On 9th May, the Foundation Club visited Castlemartyr Lodge the Provincial Executive’s private Lodge to partake in a debate regarding change entitled, “This House believes, that in order to have a future in the 21st century, Freemasonry must evolve.”
This was a unique event with the Foundation Club taking on the Provincial Debating Team. Mark Budds and Iain Pompei represented the Foundation Club, taking on W. Bro. Forbes Cutler ProvSGD and W. Bro. Klick Rahman PPSGD.
The debate was opened by the Chairman, W. Bro. Mike Harding Assistant Provincial Grand Master who introduced the two teams.
Proposal for the Motion
Mark Budds gave the opening statement for the motion, declaring that Freemasonry must evolve reflecting the change in lifestyles and working practices and that Freemasonry to avoid being Dinosaurs needs a kick-start to bring it in line with the modern world and modern technology.
Proposal Against the Motion
Forbes Cutler then responded on behalf of the Provincial Team, asserting that Freemasonry has continually adapted to change, and in his own opinion had never been more vibrant. However, short term changes to match current vogues could have a long-term negative impact on our institution, to a stage that Masons of earlier generations may say that it no longer counted as real Freemasonry.
The Cases for and against the Motion
The Chairman of the debate then called upon Iain Pompei to make the case for the Motion on behalf of the Foundation Club. Iain argued that Freemasonry faces a new frontier and a journey in the 21st Century. That Freemasonry should explore new ways and seek new and exciting futures and to boldly go where no Mason had gone before. Klick Rahman then responded on behalf of the Provincial Debating Team, making the point that evolution is natural, and good. Freemasonry had evolved for 300 years and will continue to do so, how change for change’s sake could mean a short-term gain in numbers, but with the loss of the very essence of Freemasonry.
Comments from the Floor
The Chairman then invited comments from the floor and a lively discussion ensued with the general consensus being that change was necessary, but the debate focussed on just how fast and radical the change needed to be. The final commentator said that radical change was not needed, but the change that was really was required was to focus on younger and newer Brethren.
Closing the Debate
The Chairman then invited the Bro. Mark to again take the floor to argue for the Foundation Club. Mark argued that he was not for advocating the scrapping of the traditions and heritage of Freemasonry, but that they needed to reflect the technical age that now permeates their home and business lives of the members.
W. Bro. Forbes then took the floor to summarise the case against the motion, but because that Freemasonry is founded on Truth and not on public perception is that we spin ourselves in to listening to the outside world and thereby lose our self-belief. That Freemasonry is based on beliefs, not numbers or turnover; it is based on quality, not quantity.
The Chairman restated that the Motion that had been debated was “This House believes that, in order to have a future in the 21st century, Freemasonry must evolve. “and that the floor had heard arguments for and against, and many of those were elegant points, given in a heartfelt and sometimes humorous way.
The chances were that Members and guests had come into Castlemartyr Lodge on that evening with an opinion already formed on the topic. He wished to remind the floor that they were being asked to vote on the substance of the arguments in the debate itself, and not on what their opinion was when they had first arrived. The Chairman invited the four speakers For and Against the Motion to withdraw from the Lodge.
A vote was taken and the Scrutineer passed the result to the Worshipful Master and W. Bros Cutler, Rahman, Pompei and Bro Budds were re-admitted. The Worshipful Master, W.Bro. John Milner PAsstProvGM then declared the result, as follows:
For the Motion 11 Votes – Against the Motion 26 Votes
The Motion was therefore defeated and the Provincial Debating Team were declared the winners. The Worshipful Master congratulated and thanked the Teams for presenting an entertaining and lively debate and the “Floor” for its excellent contribution.
Whilst we may not have won the argument on the night, we did succeed in getting all to admit that changes for new and younger Freemasons are necessary.
Our thanks got to the Worshipful Master and Members of Castlemartyr Lodge for inviting us to partake in the debate, it certainly was an evening and occasion to remember.