How are you getting on being Provincial Grand Almoner?
Brethren, this is the most frequent question I’ve been asked since being installed in February this year. This simplistic and easy answer is that it's been challenging and very rewarding.
However it may be better for me to share with you some of my experiences. Let's start where your lodge Almoner’s work, not just mine, begins - with the sick and bereaved. Visiting brethren when they are at their lowest ebb through illness or bereavement is challenging but you’d be surprised how often these same brethren give you support and inspiration when you consider that to be your job. It would be quite wrong to give you the impression that it's easy because there are times you are left not knowing what to do or feel ill equipped or too emotional to meet the needs of the brethren concerned. Please remember that compared to my peers I am a young Almoner in terms of experience but agree with those who say we have the best job in the lodge.
Moving on, there’s our Almoners' Committee which, in technical terms I chair, but if truth be told, it chairs itself because of the enthusiasm and hard work of those around the Almoners' table. Consider this brethren - those who sit around that table are experienced masons, have life experience, have the sensitivity and gravitas to deal with what comes their way and, most important, have great people skills.
Last but not least we come to three brethren who have made my short time as Provincial Grand Almoner the best it could possibly have been. Our PGM, Bro Jim Ellis who deals with my constant text and e-mails, challenges my ideas and whose support and advice is unstinting. Bro. Tom Chymlowskyj who sits around the almoners' table and gives me support and direction without needing to be asked. Then there’s Bro Ian J Russell, MBE, of whom I need say nothing given the well deserved praised I’ve given him previously. Brethern, on the shoulders of these giants I stand.
Breaking down the barriers
So having said all that you might be inclined to think what do the Almoners need ? The honest answer to this question, brethren, is that, with all due respect to the great brethren who sit around the Almoners' table, we need the next generation of Almoners to step forward. It’s a difficult, rewarding and inspirational job but I give you this commitment on my behalf and the team of Almoners that I work with - we’ll support, help and enable you to give relief and consolation to the brethren most in need in our province.
So I invite you :
• To ask questions
• Speak to your Almoner
• Attend our Almoners' Committee
Thank you for your continuing support