BFSA: “A Conversation With Leading Women”

November 19, 2015

On Saturday [Nov 21] the Bermuda Friendly Societies Association [BFSA] will hold its 12th Annual Lodge Fundraiser & Social at Manchester Unity Lodge Hall in Hamilton, with the topic for this year’s event “Achieving Cultural Empowerment: A Conversation with Leading Women.”

The BFSA said, “The Bermuda Friendly Society Association is the successor to the various ‘friendly society bodies’ or ‘Black lodges’ that existed in Bermuda since 1830. These groups were quite prominent until the 1960’s and were critical to the development of our society as it is today.

“The lodges provided school rooms, meeting rooms to start churches, facilities for dances and recitals, lectures and bazaars, and other needs of the community.

“As there were no social assistance programs from the church or government, the lodges provided sick relief, old age pensions, death assistance, and even help for school fees and loans. They effectively cared for persons from the cradle to the grave.

“The active membership of the Association comprises six Lodges – the Loyal Mayflower Lodge, The Flower of the Day Lodge, the Princess Royal Union Lodge, Alexandrina Lodge, the Household of Ruth and the Loyal Irresistible Lodge.

BFSA Annual Social 2015 Bermuda Nov 19 2015 2a

“Collectively, we have all participated in that social evolution. Our successes have seen the moving of many of the barriers of inequity based on race and gender.

“We have promoted that all persons contribute to society and that even the most common person has often had uncommon impacts and played outstanding and leading roles in our social evolution. We need to tell the story and continue to spread it to all of those in our community so that the full story of the people of Bermuda will be known.

“On Saturday, November 21st, 2015, the Bermuda Friendly Societies Association [BFSA] will hold its 12th Annual Lodge Fundraiser & Social at Manchester Unity Lodge Hall in Hamilton [opposite the People’s Pharmacy] from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“The topic for this year’s event is: Achieving Cultural Empowerment: A Conversation with Leading Women

“This year, the Conversation at Manchester Unity Hall will feature Wor. Nicole Stoneham, Dr. Jewel Landy, and Martha Dismont.

“Come and hear the inspiring stories of empowerment and success that have helped to shape our community. Please join us as we celebrate and promote the best in each other.”

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Comments (2)

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  1. Bermy Realist says:

    This really needs to be held more then once a year cause the community needs it and to hear from other successful persons as well. This society needs to continue with this movement and the assistance in the community because the community really needs your help. Did someone drop the ball?

    • Michael Bradshaw says:


      We (both the Friendly Society movement and the public at large) became victims of our own success and the erroneous belief that we no longer needed anyone else. Bermudians have always tended to come together for work even if we separated our social lives like for church and school and entertainment etc. First slavery, and then instituionalized racism of the post-Emancipation era, and the segregation of the early C20 meant that Blacks and women were ignored or pushed aside by the world of White and male privilege. The Friendly Societies emphasized fraternity above all else – - – mutual assistance and self-help. I am my brother’s/sister’s keeper. So the Black lodges established an alternative functional world alongside that of White privilege. Eventually the White world grudgingly (and step by slo step) allowed women and Blacks in to their privileged seats. Government and private charities and commercial businesses put in products that were bigger and flashier. So we gave up the alternative system the lodges had created. But the lodges have continued to do their thing. Nowadays we intend to be a little more public about it all. We no longer have to hide our light from the scrutiny of the authorities because they do not want us to empower those in need. We continue our philosophy of self-help and self-determination.