Australian and New Zealand Masonic Research Council
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President’s Address at
On-Line Biennial General Business Meeting – Sunday 13 December 2020
“Fellow delegates, thank you for your confidence in electing me as your President; I will work to the best of my ability to serve and promote the ANZMRC and to encourage members to participate in our proceedings
Welcome to the new Associate members of the ANZMRC, who have joined us over the last 12 months:
• Lodge Southern Cross (NSW)
• District Grand Master of Lebanon (SC)
• South Wales Provincial Research Library
• Lodge Hope of Kurrachee no 337 (SC)
• Grand Lodge of Scotland (Museum & Library)
• Lodge of the Golden Fleece (UGLV)
Masonic activities and indeed membership, it at cross-roads, and let us not forget that this situation has been developing since the early 1990’s, 30years plus, remember the old saying “if we continue to do the same thing, the results will be the same”.
The loss of enthusiasm has in my opinion has been the larger of the forces leading to loss of members and the steady decline in numbers joining, the ANZMRC is in my opinion, a light shining in the wilderness, I thus encourage each of us to promote and share our greater understanding of the meanings behind our Ritual. I do suggest that as the understanding of the lessons of Freemasonry are better promulgated, so will the enthusiasm of the membership of the Craft and then, and only then, will we see the commencement of renewal of the Craft.
One series of meetings of the committee of the Hobart Lodge of Research saw us discussing matters of Craft leadership, not as a criticism but rather what can we do and one suggestion was that perhaps training could be of value, for example SW’s to receive training at a local level in leadership, DGM’s to be sent for more advanced leadership training, for attendance at a week-long course to such places as say the Mt Eliza School of Business.
Proposed lectures in Lodges should not result in the expression “oh it’s only a lecture, so I think I’ll give the meeting a miss”, rather I suggest the lectures are vital to develop a deeper understanding of the ‘life lessons’ available through membership in the Craft, and not available elsewhere, we are not members of a club, we are members of an ancient worldwide organisation devoted to the betterment of mankind and the enlightenment of its adherents.
We are also experiencing, coupled with declining membership, a loss of balance in regard to the relationship between the numbers of members and the growing percentage of Grand Lodge Officers. So here I’ll stick my neck out, I hope it’s not across the chopping block, so I pose the question “Is it time to look to a United Grand Lodge of Australia, with Pro-Grand Masters as required in States or regions”.
How many times do you attend a Lodge Installation and the number of Grand Lodge Officers is nearly the same as the number of attending members of the Lodge, it happens all too often here in Tassie. Simplify the Installation ritual, stop the endless repletion of ritualistic re-investiture of Officers, thus minimising member boredom and reducing the opportunity for the same recitals to a bored captive audience. The Paper by Bro Kent Henderson contains detailed relevant suggestions on this very matter. Teach the meaning behind the Ritual, this I suggest is fundamentally important. Membership numbers are not so important as quality in members.
Research Lodges are there to carry out Masonic research and pass on knowledge to the broader craft membership. I suggest that the topic of a United Grand Lodge of Australia could be investigated in Lodges of Research and then brought for discussion at a regional and State level.
I have not been brave or foolish enough to look to similar reforms in the NZ lodges, 3 Constitutions!!
I look forward to serving you in my capacity as President of this wonderful Research Council.”
Aims of the ANZMRC
♦ Promote Masonic research and education
♦ Act as a liaison body between its affiliated research lodges and chapters.
♦ Organise biennial conferences across New Zealand and Australia
♦ Organise and coordinate Speaking tours by noted Masonic researchers
♦ Publish the proceedings of its conferences and tour books of each touring speaker
The ANZMRC selects a well-known researcher/speaker and organises a lecture tour every two years which takes that person round all the states of Australia and the North and South Islands of New Zealand. A book of all the papers presented by the touring lecturer during the tour is also published.
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