Aims and objectives
The aim of mentoring in the Southport Group is to provide a co-ordinated approach to the development of new members by providing a support framework on which individual lodges are free to build. It is the responsibility of the group mentor to oversee this process on behalf of the group chairman, to develop guidance in conjunction with other interested parties such as the group membership officer and the Three Degrees Club, to assist and support lodge mentors in fulfilling their roles when and where required, and to hold meetings with all lodge mentors to plan, to discuss progress and to share experiences.
The principal objective of mentoring is to assist new Masons, to guide, inform, and help them to enjoy their Freemasonry from the very beginning of their masonic journey. This should start before a candidate has even joined his lodge by explaining to him of what Freemasonry is about and what is expected of him.
What is mentoring?
A dictionary definition is ‘a wise counsellor, tutor, or trainer’ but there are many others developed by management consultants. Examples are: ‘help by one person to another in making significant advances in knowledge or thinking’, ‘guidance of a novice in career development and journeying together towards excellence’. The process can be highly structured and short term, or informal and long-term. The needs and aspirations of the individual in discussion with his mentor will dictate the best approach.
All lodges in the group appoint a brother to the post of lodge mentor who, in turn, may appoint another brother to take responsibility for mentoring individual candidates; this will usually be the candidate’s proposer or seconder and it is their responsibility to ensure new members receive relevant information during the various stages of their development.
The mentoring process
A starting point for the mentoring process is the ‘Welcome pack’ for new members. It contains basic information about Freemasonry and the ceremony of initiation. Further information is added after the ceremonies of passing, and raising. Lodges are invited and encouraged to add to the ‘pack’, to supplement and personalise it with material specific to their lodge. There is a Q&A section to complete as the brother progresses through the three degrees. This information has to be submitted to the group mentor to enable him to co-ordinate reports for the group and Province.
Mentoring is not restricted to new brethren but is available to any Mason who feels the need for information, guidance, clarification or support. Mentoring is an ongoing process and, no matter how experienced one may be as a Mason, there is always something new to learn. If you would like advice on mentoring email our group mentor Keith Wilson.
The lodge mentor will encourage new members to visit other lodges, often in conjunction with the Three Degrees Club, to see the ceremonies they have been through are conducted by different lodges. Visiting also provides an opportunity to meet brethren at similar levels as themselves. Friendships made in their early days often last a lifetime.
The Three Degrees Club
To assist new brethren to feel a part of Freemasonry and its workings, they immediately qualify to become part of the Three Degrees Club. This club is designed to help new Masons through their first three years in Freemasonry. Its membership is not obligatory but, because it complements the work of the mentor by working at the group level , it’s membership is highly recommended and actively encouraged.
Each and every Freemason will have his own goals and ambitions and these should be set up early in his Masonic career and regularly re-visited to ensure they are still relevant, but an overriding principle should be to help new Masons ‘Enjoy their Freemasonry.’