Tony’s Masonic talks

This page provides brief details of the Masonic talks I am currently offering.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, I am delivering my talks using online video conferencing. Since 16th April I have given 41 talks online.

For example, on 23rd June, I delivered my “Historic links between the Craft, Mark & Royal Arch” talk on the “Freemasons without Borders” platform, thanks to Bros. Ameet Watts and Mahir Kilic. You can watch it here.

This was followed on 11th August with “The narrative and symbolic links between the Craft, Mark & Royal Arch”, which you can see here.

To arrange a talk, please review the following list and then contact me using the button below with a proposed talk and a preferred date.

Please note, I do not circulate copies of the texts of my talks. However, I am now sharing recordings of some of them on my YouTube channel here.

1. Scouting & Freemasonry: two parallel organisations?

The 2012 Prestonian Lecture.

In this lecture, Bro. Harvey identifies the considerable parallels between Scouting & Freemasonry, two membership organisations that share the same values.  He explains how Scouting successfully navigated a change process to modernise the organisation without changing or compromising its core purpose or values and suggests how Freemasonry can learn lessons from Scouting’s experiences.  He proposes local as well as national collaboration between the two organisations to create mutual benefit.

2. The future of Freemasonry: evolution & change.

The 2018 Cornwallis Lecture.

In this talk, Bro. Harvey examines the nature of change and evolution in general and within Freemasonry in particular.  He draws upon his own experiences as a change manager and his work with other changing and successful organisations, including The Scout Association, and establishes the historical context for change within Freemasonry.  Believing strongly that Freemasonry has survived for three hundred years because it has continued to evolve, Bro. Harvey is concerned that unless Lodges are managed in a way that is relevant to twenty-first century man, and unless they connect with their local communities, they will not attract and retain members to ensure their future.  The talk concludes with an approach that Lodges can take to manage their own evolution and change in a harmonious manner.

A version of this talk was published in The Square magazine, June & September 2019.

3. Seven habits of highly successful Lodges.

In this talk Bro. Harvey shares his personal observations of Lodges that are strong, healthy and harmonious.  Based on his visits in every UGLE Province and overseas, Bro. Harvey identifies seven features that strong Lodges have in common and invites his audience to consider how they can adopt and adapt these features in their Lodges.   

The title of this talk is inspired by Stephen Covey’s, “Seven habits of highly effective people”, one the most widely read self-help and management books of the late 20th century.  Covey observed and studied the patterns of behaviour most common in people who were most happy, successful and “effective” in life.  W Bro. Harvey once shared a conference platform with Stephen Covey and is an advocate of his “Seven habits.”

An article based on this talk was published in The Square magazine in March, 2013.

4. Freemasonry: does it meet expectations?

The social changes of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries have created work, home and general life conditions for the younger man that are very different to those experienced by older brethren.  These often become evident when a younger man joins a Lodge, sometimes leading to disappointment and dissatisfaction.  In this talk Bro. Harvey draws on recent research to demonstrate that a failure to understand expectations – and a mismatch of two party’s expectations – is the source of many concerns in Lodges.  He identifies a number of opportunities for new and existing members of Lodges to share, understand and work to meet their various expectations and invites his audience to consider how they might address these issues in their Lodges.

5. Have we anything to communicate?  The language of Freemasonry in and out of the Lodge.

As Freemasonry comes out of its self-imposed exile in the shadows of public life and engages once again with the public, many Freemasons are looking for the right language to use to describe Freemasonry to their friends and relatives.  The language of the ritual doesn’t feel appropriate and is poorly understood by those who are not Freemasons.  So some brethren have suggested that the language of the ritual should be modernised, to make it more easily understood and relevant to today.  Based on his experiences in communicating Freemasonry to the public and to other brethren, in this talk Bro. Harvey suggests that we should not seek to find one common language that suits all audiences and purposes.  Instead we should use different languages, each appropriate to what he calls the three existences of Freemasonry.  To find out more, please invite Bro. Harvey to deliver the talk to your Lodge.

6. The secret of Freemasonry.

This talk started its existence as a series of bullet points jotted down by Bro. Harvey into his smart phone at around the time when the Grand Secretary responded to newspaper attacks with his #EnoughIsEnough campaign.  Originally intended to provide a robust outline of many aspects of Freemasonry and to be used to stand up to our critics, Bro. Harvey posted it on social media and got a lot of positive responses, many asking for a copy.  He now offers it as a talk which, like all of his, really benefits from a follow-up Q&A discussion.

7. How to grow the membership of your Lodge.

A talk based on “why people join membership organisations” and which examines seven key facts about membership that have the capacity to change the way many brethren think about growth. 

Based on these Bro. Harvey develops an approach to growing Lodge membership.  Included in the talk is a practical activity that will provide those attending a tangible result.

Lodge Membership Officers and Mentors will have an especial interest in this talk and its implications for their work. However, as Bro. Harvey demonstrates, growth depends on wider aspects of Lodge life and practices. Therefore, all brethren will find this talk of direct relevance and of practical help to them.

8. Is belief in a Supreme Being really essential?

As Freemasonry improves its ability to attract potential new members, some brethren have commented that good candidates have had to be turned down as they don’t believe in a Supreme Being.  This short talk reviews the reasons why such a belief is an essential feature at the very core of the Craft.  The talk stimulates discussion!

9. The 21st century Freemason.

Still in development, this talk examines the lifestyles, working lives and mindsets prevalent in many working people in the 21st century and considers the implications for Lodges and Freemasonry as a whole.

10. Ten myths of the Prestonian Lectureship.

From the very beginning of his “Prestonian journey” it was very clear to Bro. Harvey that, among members of the Craft in general, little is really known about the lectureship and a number of myths have built up.  So in this talk he states ten of those myths and then shares his own experience.  This talk provides an interesting insight into what it means to be a Prestonian Lecturer, charged with preparing and delivering what is the only lecture held under the authority of the United Grand Lodge of England.

11. All you ever wanted to know about Freemasonry (but didn’t know how to ask)

This talk is intended for Freemasons and their invited guests who might be interested in joining or who are just curious. It provides an introduction to Freemasonry, its purpose and principles, to how Lodges operate and to some of the more visual aspects of Freemasonry. It may be given within a Lodge room or via online events, using either slides or with the Lodge room itself as its own visual aid.

This talk demonstrates an open approach to communicating Freemasonry. Bro. Harvey’s approach to “myth busting” and his manner of explaining Freemasonry in every day rather than Masonic language has been especially welcomed by those with little background in Freemasonry and those who want to disentangle the truth from widely spread disinformation.

12. Welcome to our Lodge room

A highly interactive and live only version of the above talk, it is intended for White Table meetings when potential candidates and other interested parties, such as friends and family members, are present.  The talk is delivered in a Lodge room and Lodge officers are asked to contribute using materials provided by Bro. Harvey.  This talk has helped a considerable number of people to make the decision to apply to become Freemasons.

13. The Royal Arch – what is it all about?

This talk is aimed at Master Masons and newly Exalted Royal Arch Companions, although all Companions are likely to find something of interest.

Its purpose is to increase awareness and understanding of the Royal Arch, inspire more brethren to wish to become Companions and to suggest when and how they might consider joining. The talk concentrates on the Royal Arch as practiced in the English Constitution.

The Q&A session that follows the talk will concentrate on the needs of the target audience and will address their requests for clarification or more information. Experienced Companions are welcome to attend but they are asked to give priority to the questions posed by Master Masons and newly Exalted Companions.

Those seeking a more in-depth understanding of the Royal Arch and its meaning may find other talks more suited to their needs.

14. Getting to grips with the Royal Arch

This talk is intended for Companions of the Royal Arch and is not suitable for those who have not yet been Exalted.

It purpose is to explain some of the features of the Royal Arch ceremony and practices, and to help Companions increase their enjoyment of the Supreme Degree.

Then talk will be followed by a Q&A session.

15. What is Freemasonry’s fascination with completion?

A new talk in which Bro. Harvey explores the place of “completion” within Freemasonry and asks why we appear so concerned to complete something, and why do we debate the idea of completion when looking at different Masonic degrees?

In this talk, Bro. Harvey examines the role of completion specifically in the context of the Craft and Royal Arch, with some consideration also given to the Mark, and considers what it is exactly that the Royal Arch completes.

This talk reflects Bro. Harvey’s personal insight into the meaning of the Masonic journey and includes historic, symbolic and speculative considerations.

This talk is not suitable for anyone who has not been Exalted into the Holy Royal Arch.

16. What are the Mark degrees?

An interactive talk intended for audiences of Craft Master Masons but also of interest to new and experienced Mark Master Masons.  The talk describes some of the links between the Craft and Mark and explains four reasons for becoming a Mark Mason.

17. The historic links between the Craft, Mark & Royal Arch degrees

The 2020 Jack Bryan Memorial Lecture

Having been asked by the heads of these three Orders in Nottinghamshire to deliver a talk on the relationship between their degrees, Bro. Harvey wrote it in two parts.

In this first part, Bro. Harvey disentangles the often misunderstood history of the Orders and their degrees to suggest that they all developed as part of one system and that, despite their current fragmentation into different sovereign bodies are all necessary for a better understanding of the Craft.

The talk may be attended by any Freemason.  No aspects of any degree ceremony are revealed.

18. The narrative and symbolic links between the Craft, Mark & Royal Arch degrees

The follow up to the above talk on the historic links between the degrees.  It examines the links between the stories in the degrees that make up these three Orders and how the symbolism in each signposts other degrees.  It is as if these degrees are parts of a larger jigsaw, prompting Bro. Harvey to argue that we should encourage all brethren who search for understanding to join both the Mark and the Royal Arch.

This talk should only be attended by brethren who have already been raised to the third degree.

19. The Mark Benevolent Fund: past, present and future.

The 2017 Peter Churchyard Memorial Lecture.

This talk traces the history of the Mark Benevolent Fund, from its origins in the early days of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons through to the present day, and relates it to developments in both the Craft and the Mark as well as in the context of wider social needs.  It also anticipates possible future development of the Mark Benevolent Fund, based on Bro. Harvey’s experience as a trustee of Masonic charities. 

20. The pioneers of the Mark Province of Derbyshire.

In this talk Bro. Harvey examines the Masonic careers and connections between those who founded the Mark Province of Derbyshire in 1894.  His research highlights the social as well as Masonic qualifications for high office at this period of time and indicates the need for complementary talents and skills in the running of a Province.

21. The Derby Lodge and the foundations of the Mark Province of Derbyshire.

This talk tells the story of the founders of Bro. Harvey’s mother Mark Lodge and the key role they played in the establishment of the Province of Derbyshire in the late nineteenth century.

22. What is the Royal Ark Mariner degree?

Another talk in the same series as the above, this comes in two versions.  The first version may be delivered in Mark Lodges and the second may be delivered in RAM Lodges, after they have been closed and Mark Master Masons admitted.

23. Researching and preparing a Prestonian Lecture.

This talk may be of particular interest to research Lodges. 

The annual Prestonian Lecture is unique in Freemasonry, being the only lecture held under the authority of the United Grand Lodge of England.  Each year a Lecturer is nominated by the Board of General Purposes and appointed by the Trustees of the Prestonian Fund.  Between the announcement at the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge held in June until the start of the Lectureship the following January, the Lecturer has to research, write and prepare to deliver a new lecture to educate and entertain a general Lodge audience.  This talk describes how Bro. Harvey responded to that challenge and prepared his 2012 Lecture, “Scouting and Freemasonry: two parallel organisations?”