Well, Brethren, unless there is any truth in the rumour that we are in for an Indian Summer, it does look like the good weather we experienced in late July for a couple of weeks is well and truly over! Time to turn our thoughts to indoor activities and of course our wonderful Mark Degree.
Our Annual Meeting on 12th July was its usual outstanding success and we exceeded last year’s numbers in the Grand Temple and at the Festive Board – at both of which events we were honoured by the presence of the Pro Grand Master, Most Worshipful Bro. Ray Smith and a large representation from other RW Provincial Grand Masters, their Deputies and Assistants. There were so many high spots during that meeting and it would be impossible to mention them all in this article but I would like to remind you of three of them.
Firstly, it was my great pleasure to appoint David Lucas as APGM, in succession to Jerry Gangadeen who stands down after 5 years of exemplary service to our Province. Jerry is continuing his journey to recovery from his prostate problems and hopes to be with us again at a meeting sometime in the coming year.
Secondly – and a rather unique occurrence at a Provincial Meeting – was the presentation of a 60 Year Certificate in the Mark Degree, to VW Bro. Roy Bedford. The presentation was actually conducted by the Pro Grand Master, as Roy had served as his Deputy for a number of years.
Thirdly, and again an unusual occurrence for London, we called off Provincial Grand Lodge to receive representatives from the “Dogs For Good” charity. Principally Mrs Judy Lawson, recently widowed through the passing of our late and highly respected RW. Bro. Michael Lawson, and Miss Anne Lawrence, who gave us all an insight into the important work of Dogs For Good. I was extremely pleased that RW Bro. Dr. John Wright, President of the MBF, could be with us and make the presentations on our behalf.
Brethren, our website carries hundreds of photographs of the events of that whole day, and I encourage you all to click here to look at it to remind you of what a happy occasion it was.
As stated previously, the Annual Meeting serves a twofold purpose. It is the culmination and celebration of our Mark Masonry at the end of what is always a busy, successful and exciting 12 months for the London Brethren; but it’s also a rekindling of interest and rejuvenation for the new season we are about to embark upon. If you need a recap on the huge successes we have achieved since September 2017 then please read the PGM’s Address as published on the website here.
Our 2018/19 season gets underway big-style with a number of events in September and October:
For those of you keen to polish up your ritual and knowledge of the Advancement and Elevation ceremonies, the Grand Master’s Lodge of Instruction starts up at MMH at 5pm. Details are on the website – or you can contact the new Preceptor of that prestigious body – our own Deputy PGM, Tom Quinn.
The first memorable Provincial event is as usual our Royal Ark Mariner Assembly at MMH, when I will have the pleasure of investing those Brethren who have been awarded Provincial R.A.M. Grand Rank in token of their contribution to that Order.
The following day, Tuesday 11th September, is the Mark Grand Lodge meeting at Great Queen Street, where Brethren will be receiving their Promotions. I am confident that there will be a number of London Brethren in attendance to witness their colleagues receiving further, well deserved recognition for their contributions to the Mark Degree.
Our programme of Official Visits kicks off too with Full Team Visits to London West Africa No. 1457 and Meridian 936 on 14th and 19th respectively. I know how popular our schedule of Official Visits is amongst our London Brethren so here is my reminder to all you stalwarts of our Province and newly-appointed Provincial Officers too – get out your diaries and work out which Delegations you are able to, and would like to, support. Places on Delegations are not usually restricted as the numbers attending are always welcome. A large Delegation adds to the overall ambience and ‘feel good’ factor at our Mark meetings – especially Advancement ceremonies – not to mention the support that individual Delegates can lend to filling offices and supporting the ceremonial aspects of the evening. Click here to book a place on an Official Visit.
Consecration of a new lodge for golfers (the Albatross Lodge) at MMH. Even if you are not a Founder, a Consecration ceremony and the Installation of the Primus Master and his Officers is a special event, so do please come along to witness the proceedings.
Lunchtime Mess at the Imperial Hotel. The speaker is yet to be confirmed but I am assured this will be, as usual, an interesting session.
Consecration of a new R.A.M. Lodge – Italia No. 1467.
Yet another new lodge to be consecrated, this time for Scouting enthusiasts – the Ralph Reeder Lodge of MMM. Brethren, this will bring our Province of London to 100 lodges. A truly remarkable event, consolidating London as by far the largest Mark Province in the English Constitution and a wonderful testament to you all and your evident support of our beautiful and important Degree in Freemasonry.
Details of all of the above events are available on the website or by contacting your Lodge’s Official Visitor. There are other events in subsequent months and you will receive information about these by individual email – 24th November has a “Game of Thrones”-themed party night; the Burns Weekend at Bournemouth 18th – 20th January 2019. Please watch out for announcements and mark your diaries now, Brethren!
Charity, as always, sits at the heart of our Mark Masonry and our 2018/19 season coincides with the start of a new Mark Benevolent Fund Festival. This year it’s under the banner of the Province of Sussex, but all the English Provinces support the Province in Festival through donations from their own Benevolent Funds and through the sale of lapel badges. Yes, Brethren, it’s that time of year again when the Official Visitor to your lodge meetings will be telling you about all the good work which the MBF does and seeking your support through the sale of these badges at £10 each. These small amounts add up to a magnificent total, Brethren. The Mark Benevolent Fund has joined in partnership with St John’s Ambulance and pledged over £3M to provide up to 52 replacement state-of-the-art ambulances and support vehicles. Your purchase of the lapel badges will go a long way to fulfilling that pledge, and I appeal to you now to be as generous as your pocket money will allow when your Official Visitor approaches you with his fistful of badges!!
I am also delighted to announce that the 500 Club had a major boost from the efforts of W. Bro. Marios Stylianides and has this year been able to make donations to 4 charities (Crackerjacks £500; Magic Breakfasts £500; Masonic Trout & Salmon Fishing £400; and of course the MBF £1,000). There were also 10 lucky winners amongst our members and lodges – who received total prize money of £2,400!!! Brethren, you have got to be “in it to win it”. Do look out for the Provincial Charity Steward’s Appeal and help to support these worthy causes by buying, for £12, a number in our Annual Draw.
Brethren, I hope you are all enjoying a good summer. This is such a busy and vibrant Province I know that not everyone has the time or resources to participate in everything that is going on, so select those that you can or would like to support – I look forward to welcoming you whenever and wherever you can attend, once the season gets fully underway.