After work, in a dark, quiet and unassuming backstreet of Whitechapel, members of the Connaught Club slowly began to congregate for an enlightening evening to be held at Mumbai Square. Unbeknownst to many a mason, this hidden gem (most likely a ruby), is home to two lodge rooms. The event in question was a seminar entitled Beyond the Chair, and the club was delighted to welcome several esteemed guest speakers from the upper echelons of Metropolitan Grand Lodge, namely:

Captain David Swain, RN – Metropolitan Grand Secretary

Martin Humphrys – Metropolitan Grand Mentor

John Winter – Metropolitan Grand Almoner

Michael Todd – Assistant Metropolitan Grand Charity Steward

Jules Greenwall – Former MetAGDC (and seasoned Provincial DC)

Each speaker discussed the roles available to a masons going beyond the chair; key points such as not to sit on one’s laurels but to be proactive and search out the roles that need doing in your lodge. After all you get from masonry what you put into it. After each topic, the members were invited to ask questions and delve deeper into what is required to be an efficient and productive member of a lodge’s team.  Questions ranged from “what has proven to be the biggest challenge you have faced as a Secretary” to “how does Gift Aid actually work”?  The Seminar proved to be a great success and it is safe to say that all of the members came away with a clear distinct idea of where they may wish to progress in their masonic futures.

Once the serious stuff was out of the way, it only seemed natural that we would take advantage of the delicacies being served in the restaurant below. A three course curry washed down with the obligatory couple of beers was then enjoyed by all, (in case you’re wondering, yes we also had poppadoms but they don’t count as a course). All in all, the event was a delight. As the evening closed, and the time came for the brethren to return to their homes they did so with a belly full of chicken tikka masala and plenty on their masonic plate to contemplate.

The Club encourages all of its members to learn more of an officer’s specific roles by supporting the various courses run by Metropolitan Grand Lodge. I certainly will be enrolling on the Mentoring Course having heard all about it last night.

Thank you to Bro. L. Hobbs for this report