1 July 2022
For many, 30 June saw the end of one Masonic year, and July brings a new period, with opportunities for optimism, planning and development.
I wish to place on record my deep appreciation to Freemasons across Victoria for their goodwill and positive approach to our Craft, especially as we emerge from more than two years of COVID pandemic restrictions.
Thank you for the way in which you have eagerly returned to Lodge, and your application in addressing Lodge Room work, particularly in processing the backlog of degree work, and resuming our community service projects.
Thanks to the members of every Lodge across Victoria, led by their Masters, Wardens, Deacons, and all officers, for their cheerfulness as they have resumed regular meetings with ritual and ceremonial duties, alongside great fellowship in the South.
We appreciate the efforts of the District Coordinators who manage our 17 regions across the State, and who have continued to meet many responsibilities as Grand Lodge works to devolve as much as possible to Districts and Lodges.
Great Optimism for 2022-23
Together, we have much to look forward to in the year ahead. Five years ago, we set out on an ambitious program with a Strategy Plan 2017-25 for our organisation. We set about deliberately to progress our governance structure to place us in the best possible position for the remainder of the 21st century.
Members have voted positively for a better structure that transfers powers to members of the Masonic Council, and Commercial Council, which embraces external knowledge to best supervise our assets and financial operations. We will soon enter that next phase. In the coming 2022-23 year, Freemasons across Victoria will be invited to discuss, then vote on a modernised Constitution that better reflects current times.
Survey results indicate that our members believe that behaviour and culture across the organisation is improving. I am grateful to everyone for the way they have embraced the recommendations of The Ethics Centre report, published at the end of 2020. Also, thanks for the participation in the ShareTree behavioural audit in 2021.
Thanks to the Grand Secretary, the Acting Chief Executive Officer, and the entire office team, for the prudence they have exercised in putting these matters of good governance into effect.
Thanks to the Grand Treasurer and his team in which the finances are managed. The latest report to the June Quarterly Communication indicates that our substantial assets are being well managed. Every transaction continues to be subject to the scrutiny of external auditors.
Power of our Volunteers
Thanks are also due to the many members who volunteer for a range of duties in their Lodges, Masonic Centres, Districts and Volunteer Action Teams. I am especially grateful to the Senior Grand Officers for their leadership, and their ability to get things done. Much is being done in the fields of Education, Pastoral Care, Property, Communication and Marketing. Much more is on the agenda.
One special example of our FV volunteers at work is the Grand Ceremonial Team, who continually impress with their excellent quality of work as they meet with Lodge members across Victoria.
We can be proud of our kindred organisations such as Freemasons Foundation, and Royal Freemasons Homes. Whilst these are separate entities managed in their own right, and conducted at arms’ length, they demonstrate the Masonic qualities of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. I extend my personal thanks to everyone involved in these great undertakings.
The 12 months past have shown the cardinal virtues of Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice to the fore. The coming 12 months – out of lockdown – provide us all with the opportunity to shine in the objective “to be happy and to share that happiness with others”.
Soon, the Deputy Grand Master Selection Panel will meet to elect the man due to succeed RWBro. Anthony Bucca after his 2023-25 term as Grand Master. The phrase that “we can only have one winner” is often used, but the truth is that we are all winners. We have quality leaders right across Victorian Freemasonry who are prepared to team together, whilst applying their personal mark, to make this fraternity the best possible version of itself.
As we embark on another Masonic year, please know my gratitude for the positive contributions being made to strengthen our great fraternity. So Mote It Be.
MWBro. Richard Elkington OAM