Reflecting on the last few months since my last newsletter, I am astonished at what we have all been able to achieve since Masonic suspension was lifted and there was a virtual ‘explosion’ of Masonic activity. In addition to the several visits to hospices by all the Chains to present MBF cheques, there have been almost 30 Official Visits to Lodges – and these on top of regular Lodge meetings where an Official Visitor has not been present. Official Visits have included Centenary and Sesquicentenary celebrations for Kelvin, Panmure, Royal Colonial Institute, Keystone and Connaught Army & Navy Lodges; and 50 Year long service citations at Thistle (Tony Kirby), Savage Club (Allen Covey), and Fitzroy (Michael Mullally). A Silver Pin adjudication at London East Africa Lodge – successful, I am delighted to add, for Ravi Patel; and other ad hoc visits where I have been pleased to assist with Advancement and Elevation ceremonies. I am also so encouraged to note that there have been some 60 Advancees welcomed into our Province since the summer – these were candidates from a Covid-induced waiting list of over 100 brethren who you have kept interested in our wonderful Mark Degree and who have joined in a flurry of ceremonies, which in most instances have seen meetings combine Installations/Proclamations with full Advancement ceremonies. Well done to all of you.
Do remember that in addition to the Silver Pin for an excellent Advancement ceremony, there is an Olive Branch Pin for an excellent Elevation ceremony. Come on all you R.A.M. ritualists – details of what’s involved can be found here!
Also not to be forgotten about this financial year is the offer by the Province to refund each Lodge for Advancees’ and Joiners’ Grand Lodge Registration monies. As I said in my Address at the Annual Meeting on 30 September, there never has been a better time to become a member of a London Mark Lodge, so please keep the Candidates coming! And if any of you have the capacity to join another Lodge to support it and (as a consequence) the Province, then there is a list of Lodges of Special Opportunity from which you can pick the one which might suit your own background and your diary. Details, as ever, are here on the website.
In addition to our regular meetings there was the Consecration of the Freemasons Without Borders Lodge on 30 October, which saw a number of prominent London Provincial brethren appointed to various Offices, as well as the Consecration of the Ralph Reader R.A.M. Lodge on 6 November. And how can I allow the moment to pass without mentioning our 30th Anniversary Dinner at FMH, which was attended by some 120 brethren and which the photographs and write-up here confirm as a rip-roaring success – culminating with the appointment of Nookie Bear to Honorary Provincial Grand Rank!
The administration of this large Province continues to occupy a major part of the Executive’s time and we are busy at the moment agreeing on Provincial ranks for our Annual Meeting next July (the First Appointments and Promotions letters will be issued around February next year) and of course we are sifting through the Grand Rank nominations which have been submitted in the last few weeks. To all the Lodge Secretaries, I give my grateful thanks for your reviews of your memberships and the paperwork you have completed in this regard.
Determining the allocation of Grand and Provincial ranks is not an easy task but it is certainly a rewarding one for me when I see the smiling faces at, for instance, the Royal Ark Mariner Grand Assembly on 7 December, when 10 London Brethren received their R.A.M. Grand Collars at the hands of the Grand Master himself! Congratulations once again to these Brother Commanders.
Your charitable donations towards the MBF also continue to flow – both from individuals and Lodges. The recent initiative of advising Lodges what sum is needed to take them to the next level of MBF Patronage is beginning to pay dividends. Nearly £6,000 has been donated since October and there are substantial pledges to be made over the next few weeks. If Lodge Secretaries/Treasurers need any more information on their respective Lodge Patronage levels, please speak to your OV. And on the subject of charity, our very own Attilio Grandani – one of our Provincial Charity Stewards – has completed another Movember challenge in support of the MBF. Having set himself a target of £800, Attilio smashed it by raising almost £1,900! Well done, Attilio – and thank you, brethren, for supporting him.
Brethren if like me, you are looking forward to a brief respite from your Masonic responsibilities, then Christmas and New Year holidays are looming. Our membership is blessed with brethren of many faiths – so however you celebrate the coming holiday season, I hope you will enjoy a peaceful and happy time with your loved ones. I look forward to resuming all our usual activities in 2022 and to seeing many of you once again, on the London circuit and beyond.
In the meantime, stay safe and Mark Well Brethren.