in promotion of Freemasonry. Lodges are encouraged to seek assistance from Grand Lodge for promoting their events.
6. Freemasons Hall What are the plans for the building?
More recent changes include the conversion of the Great Hall into a lecture theatre for The University of Adelaide and the development of the Basement area to include the “Sam Jacobs Function Room”. The future challenges include site refurbishment, options for further development, and to ensure that the complex remains viable over the next 50 years and beyond.
7. Membership Retention and Development This is a challenge for not only Freemasonry but also many other organisations. Do you see any 'good news' trends developing?
We are increasingly attracting new members and the development of the Grand Lodge web site will become the main recruiting ground. In my discussions with other Grand Masters in Australia, some of them are seeing their jurisdictions grow through their web site so we are anxious to mover more into the use of technology to promote the Craft. We have two new Lodges being formed, both entirely different and there are two more proposals under consideration. These are new Lodges and not reconstructed old Lodges.
8. Lodgesare evolving The traditional ‘Dinner Suit’ evening meetings have evolved to include daytime meetings followed by lunch with wives and partners, dining Lodges tyling earlier meeting in varied venues with brethren in street attire and long Lodge tie. RW Bro Goding from Queensland in his presentations on ‘Order in the House’ proposed a number of changes to the manner in which we conduct our meetings. How do you see the future shape of Lodges and are we equipped to introduce more change?
There is no doubt that Lodges are emerging to new norms, trying new ideas, daring to be a little different but retaining the fine traditions we uphold. If we keep doing the same things the same way, we cannot expect to move with the times. We are restructuring some of the Districts a little to make them more manageable in terms of size and we are inviting RW Bro Goding back to train and assist the District Grand Superintendents who will take office in April, some new and some continuing on but all to move forward with new ideas.
9. Our charitable activities The Masonic Homes, Freemasons Foundation and Lodge initiatives along with The Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men’s Health, the GIRTH national project and the new Royal Society ‘My Eye Health’ programme together have significant high profile public awareness potential. Do you see further development in these areas?
The Masonic Homes and the Freemasons Foundation are definitely the jewels in our crown, the former has an enviable high profile market position in aged care and is growing in a measured way. The latter has introduced many innovative programmes including the three you have mentioned. These areas along with individual Lodge initiatives provide immense community interaction fostering our unique brand of charity in its many forms. I envisage that both the Homes and the Foundation will grow and develop.
10. Other plans and ideals. Are there any other areas that you would like to see developed to progress Freemasonry in your final year as Grand Master?
At the end of my term in April 2012, I foresee that there will be more on the Agenda than when I commenced as Grand Master. We have made tremendous progress over the past two years and the web site development alone will generate new ideas, provide new and faster forms of communication both to and from Lodges and brethren making us a more informed and viable organisation striving to make good men better and provide a better community for all.