Lodge Almoner Support & Guidance, Very Good Friend

The Almoner Feedback Questionnaire distributed in July 2020, highlighted that some Almoners would like guidance in understanding their duties, and support when undertaking various aspects of their role. The subjects covered by Almoners can be wide & varied and require a basic level of understanding.

This section is designed to bridge this gap by providing useful reading, reference material, training aids, and website links.

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Very Good Friend

For some of us, this will have been a difficult year and for others, we may have just got through a hard time and be putting it all behind us.

But imagine if back then, you could have spoken to your future self. A bit of reassurance, a thoughtful word or a useful ‘Heads Up’. That is the benefit of having a very good friend, someone on the square, someone who already has experience of the situation you are about to deal with. Someone to render every kind office which justice or mercy may require.

No matter how confident and self-reliant any one of us might be, there is nothing so reassuring as the affirmation of a “Very Good Friend”. I spent a good eighteen months on medication to reduce the size of my prostate, knowing that eventually it will stop working and I would need surgery. Perfectly fitting the male stereotype, I worried about my situation but kept it to myself, until standing at the bar one lodge night, a member of my lodge asked how I was doing…. Long story short, he shared his own similar experience with such enthusiasm about the outcome that I immediately booked a consultation with my urologist and the rest is history. Without that kind openness and support I might still be taking the tablets and ignoring the problem. He did not become a decision-maker for me, but by giving me a chance to talk things through with him he helped me to listen to myself and understand how I actually felt. This nudged me face up to things and gave me the courage to move forward.

But this is what we are in Freemasonry, “Very Good Friends” and there are so many of us, that whatever you are going through, there will likely be a brother somewhere who has been through it himself. More than that, a brother who will happily talk with you and share his experience. Experience tells us the strength of this kind of support cannot be underestimated and is based on the underlying Masonic principles of Friendship and of Unity. So, if you think your experience might help someone else, let your Almoner know. I cannot be the only one who has been helped in this way and having contact with you could make all the difference to somebody else and their ability to deal with their own situation.

At the end of our Almoner’s reports, we are often reminded that we are ALL almoners and can give our support by telling him if we know of a brother, or his family, who are having difficulties or need our support. If you are happy to give something more and think you could be “A very Good Friend”, let your Almoner know and he will introduce you when a brother reaches out. If asked, he may put you in touch with an Almoner from another lodge but requests for contact will only and always come to you through your own Almoner.

These are difficult times but so long as we all continue to push Freemasonry along, that “Lowest Spoke” of fortunes wheel will continually rise to the top!