It is a great honour for the Province of Bristol to have been chosen by Grand Lodge to run the 2019 festival for the Masonic Samaritan Fund –a charity set up to assist and support Brethren and immediate dependents only – our very own charity there for us in the time of need.The MSF provides grants for medical, dental and respite care as well as mobility assistance to Masons and their Dependants who are unable to access treatment or care via the NHS or their local Authority without undue delay, and who cannot afford private treatment or care without suffering further hardship. Masons and their Dependants can now also be directed to a free, confidential Counselling Careline, operated by trained counsellors, who will listen and provide professional guidance. The MSF charity is supported by the funds raised through donations but, principally, through festivals and each of the 47 provinces in England and Wales are all regularly engaged in raising funds through the festival system.
In our Province we last ran a five year festival which culminated in 2008, in support of the RMBI, raising £685,000 from within the province with very large donations to the RMBI from other provinces being added to the Festival Total. To support The MSF through the Bristol 2019 Festival we are endeavouring to raise £650,000, a lesser amount and over a longer period of time – six years. The pledge amount reflects the current lower membership numbers and the reduction in gift aid to 25 %.
Unfortunately we are all affected by the current financial situation but this in itself is a very good reason for seeking support for the festival by ensuring that the MSF has the funds to support those brethren and their dependents that desperately need help, in fact, some Brethren in our Province are currently being assisted by this fund.
The MSF provides grants for medical, dental and respite care as well as mobility assistance to Masons and their Dependants who are unable to access treatment or care via the NHS or their local Authority without undue delay, and who cannot afford private treatment or care without suffering further hardship. Masons and their Dependants can now also be directed to a free, confidential Counselling Careline, operated by trained counsellors, who will listen and provide professional guidance.
To achieve the amount we are appealing to each lodge for support by raising an amount equal to £495 per member, (“per capita”), which would enable the Province to honour the pledge. This per capita method is far more equitable and ensures that those lodges with fewer members are able to fully participate in, and, support the festival achieving the same level of recognition as those lodges with a larger membership.
By far the best way for an individual to support the festival and his lodge is through regular donations by gift aid. For example the per capita figure equates to just £1.58 per week for the term of the festival and a regular promissory payment of £7 per month would achieve this, plus, gain a bonus from the tax man of £126!! Of course, donations of any amount will be gratefully received as some brethren will give more and some less.
A Gift Aid/ Standing Order form is enclosed with this edition – please complete and send direct to The MSF or give to your Charity Steward. The very valuable 25% tax bonus could be reduced or even disappear in future Government spending cuts so, time is of the essence!
To acknowledge the support and recognise the fund raising achievements of Lodges, Chapters and individuals during the festival there will be achievement awards and, for the first time ever in the 300 year history of the province, The Provincial Grand Master, President of the Festival, RW Bro. Alan John Vaughan has permitted the presentation of a charity jewel which may be worn in lodge and chapter.
The Jewel is of a very unique design featuring, at its centre, a 15th century Bristol Mayoral seal, reflecting not only the historic connections with the city, but, also of our unique province. This is a beautiful jewel which required special Grand Lodge approval.
The Jewel itself will be presented when a gift aid pledge or standing order for a minimum of £7 per month for six years is submitted. A single donation of £495, or above, also qualifies as does all recorded donations over a period totalling this amount.
Every recorded donation made is credited to the Brother and towards his lodge objective. The use of the Gift Aid envelopes should be encouraged where ever possible to obtain the 25% tax rebate to the fund – envelopes now of specific Bristol design without those annoying tear off flaps and making life much easier for our Charity Stewards!
The Lodge Achievement plaques will be presented with Charity Pillar emblems representing the levels of donations made – the per capital basis places every lodge on an equal footing irrespective of the number of members. All donations made by lodge members are credited to the lodge total raised, including the 25% gift aid and a small amount of monthly notional interest.
It is immensely pleasing to see that many brethren have already submitted gift aid forms and large single donations to support the festival and provide the funds necessary for the MSF to support our fellow brothers. There have been donations from Brethren raised by running in marathons, from Lodges, Chapters, The provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Masons, Eyerman Cuisine Ltd, Masonic Golf Society and the Christmas card project of W.Bro Chris Cook. These and other individual and collective efforts have enabled the Festival to commence on January 1st with an opening balance of £46,662!!
There will no doubt be many normal, and some not so normal, fund raising activities during the festival which should also provide a lot of fun and enjoyment and the festival committee would welcome suggestions, ideas and any offers of assistance which will help us, collectively, as a province to reach the objective - support for a charity that supports us.
Please let us know what fund raising activities your brethren and families have undertaken so that it can be reported in the Bristol Standard, Facebook, Twitter and this website. The MSF is also keen to include details in their quarterly magazine.
Every effort, irrespective of the amount raised, is of equal importance; so, please tell us how your lodge and its members are achieving their objective.
In appealing for your goodwill and support I also hope that you will have fun and enjoy raising funds for The Masonic Samaritan Fund- your charity for you and your dependents- and I wish you every success.
In order to recognise the fund raising efforts of each lodge a plaque will be awarded to lodges with a charity pillar emblem, or part of, to mark the progress towards achieving their first objective.
The fairest way to raise our pledged amount is to set a “per capita” figure of £495, based on the membership of the lodge on January 1st
For example a lodge with 40 members (40 x £495), the objectives would be: 1/2 Charity Pillar £9,900 3/4 Quarters Pillar £14,850 First Charity Pillar £19,800 Second Charity Pillar £24,750
Each will be based on all donations made by the lodge plus Gift Aid, standing orders and individual donations from members. The levels will be reviewed annually to reflect changes in membership numbers.
The plaques may be displayed in the lodge room during meetings and in the dining room.
In order to recognise the fund raising efforts of each Chapter a plaque will be awarded to the Chapter with a charity pillar emblem, or part of, to mark the progress towards achieving its first charity pillar. The fairest way to honour our pledged amount to the MSF is to request each Chapter to consider raising funds based on a “per capita” figure of £36 over the 6 years period.
For example a Chapter with 35 members the objectives would be:
1/2 Charity Pillar £603 3/4 Quarter Pillar £945 First Charity Pillar £1,260 Second Charity Pillar £1,575
Each will be based on all donations made by the Chapter plus Gift Aid, standing orders and individual donations from members. The Award levels will be reviewed annually to reflect changes in membership numbers.
All donations made in Gift Aid envelopes will be credited to the Chapter where the donation was made. Previously the amount was credited to the guests /visitors own Chapter total. The amount will also be credited to the individual for Festival Jewel and MSF certificate calculations in the normal way.
The plaques may be displayed in the Chapter room during convocations and in the dining room.