There are chaplains in hospitals, workplaces, prisons, the armed forces, shopping centres, rural areas, colleges, universities and schools, to name but a few. In all these places chaplains try to show God’s love through offering care and support, and by representing values and beliefs. Chaplains share the great privilege of discovering what God is doing out there – in the wider world. In our diverse society, chaplaincy has to show the greatest sensitivity and respect.
Freemasonry demands a belief in a supreme being: The great Architect of the Universe, the Almighty God, Jahweh, El Shaddai, Allah, or many other names by which he is known.
Freemasonry supports the belief that we will be held to account for the way we live this life.
Our actions and way of life are lived in the sight of a loving God, and freemasonry reminds us of the way we should live and work.
The Chaplain’s role is to focus on that and remind the brethren, through life and prayers, of the reason they do what they do. Our Lodge rooms have a letter G in the centre of the ceiling, just as our lives should have God at their centre. But we are busy people with many responsibilities and demands on our time. So the Chaplain’s vocation is to be there as a reminder in the general hubbub of lodge life, that we are there for a reason. We are there to do the will of the Great Architect who has called us to be better people, and to help make the world a better place.
To do this we must work in collaboration with the Almoner. They are the channel of providing material assistance to those in need. But very often people in material need are also in need of friendship and reassurance of the love of the Great Architect.
So by working together, the Almoner and the Chaplain can provide a holistic support network of material and spiritual support to brethren, their families, and others.
The Lodge Chaplain
A Masonic officers handbook lists the duties of the Lodge Chaplain as “to Conduct the devotional exercises at the opening and closing of the Lodge” But is that all? So often a Lodge Chaplain is selected as a brother who can remember the prayers.
But his role should be more than that. A Lodge Chaplain is to stand alongside his Brethren, to say the prayers for the Lodge, but also to pray for his Lodge. He is the example of how we address our God, and ask for his support and aid. He is the constant reminder to the Lodge of their higher calling, and the reason they are Freemasons. He is often chosen because he is seen to be a gentle, humble Brother, who can listen to another’s problems and talk to those who need a friend.
The role of a Lodge Chaplain is to be someone who is sensitive to the needs of their fellow brethren. As in chaplaincy anywhere they are in God’s front line of a multi faith environment, trying to point people in the right direction whatever their background or belief. Their lives, through the ethos of freemasonry and by example, should help brethren to find the eternal and the holy, reminding them to bend with humility and resignation to the will of the Great Architect of the Universe and dedicate their hearts to His glory and the welfare of all creatures and His world.
Your Provincial Chaplaincy Team
Pictured with the Dean of Durham Cathedral (far left) at the Masonic Carol Service in Durham Cathedral, December 2019, Canon Ron Black, Provincial Grand Chaplain, Julian Ward, Provincial Deputy Grand Chaplain and Rev Jon Whalley, Provincial Assistant Grand Chaplain.
WBro Canon Ronald Calderwood Black, (Ron), PAGC, ProvGC.
I am a Reader or Licensed Lay Minister in the Church of England serving in various ministries over some forty years. The Bishop of Newcastle honoured me with the title of Lay Canon in recognition of my work as Diocesan Secretary of Readers.
WBro Julian D Ward, ProvDGChap
I am also a Reader In Durham Diocese, for the Parishes of East and West Rainton, where I regularly lead services, preach, take funerals and even play the organ! I have a Durham degree in Theology & Ministry and run my own direct marketing company.
Bro Rev Jon PL Whalley, ProvAGChap
I served in the British Army as an infantryman, musician and Medic for 8 years straight from school. I then joined the Salvation Army and I worked in hostels with the homeless and alcoholics delivering social care. I am currently Priest in Charge of Wolsingham, Tow Law, Stanley Crook, Satley and Thornley. I have been here now for 11years.
I have also now served in the Army Reserves for 18 years. Commissioned Major within the Royal Army Chaplains Department as Chaplain to the Forces. At the moment I serve with The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers 5th Battalion.
You can email the Chaplaincy team by following this link.
A message from the Chaplains:
TLC Teddy Initiative……
“thank you Freemasons for the thousands of teddies donated to children’s casualty departments”
Community Support Grants…..
“The grant from Durham Freemasons has made an enormous difference to our service users”
Provincial Annual Meeting….
“The Provincial annual meeting is one of the highlights of my year, it’s great to meet everyone and support all those being rewarded for merit”….
“My husband would be so proud that you still contact me so many years after his death, thank you for remembering me”
“The Provincial annual meeting is one of the highlights of my year, it’s great to meet everyone and support all those being rewarded for merit”
The Royal Arch…..
“I feel that I have a much better understanding of the whole Masonic story after joining the Royal Arch”
What have you gained?
“I’ve made wonderful friendships with people from all walks of life who I wouldn’t otherwise have even met”
In respect to the TLC Teddy initiative
“A child patient copes with medical treatment so much better when they’ve been given a TLC teddy”
What Freemasonry has done for you?
“The teachings of the masonic ceremonies helped me to be a better father, better husband, better son and better neighbour”What Freemasonry has done for you
One of the best things I have ever done…
“Along with getting married, the birth of my children and Sunderland winning the FA Cup, becoming a Freemason is one of the best things I’ve ever done”