Dear Brethren and Companions

Christmas Message 2016

It is that time of year when we reflect on the past year and then look forward to the adventures of a new year ahead.

The last twelve months have been interesting and busy to say the least! We started the year saying goodbye and congratulating RW Bro. Eric Stuart-Bamford PProvGM on completing his very successful tenure at the head of our Province. This was quickly followed by my investiture in May and our two Annual Meetings. Indeed a very busy time for all involved. To add to this I had the pleasure of conferring celebratory appointments and promotions requiring three additional meetings of Provincial Grand Lodge / Chapter to be arranged. My sincere thanks to everyone who worked so hard to ensure these were all successful and enjoyable occasions.

Our Festival appeal is going well, as I write we have £1.57M in the bank, while the total including promises to pay is an impressive £1.87M. This puts us on track to achieve and perhaps exceed our goal of £3.25M. Over the summer, we had a wonderful BIG WEEK, which saw numerous sponsored events across the Province. Members, their families and friends took part and most importantly had a great time doing it! For me the skydive was an amazing adrenalin rush which also helped raise an impressive sum. Overall the BIG WEEK raised over £55K, which is a tremendous result and is testament to all the hard work put in by the organisers.

Membership - recruitment and retention remains our top priority. The stark fact is that we are still losing more members than we recruit. There are three strands of work, which are crucial to turning this trend around – Recruitment and Retention, Communications and Education. The Provincial Strategy is nearing completion; however, we now need execute our plans. This requires a real team effort and to that end we need volunteers to roll up their sleeves and get involved in securing the future of our Province. If you have skills in the areas of IT (web design, social media etc.), Public Relations, Journalism, Photography, Local Radio, Writing, Graphic Design, Proof Reading, Planning, Project Management, Hosting, Presentations and giving talks please contact the Provincial Office. Whatever you can offer, please come forward.

It has also been a busy year in the Royal Arch Province. In particular I am very pleased to see the role of Royal Arch Representative in Craft Lodges being promoted. This is key to developing our membership in what is the completion of our Masonic structure. The Pro Grand Master put it very well when he said, “joining the Craft is like buying a ticket to a four act play, why would you stop at the third act?”

2017 will be even busier as we celebrate our tercentenary. The first celebratory event will be a service at Canterbury Cathedral on Saturday 18th February 2017. Tickets are still available to attend this unique occasion, but you must be quick as bookings close at the end of the month. Please make every effort to attend to ensure our Province is very well represented and help make this a very special occasion. The rest of our tercentenary events are on the back page of the latest edition of Surrey Mason. Please take a look and pick the events you will be attending and get them in your new 2017 diary!