On behalf of our Group Chairman, I am pleased to launch the “Broken Column” initiative within our Group. This initiative, launched through West Lancashire Freemasons Charity, strikes at the very heart of what we do as masons within our lodges and chapters and I have the very pleasurable duty of championing its role out and acting as point of contact between the Group and WLFC.
It is designed to help the very people we are pledged to support within our fraternity – our wives and widows. It is hoped that this initiative will attract more wives and widows to become actively involved. But it is also there to assist those brethren, and companions, tasked with providing the first line of care to our wives and widows namely our Almoners.
The Broken Column symbol was first used as a brooch in the American Civil War for the ladies of Masons who were at war. As so many men did not return, and the ladies continued to wear the brooch, it became accepted as a widow’s brooch throughout North America and Canada. Its use was first introduced into England by a member of the Earl of Chester Lodge No 1565.
It has since been adopted as an identifying emblem to be worn in public, especially when travelling, to allow Masons to recognise the wearer as a Masonic widow and to extend to her those courtesies which are due, along with the assistance to which she is entitled. We believe it symbolises our continued concern for, and honour of, the widow of a brother mason whose name added lustre to the Craft.
Now, with his name entered on the Roll of the Grand Lodge Above, we cannot forget those things he loved so deeply, nor can we be unmindful of our duty to him. We offer our widows a continued association with us where they will find friends in time of need. They are not alone, we are here, we wish to help.
The “Broken Column” initiative is there to reinforce our commitment to looking after the needs of our wives and widows and provides an opportunity for them to find help, whether financial or spiritual, and care when they need it. The West Lancs Freemasons Charity is placing great emphasis on its development and will be making funds available to the initiative to help ensure its success in protecting the wellbeing of our wives and widows.
There is no doubt that this initiative will sow the seeds within our Group to establish a means of supporting all our widows who hold a connection with our lodges and chapters. At the crux of it is the intention to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation, and by integrating it with our Ladies Fellowship, we will provide an opportunity for our widows to get out and socialise amongst ladies in a similar situation to their own. Perhaps giving them the chance to meet old friends that they may not have seen for several years
We have been most fortunate within our Group to have had the “Liverpool Group Ladies Fellowship” ably stewarded for many years, by its Chairman – WBro Bob Rogers and his wife Thelma, assisted by Mrs Carol Phillip. It is our intention to develop the Fellowship in the future, linking it firmly with the “Broken Column” Initiative. To assist in this process WBro Derek Gaskell has very kindly agreed to act as Co-ordinator of the Fellowship and he will work, with Bob & Carol, in tandem with myself to co-ordinate the “Broken Column” initiative, to ensure its development going forward. To enhance the profile of the Fellowship it is henceforth to be known as “The Liverpool Group Wives and Widows Luncheon Club”.
“The Liverpool Group Wives and Widows Luncheon Club” will host regular lunches (typically 12.00 – 14.30) at Liverpool Masonic Hall, Hope St, on the first Friday in the months of October, December. February and March, each year. It is hoped that all Almoners will encourage wives and widows to attend. Thereby providing a discreet opportunity for the Almoner to maintain contact, especially with our widows, and assess their needs.
To provide financial support to this initiative, WLFC has very kindly agreed to offer funding which may be used to enhance the experience for our wives and widows attending the lunches. More details of which will be disclosed as the initiative roles out. The brooches referred to above will be available to all widows attending the lunches for them to wear with, I’m sure, a certain amount of pride, and to help them foster a sense of belonging.
Brethren, I appeal to you all to do everything that you can to promote this initiative and ensure that as many of our widows are encouraged, and assisted when necessary, to attend.
The official launch meeting of the newly formed “Liverpool Group Wives and Widows Luncheon Club” will take place at 12.00hrs Friday 1st December, 2017, at LMH, Hope St.
A lunch will be available at a special price agreed by Duncan the Hall Manager. The actual cost will be announced in due course. (Probably about £12)
Each widow attending will be presented with a brooch, together with an information pack offering advice about WLFC and the Masonic Charitable Foundation. As it is the Xmas meeting I’m sure there may well even be a small present from Santa! Please encourage as many wives and widows to attend.
Details of future events, such as the lunches and possible day trips etc, will be advertised in good time. Once again many thanks for your continued assistance
WBro Dave Johnson PPrDGSuptWks
V-Chmn (Craft) Liverpool Group