Education and Training Report

Education & Training Officer- W.Bro. Norman Edwards P Prov.GSwdB

Lodge Secretaries Meeting Monday 3rd. December 2012

My principal aim, having taken on this role in November 2011, was to carry on, and develop the work of W. Bro. David I. James PJGD and W. Bro. Dr. Robert Fountain PAGDC. with the specific aims of providing both Education and Training to the Brethren of Lodges of the Province, and so enable them enjoy their Masonry and to provide support for them in conducting the duties and affairs of their Lodges, with knowledge and confidence.

A strong team was put together, with a range of experience and specialisms, and this has produced wide and varied discussion. In the first instance it was decided:

  1. to provide workshops for Lodge Directors of Ceremonies and those who were aspiring to take on this position.
  2. to provide workshops for Lodge Mentors, to include the Grand Lodge Initiative - Ambassadors of Freemasonry.
  3. to up-date and develop the Provincial Website/database.
  4. to provide opportunities for the younger/newer masons to meet in non-formal settings, to develop their knowledge and understanding Order.

The Progamme.

  1. Two Director of Ceremonies workshops were held on: Thursday 3rd. May 2012 at Ebbw Vale and Thursday 17th May 2012 at Newport 20 Lodges were represented with a total of 29 attendees (14 and 15 respectively)
    I particularly wish thank the Secretaries for their help in disseminating the information.

  2. The workshops were delivered in a confident, comprehensive and professional manner by W. Bro. Chris Evans PAGDC Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies. Both workshops were well received by the participants, as demonstrated by their evaluations.

  3. Lodge Mentor workshops have been planned and organised over several months. The emphasis here is to work with small groups at a time so as to” tailor the events” to the specific needs identified by the participants. All workshops will take place at Pontypool Masonic Hall.
    The first workshop took place on Wednesday 30th. November 2012.
    The workshop was delivered in a personal and most professional manner by W. Bro. David Powell, Provincial Grand Mentor. It was successful in covering the elements of Mentor Philosophy; Ambassadors to Freemasonry, and the Provincial website.
    Further workshops are planned for December 2012; January 2013, and February 2013.

  4. During the early meetings of the Education and training committee, it became clear that we would have to address the issues relating to the Provincial Website.
    Historically the website had been infected on a regular basis by malicious software. W. Bro Many hours were spent in cleaning files only to find infections re-appearing several weeks later. It was clear that if we did not act quickly we were in danger of the systems collapsing completely, with important data being lost.
    Luckily we had a number of Brethren, on the committee, who were IT specialists or who had worked in the IT field.
    A long process ensued to ensure that we regained control of the site by gaining access to the control panel. This was along and protracted process.
    After a period of quarantine we now have “a clean bill of health” from Google.

    We are now in a position where we have full control, with the website and the database being hosted on separate secure webspace. Password security, on both sites has been increased significantly which will prevent malicious hackers from gaining access.

    Both sites are separately managed and access is limited to those who actually need it, and will contain different levels of access.

    The website is now up and running and the task now is to continue to up-date the information it contains, and to increase the range of formation and content.

    The database is still being developed and is “running alongside” the original database. When the database is on-line we anticipate providing training and support for Brethren who need to input data, for Provincial records.

  5. Following on from the successful” Initiates evenings” of the past, events are being planned to build on these. Discussion is on-going and at an early stage, but will focus on introducing and informing new members of the many aspects of how the Lodge and the Province work and run.

Brethren, this is where we are at present. If you have any observations or suggestions for further workshops/events, I would be pleased to receive your input.

Norman J. Edwards