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2022 Christmas Message

by Neill Rhodes

Christmas Message from RW Bro Anthony Howlett-Bolton, Provincial Grand Master

For some, this will be the first Christmas message you will have received from me as Provincial Grand Master; for others, it will be the fourth. Whether you are new to Freemasonry or well-established, I send you sincere Christmas greetings and I trust that you are continuing to enjoy your Freemasonry in Berkshire. Certainly, as I travel the length & breadth of the Province, I am delighted to make new acquaintances, heartened by the enthusiasm for Freemasonry and the spirit of belonging and commitment that I witness everywhere I go.

This time of year is one of celebration and joy. Whilst during the last four years we have been faced with a number of significant global and national challenges, not least of which this autumn was the loss of our beloved Queen, nevertheless, we still have much for which to be grateful and I am excited for the future. I was thrilled to read our Annual Review for 2021-2022 which was published in September and which I hope you have all had a chance to see. The theme focused on ‘what good looks like’ and reflected on the new initiatives and special projects with which we have all been engaged. It makes delightful reading.

Supported by your partners and families, I am continually amazed by the individual and collective contributions that you make regularly to secure a meaningful difference to the communities in which we all live. Quite frankly, it is a humbling and constant reminder to me of the relevance that Freemasonry has to modern society in such a troubled world and the positive contributions that we make through our charitable giving of time and money. Despite all that we have faced, support for the Berkshire Festival 2023 is remarkable and a defining characteristic of this incredibly Special Province of ours. I am convinced that with a final push in the first quarter of 2023, we will hit our target and fulfil our obligation to the Masonic Charitable Foundation; our Freemasons Charity. I look forward to the Gala Dinner to be held at Sindlesham on 10th June when the final figure will be declared.

As I pen this message today, we have some 220 enquiries from men who wish to join Berkshire Freemasonry as well as 60 in the pipeline for initiation or joining. This is good news and will help us to build the future of Freemasonry in the years to come. It is important that we make them all and their families welcome and engage positively from the very first point of contact so that they can also enjoy what we take for granted.

In September, we saw an unprecedented change in High Rulers as well a number of key positions at the United Grand Lodge of England. Inevitably, this will bring an element of transitional evolution but, from my personal engagement with them, I am absolutely convinced that building on previously established strong foundations such evolution will be for the better in that it will secure and cement Freemasonry as a ‘Force For Good’ in our communities and in society at large, as well as ensuring that Freemasonry remains a relevant and thriving organisation that men aspire to join.

This month at Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge, the Pro Grand Master Jonathan Spence outlined his thoughts for the next seven years. To complement this, early in the New Year, I will be contacting you again addressing some of the detail so that you can play your part in helping to build and sustain our future. I never underestimate the impact of individual engagement and the importance of how individual Lodges conduct their masonic business on a regular basis.

As always I thank you for your support and commitment to the success of the Province of Berkshire and to me personally as the Provincial Grand Master. Neither of which I take for granted. It only remains to me to wish you, your families and all whom you hold dear to your hearts a very Happy Christmas. Do your utmost to make it special for you and for all those with whom you may have close or tangential contact. I look forward to seeing you again fully reinvigorated at Lodge meetings in 2023.

Yours sincerely & fraternally,


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