Annual Meeting

Provincial Grand Master's Address
Deputy Provincial Grand Master's Address



Provincial Grand Masters Address

140th meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Monmouthshire Mark Master Masons

Brethren I begin my address by again welcoming everyone to the 140th meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge and especially our guests, including this year the Grand Secretary. Many have travelled considerable distances to be with us, many are familiar faces but there are always new faces and this is our opportunity to welcome them all and to be able to reciprocate in some small way, to all our guests, for the manner in which they receive us within their Provinces.

Let me start by offering my congratulations to those who have been appointed or re-appointed to Provincial Grand Lodge today, each appointment reflects the contribution made within their respective lodges and/or the Province. To the new appointees, welcome aboard, please make the most of your office, you are now part of a great team and are meant to enjoy yourselves.

This past year we were supported by an exceptional team of Provincial Grand Lodge Officers, we averaged 22 Provincial and 10 Grand Officers at the 27 Mark and Royal Ark Mariner lnstallations attended and every lodge has greatly appreciated their presence.

Wardens, Standard Bearers, Sword Bearers and the DC’s when appointed, understand the level of commitment expected of them. This year we have experienced the same level of commitment from many of the other Provincial Officers including the Stewards, Tyler, Inner Guard and in particular the three Overseers who have not missed a ceremony.

So, to my outgoing team a very sincere thank you for your support and the individual contributions you have made and I would wish to record how much I have both valued and enjoyed your company, and you should all congratulate yourselves on a job well done,

To our Grand Officers, my sincere thanks for your continued contribution to the success of the Province, your presence and support is always appreciated and never taken for granted.

Brethren, during the past year I have again been well served by my entire executive so to my Secretary, Treasurer, Registrar, Director of Ceremonies, Almoner and Charity Steward my sincere thanks to you all and my congratulations on a job well done. I could not have received better support, you work together as a team complementing each other and it is good to sit back and watch you perform your duties with the minimal input from myself or my Deputy. Within Monmouthshire, as Tina Turner would say “You are simply the best, better than all the rest”.

Next week many of us will again be attending Grand Lodge, a busy day in store with the investiture of a new Pro. Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master and Assistant Grand Master. The Province will also be supporting the promotions of W Bro’s. Nigel Angell and Alan Hatherall to PGSD’s, and Ken Heath to PGJD, as well as the appointments of W Bro Richard Davies our recently appointed craft Provincial Grand Master as PAGDC and W Bro. Roy Morris as PGStdBr. and I congratulate all of them on their preferment.

Looking back, it has been another good year for the Province as despite the continuing decline in numbers in the Craft which stood at 1152 on the 1st January, but which I’m pleased to report is slowing, we are managing to maintain our membership. This imbalance of course cannot continue forever and it is essential that we as Mark Master Masons play our part in supporting our Craft Lodges and wherever possible attracting suitable brethren into freemasonry as they are after all our future potential members.

Our total number of members actually increased by 32 to 499 and memberships to 692 putting us on a par with the Royal Arch in the Province at 696, but this of course is buoyed up with the consecration of the Internet Lodge, of which I will say a little more later.

Membership of the Grand Officers Lodge, Utrique Fidelis, is also on the increase thanks to the support of the Provinces of Somerset and Gloucestershire and Herefordshire who have now joined forces with ourselves and Bristol. I wish to publically thank the respective PGM’s for the interest and support they have provided and as you will have noted earlier RW Bro. John Gillo and RW Bro. John Morgan were appointed as Past PGSW’s of the Province in recognition of this.

Last month we held the meeting of the lodge outside our Province for the first time within Gloucestershire and Herefordshire at Stroud which was so successful that an additional meeting per year is now being actively considered. Next year therefore it is planned to visit Clevedon in the Province of Somerset and possibly Bristol.

This year of course my address would not be complete without some reference to the Mark Internet Lodge. We were privileged to have been able to hold the consecration in the Grand Temple at Mark Masons Hall in June last year. The 37 Founding Members already has grown to 54 today, with a further 6 joining members in the pipeline, but of course many in the Province will know that next month we travel to Bucharest to advance a further 45 Romanian brethren into the Lodge, including the Grand Master of the National Grand Lodge of Romania MW Bro. Radu Balenescu and the majority of his executive.

A small party of us, which included the Deputy Grand Secretary, travelled to Bucharest at the end of March and met with the Grand Master whose declared aim is to establish a Mark Lodge in every town and city in which there is a Craft Lodge. Candidly, I do not know where this journey will take us but the Craft in Romania has a membership in excess of 14,000 spread across some 450 Lodges so I have no doubt that the Mark Internet Lodge will be planting the seeds for more Mark Lodges and eventually a District in the near future, an exciting prospect.

I always make a brief reference of our social activities, this year’s Provincial Officers Messes and Carol Service were again fully subscribed. The Charity Gala supported by the Past Deputy Grand Master and his wife Jean was another full house despite an unfortunate clash with a Goose and Gridiron demonstration raising a healthy sum towards our support for many locally based worthy causes.

Last October 18 brethren attended the annual meeting of the Province of the Channel Islands in Guernsey accompanied by 14 of our Ladies. No surprise therefore that next month we have 51 brethren and 29 Ladies travelling to Bucharest with Spain again in our sites next February.

So, looking to the future, from my perspective it looks very bright. The next couple of years will see us fully engaged with our brethren in Romania. But my vision also includes the prospect of further growth of the Mark Internet Lodge into several other Balkan counties such as Serbia and Croatia in the near future.

It is also my wish to support the development of the Utrique Fidelis, Grand Officers Lodge, into our neighbouring Provinces. Should we then achieve the level of support we anticipate, it opens up the possibility of consecrating a lodge for Holders of Royal Ark Mariner Grand Rank moored to it within the next 18-24 months.

I also believe that active consideration should be given to combining the meetings of the Monmouthshire Installed Mark Masters Lodge and the Monmouthshire Installed Commanders Lodges as per the Grand Masters Lodges, which will provide a financial benefit and less wear and tear on its members.

Finally brethren, you will appreciate that these events take a considerable effort to bring together so I would wish to record my thanks to all those within the secretarial and the director of ceremonies teams and the hotel staff who have put in a lot of hard work into ensuring the smooth running of this meeting. “The glory and the praise be thine”.

I will simply conclude by saying that it really is a great honour and a privilege to serve this Province as your Provincial Grand Master, thank you all for your support, and especially today.

We have come a long way together in the last 4 years and we certainly have interesting times ahead.

I look forward to your company at the Festive Board.



Deputy Provincial Grand Masters Address

Twenty Fourth Annual Assembly of the Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Royal Ark Mariners of the Province of Monmouthshire held within the Installation Meeting of the Monmouthshire Installed Commanders Lodge No 1447

Brethren

I welcome you to this the twenty fourth annual assembly of the Province of Monmouthshire Royal Ark Mariner Degree,

From the outset I thank the Provincial Grand Master for his indulgence in allowing me to preside over this Provincial Royal Ark Mariner Assembly.
 I also thank the Past Commanders and the Brethren of Monmouthshire Installed Commanders Lodge for again allowing the Province to hold this Assemblage at their meeting, thus enabling me to invest on behalf of the Provincial Grand Master the recipients of Provincial Royal Ark Mariner Grand Rank.

As ever, I congratulate them on behalf of the PGM and the Province and we thank them for all the work that they have done in the past and what they will do in the future. All have been active in the promotion of the Royal Ark Mariner Degree and are deserving of their preferment. This is, of course, a milestone in the Masonic careers of these Brethren and is a reward for the work that they have done and continue to do in their lodges and for the Province.

I am sure that you will also join me in congratulating W Bros Wynford Jones and Richard Edwards on their preferment to Grand Rank. Both are well known Royal ark Mariners who have made significant contributions in support of the degree and I know that they will enjoy your support at the Annual Assembly meeting in Great Queen Street in December….. The PGM takes great pride in the way the membership of this Province rally each year for the recipients of Royal Ark Mariner Grand Rank. We thank you for your continued support

Every year brings its highs and lows and this has been no exception. A year of alternating sorrows and joys. This year we have witnessed the passing of a number of esteemed Ark Mariners. With each passing a light goes out but the order moves forward with their memories in its heart. I ask you to remember them in your prayers.

The Travelling Ark, instigated at this meeting in 2013 has been perambulating the Royal Ark Mariner Lodges of the Province in turn. This lodge was its starting point and the first circuit has now been completed and will continue to do so every two years just like the Travelling keystone in the Mark Degree. This frequency of movement is to ensure that there are no timetable clashes with the travelling keystone which might place unrealistic expectations on already committed Mark and RAM brethren. The Deputy Provincial Grand Secretary continues to ensure a timetable is in place which has been circulated to the lodges. Its perambulations continue to  be well supported.

Brethren the world is constantly turning. We live in a constant state of change. As time progresses we see long standing lodge executive officers like scribes and treasurers relinquishing their positions after years of sterling service. This is the way of things, nothing is forever. In their place we see from time to time junior brethren eager to come forward and make their contribution within their lodges. Not having been through the chair is no barrier to executive officer. Enthusiasm and commitment are the qualifiers. We must allow long serving brethren to step back when they feel they have made their contribution. Our new made treasurers and scribes are a credit to their lodges and are showing great promise.

Membership of this order remains a priority for us all and as Royal Ark Mariners we should be encouraging Mark brethren to consider membership of this beautiful degree. It is the instruction of the PGM that Royal Ark Mariners ensure that all Mark Masons in their respective Mark lodges make an approach to those members who have not made the transition to the Royal Ark Mariner Degree. Let us not wait let us seize the initiative. Brethren, you hear it here every year, there is no room for complacency, our membership numbers are holding their own but we must look to the future. Such are the teachings of this Degree that they deserve to be communicated to all Mark Masons.

With respect to this lodge the PGM, over the past year, has organized a recruitment drive. It had appeared that of late membership numbers within Mon installed commanders had fallen away. This has been countered by every Commander in this Province not on this lodge’s roll being directly approached. We have seen the fruits of that initiative here today. We welcome the new joining members.  The Provincial Secretary will ensure that new Commanders are automatically invited to become members. We must also ensure that we continue to actively encourage past Commanders to join our number. Everyone who is eligible must receive an approach. The situation will remain under permanent review. Lodge Scribes can and should expect communication on this subject from the Provincial executive as time progresses
    
Brethren, we have a vibrant and successful Province, with a social calendar that is the envy of other degrees. These things do not happen on their own or by accident. The Provincial Grand Master and I are indebted to work of the whole executive and of course the Provincial team for their support not only in the Mark Degree but also in the Royal Ark Mariner Degree as has once more been demonstrated this evening.

Brethren are continuing to enjoying their Mark and RAM Masonry in all four corners of the Province. The Provincial Grand Master applauds your zeal and commitment in the furtherance of your Mark and Royal Ark Masonry. It is vital that we enjoy what we do otherwise there would be no point to it. He supports you in all your efforts and initiatives and exhorts you continue to do so  Brethren, I ask you….please support him as he supports you.

The Provincial Grand Master and his executive will continue to do their utmost in ensuring the  continued success of the Province of Monmouthshire. He and I extend our thanks to each and every member of the Order for your encouragement, support and commitment during the last year. May the Supreme Commander of the Universe bless you and your families and Brethren…….please continue to enjoy your Mark and Royal Ark Mariner Masonry.

Thank you.

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