Whither Are You Directing Your Course? An Opinion Piece from John Barker
October 21st, 2017 2:31 pm     A+ | a-
"For more than fifty years I have pondered about the future of our organisation whilst reading the edicts and opinions of our senior members when discussing matters that make us who we are. It is so easy to continue on enjoying what we have become used to so many years ago .However, it surely is apparent that we, as an organisation, have failed to address short comings that have, and are, steadily steering us on a course that is not conducive with growth".

Click here to read John's opinion piece and then come back here to have your say. Alternatively - click on the picture at left to read the article.

Your comments are most welcome - but please remember to play the ball not the man.
Geoff Cain
November 27th, 2017 10:49 am
The trouble with John's article, and many of the responses above, is that there seems to be a fixation on concentrating on the superficial things - like the language, or the dress, or the ritual, or the cost.

The biggest challenge, from my perspective, is to start elevating our thinking and start working on the stuff that matters. We can't continue to to keep "majoring in the minors", if we are to survive. For example, there was a remit at a recent Divisional Conference(s) to decide whether or not someone from the other side of the world can keep a PGBB rank - really?

I am a member of a Lodge (one that was failing four short years ago) where we display a genuine concern for each other, where there is good leadership, good ritual, good dress, and good fellowship. And as a result of the aforementioned, good growth. We are a happy Lodge - we offer other Lodges assistance whenever and wherever we can. We are promoting visiting this year, and re-engagement with the community. The re-emergence of our Lodge occurred because the members took control - we developed a plan, and we got on and did something to remedy the predicament we were in.

We have wonderful EA, FC and MM in our Lodge - we give them ritual (an EA did 1st Deg Working Tools last year) and meaningful tasks to do - they organise social functions and benevolence activities, in sort, they are also assisting in leading the Lodge. They feel welcomed, appreciated, and know their contributions are welcomed. They don't complain about the dress they wear, or the ritual they do - they embrace it because they know the important part it plays.

The one thing I do agree with is that we must change - change our attitude that is. Let's stop making excuses for not performing and start looking out the windscreen, rather than the rear view mirror. You will find the view there much more inviting.

Mike Mahon
November 9th, 2017 1:51 am
Wither are you directing your course? is as relevant as "how many meat pies will I eat in the next ten years . Freemasonry is a man-made organisation and as such without dogma has inherited in born obsolescence , and having a moral code is at the whim and condescension of society in its time . Remember wars and depression make great bed fellows in respect to Masonry. I'am told by a reliable source that statically , that in any generation past or to come that one male in seven will have the mental conceitedness to seek for the light and the truth. Freemasonry will always assist its practitioners in battling the greatest battle, in which our spiritual nature fights against our earthly and material nature. Don't worry be happy.
Chris Bryant
November 3rd, 2017 3:15 pm
I support the thrust of this article.

We are all members of Grand Lodge and need to understand the importance of this fact. I do not believe this is understood by the majority of the Brethren in New Zealand. Perhaps attendance at Divisional Conferences reflects this position as we (I) see the same people each year, with a few new faces being first time Masters. We need to change this attendance.

Ritual. For me this is a sensitive subject. I was brought up under the "Old Book of Common Prayer" Many varied and well written pieces of English language. The English (Anglican) church decided to rewrite this book and such others as The Holy Bible. The objective at the time was, if I recall correctly, to make it easier to learn about the church and bring the congregation into the "modern" era and with it to attract younger members. Church attendance and a profession of Christian faith has declined! Where is the learning and mystery.

It is easy to dumb down the masonic ritual. Others will not share my view. So be it. Part of Freemasonry is in fact the ritual. We have any number great charges. Don't understand the words.... The Challenge and with it the learning process of a Freemason is to look these words up in appropriate reference books and make a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge. This is an individual challenge and is in my view part of the learning process to be a Freemason.

In respect to Grand Lodge if the rule book inhibits actions to modernize the Craft then change the rules and lets get on with our activities as Freemasons.

The matter of Charitable works and what we the Craft get out of such is an important area which the writer believes requires an in depth review. Apart from our Charitable contribution which may give us a warm glow the reality is are we getting a "bang for our buck?"

Dress is the easiest to fix. This is a Lodge decision.

Happy days upward and onward. Fraternally Chris Bryant

Alistair Campbell
November 3rd, 2017 11:17 am
I have to agree with your article John. A ritual change would be a great help to the majority of our members. Members who English is their 2nd or 3rd language do have problems learning and want to take part. It is hard enough being born and bred here getting your head around these words we never use today. I use the dictionary on many occasion to help with the story.
The dress code is well out of date. Wearing dress wear at installations at daytime meetings is completely the wrong type of dress. I have members tell me I am wrong as the book of constitution has all written in stone. I know I am correct as I was a tailor and cutter by trade. Get to wear the correct dress wear a jacket and tie and in the summer months the jacket can be left in the car if it is to hot.
Eddie Penten
November 2nd, 2017 9:03 pm
Thank you for your article. It certainly rings true if we wish to grow.
Phil Ivamy
October 26th, 2017 9:59 am
A very interesting article for which I thank you John.

One thing that strikes me is that it reads a bit 'us vs them' whereas WE are Grand Lodge. Each member of the craft in FM in NZ is a member of Grand Lodge and so collectively we determine the future, via our Dist GM or remits etc.

As regards the ritual I don't know if Id like to see it change as it was that part that attracted me in the first instance, and wasn't there a recent review of the ritual by a ritual committee, that submissions were sent to and recommendations made? What happened to that?

As regards dress code - within reason isn't that up to the individual lodge to decide the appropriate standard - many newer members don't own dinner suits so why should they be expected to wear them?

If there is to be change within the organisation WE must be that change.

I'd be really interested in the opinions of the newer members, the younger members - after all its all going to be theirs in the next 20 years...

Thanks for a thought provoking article John
Adrian Douglas
October 23rd, 2017 6:20 pm
An interesting article John. You do make many good points of course. I have read many such articles in my 18 years in freemasonry - some even going back as far as the 80's and 90's when our membership number fall was being amply illustrated. I have seen countless "champions of change" also come and go. Sadly when it comes down to it although many members excpress a willingness to change, the facts are when it comes to the crunch and it is time to make decisions around this the result remains the same. Status Quo and a clear UNWILLINGNESS to change. So our march to inevitable extinction continues uninterrupted. For many of us, it is a sad thing to watch. It is like witnessing a slow death. Personally I believe we have some significant shrinking to come yet. Then maybe, just maybe, the time will come that the few members left will realise that change HAS to happen and there isn't really a choice. I don't see this as a problem with leadership of the organisation. We have many leaders wanting this change and that know we have to. I have lost count of them too. But of the organisation refuses to be led, then little change will actually occur. Sad, because Freemasonry still has so much to offer.
October 23rd, 2017 10:03 am
Leave a Comment
* Name
* Email (will not be published)
Mathematical catpcha image
* Enter verification code
* - Required fields
Older Post Home Newer Post