Page 6 - Essex Mason Issue 84
P. 6


       Essex Mason: Jack can you please tell us a bit about yourself
       I am 34 years old, I was Initiated into Freemasonry by my Father in 2006, progressing
       to the chair in 2014, during that year I was appointed as a Provincial Grand Steward.
       I am a member of various other side orders, and I am currently MEZ of Liberty
       of Havering Chapter. This year I took over from Elliot Chevin as the Chaiman of
       The Essex Cornerstone Club, having previously served as it’s founding treasurer.
       My day job keeps me quite busy outside of Freemasonry!! I work as a surgeon at
       The Royal Free Hospital in London in the Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary (HPB) and Liver
       Transplant Unit.
       Essex Mason: What is the role of the Provincial Membership Officer and how many members are in your team?
       The  Provincial  Membership  officer  (PMO)  is  responsible  for  continuing  and  evolving  the  concept  of  pro-active  recruitment,  managing  and
       monitoring enquiries to UGLE and our own Provincial website. The role of the PMO is part of UGLE’s Membership Focus Group, who's purpose is
       to improve attraction, selection, mentoring care and retention rates, as well as assisting Lodges to develop and implement a membership strategy
       with a view to attracting suitable candidates. Our Membership Team consists of 8 Group Membership Officers (GMO’s) responsible for Lodges
       within Masonic Centres in the Province
       Essex Mason: What channels are used to attract potential candidates?
       We make use of all available channels to attract potential candidates, mainly through enquiries on the UGLE website, the Essex Provincial website,
       as well as social media including Facebook & Twitter. We also have an Exhibition Team and Display Trailer to promote Freemasonry in the Province
       at shows, exhibitions and open days.

       Essex Mason: Has the Sky Documentary ‘Inside Freemasons’ been a factor in stimulating interest?
       Hopefully it marked a watershed in the process of improving the general public’s impression of Freemasonry.
       Following the first episode of the Sky documentary, we certainly saw a rise in the number of applications we received via our websites. A number
       of these applicants have since been initiated into Essex Lodges. This also corresponds to a rise in media coverage, as we saw following the report
       in the Guardian newspaper this year, and the subsequent “Enough is Enough” campaign response.

       Essex Mason: How do you assess/screen potential candidates to determine if they are suitable to becoming a Freemason?
       All applicants are initially sent a screening questionnaire to check that they meet the basic criteria to become a Freemason and also provide some
       background information about themselves and their reasons for wanting to join.
       Each application is then assessed on an individual basis before being filtered to a local Group Membership Officer based on where the applicant
       is looking to join a lodge, whether that be near to home or work for convenience.
       Our Group Membership Officers then meet each applicant at least once individually in an informal setting to talk through their application. The
       GMOs further assess the reasons for wishing to join, their understanding of what Freemasonry is, what they seek to gain from membership,
       ensuring they fulfil the spiritual and moral qualifications, and talking them through the commitment involved and the process of joining. If our team
       believes that the applicant would make a good candidate they are then introduced to a Lodge that we feel matches their individual needs. The
       Lodges are encouraged to get to know the applicants socially before being put through the Lodges own formal application process. Our team
       remain on hand to guide the applicants and assist the Lodges throughout the whole process.
       Essex  Mason:  How  many  candidates  have  been  successfully  brought  into  Essex  Lodges  by  the  scheme  and  what  percentage  of  the
       enquiries makes it through to membership?
       The Provincial Membership Team was established 1 year ago. In that time we have received over 400 applications. We have so far overseen 40
       successful initiations with a further 30 who have dates for initiations scheduled later this year. This represents just under 20% of all applications
       through our Membership Team making it to initiation.
       Essex Mason: How vital is the role of Lodge Mentor in ensuring that the new Brethren are engaged to help secure their interest and
       Through looking at membership statistics we know that it is in the time from Initiation to becoming a Master Masons that our new Brethren are
       at their most vulnerable. A significant proportion (20%) of new members leave the craft within two years of initiation, often before becoming a
       Master Mason. We know that if the new Freemason perceives either the ceremony or the actions of the Lodge and its members to be anything
       other than positive, or if his early expectations are not met, he may consider ending his membership.
       It is here that the Lodge Mentor, personal mentors and sponsors (supported by the Provincial Mentoring Team) have a small window of opportunity
       to respond to all early reactions, to address any questions or concerns and to provide the support that the new Freemason needs. The desired
       end result is a member who enjoys his Freemasonry, has a growing understanding and appreciation of it and is willing to continue his membership
       and commitment at a level that suits and satisfies him.

       Essex Mason: Will your team’s function become an integral part of ‘Pathway’?
       The Provincial Membership Team will be overseeing the development and delivery of the new Provincial Membership Pathway, in conjunction
       with the Provincial Mentoring Team. The Pathway is an integrated, non-prescriptive system designed to increase and maintain the long term
       membership numbers of our fraternity including the Royal Arch. Our intention is that the Pathway system will create and sustain a focused
       membership and thus underpin the future needs of the Craft and Royal Arch. The pathway covers the journey a man takes from being an interested
       non-mason to a committed Freemason. It is a planned approach of 11 steps that Lodges can follow to attract, introduce and retain members. It
       draws upon good practices developed in growing and thriving Lodges in Provinces all over the Country. We have already received interest from
       a number of Lodges throughout the Province and more information will be made available soon.

       Essex Mason: Thank you for your time Jack in giving us all this interesting insight into the excellent work carried out by you and your team
       in bringing in new Brothers into the Fraternity.

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