WHAT IS A MASONIC FESTIVAL?
A Festival is a major fund-raising project, spread over a number of years to benefit one of the four central Masonic Charities, namely the Freemason’s Grand Charity, the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution, the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys and the Masonic Samaritan Fund. It is believed that the Festival system was devised in 1942 when, due to the Second World War there were a great number of disadvantaged Freemasons, wives, widows and children. Each major charity has one Masonic Province or groups of smaller Provinces “In Festival” each year and each province is “In Festival” every 11 years. The period of a Festival is usually between 5 and 10 years.
The Festival System is so called because at the end of a period of fund raising, there is a Festival banquet attended by as many of the Brethren and their ladies as is possible, at which a symbolic cheque for the total sum raised is presented by the R.W. Provincial Grand Master to the President of the particular charity.
WHO ARE THE RMBI?
The Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution (RMBI) has been caring for older Freemasons and their dependants for over 160 years. It operates seventeen care homes across England and Wales which provide residential, nursing, respite and dementia care for elderly Freemasons and their dependants. Admission to RMBI Homes is on a fee paying basis but with charitable support towards care fees for those in receipt of Local Authority funding.
In addition, the RMBI has a national network of Care Advice visitors who provide information and guidance on all care related matters, as well as health and welfare rights and benefits. They can also give advice on all aspects of the services offered by the RMBI, the other Masonic charities and by statutory and voluntary agencies.
The RMBI also runs one Home for adults with learning difficulties, and two warden assisted sheltered accommodation sites. In addition the RMBI can also offer short stay breaks that include respite care which are helpful for both those living alone and for families that need a little respite from the demands of caring for an older relative. Finally, for those individuals in receipt of Masonic financial assistance, the RMBI organises annual holidays for over 100 people and provides home improvement loans.
WHAT IS THE PERIOD OF THE FESTIVAL?
The Festival Appeal will be launched by the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master in February 2014 and will end in spring 2019 when the Festival Event will take place.
WILL THERE BE A TARGET FOR THE FESTIVAL?
If the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master chooses to set a target it will be announced at the Appeal Launch in February 2014.
WHAT IS REQUIRED FROM EACH MEMBER?
The Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master is asking all Brethren and Companions from within the Province of Surrey to support the Festival by making a financial commitment to the RMBI, whether via a Regular Promise to Pay directly to the Festival appeal or through their Lodge or Chapter. Also to support any events arranged by the Province in aid of the Festival and to demonstrate their support by wearing a 2019 Festival Jewel.
WILL MY LODGE HAVE A TARGET?
Lodges and Chapters will be encouraged to attain awards based upon the amount donated per member. There will be three levels of achievement, Bronze, Silver and Gold andIt is hoped that every Lodge and Chapter will aim to achieve at least one of these.
WILL MEMBERS HAVE A PERSONAL TARGET?
No, however Lodges and Chapters will receive special recognition if the number of members making Regular Promise to Pay donations, or the equivalent, reaches a set percentage of its members.
WILL THERE BE A FESTIVAL JEWEL?
Yes. A special jewel for the 2019 Festival has been designed and can be worn from the launch of the Festival. Jewels can only be worn by those members who have qualified as a Festival Steward. Once qualified the jewel can then be purchased and worn for the duration of the Festival Appeal. Jewels can be pre-ordered from the 1st January 2014.
HOW DO I QUALIFY TO BECOME A FESTIVAL STEWARD?
Members can become Festival Stewards by making a minimum donation. This can be made through a Regular Promise to Pay or as a one off donation.
WILL THERE BE DIFFERENT LEVELS OF PATRONAGE?
Yes. Vice Patron, Patron and Grand Patron levels will all be available to members depending upon the amount that has been donated. These amounts will be announced at the Festival Launch.
WILL THERE BE A LADIES JEWEL?
A small silver RMBI broach will be available to purchase.
CAN I WEAR MY FESTIVAL JEWEL TO MEETINGS OUTSIDE THE PROVINCE OF SURREY?
No, the jewel can only be worn in Surrey.
HOW CAN MEMBERS DONATE TO THE FESTIVAL?
The best method of making a donation is by completing a Regular Promise to Pay for the term of the Festival which when combined with a ‘Gift Aid Declaration’ will enhance your donation by some £0.25p for every £1.00 donated, (UK taxpayers only qualify). Regular promises to pay forms have been produced specifically for the 2019 Festival. Some members prefer to make personal cash donations rather than by standing order, this method is equally welcome and can also be Gift Aided. Regular Promise to Pay forms have been produced specifically for the 2019 Festival.
WHAT IF MEMBERS ALREADY HAVE A REGULAR PROMISE TO PAY (RPP) INTO THEIR LODGE/CHAPTER RELIEF CHEST OR CHARITY ACCOUNT?
Members do not need to stop or change any existing arrangements that they may have. They may take out a second RPP to the Festival.
Members who are already operating a RPP to their Lodge/Chapter Relief Chest can make donations to the Festival from that Relief Chest. These donations will be included in their Lodge/Chapter totals for the Festival.
HOW WILL LODGES AND CHAPTERS KNOW HOW MUCH THEY HAVE DONATED AND WHEN?
Each Lodge Representative will receive a regular update on their Lodge amount. This will be emailed to them via their OV and CLO.
HOW WILL DONATIONS BE RECOGNISED FOR THOSE WHO ARE MEMEBRS OF MORE THAN ONE LODGE OR CHAPTER?
Members who take out a Regular Promise to Pay will have to decide which Lodge or Chapter is to be credited with the donations. When one-off donations are made the member will again select which of their Lodges or Chapters is to be credited. Donations cannot be split between different Lodges or Chapters.
CAN A LODGE/CHAPTER MAKE A DONATION TO THE FESTIVAL?
Yes. Lodges and Chapters can make donations either by Cheque or from their Relief Chest. If a donation is being made on behalf of the members then a full breakdown of how the donation is made up will be required. Obviously this will not be the case if it is being made as a result of a raffle or collection etc.
CAN MEMBERS CONTINUE TO WEAR THE 2008 FESTIVAL JEWEL?
The 2008 Festival Jewel was issued as a Permanent Jewel and so there is nothing to stop any member from wearing one. However it is the wish of the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master that brethren wear their 2019 Festival Jewel in preference to that of the 2008 Festival Jewel.
HOW WILL MEMBERS RECEIVE THE LATEST INFORMATION REGARDING THE FESTIVAL?
The 2019 Festival Committee will be issuing regular updates regarding the Festival and the Provincial Grand Charity Stewards in both the Craft and the Royal Arch, will be making regular updates to Charity Stewards across the Province. The Charity Liaison Officers will also be making regular contact with Charity Stewards as well. There will be regular Charity Steward Surgeries held at the Masonic Centres throughout the Festival appeal, as well as regular articles in the Surrey Mason Magazine and on the Festival Website.
WILL THERE BE A FESTIVAL TIE?
No. Members will be encouraged to demonstrate their support of the Festival by purchasing a Festival Jewel. There will be a tie/lapel pin available but no other merchandise will be on sale at the launch.