They were only giving the equivalent of around $25 per person annually to masonic benevolence. So they had a push to improve the charitable activities of brethren.

And I understand today with membership numbers well below our heyday of the 1950’s, we can fall into the trap of chasing membership for membership sake. Yes, it is important - that’s part of the reason I am pushing ‘Speak Up’…but for a District GM coming in to the job I think there is more to identifying what for him will be success.

We need to reduce resignations dramatically. Our exit surveys will explain why members resign - some are curable many are not - but lets learn the reasons for resignations and then address them - are we not locating the right sort of man to join - when he joins, do we not provide the stimulation he seeks - when he joins do we provide pressure and expectations that make his masonic experience something he dreads.

We need to ensure our members enjoy their freemasonry, so they become active members in their lodge - they enjoy the camaraderie, they respect their elderly brethren and widows, they take pride in their lodge and our activities, they strive to deliver ceremonial and through this to educate and engage with newer members. Enjoyment of freemasonry to me is the core of our success.

To Speak Up to the public about freemasonry we need ourselves to understand what makes freemasonry tick - we need to understand what it is that has made freemasonry appeal to men over generations - we need to recognise that each man joins our organisation for one of a myriad of reasons and importantly one size does not fit all.

The man who joins through a love of history and the traditional side; the man who thrives on the theatrical workings; the man who enjoys the brotherhood and collegiality of our meetings; the man who joins not really knowing why but seeking to learn…..each have a journey to make through our lodges and we, as proposer seconder mentor member, need to identify the motivation behind each brother, and then ensure we nurture that to make his masonic experience an enjoyable one - which will keep him as an active member, will encourage him to learn more about our organisation, will encourage him to take pride in what freemasons do, and ultimately will encourage him to Speak Up about Freemasonry to his friends family colleagues.

So what will success look like? Membership numbers? I don’t think so - it is a sign that we are healthy, but the sign of success I want to focus on is the satisfaction levels of our brethren. Evidence the brethren are taking personal responsibility for their lodges, they are actively engaged in the activities in their community, they enjoy the fraternity - if we get the level of enjoyment right, then our brethren will take pride in freemasonry, they will Speak Up to their friends and family and colleagues - and we will raise our profile in our communities.

Through that we will attract men of calibre to join our ranks - we will reduce resignations, we will inject live and action into our lodges.

So - the signs of success will see contented brethren keenly supporting their lodges, working to a plan to grow and nurture those lodges, in an environment where resources are readily available, a friendly suggestion is offered un-obtrusively, and the Masters have a reliable confidante they can regularly use for guidance and direction".