For the first time in 100 years UGLE held its Quarterly Communications away from London. On the 13th September 2023, the meeting was held at the International Convention Centre in Newport South Wales, with over 1200 members of all eminences attending.
At the start of the meeting the Pro Grand Master Jonathan Spence announced a small but significant change to the constitution, stating that Future Grand Masters would not have to be a “Blood Royal” they could be the son of one. The current Grand Master, Prince Edward Duke of Kent who is 87 has been in this position since 1967. There was much speculation as to who the next Grand Master could be.
The rest of the meeting focused on the Membership Challenge, with three case studies heard about from three different Lodges in Wales, stating how they have been creative in their approach, to ensure the future of Welsh Lodges.
The main elements were, to engage with their membership and their local communities, as well as making their Lodges a warm and friendly place to be. They have “Light Blues” in all progressive offices within their lodges and are all encouraged to help with the assistant offices, such as Mentor, Membership Officer, Almoner and Charity Steward.
Being a part of the community is very important, taking part in local events such as carnivals, festivals and village days. One Lodge created a buddy system. between the older and younger members to assist them with their weekly shopping, collecting medication or just being a friendly voice on the telephone.
“Super Saturdays” were mentioned as a day where multiple ceremonies could be held for initiations, Passing and Raising, followed by a sumptuous meal and camaraderie.
The Pro Grand Master finished his address by encouraging all the Brethren there to reflect on the case studies and to consider multiple ceremonies, as this creates a lasting bond for the new members for the rest of their Masonic lives. It also helps with retention as they are less likely to resign, by not wanting to let their co-initiate down as they always have that one really close friendship.
The meeting was followed by a champagne reception and remarkable banquet, the largest UGLE has held since the Tercentenary Celebrations held at the Excel Centre London in 2017.
Article submitted by Craig Harding
Added by Ian Evans.