50 of West Lancashire’s finest brethren gathered on Zoom for a catch up and discuss the present and future of Freemasonry in the Province. It was set up by Ormskirk and Bootle Group Secretary John Mercer and hosted by Graham Chambers, Chairman of Ormskirk and Bootle Group and member of Crosby Lodge No 3714. Also, the meeting was honoured to have in attendance Phil Gunning the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Frank Umbers Assistant Provincial Grand Master, and last but not least Kevin Poynton Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master.
The meeting was eagerly attended as the last three months have been quiet in respect of Freemasonry. Brethren from different lodges have been trying to create different and safe ways of communicating such as WhatsApp groups, Facebook groups and Zoom calls already being used. It was lovely to see all the faces of brethren that you normally see once or twice a month keeping healthy and happy. The call provided the opportunity for all brethren to raise any concerns and ask questions they may have about the current position and what the road for Ormskirk and Bootle Freemasonry will look like in the not too distant future. Some fantastic questions and points were raised such as the need for ‘mentoring/recruitment/retention’ at a time when it’s more difficult to maintain contact. Also, how are we to do ceremonies? What about celebrations such as 50 and 60 year anniversaries? Graham informed us that there were in fact six of them this coming season and offered his congratulations to those brethren.
Frank Umbers reminded everyone that we will have to remember to adjust to the ‘new normal’ and that we need to get used to things being different. The West Lancashire team are preparing to give full guidance and support for lodges and chapters in this wonderful province. Words of encouragement followed from Brian Cunliffe. In addition to Frank’s words about being prepared for the future, Phil Gunning also warned about the possibility of brethren not remaining members when we eventually return. There may be cases of illness, or those not wanting to come back, whatever their personal reasons may be. There were many points from different brethren about maintaining contact with all the brothers they can in these darkened times.
The meeting was drawn to a close by Graham, all agreed that they would meet again when there were enough topics to be discussed.
A big thank you is due to John Mercer and Graham Chambers for setting up and hosting the Zoom meeting. It is believed everyone enjoyed themselves and we did hear there may be a quiz in the pipeline from Stewart Cranage. If there is anything that has been improved upon during the lockdown it is everyone’s general knowledge after playing, or being involved in, at-least 30 quizzes!
Group correspondent, Jake Huggett of Crosby Lodge, wrote: ”A big thank you is due to everyone for reading this report. Stay safe and I hope all your families are doing well, I look forward to catching up with you all in the new season whenever that may be.”