Just when we thought we were on the verge of Springtime, Mother Nature flexes her muscles and demonstrates once again who is in charge! There has been some disruption to our meetings this past week through travel difficulties but I am aware how much you have all rallied round to ensure that meetings have not been cancelled, and that those fortunate enough to be unaffected have contributed that bit extra and still enjoyed your Lodge meetings. Well done to all you stalwarts!
So much is happening in this busy Province of ours since I last wrote. Christmas and New Year celebrations seem such a distant memory. 2018 had hardly begun when the Annual Burns Weekend at Bournemouth got underway. Once again we were well looked after by the staff at the Highcliffe Marriott and right royally entertained by our principal speakers (including John Prizeman and Vince Driver) and our resident musicians Tom and Eunice. Those of you who are our regular supporters will be pleased to know that we have ironed out the Friday Night imperfections and arrangements are well in hand for next year’s event. The 18th to 20th January 2019 is the date for your diaries. The raffle at that function raised over £2,000 and this magnificent sum has already been paid over to the MBF.
I am absolutely delighted to report, too, that as a result of your continuing generosity, London’s allocation of the 2018 Festival Jewels (yes, those lapel badges) are completely sold out – all 1,000 of them. Brethren, that’s £10,000 towards the MBF target to supply this year – amongst other donations – 52 new state of the art ambulances and support vehicles to the St John’s Ambulance Association throughout England. Well done and thank you to you all.
And the good news keeps on pouring in. Such is the regard so many of you hold for our wonderful Mark Degree that in addition to the new Scouting Lodge of MMM and the new Gallipoli Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners (which are well on the way to being formed) I am absolutely delighted to announce the creation of two further Mark Lodges: Loyalty Lodge and (for the golfers amongst you who will appreciate the significance of the name) the Albatross Lodge! Watch out on Facebook and the Provincial website for details on how to join these Lodges or better still become a Founder. Being a Founder of a new Lodge is an especially memorable experience – enjoyed by many of our members – and if you would like to be in on the ground floor of a new Lodge, to participate and even influence the direction which a brand new Lodge will take, then do consider putting your name forward. The Consecration Ceremony itself is a proud event for the Founders and such meetings are often considered to be among the highlights of our Mark calendar. For ease of reference click here for the Petitioner’s Form for you to download, complete and send off to the appropriate Organising Secretary (details below):
Ralph Reader Lodge:- Sanjiv Gohill (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lodge of Loyalty:- Martin Vidler (email@example.com)
Albatross Lodge:- Jerry Gangadeen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
And I would ask you too to continue to bear in mind our Lodges of Special Opportunity. For any Brother of any rank or seniority, these Units which are in need of a larger membership, offer speedy opportunities for progression through the WM’s Chair for those Brethren who can demonstrate capacity for the ritual and a commitment to the Lodge. Click here to learn more.
For the Provincial Officers, the Officers’ Mess is holding its Annual Dinner on 13 April when one of our own members – David Nunn – will give a talk entitled “Under the Knife – what you should know about the science of joint replacement.” Provincial Officers will be receiving another message about this event in due course.
Brethren, during the many visits which I and my Executive make to your Lodges, we are conscious that there are a number of very good ritualists within our ranks and Officers who are very comfortable with the format of our meetings and ceremonies. However, it cannot be concealed that within the numbers ranged under our banners, there are some brethren who find it difficult to devote the time to study their rituals and have little or no opportunity to rehearse. One of the ways in which you can build on your knowledge of our Advancement and Elevation ceremonies is to attend Grand Master’s Lodge of Instruction. The title may sound very ‘grand’ but its target audience for membership is primarily lay brethren, aspiring to higher office – or even Past Masters who have a fondness for the ritual and want to improve their knowledge and performance. This is an LofI the same as your Craft LofI or Chapter of Improvement. Do please consider attending. Rehearsals are at Mark Masons’ Hall, generally 1st and 3rd Mondays of the months September to April. These rehearsals culminate in a Festival, which is shared around the country. This year that Festival is on 25th April at Brighton. 15.30 for R.A.M. and 17.00 for Mark. I and my Deputy will be there – so we’ll look out for you.
Click here for the application form and, of course, dining is optional. Do try to support this event and give yourselves the advantage of witnessing these ceremonies as they are intended to be enacted.
Before I sign off this newsletter Brethren, can I draw your attention to our forthcoming Annual Meeting.
THE principal event of our Mark Masonic Year is on 12th July.
Held within the magnificent surroundings of Grand Temple in Great Queen Street, we are the only Mark Province of the English and Welsh Constitution which meets there and our meeting is always well attended by visiting PGMs and senior representatives of Grand Lodge. This year the Pro Grand Master, Most Worshipful Bro. Ray Smith (himself a Past PGM of London) will be in attendance. We will be entertained as usual by our ever-popular Brass Ensemble and there will be the customary processions of nonagenarians, current Masters and Commanders and of course the very special procession of Newly-Advanced Brethren. Click here for the Summons and here for the booking form. Please get your reservation in early if you wish to dine as this always proves a very popular and enjoyable occasion, especially for those who will be receiving Provincial Appointments and Promotions.
On this point can I offer congratulations again to those Brethren who will have received a letter from the Provincial Grand Secretary this week, offering them a promotion or First Provincial Appointment. These positions are intended as a reward for past and faithful services and hopefully an inducement and encouragement to even greater levels of service to your Lodges and through them, to the Province. I look forward to the pleasure of investing and greeting you on 12th July.
As usual Brethren I will conclude by thanking you all again for your generous and much appreciated support of this Mark Province of London – a support that comes in many different guises; from your financial contributions to our charities, to your attendance at meetings, and the work undertaken by the Officers of our Lodges and of the Province itself. We are embarking on yet another calendar year filled with activities and exciting challenges and I continue to be proud and honoured to be leading this Province with the support of so many worthy and capable Brethren.
Thank you and God bless.