The Provincial Grand Master appointed Eric Hart as Provincial Grand Almoner in May 2017.
The role of the Provincial Grand Almoner is to provide and maintain a centre of excellence in the care system within the Province of West Lancashire.
To achieve this aim he will consult with the senior officers of the Province, executives of the various charities, his deputy and the care team.
The Provincial Grand Almoner will work with the care team to establish a centre of excellence within the Province and an integrated policy of support and care for those in need and to ensure that the policy and system is fully understood by all concerned.
The Provincial Grand Almoner will endeavour to insure that the lodge and chapter almoners are fully aware of their duties and responsibilities and that there is a high level of support available to cater for his clients needs.
A major change in the way the Provincial Care team supports the lodge and chapter almoners, came into operation at the beginning of October 2015.
The new team of Admin Care Officers have been trained to act as specialist administrators. They are responsible for all applications, allowing lodge and chapter almoners to concentrate on pastoral care for their clients.
What is the role of the Almoner?
In trying to define his role, the qualities that are essential in the person were reviewed. Some of the things which are paramount in being able to fulfil the office of Almoner are:
• To be aware of and in regular contact with the widows
• Make contact with the family of a deceased member
• To be aware of and in contact with ailing or distressed members of the Lodge
• Maintain confidentiality
• Maintain contact with all Lodge members
• Good listening is a skills (This is a skill we can develop, it is about being an active listener, rather than a passive one)
Note: These are not in any order of priority.
Freemasonry and Pastoral Care
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 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 almoners role has grown substantially we are reducing the work load, enabling them to concentrate on home visits where they should aim to visit all Masonic widows at least four to six times a year.
Following the implementation of the new system, I hope we will see a major change in the way the role of the almoner evolves, no longer will he be responsible for the completing of applications for the charites. Instead he will be able to concentrate on pastoral care hopefully by increasing the number of regular home visits he makes to brethren, 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 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.
It is my wish, along with the care team to make a substantial difference to the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves, and with your assistance help those who are lonely or in need.
Provincial Grand Almoner