Looking back over a lot of the articles I have written, I find that I am forever mentioning that we had a whole host of absentees. I think I'm going to stop doing so, as it is becoming clear that, what was once an irregularity, is fast becoming the norm. I cannot remember the last time the full complement of officers turned up, and if it wasn't for our regular visitors, we'd often struggle to get through. It was never the case when I joined, a mere 8 years ago.
Fewer than one in four of our subscribing members were in attendance for this meeting. How to get them back? I wish I knew. They still pay their fees, but this does the Lodge few favours. In our Festival period, the balance it is hoped a Lodge can raise is weighted by their membership, so the non-participating brethren are actually burdening the active brethren with the task of raising an even greater individual amount. Do they pay their fees so they can continue to say they are a Freemason? Well, if that's the case, I'm sorry folks, but paying your subscription fee is not paying your dues.
Your Lodge needs you to stand up and be counted.
On a brighter note, we were happy to be able to initiate a new candidate, and glad to say that the officers involved, which included two stand-ins', were still able to put in a very fine performance. Due to date clashes, it looks like he may jump the queue and become our next Fellow Craft in April, too. Here is hoping for a better turn out for him.
Our Fraternal visitors on this occasion were Lord Barnard Lodge No. 2935, represented by their Worshipful Master who was accompanied by a good number of brethren. We have a great affinity with Lord Barnard Lodge. Our Honorary Tyler is a member of that Lodge, having taken up the office after years of visiting, and the passing of our then Tyler. We can almost always count at least two of their brethren amongst our regular visitors.
One thing small numbers does bring, is an interactive and lively festive board, and I'm glad to say that this never diminishes, and a good time was, again, had by all.
All being well, we will be performing live second degree ceremonies in April. May and June, with the June ceremony being performed for the Grandson of one of our elder statesmen (GLO). He is joining another lodge in his hometown of Essex. It should be a fine and emotional occasion for us to pass him.
Here's hoping I can be a lot more positive in my next report!