The sad loss of W.Bro. Michael Leonard Baker P.A.G.D.C. in April deprived Freemasonry of one of its most creative, talented and hardworking advocates.
With the kind permission of Mike’s widow, Tina, the Mark Province of Kent has introduced an annual lectureship in Mike’s memory. The Provincial Grand Master, R.W.Bro. Archie Torrance invited V.W.Bro. Tony Harvey to write and deliver the inaugural lecture entitled “How to grow the membership of your Mark Lodge”, a topic that Mike would have truly appreciated.
The lecture took place online, via Zoom, on the evening of Monday 26th October with a three-figure audience, which included no fewer than eight Provincial Grand Masters, six regional heads of other orders and R.W.Bros. John H. Prizeman – Deputy Grand Master, Stephen Davison – Assistant Grand Master and Ryan Williams – Grand Secretary.
Before handing over to Tony, R.W.Bro. Archie spoke of how very hard he found it to introduce this first lecture in memory of a man he admired and respected in equal measure. He mentioned how, “Following Mike’s passing, it was not long before the idea of establishing a lecture series in his name emerged. The Mike Baker Memorial Lecture series was agreed as a fitting title and I am very pleased to formally launch it today.” Continuing, “Our lecturer is none other than V.W.Bro. Tony Harvey, P.G.J.O. R.A.M.G.R., Prestonian Lecturer 2012, Cornwallis Lecturer 2018, a very gifted and experienced speaker. We are most grateful to him for accepting my invitation. I would, of course, have preferred for this inaugural lecture to be delivered in a physical Lodge setting. However, due to Covid-19 we have had to rely on the wonders of technology and hold it by means of a different mode of communication, video conferencing. Mike would, I am sure, have seen the irony in this.”
Tony began his lecture warning those who were looking to grow the membership of their Mark Lodge that there was “no magic wand”. However, he continued by explaining seven basic facts such as, every year we lose more members through resignations than we gain through Advancements, meaning that if we could plug some of the holes in this “leaky bucket” we could start to turn a corner in growing our membership. The other six facts can be found in the lecture booklet. Tony then went on to outline ten tried and tested steps to improve the health of your Lodge and the quality of its members, which along with the full transcript of the lecture can be found in the printed booklet.
In an impromptu address at the end of the evening, R.W.Bro. Prizeman expressed his support for the importance of everything that had been discussed so positively during and after the lecture, and in typical Mark style, thanked Archie and Tony for organising the lecture in Mike’s honour. He went on to speak of how the Mark Degree, along with the other progressive orders administered from Mark Masons’ Hall provide opportunity to members that they might not find elsewhere.
You can now purchase a printed copy of the lecture, which includes a range of additional ideas shared and brainstormed by the attendees on the night, from the Provincial shop for just Â£5.00, with all proceeds going to the Kent Mark Benevolent Fund.