“As Freemasons we should all consider ourselves to be almoners and ensure that our lodge or chapter almoner is informed of any illness or possible hardship that a fellow Mason or member of their family may be enduring. The lodge or chapter almoner can only act on information that he receives.” This was one of the very clear messages that the Provincial Grand Almoner Ernie Greenhalgh delivered in his presentation entitled ‘The Link in the Chain’ during his talk on the new Provincial care structure when he visited Blackpool Masonic hall as part of a tour of Masonic halls in the Province.
Accompanying Ernie was Eric Hart who will be Ernie’s successor as Provincial Almoner when Ernie retires in May. Also in attendance were Blackpool Local Pastoral Care Officer Peter Mann and his counterpart from South Fylde and Fleetwood Graham Smith, supported by Assistant Provincial Grand Master Harry Cox and Blackpool Group Chairman John Turpin and his vice chairman David Cook.
The presentation was a combination of a PowerPoint show, video clips and illustrative ‘case studies’ that was highly effective in highlighting the range of assistance available to lodge and chapter almoners through the new care structure. It explained in detail the processes to be followed, as well as illustrating the wider Masonic and non-Masonic charity structure. To reinforce the effectiveness of the session, each attendee received an information pack that further explained the issues raised in the presentation.
How valuable was the evening to those who attended? Well, the overwhelming response was that it was excellent and even long-serving almoners (some with as many as 14 years’ experience in the role) were equally enthusiastic in their praise, saying “I learnt a lot about the changes that have taken place and am really impressed with the present format of care structure in the Province.” To those Masons who were unfamiliar with many aspects of an almoners role, it provided a realisation of the breadth and depth of the support provided by our charities.
A large proportion of the group’s almoners attended the evening but, should any have been unable to attend, Peter Mann informed the meeting that another presentation will take place at Cleveleys Masonic Hall on Tuesday 28th February at 7.30 pm and that all are welcome, even to those who are not lodge or chapter almoners – after all, we are all almoners and a greater understanding of our care structure helps us to be better Freemasons.
At the conclusion of the meeting, group chairman John Turpin thanked Ernie and his team for a very informative session and expressed his thanks to all those who had attended, praising the care team and almoners for the essential work they undertake in supporting fellow Masons and their dependants.