Urmston Masonic Hall was the location for the 17th of out of a series of 22 group presentations of ‘The Link in the Chain’ being made throughout the Province of West Lancashire. The presentation is aimed at updating all the lodge and chapter almoners with the latest information, initiatives and improved procedures that have been brought about by the Province under the guidance of Provincial Grand Almoner, Ernie Greenhalgh.
Ernie was accompanied by Eric Hart MBE (Provincial Grand Almoner designate) and they gave a joint presentation followed by a question and answer session from the fellow group almoners that were present. Colin Latimer, pastoral care officer (Eccles and South Eastern Group), Jim Hardman and Gerry Lawes were also present along with Mike Adams, group chairman, David Durling, group vice chairman (group chairman designate), and various group officers accompanied by numerous South Eastern Group lodge and chapter almoners.
Ernie gave an in-depth explanation about the roles of the individuals in the Provincial care structure and the subsequent new rationale following the dramatic changes that had been initiated in October 2015. He said that a main priority now was to make sure that all ‘clients’ were able to have an application completed, and presented to the charities for consideration in a timely manner.
The second stage is to link almoners and the pastoral care officers to make sure they meet the needs of the whole Masonic family, hence, the almoner is that very important ‘Link in the Chain’.
Ernie then showed a video that demonstrated the impressive effect that the care system can impact on the family lives of those who are experiencing difficult times, be they medical needs, requiring care, counselling or financial assistance.
Ernie said apart from us all, as Freemasons, being almoners, he said we need to listen, talk, engage in perseverance in visiting a brother or Masonic family that we as Masons may suspect as being ‘on hard times’, identify needs as we are all responsible for passing information back to the lodge or chapter almoner.
Ernie thanked the almoners for the tremendous and valuable work that they do for their lodges and chapters and Freemasonry in general, concluding that in his opinion being an almoner is the most rewarding job in Freemasonry.
Ernie, who retires as Provincial Grand Almoner in May, then introduced his successor, Eric Hart, who then addressed the almoners and expressed that he is looking forward to working with them in the future.
A question and answer session concluded the presentation and each attendee received an information pack that further explained the issues raised in the presentation.
At the conclusion of the meeting, group chairman Mike Adams thanked both Ernie and Eric for a very informative session, Mike also expressed his thanks to all those who had attended, praising the care team and almoners for the essential work they undertake in supporting fellow Masons and their dependants.