Ireland’s largest province of Freemasons has appointed a new Provincial Grand Master to lead them into the future during what is an exciting time for the organisation.
Prominent and successful businessman, John McLernon, who made a name for himself during his career as Operations Director at Bushmills Distillery has been a Freemason for over 50 years. John has taken up the role of Provincial Grand Master of Antrim and plans to grow the organisation in the 21st century and encourage more people to join.
Local Freemasons from throughout the province including Tyrone helped John in his celebrations.
Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisations and with 150 lodges and over 5,000 members in Antrim alone, 30,000 across Ireland, and six million world-wide, the organisation is very much alive and well and eager to grow into the future encouraging a younger member to continue on with the age old tradition of ‘making good men better’.
John takes over the reins from John Dickson, who held the post of Provincial Grand Master for 10 years.
Speaking at his installation event in the Tullyglass Hotel which saw over 300 Freemasons, along with their partners, from across Ireland turn out to support the new appointee, John said: “I am humbled and honoured to have been appointed as the new Provincial Grand Master and I am thankful for the hard work and dedication which my predecessor John Dickson has put into this role over the years, he’s a hard act to follow but I am up for the challenge. I would like to wish John all the best in his retirement from Provincial Grand Lodge
He went on to mark what challenges lie ahead: “Being a Freemason is something I am immensely proud of, and I want more men to feel the joy, friendship and support that I have been so fortunate to receive from my fellow Freemasons over the years. It is my intent to encourage more people to come and talk to us, to find out what it really means to be a Freemason and to see that this is an organisation to be embraced, not one to fear. I see big changes in our future, and we must embrace them wholeheartedly to ensure the future of Freemasonry is safe in the hands of the next generation.”
“Our future lies in opening the doors and dispelling the myth that we are a secret organisation, it lies in our social interaction with our families and friends, both Masonic and Non-masonic, it lies with us encouraging a greater understanding that Freemasonry is all inclusive, it leaves no-one out no matter what race, colour or creed, and it lies with us sharing what we do and showcasing the wonderful work we do for both Masonic and Non-Masonic charities.
“Goodwill to all, kindness and a desire to help those less fortunate are fundamental principles of the Masonic Fraternity and therefore, charitable giving is a major part of our membership. Benevolence is at the heart of being a Freemason and we are looking to the future where we will celebrate our Vision 20/20 Festival next year.
He added: “To have the opportunity to stand as Provincial Grand Master at this exciting time is truly humbling. We are in a time where change is necessary to ensure relevance of all organisations, and as the Freemasons of the Province of Antrim we are now ready for the next exciting chapter. I see young men joining us and actively seeking out the social interaction and friendship that being a Freemason provides, in a world where technology is taking control of our lives, meeting with people, face to face is unarguably on the decline. As Freemasons we can offer the hand of Friendship and provide an alternative to the social media culture which thrives in our society today.
“I believe Freemasonry has a great future and I am immensely proud to represent this organisation in the great province of Antrim.”
The new Provincial Grand Master will be supported by a new Provincial Deputy Grand Master John L. Edens who will be installed on the 29th of this month , taking over from J. O. Dunlop (Jack). They will be supported by two Provincial Assistant Grand Masters Ivan Gillespie and Samuel Brennan and an additional two yet to be announced.
If you are interested in joining the Freemasons of Antrim please visit www.pglantrim.org