When is a rhetorical question not a rhetorical question?

I had a great response to last week’s blog.  Some seemed to think I really was asking for a collective noun for Provincial Secretaries and I received some very helpful suggestions on social media.  And no rude ones!  To all who answered, thank you.

So, what have I been doing this past week?

The online Committee meeting of The Mark Provincial Grand Secretaries Lodge went really well.  This is a great Lodge comprising present and past Provincial Grand Secretaries in the Mark.  We are an unattached Lodge (what Province could cope with us) that meets twice a year on a Saturday somewhere in England & Wales.  At one meeting we have an update and Q&A forum with the Grand Secretary and the other is the Installation.  Our partners join us for the day, having luncheon with us before the Lodge meeting and then their own event.  Like all Lodges, our plans have been disrupted due to Covid-19 so we have put everything back by one year.

My talk to Dore Masonic Hall on Tuesday was very well received.  The team at Dore (which is within the Masonic Province of Derbyshire but civically is in Sheffield, very confusing) is doing a great job at managing a change process.  It is engaging all Lodges and all members in creating a vision for the future and a development plan designed to take them there.  They wanted my “Evolution & change” talk to act as a catalyst for forward thinking and have asked me back for September to continue the process.  I will watch – and support – their efforts with great interest.

While I love delivering talks, I love even more knowing what difference they make.  At heart I am an educator and facilitator.  All my professional life I have sought to stimulate and support personal and collective change, growth and development, to help people and organisations be more successful.  My Masonic hopes are exactly the same – to make difference.  If my talks have had a positive impact on you and your Lodge, please let me know.  Who knows, with your permission I may even be able to share your good news, whether its to my personal audience via this blog or – if appropriate – via the Members’ Pathway.

I also wrote another talk during the week, taking the bullet points I use for a live and highly interactive White Table talk (“Welcome to our Lodge Room”) and turning it into a scripted talk for an online audience of recently Initiated Freemasons and those interested in joining.  The new talk is called, “All you ever wanted to know about Freemasonry (but didn’t know how to ask)” and is being delivered for the first time to the Corinthian Club, a Light Blues Club in the Province of West Lancashire, on 4th September.  It is, of course, available for others to book to attend and for others to arrange for their Lodge, Province, District, Light Blues Club or Masonic Association.

Last night we had a Zoom meeting of my mother Chapter, Pioneer Chapter in Derbyshire, to discuss our support for the founding of a new Chapter, to be called Historic Vitae Chapter and to be attached to Musket Pike & Drum Lodge No. 9906. This is a travelling Lodge for historical re-enactors and has Initiated over 30 new members in the last five years. It is only right that they now offer Royal Arch masonry for their members. Although there were questions about the rationale, I am pleased to say we gave it the go ahead. Support energy and enthusiasm, I say.

Lastly, I put three of my articles up on my website.  The first is my 9-step process for “Managing evolution and change in the Lodge”, which is given to Lodge Secretaries when I deliver my talk, “The future of Freemasonry: evolution and change.”  The second is called, “Why some brethren resist change and how to respond.”  This is in response to questions I often get in my live talks and does exactly what it says on the tin.  The other is, “The secret of Freemasonry.”  This is a robust response to our critics and was written as a series of bullet points direct onto my smart phone at around the time of the Grand Secretary’s “Enough is Enough” campaign.  It had a great response on social media and although subsequently I tidied it a little, it still has the freshness and authenticity of the original – or at least I think so.  If the articles are well received I will put up more.

So, looking ahead, what am I doing in the coming week?

As far as talks are concerned, I have one for Cheshire Masters’ & Masons’ Forum (MMF), my fourth since we started having Zoom meetings and the second time I will have delivered, “The future of Freemasonry: evolution & change” for them.  The Province is one of our larger ones.  They are very well organised with a group structure and excellent communications.  The Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro. Stephen Blank, has a very clear leadership message and has encouraged his Lodges to embrace change.  He has also been very supportive to me over the last few years since we first worked together on the Members’ Pathway.  As a Founder member of the yet to be consecrated Omnium Lodge No. 10005 (the Lodge for the Open University), I am looking forward to becoming a member of his Province.

The other highlights of my week ahead are two Masonic Zoom meetings, and a Scouting one.

The first of the Masonic meetings will be of the Province of West Kent’s Learning & Development Team, which I am privileged to lead.  How can I do that when I live in Derbyshire?  Well, I only provide the strategic glue, having recruited and appointed an excellent team of a Provincial Education Officer (Alan Wondzinski), Provincial Training Officer (Steve Archbold) and a Provincial L&D Administrator (Richard Savage).  The Provincial Grand Orator (Clive Moore) is a co-opted member of the team.  Our meeting this next week will be to look at how we can further support the Provincial Grand Master’s drive to engage and support brethren during Covid-19.  RW Bro. Mark Estaugh is a very strategic and highly energetic Provincial Grand Master who is doing all in his power to ensure that members of the Province continue to get value from their membership, despite our current restrictions.

The other meeting will be of fellow members of the Kindred Lodge Association’s (KLA’s) committee.  We are taking the opportunity to look at how we can improve the KLA’s presence at Scouting’s annual Gilwell Reunion.  This is a key audience for the KLA and we want to ensure we get our message across in a modern and professional manner.  Having secured the support in principle of the Grand Master of Freemasonry for Women (HFAF), MW Bro. Christine Chapman, I am hoping we will include them in our future events.

The Scouting meeting is of the Executive, or Trustees, of my local Scout District, of which I am Chairman.  We face a number of challenges, including getting local Scouting back to face-to-face meetings and the long-term future management of our campsite and water activities centre.

In the middle of all of this I shall be doing some further work on taking my professional activities online and running webinars in leadership and change for paying clients.

Exciting stuff!

If you want to see dates of my talks this coming week and beyond, please go to https://prestonian2012.org.uk/upcoming-talks/.

Thank you for your support.

Onwards and upwards.

2 thoughts on “When is a rhetorical question not a rhetorical question?

  1. Hi Tony,

    You’re busy busy, keeping things alive and kicking, as always. I’m watching with interest.

    S&F Martyn


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