Clare Installation Response by
5 September 2020
Thank you to …….WBro Neil Fisher ………. For your toast and you Brethren for the manner in which you honoured it.
Worshipful Master, Distinguished Guests, DGM, AGM, DGS, Ladies Gentlemen and Brethren,
It is very satisfying to be present in an area where Freemasonry has been practiced since 1860. Its presence has had a positive impact on the development of this town and this district.
It is disappointing for me that the last two years and four months have obliged the team of brilliant men and women with whom I have had the pleasure to work, to concentrate an enormous effort on matters around our administration.
We, the members of that team, all love the pomp and ceremony surrounding Lodge Degrees and Installation work. However, you entrusted us with a task and we have matched that trust.
Only on 1 June 2020 were we ready and confident to launch the MMXXI Membership Promotion. This has come on the back of an efficient use of current information technology through best practice programmes, enhanced data bases, less person centric and therefore less expensive office procedures, more meaningful and current news varying websites, an enhanced face-book presence, an ability to apply for membership online and so on. It was not until 1 June 2020 that most of this was available to be accessed by the public.
Now, according to our finance committee, our operational budget is in the black. However, the Covid-19 Virus World Pandemic has impacted adversely on our capital budget because of the difficulty of hiring out space for functions in 254 North Terrace. The reduction in expenditure on operations has therefore been opportune.
According to our membership committee, we are on the cusp of a 5% increase in NET membership. Such figures are easy to disregard until you realize that, to the best of my knowledge, no Grand Lodges have increased their numbers so significantly in the past year, except the Grand Lodge of England, which has increased by 3%; please bear in mind that they have much greater resources than we have.
The credit for these positive results goes to the fine team of men, and women, involved. Before I became Grand Master, not through selection by Past Grand Masters, but through a democratic vote by the members who wished to vote, I was advised that we lacked talent in leadership. Brethren, I told you then and I tell you now, we do not lack talent; we have it. However, one must look for it, as I did, when I was Senior Grand Warden, again as Assistant Grand Master and now as Grand Master.
Men now wishing to join our great fraternity are coming from a wide geographical area, and with interests over and above the perfect performance of ritual; they are looking to advance their insight into our fascinating fraternity; to enter their own journey of self- discovery; to understand what this “peculiar system of morality” is; how we have remained relevant to society for several centuries; what makes a Freemason?
Of interest, we have just begun discussions on Ethics; many of you would know that ethics is a synonym of morality; morality is part of the answer to the question in our ritual from time immemorial: “what is Freemasonry?” The complete answer is known to all Freemasons. Older Freemasons, like me, have been familiar with morality and ethics and their practice for years, but our newer members seek answers ie a better understanding of the teachings that make a good man a better man.
Well! Enough of the above!
Let me tell you that it is with a sad heart that I am coming to the end of my term as your Grand Master; there is more to do and I will not cease until I have invested my successor, and whom that will be, is in your hands, as I was each year for three successive elections.
Please keep working hard to make Lodge meetings interesting. When a young man of today, who lives in a world of artificial intelligence and rapidly changing technology, attends Lodge, he expects the opportunity cost of pleasures forgone to be met. I am confident that you will meet that opportunity cost, and in so doing, lend credence to the changes we have worked so hard to initiate.
Freemasonry in South Australia and the Northern Territory, is now alive in the minds of an ever increasing proportion of the public and, like the mighty Mississippi River in the USA, is moving inexorably forward.
Norma and I have enjoyed our couple of days in your beautiful town and district. We have shared in its distinctly Australian scenery, its elegant wines, its sumptuous foods and most of all, your company.
May the Great Architect of the Universe bless you all
MWBro Dr Neil Jensen
5 September 2020