THE ROLE OF LODGE ALMONER
One of the core values of Freemasonry is to look after the health and welfare of poor and distressed Freemasons, their wives, widows and dependants. Individual Lodges, Provinces and the central Masonic charities each has a role to play in facilitating this provision which can only be effectively achieved if contact is maintained with past and present members of the Craft and their dependants.
Many Lodges cannot afford to help their people financially, but we must all make the effort to ensure that we know who our people are, what their problems are, and help them by visiting, providing transport and giving them moral support. It is the role of the Lodge Almoner to co-ordinate this information and plan how he and other Lodge members can assist Brethren and relatives who are in need.
It is not just the Almoner who does this for any Lodge member can make a visit or a phone call. At Christmas widows of past Brethren receive a Christmas card and gift. There is also a Widows Club that meets regularly at the Masonic Hall to provide a focus for maintaining friendships. It is important that at each committee meeting or regular Lodge meeting that the Almoner reports on new or changing issues to keep the Brethren informed .
Where it is clear that financial support is urgently needed details must be passed on to the Provincial Grand Almoner or relevant Masonic Charities. The Lodge Almoner does not need to know a person’s financial affairs for when applying for a grant he informs the Provincial Grand Almoner who sends a case worker who needs to see all relevant paperwork and a Means Test is carried out and a decision is made.
Much of the work of the Almoner involves the handling of information about potentially sensitive issues about individual Freemasons and their family members. The Almoner should seek to develop a trusting relationship with members of his Lodge and their dependants and must respect the confidentially of any information he is given.
Bro. Ira Hampton P.P.J.G.W.