Introducing The Provincial Grand Mentor: Worshipful Brother Dr Gaurav Jamnadass
The purpose of the Mentoring Programme throughout the Province of Durham, is to ensure that every Freemason enjoys his membership, understands Freemasonry in its greater context, is supported in becoming involved in the work of the Lodge and encouraged to enjoy its activities.
Like all successful organisations the Province and Freemasonry itself must strive for continuous and forward-thinking improvement in our people and processes. Mentoring is no exception. To this end the Province is developing a new Mentoring Policy to develop our response to the Members’ Pathway, which will allow clarity of purpose for all Brethren in the Province.
The newly developed Mentoring processes will be delivered and facilitated by the Provincial Grand Mentor at a Provincial level and provided locally by Lodge Mentors, with the support of their Area Mentors. The Area Mentors team will offer a range of knowledge and experience to assist Brethren across the whole of the Province at any stage of their respective Masonic careers.
A Brothers journey into freemasonry is an exciting time. As he discovers the mysteries and privileges of this fine organisation, it can also be a confusing time. Steeped in tradition, veiled in allegory and adjusting to modern times; a new Mason can sometimes feel overwhelmed.
We all gain greater understanding and confidence in our Lodges and in ourselves if we are properly guided through our masonic adventure. The role of Mentor being critical to a Mason’s enjoyment and fulfilment in both the Craft and the Royal Arch.
WBro Dr Gaurav Jamnadass, as the Provincial Grand Mentor, wants to instil the values that create and promote Mentoring in the Province of Durham.
Assisted by the Province’s Area Mentors, the key principle of choosing the right Mentor within our Lodges is paramount. A Personal Mentor will be a Brother who is caring and empathetic, who is understanding of the experiences a new Mason will be feeling and who will take responsibility in guiding a newer Mason through his degrees and to the Royal Arch. From the Lodge floor to the Festive Board, from Protocol to Toasts, from a wide-eyed wonder at the different Aprons adorned, to the greater understanding of himself and his Freemasonry – we all have been here before and we have all had that Brother who helped us through it.
Working closely with the Provincial Membership Officer, WBro Gaurav will assume the responsibility of implementing the Members’ Pathway so that our newest Brethren, from Initiation to Raising, from Exaltation and beyond, have an enjoyable experience that will encourage further growth in our numbers.
My Key Objectives are;
- To ensure the continuity and to promote the growth of Freemasonry in general and in the Province of Durham in particular.
- To create a sense of belonging, understanding & involvement – for all Brethren
- To ensure the Craft is an enjoyable and fulfilling place to be and that Brethren are well able to communicate this to others with confidence and enthusiasm.
- To promote the Royal Arch Chapter throughout the Province allowing Brethren to complete their journey through Pure Antient Freemasonry.
- To address the need for Engagement and to support the Members’ Pathway
Introducing The Provincial Grand Membership Officer: Worshipful Brother Jamie Rielly
W.Bro Jamie Rielly has taken over as Provincial Grand Membership Officer following our June AGM. Jamie is keen to enhance the role profile and visibility of Lodge Membership Officers to collectively arrest the declining numbers of members across our Province.
It is key to attract new members to our organisation whether this is by word of mouth, personal recommendation or by being visible within the community and showing potential members what a fantastic organisation we are. We also need to look after the members we have and ensure that they are getting the best out of their membership.
This is where the Members Pathway will be integrated into what we do. There are so many lodges that do great things to keep the membership active and happy; it’s key then that we share those experiences and messages far and wide.
I will be working closely with the Provincial Grand Mentor, WBro Dr Gaurav Jamnadass, in this area of work and see the roles being very much entwined as we move forward supporting UGLE’s strategy over the next decade.
The main goal behind my Membership vision for the next couple of years is to create fun, inclusive lodges where the phrase “yes try that idea” is used frequently. The traditions of a lodge are to be respected, valued and appreciated, they are the basis of our institution, but we need to move with the times and create a new open environment where our fraternity grows to meet with the expectations of modern-day life and is available to all to enjoy.
Introducing The Provincial Learning and Development Officer: Worshipful Brother David Hay PSGD, PAPGM
Upon my appointment last Autumn, my first priority was to identify the current state of ‘educational’ provision in order to develop a strategy for the next few years. Following some very useful meetings with the Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge and prospective members of the proposed New Masons Forum, I was able to agree the new strategy with the Provincial Grand Master. Since then, my main focus has been to support the Province of Durham Members Pathway Team, led by WBro Rak Bhalla. In January, he and I gave the first of a series of presentations to Lodge Membership Officers who will play a vital role in implementing the Members Pathway within our Lodges and Chapters.
It is my firm belief that we must all play our part in ensuring that the masonic experience is as enjoyable as possible, in order to engage our members properly and encourage the growth of the organisation. In the last few months, I have identified that one of the main barriers to enjoyment for many is the fear and apprehension associated with taking part in ceremonies, particularly the delivery of ritual and any form of public speaking. Therefore, I intend to do my best to provide a programme of initiatives designed to break down this barrier.
In April, we launched the first of a number of new initiatives to promote the use of Solomon shorts in Lodges and Chapters. Initially, these short “nuggets” of Masonic information will be delivered by trained members of the Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge, led by W.Bro David Frew.
In due course, I hope that younger and newer members will feel encouraged to deliver some “nuggets” themselves within their Lodges and build up some confidence. This will not require them to commit anything to memory but will be a simple case of reading from prepared cards. In this way, I hope we may be able to involve more of our members in ceremonies, and engage them in an interesting, enjoyable and informative manner.
With similar intentions in mind, we arranged an event on entitled “How to Stop being afraid of Ritual and find your Voice” which was well received.
We need to stimulate discussion about new ways to think about learning and delivering ritual or speaking at Festive Boards. I hope such events will attract new and old masons, including DC’s, so that we can begin to rid ourselves of some of those unnecessary barriers which prevent many members from fully engaging with ceremonial aspects of Freemasonry.
There are many other initiatives currently being developed and these will be rolled out over the next few years. Some will be ‘bespoke’ and intended for specific people e.g. Treasurers and Almoners, Secretaries. Others will be of a more general nature. We now have a Provincial strategy for Learning and Development, but this does not mean that every element of it is set in stone. It is vital that we try to provide Masonic education that satisfies the needs of our members. In this context, I will always welcome new ideas.