DGP’s Address to District Grand Council – 15th November 2014

Distinguished guests, brethren all, I have already made so many ‘welcomes’ here but let me, once again welcome you all to our District Meeting. I do appreciate the support you have all given by making the effort to be here today, our numbers are up this year, again, and it certainly enhances any meeting to have good numbers.

It continues, for me, to be an enormous privilege to hold the office of District Grand Prefect for London and I am conscious of this every time that I visit a council or when I represent you in other Districts. Between Steven, myself and the Wardens of the year we have visited every Council in the District and on every occasion we have been met with all we would expect from this Order – good Companionship, well worked ceremonies and an enthusiasm and commitment to the Allied Masonic Degrees.

I shall still attend Councils over and above my own allocation, just to enjoy myself.

Before I go any further I must thank those who make such an effort to ensure that everything in our District goes smoothly and efficiently.

My hardworking and dedicated District Grand Secretary Ben Dykes, who has organised most of today. So if you have enjoyed yourself, then I did it all but if anything is not so good then speak with Ben.

Phillip Freedman, our Director of Ceremonies, our Deputy DC David Morris and the Assistant DC – Keith Waters and those who have accompanied me on the Full Team visits such as Matthew Hampson as Sword Bearer and Chris Beck as Standard Bearer.

Let me not forget our equally hardworking Treasurer Doug Hopton who has once again kept us on the right side of the Accounting line, to John Gilbert who enhances our meeting with music and to Abie Obadiah who has guarded our door and generally looked after me throughout the year – thank you.

Finally, our Secretaries, who keep our Councils alive and running, thank you for your time and effort, it is very much appreciated.

We have, unfortunately, lost some members this year, 3 have passed to the Grand Council above, all losses are keenly felt by us, it is to their memory that we continue to build, enjoy and develop our Allied Masonry.

We must always aim to thrive and grow and I shall continue the idea that   each new Active Officer of the year has received an envelope, inside is an AMD application form, I would be most obliged if you would secure a good candidate from our Mark Lodges and bring him in to one of our Councils. I am always happy to come along at his Admission and welcome him into our District.

We have done well this year; certainly numbers are steadily on the increase and we have a net gain of 10 extra brethren either Admitted or Joined during this year. Whilst this seems modest, it should be seen in the light of 8 losses through death or resignation.

This year we conducted a very interesting and productive ‘Awareness Event’ where we joined forces with our brethren in the Order of Royal & Select Masters and welcomed Craft and Mark members into this building and explained what our two Orders were about and answered a number of wide-ranging questions. We then sat down to a meal together; the whole evening was great fun and enjoyed by all. We have had a number of completed application forms and I am assured that more are to follow. We have decided that it was a success and is worth the effort to repeat the event next year.

I am conscious that whilst growth is important and vital, strength and happiness is also crucial to maintain interest and retain membership. This year I have established a Communications Team, it is led by Scott Cargill with Scott Dunn and assisted by Julian Trought and they have made very impressive progress. We have an excellent Website, which is up to date, relevant, and easy to navigate, we are on Twitter and also Facebook. All of these are well used and attract members and followers who are not (yet) in the Order. I express my thanks to you all. I should also say that some of these communication mediums are not for everyone, they are not meant to be brethren. If you are happy and at ease on Twitter or Facebook then great, if not there will always be the summons and minutes for you but I must try to ensure that everyone is catered for in the best way possible whilst excluding none.

The team will be taking photos during the meeting and Festive Board today and those and my words here will be on the website before we leave the building – good work chaps.

I do not want this Communication Strategy to remain here, I want it to be the base from which we can support all Councils in the District – some are weaker and need help, some need help to ensure they have all Officers at a meeting, some would like the more complex ceremonies performed for them whilst some just need some regular visitors while the other areas of our plans help to provide a stream of new membership.

Hopefully councils and members will see the impact of our efforts as we move through the year and I will report back on it at the next District Meeting.

We have had other successes; members of the District have also been Promoted and Appointed to Grand Rank –

Mike Randall on First Appointment, to Past Grand Standard Bearer and John Emms and Keith Waters on First Appointment, to Past Grand Inner Guard.

John Keys, a tower of strength in this District and to me personally has been promoted to Past Grand Registrar and becomes Very W Bro.

Phillip Freedman our District DC has been promoted to Past Grand Junior Deacon.

To these brethren – well done, and I am sure you will join me in congratulating them.

To my Officers of the year whom I have had the pleasure to invest and promote today – congratulations. Your appointment has been based upon merit and service to the District. I hope that you enjoy your year in Office and that you can support the two Full Team visits which are planned for this year – dates will be announced very shortly and you are most welcome to join in on there visits whenever possible.

My aim continues to be to serve you all, the District and the Order by increasing both membership and the happiness of its members. I cannot do that alone, I need the support of my Officers for this year and all of you – only together, with shared endeavour, can we do it.

In a few weeks it will be December and the Christmas season will be upon us, I wish you and your families all good wishes, health and happiness at this time of year.

May the Great Disposer of all Bless and protect you all.

Colin Woodcock

District Grand Prefect – London