“The distinguishing characteristic of a Freemasons heart, Charity”. That is a phrase which has stuck with me from the day I was initiated back in 1996. When asked by people what is Freemasonry, most Masons start by saying it is a charitable organisation. There are so many Masonic and non-Masonic charitable causes all of which require support and all of which require communication to the brethren to allow them to make their choice.
Times are tough at the moment, and we must never forget that we give to Charity without detriment to ourselves or connections. It is not always possible to support fresh calls for money, but I strongly believe that charity is just not about money. Time can be as valuable and support for events such as Freemasonry in the Community, Ihelp and taking your family out the Diamond Jubilee Day at Fawley Hill on 20th May are just as important as writing out a standing order or writing a cheque. Let’s ensure we get behind these fantastic initiatives and support those brethren who have already invested so much time in them.
There are a lot of charitable calls at the moment. The Friends of the RMBI of which our own Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro Gordon Robertson, is this year’s President, is very important. Donation forms are with all Charity Stewards and Secretaries and I have a number of hard copies which I am happy to send by post to anyone. It is hoped all Lodges will support this. it can cost as little as £50 to be included on the President’s list for a Lodge or from £10 for an individual. Your lodge may wish to become a corporate member which is from £250 or for an individual from a £100 donation. Brethren, all donations have to be by May 1st to get on the Roll for this year so please act quickly and ask the question at your Lodge. No donation is too big or too small and I would like to thank those Lodges and individuals who have already submitted their forms and cheques to the Friends.
Another initiative which needs urgent attention in the Diamond Jubilee Family Fun day on Sunday May 20th. This is a joint venture by Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire and the day looks like being a fantastic event for all the family. Tickets are available now at most centres or online via the Provincial Website at http://www.buckspgl.org/chiltern/. Adults are charged £15 with children under 12 going free. Treat your family out this May with a day out at the same time supporting a fantastic cause and supporting Buckinghamshire Freemasonry.
A week ago I announced the date of the next Cheque Presentation Evening which will be May 13th at Aylesbury. The last event was a resounding success and I look forward to hearing from those Lodges who would like to participate this time around. No amount is too small to give away. The chance to raise the profile of some of the smaller local charities is one welcomed by all.
I would also like to thank all those Lodges who responded regarding donations to the BMCF, the £2 per head contribution does get forgotten and I know the BMCF has received cheques including back payments which have been greatly received and I know will be faithfully applied.
My final call is to get behind your Charity Steward; he is not just the brother who does the raffle and draws the tickets. Supporting him to ensure that the Lodge Relief Chest is topped up and ready to be called upon if needed is an on-going requirement. Supporting him by giving him the time in Lodge for proper Charity Steward’s reports, not rushed because the lodge is running late or even worse to be asked to just say a few words at the Festive Board is equally important.
I started this report by reminding us of the distinguishing characteristic of a Freemasons heart. Your Charity Steward is the guardian of that characteristic.
As always brethren, if I can be of any help please let me know. Thank you all for your support in my first six months. It has been great fun and, at times, very humbling to hear about some of the fantastic work being done in the name of Buckinghamshire Freemasonry.
Provincial Grand Charity Steward
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