At the recent Freemasons Without Borders event, where the guest speaker – the MW Pro Grand Master – presented a history of the Mark Province of London to mark its 30th anniversary, the Provincial Grand Master made a surprise announcement, which read as follows:
Thank you so much for staying logged on and attending this additional session, which follows a most interesting, educational and enjoyable presentation by the MW Pro Grand Master.
We all know what an exceptionally difficult year this has been for everyone – in their private and professional lives and in the world of Freemasonry too. For the Mark Degree in London, many events which I and the Executive had planned have had to be cancelled or postponed and those that have gone ahead have had to be completely altered so that they could be achieved on a virtual basis. As I said in the London Mallet magazine, published only this weekend, “Thank goodness for Zoom – the new Patron Saint of Freemasonry”.
Apart from all the major functions which have been casualties of lockdown and Suspension, have been the series of Official Visits to Lodges by myself and the other Chains – all of whom are in attendance on today’s session. When we visit Lodges in normal times there are invariably special occasions to commemorate – new Masters to be congratulated, newly Advanced or Elevated Brethren to be welcomed. Very occasionally there is a special anniversary to celebrate or a long service citation to be presented.
There are also occasions when an individual Brother’s contribution to his Lodge and the Province are worthy of singling out for special mention. And that, if you are wondering what this session is all about, is why we are gathered together this evening.
W. Bro. Mahir Kilic is of Turkish extraction and was the driving force and Primus Master for the formation of London’s first Turkish speaking Mark Lodge – Gallipoli, which consecrated its own RAM Lodge barely 6 months later. Mahir was the Primus Commander and is now Treasurer for both units. A second Turkish speaking Mark Lodge, Namik Kemal, was consecrated shortly afterwards; Mahir, again the driving force, was the designated IPM. Both Lodges deliver all their rituals in the Turkish language, the translation from English being funded by Mahir at his own expense. W. Bro. Mahir, now PPGJD, is a member of London’s Installed Masters and Installed Commanders Lodges, Roentgen Portal Lodge, a Founder of our Ralph Reader Lodge (a Scouting unit) and also Khalsa Lodge, which is dedicated to those who support Sikh morals and philosophy. He is that Lodge’s Almoner, which is an appropriate Office for him for, although possessed of a determined and forthright manner in business, he is renowned as a caring and benevolent man and a brilliant example of all those Masonic qualities, which transcend cultural and religious beliefs. His support for children’s charities is well known and when I gave him the opportunity to nominate the recipient of the recent Provincial Quiz Night donations, he immediately asked that the funds go to the United Nations’ relief fund for refugees.
Most notably in the current pandemic, he anticipated the desire of Masons to maintain their social contacts and their determination to make a daily advancement in masonic knowledge. Mahir used his expertise in technology to launch, on 25 April, the Facebook group “Freemasons Without Borders” which rapidly grew to over 2,700 members. He has led, resourced and enthused a small team of friends to organise and promote scores of highly professional and relevant weekly Zoom lectures, covering a broad range of subjects, including all of the Progressive Orders, where he has arranged for high profile and highly respected expert speakers to participate and which have attracted regular, worldwide audiences of over 500.
London Mark Province also benefits from his support of large scale Zoom sessions and I am indebted to him for hosting the Annual Virtual meeting in July, with over 500 Brethren in attendance, including some 200 Tom Quinns! Our Remembrance celebration on 11th November and the Provincial Quiz last week, were also facilitated and hosted by Mahir.
Mahir, as a thank you from me personally and from our Province, it gives me the greatest of pleasure to promote you to PPGMO. This to take effect immediately. I have signed off a special certificate to commemorate this Field Promotion and this should be with you in the course of the next few days.
But Brethren all, my thanks do not stop there. This Province of London has been supported by another truly remarkable and (in Masonic terms) young brother in our midst. Bro. Ameet Watts is, by far, one of the most hard working and enthusiastic young Freemasons it has ever been my privilege and pleasure to know. Initiated into the Aldwych Lodge No. 3096 as recently as 2015, he has already been installed as WM – it was my honour to be present at that ceremony last year and he has of course been Exalted into Chapter in 2019. It will come as no surprise to those who know him that he is a great enthusiast of his Craft Lodge’s LofI, where he is an inspiration to younger brethren as a promoter of ceremony and ritual and the creator of Lodge ‘Pudding Nights’ which seek to draw together younger members and potential candidates in regular social gatherings and virtual “eat-ins”!! No doubt this conviviality stems from his professional life, where he is a Business Support Manager in the hospitality industry – Marstons Brewing Company. Married to Samunda for some 15 years, Ameet, you have a daughter Ava, who is 7 years old now and from posts and pictures I have seen, she is the apple of a very devoted father’s eye.
Ameet is the front man for Mahir’s Freemasons Without Borders presentations and puts a tremendous amount of time and effort into the detailed preparations and the introductions for these events. He was also the inspiration behind the highly successful and evocative Remembrance Celebration the Province held on 11th November.
But it is in and across London Mark that Bro Ameet has made a particular impression. Advanced into The Macdonald Lodge of MMM in only March 2018 and a Founding Member of Khalsa Lodge earlier this year – he is now Junior Warden in both Lodges. I can feel a request for a Dispensation coming my way already for him to be Master of 2 Lodges simultaneously! Ameet, your application to our rituals and ceremonies is absolutely commendable. Your grasp of the workings is so evident during your regular attendance of our weekly GMLofI practices, held by Zoom every Monday since last April. Your knowledge of the words is such that, on occasion, you have beaten me, as Preceptor, to a prompt for someone searching for the right word! Your enthusiasm is infectious and your great love of the Order was demonstrated last October when you volunteered as one of the team which travelled to the newly formed Mark District of Romania, where, amongst other daytime and nocturnal adventures, we Advanced the Deputy Grand Master of Romania’s Craft into one of the new Mark Lodges – a Lodge we had only Consecrated the previous day!
Ameet, you are a true supporter of our Province. You put your heart and soul into everything that you do and are a real ambassador for our Order. As a thank you, again from me personally and from our Province, it gives me the greatest of pleasure at this special time of year and, when to be quite honest, we could do with a little cheerful news, to offer you a Field First Appointment to Provincial Grand Steward – this Active Office to take effect immediately. In fact it is so immediate that I can tell you that the ProvGSec has already amended Keystone Online to reflect your new Provincial rank. I have signed off a special Certificate to commemorate this Field Appointment and this should be with you in the course of the next few days. Ameet, you have a great future ahead of you in the Mark Degree and I look forward to seeing you on Provincial Delegations once Masonry starts up again; and to watching your progress in our beloved Mark Degree, for many years to come.
Happy Christmas to all and a healthy & prosperous New Year.
Stay safe and Mark Well.”