What support can you provide for the masonic community?
“Essentially, we are the first point of contact for lodge members and their families for any type of assistance. You’ve got to be someone that people know they can turn to if they need support.
We try and give people the encouragement, confidence and care they need to work through whatever situation they’re in, and I also make sure I keep in touch with the partners of brethren directly, so they know they can call me at any time.”
So Ray… what’s in your Almoner bag?
MCF factsheets: Topics range from loneliness, to bereavement, addiction to debt; they explain quite complex matters in a simple way so it’s good to be able to refer to them if needed.
Biscuits: Who doesn’t like a biscuit! It’s a nice icebreaker – when I visit someone, we have biscuits and a cup of tea and it sets a relaxed, informal tone, and helps to put them at ease.
Notepad: I always take notes at visits so I can keep track of what’s been said and what’s going on, and have something to refer to in the future.
Telephone: Sometimes I need to make an enquiry during the visit, so carrying my phone means I can contact the MCF or any other support services straight away.
Cards with my contact details on: Before I leave, I give them my contact details so they know that they can call me at any time.
Provincial Grand Almoner’s contact details: On occasions, people may prefer to contact someone else, especially if I know them personally and they feel uneasy revealing their situation to a friend. So giving the Provincial Grand Almoner’s contact details gives them an option to speak to a different person.
Pen: For obvious reasons!
Flowers: I always take flowers if someone’s recently bereaved, and sometimes for others too. It’s a kind gesture.
MCF leaflets: I always give people leaflets and use them to talk through the different areas of MCF support. They all include the MCF contact details should they want to get in touch.
Tissues: If someone gets upset it’s good to be able to offer them a tissue, as a way of saying “it’s okay.”