Here we are with the first PGM Writes of 2021. The New Year has certainly started on an optimistic note so far as the battle against Coronavirus is concerned. I hope that all of our members who are qualified to be in the initial group to receive the long-awaited vaccine have received their jabs and not suffered any long lasting after-effects. Us younger chaps will just have to be patient, but there does seem to be light at the end of the tunnel – albeit the tunnel still needs to be measured in months and weeks and not feet and inches!
On this point, Brethren of London, I have a couple of important announcements to make. Given the continuing uncertainty over the relaxation of restrictions on our masonic gatherings, the Executive has agreed with my decision to move the date of our Annual Meeting away from its usual July slot.
We will now hold the Annual Meeting on Thursday 30 September, 2021
Same venue, Freemasons’ Hall and same Dining, The Connaught Rooms. Full details and menu choices will be published in due course and I hope that you will agree with me that this change is a sensible precaution in the circumstances.
The other important thing to note is that the Active Appointments, which were announced at the Virtual Annual Meeting in July 2020, will be rolled forward for the year 2021/22 – with the exception of the Provincial Grand Stewards, who have been contacted separately. The arrangements for these Officers and details of any other slight amendments to our usual programme will be revealed later in the year. In the meantime please put that date in your 2021 diaries now.
Since I last wrote, the Province has inevitably lost a few more of our members, not only to Covid but due to other illnesses and our thoughts and prayers go out to their wives, partners and families. Within our Lodges and at the Annual Meeting we will take the opportunity to pay our respects more formally.
Just before Christmas 2020 I had the great pleasure to issue 40 Year Certificates of Continued Membership to 37 of our senior brethren. Four decades of membership, which in many cases has been 40 years of active contribution to our Province, is a commendable achievement within our Order and I was pleased and honoured to be able to communicate my thanks for those years of service in this small but hopefully tangible way.
Our Lodge Virtual Business Meetings and social gatherings by Zoom continue at a pace and I continue to be heartened by the reports I receive and the posts I read on Facebook, about these and other items of Mark Masonry interest. Please maintain the momentum of these and also bear in mind those in your Lodges who do not have the technical ability or equipment to join in such electronic get-togethers. They will appreciate a phone call or a handwritten (remember those days?) card or letter, I’m sure. Our Virtual Burns Supper on 24 January seemed to go down rather well! It is reported on within this month’s London Mallet, which once again is packed with interesting articles. Do take the time to read this.
Notwithstanding the significant challenges we continue to face, I believe that our Mark Province of London remains in a good place for the start up of Masonry, when that will come about later this year. We have over 90 candidates for Advancement, waiting to be introduced to the Magic of the Mark Degree, and we are about to premier another ‘first’ in London when we present a Virtual Awareness Event on 11 February. Information on that highly interesting and informative presentation is available on the website, from your Lodge Secretary or from your Visiting Officer. Do try to support it by ‘bringing along’ your own potential candidates to let them see what a special Order of Freemasonry our wonderful Mark Degree really is!
My thanks again are due to the stalwart members of your Executive and those on the Communications Team and other groups, who continue to work so hard on your behalf.
Until I see you all on screen again Brethren, take care and Mark Well.