We have different goals and different motivations. Certainly, one of those might be to learn more about the Craft and the progressive nature of its degrees and orders. However, one of the challenges of enabling and supporting that learning among our brethren, is that not everyone shares that desire. That is absolutely fine, acceptable and to be respected. We do know, however, from engagement surveys, anecdotal evidence and feedback from learning & development programmes that have been put in place across the constitution, that a sizeable proportion of our membership does want to know more, learn, develop and understand our history, symbolism and peculiar customs a little better.
How do Freemasons learn more about the Craft?
The challenge does not stop there though, because even within that cross section of brethren who are keen to learn, we all have different interests and experiences, and therefore the perceived gaps in our understanding, and the questions we have in response, will also all be different. In other words, you cannot devise a single programme of learning that meets everyone’s requirements. You can’t say, “start here and work your way in that direction”, as ‘here’ is not the same place for everyone, and not everyone will wish to direct their course in that same direction. So, how can we possibly hope to meet the unique learning requirements of each individual brother?
In my view, to maximise our chances of meeting those needs, we essentially need two tools. We need a ‘self-service’ option, where brethren can bring their specific questions and find the answers themselves. They should be able to do that at a time and in a format that suits them. Nobody else is telling them what they think they should know – they can just help themselves to the boundless body of knowledge that our incredible fraternity has amassed over the centuries. Additionally, there will be those who simply don’t know what they don’t know, and they need a bit of help to get started; a guided tour, if you will.
Online learning using ‘Solomon’ from UGLE
UGLE has a self-service option – called Solomon – and further details on Solomon can be found on this link.
A structured approach to learning
For those who prefer a more structured approach, we have many tools at our disposal: As a Province we run learning & development days across roughly three a year at different locations; we have a team of skilled presenters who can come and deliver specific talks to your Lodge or Chapter; a research group and library; and a Twitter feed that delivers regular bite-sized pieces of learning. For 2020 we now have a new tool. You’re reading it now! I hope this monthly blog will complement the other forms of learning already in use and deliver some of my thoughts to help those who are interested to make their daily advancement in Masonic learning. Please let me know if I’m right!
W.Bro. Merrick Jones PAGPurs, Prov G Orator – A third-generation Freemason, Merrick was initiated into Wenallt Lodge No. 9082 in 1994, where he is currently Director of Ceremonies. He is Master of the Albert Edward Court Lodge of Research No. 9908, a member of Hendre Lodge No. 3250 and Lodge of Benevolence No. 7305 and a member of the Quatuor Coronati Correspondence Circle. He is Treasurer of Hiraeth Chapter No. 8834 and Director of Ceremonies of Colonnade Chapter No. 7305. In 2015 he was appointed Past Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies. In 2017 he was appointed Provincial Grand Orator and Learning & Development Officer. In that role he also chairs the Provincial Research Group. In 2018 he was appointed Assistant Grand Pursuivant in UGLE. He is also a Subject Manager for the Solomon learning system.