The Assistant Grand Master visits Northumberland

11th July 2023

The Assistant Grand Master, R W Bro Steven Varley, was in Northumberland Province this week to meet with the Provincial Executive and our Provincial Members’ Pathway Officers, and to talk about the Membership Challenge.

Each Province has been set a membership challenge by UGLE, to close the gap between the members we are losing from Freemasonry and those new members we are bringing into the Craft.

The Provincial Grand Master opened the meeting with introductions and an overview of the agenda. The Assistant Grand Master then explained his role, as the designated Grand Ruler for the Northern Provinces and talked about how he was in post to help and support.

After the introductions, our Deputy Provincial Grand Master, V W Bro Kevin Stannard, gave a presentation about the Futures Group and the work that the group are doing to plan for the future of Freemasonry in Northumberland. Kevin also talked about how our work will align to the UGLE 7-year strategy and how the priorities the Futures Group have identified map to the pillars of the UGLE 7-year strategy. You can read more about the Futures Group and the 7-year strategy by clicking this link.

In his role as Deputy Grand Superintendent, E Comp Gordon Craigs talked about the Chapter Working Group, and the work they are doing to make the ritual in the Royal Arch Chapter more accessible. In his capacity as one of our Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, Gordon also talked about the Learning and Development Team and the various things they are developing to support our brethren.

There was a discussion led by the Provincial Grand Master and Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, Dr Greg Smith and George Sanger, about the Grand Officers and our new Responsible Grand Officer role, which you should have heard about by now from your Lodge Secretary (ask him if you haven’t).

David Stockdale, our Provincial Grand Mentor, and Gary Breach, our Provincial Membership Officer, then gave a presentation on the work of the Provincial Members’ Pathway Team and some examples of the excellent work going on in some of our Lodges.  They ran through the various things in development, which will support our Province to meet (and we hope will exceed) our membership challenge target.  You can view the key slide from that presentation by clicking this link.

George Sanger talked about the importance of communication and how we work in a joined-up way, with communications being the thread of everything we do in the Province.  He also shared an update on the work of our communications team, highlighting our new website.

The Assistant Grand Master offered several useful suggestions which will be implemented and led on a discussion about some of the things we asked for from UGLE.  The meeting was very positive and productive, and everyone in attendance came away from the meeting feeling energised and positive about our future.

Each one of us has an important part to play in meeting our membership challenge. Please look out for more information from the Members’ Pathway Team about how to help.  The Members’ Pathway Team are also keen for your feedback and ideas, and they can be contacted at