W Bro John Harper is the Lodge Mentor for Ashley Hill. Here he writes about mentoring at Ashley Hill, and what it means for the Craft.
Freemasonry inevitably appears rather complicated and esoteric to the new mason and he is immersed, from his first experiences, in unfamiliar terms and actions which mean very little without explanation.
To remedy this deficiency – not on the part of the innocent Initiate, but in the organisation he has joined – a movement started in the earlier part of this decade which is termed Mentoring. The concept, simply put, is to ‘inform’, by an orderly progression, aspects of Freemasonry which might defeat the most intellectual or enquiring of minds – unless guided. Too many masons were feeling isolated or neglected by this exclusion, but were given little advice for enlightenment.
Berkshire Province, under the leadership of our present Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VW Bro Martin Peters, was an earlier player in the field, and held instructional classes for every lodge’s newly- appointed Mentor, under whose guidance programmes have been developed in each Lodge.
In Ashley Hill, the undertaking of this task was put in the hands of W Bro John Harper, who had long held the view that more had to be done to assist the new mason in his baptism of fire, which included much which was incomprehensible not only to Initiates but, indeed, Fellowcrafts and Master Masons. Personal Mentors were appointed for each new mason, to put sense into the masonic ‘fog’.
Supplementary lodge booklets have been developed and it is believed that, in partnership with each Initiate’s proposer, real progress has been made in making the principles and practices of Freemasonry more immediately clear.
The feedback clearly indicates that the policies have been successful.
W Bro John Harper