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MrSifter last won the day on November 27 2018

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About MrSifter

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  1. I’m curious to know how UGLE define “unsuitable people”. I also find the gender neutral phrasing strange. Regardless, overt atheists, those with criminal records etc. are obviously “unsuitable” men but how far do you extend the term? My London lodge always manages to get candidates and all are what, prima facie, would be deemed good candidates. We’ve had barristers, taxi drivers, doctors, lorry drivers, former headmasters, IT consultants, magicians, pilots and all manner of professional men join in the last decade. Sadly our success and retention rate isn’t good and greater than 50% were ultimately “unsuitable”. One chap turned up roaring drunk for his initiation (I don’t think we should have done the ceremony) and failed to turn up for his passing, we never heard from him again and he ended up being excluded. Another joined (a salesman) and said all the right things at the enquiry. “Father in law was a Freemason, wife hugely supportive, plenty of free time, want to better myself as a person, love meeting new people”, and the list went on. It became clear he was only there to network for business opportunities. After two years and realising there was no financial gain, we never saw him again. The former headmaster told us at his enquiry he’d always wanted to join, loved the idea of LoI, learning ritual and also being a concert pianist was a “perfectionist”. He received an outstanding initiation in the December, attended the installation in March, then we never heard from him again. He completely ignored all attempts at contact then wrote to us about one year later saying he’d “lost his faith in God” and resigned. All of the above were known men to their proposer and seconder. Our current Master has been absolutely fantastic and was a UGLE referral, unknown to everyone. On the flip side we had another referral circa 2009 and we never saw him again after his raising. After nearly twenty years in the Craft I can’t say (in general terms) with any confidence who I know is suitable and who isn’t. I doubt UGLE could provide any further direction on that either, making their statement above both vacuous and otiose.
  2. Usually the Monday before the meeting. We’ve got the installation in March but have plenty of degree work to do in June, October and December.
  3. Drop me a DM then and we can sort out. Likely we’ll be doing 2nd, 3rd, 2nd for the meetings after the installation.
  4. Brethren, Open invitation for our meetings next year as per the link. PM me if you’d like to attend. http://www.lodge192.com/meetings
  5. I’m in Wanstead myself and happy to meet up if you’d like to discuss in person. Drop me a PM of you like. Regarding your main concern, I have never, ever heard of a lodge contacting an employer or neighbours.
  6. Forgive my ignorance but what do you mean by this?
  7. No, I don't think brethren from the 1700s would recognise present day Freemasonry. Sure, there'd be striking similarities and the core message would be the same but it is vastly different to how they experienced it, not least in governance. I'm a traditionalist in the sense that I hold the ritual as sacrosanct and it should be memorised. Likewise I think standards of behaviour and dress should be very high. I also believe we're being pushed down a route of too much openness. Where I'm a modernist is in terms of shortening meetings, ending the honours system, lodges embracing technology (websites, Twitter, Porchway) and trying to attract men from all walks of life. Lastly, some things should be at the touch of a button but to actually learn the ritual and contemplate what it means takes hard graft and a long term commitment. If men aren't prepared to put in the effort, they won't get the full value of Freemasonry. That is no different to any other pursuit. For what it's worth, I'm 36 and married with two children at 7 and 5. I work in the city and have a job with a reasonable amount of pressure and responsibility. I'm currently Master Elect and due to take the Chair in March 2017. I don't ever buy the "no time" line that some people spin. It's about priorities. If Masonry is important to you, you make the time. I'm not perfect at ritual but I dedicate around forty minutes per day to it. Ten minutes learning a new line in the shower or on tube to work, ten minutes at lunchtime, again on the tube home and usually when I lie in bed before I go to sleep. That's not onerous at all, yet I've met literally hundreds of men that make excuses as to why they haven't bothered to learn the ritual.
  8. bod (22/02/2016)We've now implemented a standard set of questions that each candidate gets asked by the committee - this way each candidate has the same experience, we can guarantee they are told about LoI, meetings and the commitment expected of themAny chance of putting them up on the board?
  9. Sparker (21/02/2016)TBH, I think we should all be light blue, the highest apron being that of a PM. If Brethren give meritorious service, give them a letter of thanks or a certificate they can hang in their home or office.... not something dark blue to wear.T.Completely agree with this. For me the highest honour is being Master of a lodge.I just don't get the need for the dark blue aprons and I've witnessed some unedifying discussions both in lodge, at GP meetings and at Festive Boards on the topic. I do wonder if the obsession for some is on account of having failed in their personal and professional lives. I find it particularly bad when asked to stand and salute holders of these "ranks" when they never attend LoI and one even failed to make two out of his four meetings as Master and then didn't turn up to install his SW, only notifying the lodge the day before. It actually makes me want to vomit if I'm being honest.
  10. Sparker (18/02/2016)Is the average Lodge full of the "fuddy duddy".... in other words... why would young men want to seek out the company of us who are say.. 50+?T.I'm 35 and get on better with most of the late 50s than I do with those 30 to 40!I do find the rank/honours system appalling though and will personally never wear anything other than light blue.
  11. Sentience (19/02/2016)Sorry but I don't subscribe to that. Applicants should be made fully aware of the expectations on them and indeed, to my knowledge they are. What they agree to accept what Freemasonry is, means they surely understand that this is an ancient fraternity, steeped in history and traditions. You join because of what it is, not what you want it to become or change just to accommodate you. It isn't for everybody is fair to say. But, we shouldn't (in my view) adapt our own working practices to accommodate others just to bolster the numbers. Whilst we are a friendly and welcoming fraternity, interviews should clearly lay down that failing to attend without good reason is not acceptable. What we rely on regular attendance for the continuity of the Lodge and forward planing. What it would be better, if an applicant is unable or unwilling to meet our requirements, that he should postpone his application until he can, or consider some other worthy cause or society to belong to. I'd rather two struggling Lodges amalgamate than continue accepting Candidates that turn up for the degree ceremonies and are never seen again.Quality rather than quantity again. I broadly agree with what you say but I'm not convinced the bolded part is always the case. The rest I completely agree with. Ultimately a proposer should have discussed this before the committee of inquiry but if not then the Master should be outlining the time commitment of an ordinary member and if looking to enter progressive office, the extra commitment of learning ritual and LoIs.I was speaking to a Grand Officer at our December meeting and bemoaning our retention levels and he said to me: "I've been a member for thirty years and it has always been the same. For every ten members, three or four will leave almost right away as it's just not for them. Another three or four will stick with it out of loyalty to their proposer but will likely drift away in a two to five year timeframe. Of the remaining two or three one will likely go the chair then drift away and the other one or two will be lifers." I don't have his depth of experience but that seems about right from what i've witnessed in sixteen years as a member.I also saw mention from someone earlier in the thread about attracting and retaining men in their twenties. To be honest I'm not sure that's the demographic we should be aiming for. Speaking as someone who joined just before his twentieth birthday all I can say from experience is I had two great years in my lodge before moving to New York, coming home, living in a few different cities in the UK, getting married, settling in London and then having children. Not everyone is as all over the place but I do think most in that age group are doing other things.In my view the target demographic should really be men 35 - 60. That's not to say there aren't some fantastic 18-35 year old Freemasons, of course there are.As a general point we really do need to look at how meetings and Festive Boards are structured. This is a matter for each individual lodge but I'd suggest we need meetings focused on ritual excellence, doing something a bit different on occasion (hosting a lecture or demonstration team etc.), keeping the meetings as short and snappy as possible without multiple agenda items or periphery things such as salutations. In terms of the Festive Boards; speeches should be humorous (when appropriate) but always short and pithy, toasts and firing rattled through proficiently.Too often meetings and Festive Boards are unnecessarily long and full of irrelevance.
  12. I just had a look at our membership list. We have 37 members, 12 of those are country members. Of the remaining 25, 20 of those can be relied upon to attend.The five regular no shows include someone based in Dubai so that leaves four. They have approximate ages of 40, 45, 45, 65.The 40 year old just wasn't into it and found the ritual "weird". He used to sit on his mobile phone at the Festive Board. He had a falling out at a GP meeting and hasn't been seen since.The two 45 year olds - one is a EA and the other a FC. I'm not convinced they're interested but hope to be proved incorrect.The 65 year old went to SW and never attended one meeting (including his Installation to SW) during his year in the west. Apparently this was due to health issues. Prior to this I think he only turned up to two out of four meetings as JW, similar for SD. Throw into the mix he'd turn up to one LoI before each meeting at most, clearly had never opened the ritual book and we had a litany of excuses. He turned up to the GP meeting on Tuesday just past and was asked if he'd like to be Inner Guard. Said he wanted to be SW and took the huff when told that position was filled!The biggest problem we have is the poor quality of candidates. Not their fault, I hold the proposer and seconder responsible.
  13. Got to say I completely agree with all of Trouillogan's points. Also got to say - who gives a toss?I'm more concerned about my own lodge and the abysmal quality of candidates joining. That's a private matter right enough. Grand Lodge have to appear to do something, in that sense they're bit like the State. This justifies their existence. I personally quite like the new logo.
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