The Marque de Lorraine Lodge of MMM No 1815 was set up with the intention of being an English speaking Lodge in Belgium with a membership of many nationalities. W. Bro. David Green IPM of the London Mark Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge was asked by the Provincial Grand Master of Belgium to put on a demonstration of how a ceremony of Advancement is carried out in England.
This project was put to the committee of the London Mark Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge who thought this was a splendid opportunity for them to show their metal; volunteers were asked for and the following offices were filled.
Organiser W. Bro. David Green
WM. W.Bro. Abhayi Sonejay, although not yet a member of the LMPGSL was a recent winner of the silver pin award and delighted to be asked to assist.
Chaplain and IPM. W. Bro. Jeremy Gaskell.
SW. W. Bro. John Ellis.
JW. W. Bro. David Ramsey District GDC of Belgium.
MO. W. Bro. Tony Pattison.
SO. W. Bro. Geoff Hawkins.
JO. W. Bro. Attilio Grandani.
ROM. and IG. W. Bro. David Green.
D.C. & Tyler W. Bro. Richard Higginson
SD. W. Bro. Henry Hobson.
JD. W. Bro. Robert Nasmith.
The journey started for most around 4.30 or 5am on Saturday 5th October 2013, an eight man team headed off in two cars and met up at Dover ferry to catch the 8.25am ship, a hearty breakfast was had on board which left us all well set up for the next leg of the journey. Off the other three Brethren on the team, one took the train, one the plane and one was the Host Lodge DC drafted in to assist as JW, we all met up at the hotel in Arlon where we were staying and where the Lodge meeting was to be held.
The cars proceeded in convoy with Dave Green leading the way for the next 3.5 hours. On arrival 200 odd miles later around 3.30pm we checked in find that all our accommodation had already been paid for by the Lodge members. We were not expecting this level of generosity at all.
The Lodge meeting started at 6pm, two different Lodges were hosting the event; each was supplying a Candidate for advancement. The First Lodge opened for business then closed, La Marque de Lorraine Lodge then opened, the District Grand Master R.W.Bro. Jan Verbist was escorted in by Grand Officers from the Lodge and the LMPGSL.
Some Lodge business was completed then our DC W. Bro. Richard Higginson escorted W.Bro. Abhayi Sonejay to the WM chair followed by the SW W. Bro. John Ellis and the JW the District GDC W. Bro. David Ramsay who was helping out as we were a man short. The other officers took up their positions and an absolutely terrific ceremony of Advancement followed.
Everyone played their parts brilliantly, our eyes nearly popped out of our head when we saw the size of the stones, the keystone was a little smaller than a full size concrete block but not by much.
The Overseers had great fun with the giant stones, each being very careful not to drop a stone on their own feet, although our SO came very close at one time; we could all hear his sign of relief as it hit the floor missing his foot by millimeters. The Deacons also made the most out of their parts. This section of the ceremony was conducted with one candidate only; the first candidate was then permitted to watch as the second candidate was advanced. Much to the surprise of all, the stone was found by both candidates at the same time and the ceremony continued with two candidates. We were all honoured and privileged to hear an expert in action; W. Bro. Sonejay would probably have won another silver pin that evening had he been undergoing the award test again.
When the ceremony was over the Lodge Officers regained their rightful places and the accolades praised upon everyone in the demonstration team by the District Grand Master continued for some considerable time.
After the Lodge was closed photographs were organised by one of the London Mark Provincial Photographers Henry Hobson.
An excellent meal with wonderful local wines followed at the festive board, again the Lodges showed their generosity, all the demonstration teams meals had been paid for.
This is the first time that the London Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge have put on a demonstration of an Advancement Ceremony, it went fantastically well with everyone playing their parts brilliantly, but more importantly everyone involved including the candidates enjoyed the meeting, even though some of the Brethren’s understanding of the English language was probably on a par with some of the demonstration teams understanding of the Belgium language.
After a hearty breakfast, also paid for by our host Lodges, we started our long trek back towards England, the weather on the ship was fantastic with hardly a cloud in view, before saying our goodbyes on board we all agreed that if we were ever asked to take part in another demonstration of a Mark Advancement Ceremony we would all jump at the opportunity, definitely something not to be missed.