As we all know, change is often difficult and we usually accept it only after much kicking and screaming. If life with COVID-19 has taught us anything, it has taught us to be resilient and to adapt.
Case in point; how do we follow the 5 steps to Application when it is impossible to meet with the candidates and invite them to our now non-existent functions?
It became readily apparent that if we wanted to keep our candidates engaged and keep the selection process in motion, we had to come up with a new and creative direction.
I made a proposal to the Worshipful Master that we host a Candidate Zoom Series where we could virtually meet the missing steps of the process.
The concept was simple: to have the candidates introduce themselves by presenting a short bio and explain their motivations for wanting to become Masons and to hold a piece of education for them to ponder until the following meeting.
Originally a Lodge initiative, the format was to be informal and the message to be delivered by testimonials and personal reflections. The first person I thought of to help get this off the ground was Bro. Federico, and together our combined enthusiasms reconfigured and expanded the program to include the entire district.
The meetings are frequented by participants as far away as western Ontario and have garnered the attention of Grand Lodge, so much so that we have regular Grand Lodge participation.
Our meetings are meant to be informative, enjoyable and interactive. Not only has this become an opportunity for us to get to know the candidates, it is an opportunity for our members to get to know the Members of the Board of General Purposes and the Grand Lodge Committee chairmen.
- Each candidate introduces themselves at their first meeting by providing a short auto biography.
- We have an educational component which consists of a Guest Speaker and is followed by a Q&A session.
- We follow the festive board protocol of Toasting the visitors which is returned in kind.
- Grand Lodge Officers are introduced with Rank and position
- A preview of the following months content is given
- Lastly the Junior Wardens toast.
I follow up with the candidates usually a week or so after the meeting by email. I summarize the lessons learnt and emphasize the underlying theme of the presentation. I always include a video that I trust they will enjoy and elicit follow up questions.
Worshipful Master Elias Lakkis and Bro. Myall joined Bro. Federico and I for our debriefing after the last meeting and now the committee has doubled in size and with it so has our prospective audience. We will now reach out to all the Districts of Eastern Ontario and invite them to join our series. St. Andrew’s has always been a formidable presence in Ottawa’s Masonic history. Let us continue to lead by example and preserve the legacy that has been forged from the Scottish stonemasons who created this great Lodge 100 years ago.
We must make sure that our lodge is prepared for change, that the newer brethren have a secure hold on the torch we pass to them: that we have a plan for the future, both near and distant.
Then we will have continued in the footsteps of our forebears and made an important contribution to the health of our community