Somerset Freemasons

Provincial Fraternal visits

Provincial Fraternal Visits Protocol

Check the current Provincial Visit programme.

The Provincial Grand Master, in common with his predecessors is continually looking for ways to improve communication between Brethren of Lodges in the Province and the Provincial Executive. To that end for a two-year trial period commencing in January 2012 every Lodge in the Province will receive a Fraternal Provincial Visit.

These visits will be attended by one of the Rulers of the Province (The Provincial Grand Master or his Deputy or Assistant Provincial Grand Master) accompanied by a Provincial Steward who will act as Provincial DC, a member of the Provincial Executive and at least one other officer from the Provincial team. The object of the visit is to allow the Ruler and the team to enjoy an ordinary meeting of the Lodge and to join the Brethren afterwards at the festive board. This will give members of the Lodge the opportunity to discuss any Masonic questions or concerns that they may have with senior members of the Province. It will also enable the PGM and his team the opportunity to communicate the latest news from the Province in a less formal setting.

To mark the importance of these visits the following protocol will be observed.
The summons for the meeting will state the name of the Ruler in attendance. An item on the agenda immediately after the Lodge has been opened will indicate that the Lodge will receive the Ruler, who will be formally introduced into the Lodge by his acting DC. The Master will proffer him the gavel. After the adoption of minutes (or matters arising) salutations will be accorded to the Ruler by the acting Provincial DC. The Ruler will retire after the closing of the Lodge with the Master of the Lodge under the direction of the Lodge DC. If it is not the custom of the Lodge to retire in procession the Lodge DC will ensure that brethren remain standing while the visiting team retires from the Lodge with the Master.

At the Festive board the Ruler will sit at the top table between the Master and IPM. The member of the Provincial Executive will sit with his opposite number in the Lodge (Treasurer, Secretary, Charity Steward etc). The Provincial Officer will sit with a group of Past Masters, preferably near the Senior Warden and the Provincial Steward will be sat with junior members of the Lodge, preferably near the Junior Warden. If there are other members in the team they should be seated among the members of the Lodge not next to their fellow team members. Hopefully this will afford the opportunity for all members of the Lodge to converse with a member of the team. Toast should be short and to the point. The toast to the Provincial Grand Master, if present or the Province if he is not, will be given by one of the junior officers of the Lodge. Visiting brethren will pay their own dining costs.

The introduction of this initiative is an extra commitment for the Rulers of the Province, to reduce that burden they will attend fewer installation meetings. Rulers currently attend 70% of all installations, this figure will reduce to 50%. This will mean that a Lodge should have a Ruler attending their installation every other year and fraternal visit by a Ruler in the intervening period.

Arrangements for the Fraternal Provincial Visit will be co-ordinated by the Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies in conjunction with individual Lodge Secretaries and Director of Ceremonies.

Details of the date of the visit and who is attending can be found by clicking the following link: Provincial Fraternal visits

Secretaries and DCs of Lodges bookmark the link in order that you can return to the page to check nearer the time just exactly who will be attending. The acting Provincial DC will contact the Lodge DC before the visit takes place to clarify any points of procedure.

A fraternal visit by its very name indicates that it is an occasion that should be enjoyed by all concerned, the Provincial Grand Master sincerely hopes that this will be the case and that these visits will prove valuable to both the Province and individual Lodges.

Ray Guthrie
Deputy Provincial Grand Master.
November 2011