Caring for those less fortunate than ourselves
An almoner is key to providing care to our members, their families, widows, dependants and resigned Freemasons who may be experiencing difficulties in their life.
In trying to define the almoner’s role and the necessary qualities that are essential in the person were reviewed. Some of the skills etc., which are paramount in being able to fulfil the office of almoner are:
• Be of a caring nature (empathetic not sympathetic)
• Understanding and maintaining of confidentiality and safeguarding
• Maintain contact with all lodge and chapter members
• To be aware of and in contact with ailing or distressed members of the lodge or chapter
• Make contact with the family of a deceased member
• To be aware of and keep in regular contact with the widows
• Be aware of the Masonic charities and how to contact them
• Be a good ‘listener’, this is a skill. (The skill can be developed: it is about being
an ‘active listener’, rather than a passive one)
Freemasonry encompasses the basic principle of caring for others. For centuries, Freemasons have supported orphans, the sick, the elderly and many others during times of distress. One of the core values instilled in each member is the importance of looking after the welfare of fellow Freemasons and their loved ones.
Central to the provision of Masonic pastoral care is the lodge or chapter almoner, originally appointed to look out for Freemasons who fell ill, and to act as a source of support and contact for the widows of deceased members over the festive season.
Because the almoner’s role over the years had grown substantially the care system was introduced to reduce their workload, enabling them to concentrate on home visits where they should endeavour to visit all Masonic widows at least four times a year.
Following the implementation of the new system, we have seen a major change in the role of the almoner, no longer are they responsible for the completing of applications for the charities. Instead he will be able to concentrate on pastoral care hopefully by increasing the number of regular home visits he makes to brethren, companions, widows and their families.
In Masonry as in most forms of voluntary service, a job is what you make it. You can have the glory of the title without doing much to justify it, or you can strive to improve the quality of life for those within your lodge or chapter and their dependants who have suffered hardship.
We all hope that we will not have to face financial hardship or major health problems, need help in supporting our children or requiring extra care in our old age. In reality, 1,000s of people every year need a little extra assistance, we as Freemasons, are fortunate to have that support at hand, and this initiative is there to make sure Freemasons and their dependants who are in need of support receive it.