Recruitment and Retention: Falling in love again – with Freemasonry

Recruitment and Retention in the Craft but there is another ‘R’ that needs to be addressed and that is ‘Returning.’

So much is made of Recruitment and Retention in the Craft but there is another ‘R’ that needs to be addressed and that is ‘Returning.’ There are brethren who have dropped out for whatever reason and need to be welcomed back.  

In 1990, I was initiated into Foundation Lodge No. 82 which meets in Cheltenham in the Province of Gloucestershire and progressed to the Chair in 1999. This was a busy year with nine meetings and over 40 ‘fraternal visits’ within the ‘Masters Circle.’ A few years later, I was invited to join a group of brethren as a founding member of a new lodge in the north of the Province, Hands of Friendship No. 9758, which was formed to welcome brethren from the ‘Three Counties’ area, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and Herefordshire. I initiated my son when he was 21 as the first initiate of the Lodge, making him the youngest member of the newest lodge in the Province of Gloucestershire.

I was keen, active and a committed brother in the Craft but when I retired in 2011 and moved out of the area and, for reasons I still don’t fully understand, my journey in Freemasonry came to a halt. I simply dropped out. I did not look to join another lodge and although the Craft was such a significant part of my life it was as if I had fallen out of love with Freemasonry.

Fast forward to a sunny Saturday morning in 2021 when I was on a train. Sitting opposite me were two men in dark suits, white shirts with black masonic cases on the floor beside them. I leaned forward and whispered, “I greet you well brothers.” I had met Roy Davy and Dave Faulkner on their way to Freemasons’ Hall for a meeting. We chatted until the train reached their station and exchanged phone numbers with a promise from them to invite me to the next meeting of Deo Confidimus Lodge No. 6253, which meets at Harlow Masonic Hall, of which Roy was the Lodge Secretary.

Then came the Covid lockdown but, to his eternal credit, Roy did not forget. As soon as meetings started up again the invitation came to be a visitor at their next meeting. I attended as a guest over the next year to discover a small but vibrant and dynamic lodge with an active social life, one that punched well above its weight in both its ritual as well as its charitable contributions. Last year, I became a member of Deo Confidimus Lodge and my only request on joining was that I wanted to become an active member and so was recently and most appropriately appointed our first Lodge Membership Officer.

One can never tell where a random and chance meeting will lead to. Had I been in any other train carriage I might still be lost to the Craft and not an active Essex Freemason.