Due to the success of the Membership Pathway in the Ormskirk and Bootle Group, Aughton Lodge No 7996 has a backlog of entered apprentices and due to new candidates waiting to join, the ceremonies of passing are being held up for three entered apprentices.
As per the suggestion proposed by Province of farming out candidates to other lodges, Malcolm Sandywell the director of ceremonies of Aughton Lodge and who is fortunately also the WM of Stanley of Bickerstaffe Lodge No 3511, suggested passing one of the entered apprentices at their next meeting. It was agreed between the two Lodges that a mixture of officers from both lodges would carry out the ceremony to pass Malcolm Hayman, so taking the pressure off Aughton Lodge.
The two officers who participated from Aughton Lodge were Louis Spencer who took up the position of junior deacon and also delivered the second degree working tools, and Ian Tupling who occupied the position of senior deacon. The ceremony which was very well attended by both lodges was a success and Malcom Hayman was passed to the degree of a fellow craft.
Louis obviously thoroughly enjoyed his involvement as can be witnessed from the following correspondence Malcolm received in the days after the meeting.
“Dear Stanley of Bickerstaffe Lodge No 3511,
I trust this letter finds you well. I am writing with a heart brimming with gratitude for the invaluable experiences and opportunities afforded to me during the recent passing of our esteemed brother to the degree of fellow craft.
I wish to express my sincere appreciation for entrusting me with the role of junior deacon, a responsibility that I approached with both reverence and dedication. It was an honour to be a part of such a significant and meaningful ceremony within your lodge. Furthermore, I am deeply grateful for the privilege of delivering the working tools, an experience that allowed me to contribute meaningfully to the ritualistic journey of our fellow brother. Your trust and confidence in my abilities have been instrumental in shaping my Masonic journey so far, and for that, I am truly thankful.
I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to all the members of the lodge for their camaraderie and support. WM Malcolm Sandywell, your leadership and guidance have been inspiring, and I appreciate the belief you have placed in me. A special note of gratitude goes to Ray Tompsett for his patient assistance during our rehearsal. His mentorship was invaluable, contributing to my growth in the Craft. Additionally, I want to express my sincere appreciation to Walter Lyon for the unwavering support and encouragement he provided throughout this journey.
In closing, please accept this letter as a token of my deep appreciation for the meaningful role you have played in my Masonic journey. It is an honour to play a part within Stanley of Bickerstaffe Lodge No.3511, and I look forward to continuing this journey with the same spirit of dedication and fraternity.
Louis Spencer, Aughton Lodge No 7996.”
If any other lodges are in a similar predicament, I would urge you to consider farming out the work, to ease the pressure on your lodge and enable your lodge, if they have prospective candidates waiting to join, to bring them in rather than keeping them waiting and risking losing any of them.