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Right Worshipful Brother David R Powell's, first meeting after his first full year in office as our Provincial Grand Master. We were supported at the meeting by 16 Provincial Grand Master from other provinces, together with representatives from another 12 Provinces, which is two thirds of all the Provinces in the Country. This reciprocates the huge support Right Worshipful Brother David gives other Provinces in the UK. We were especially honoured to receive a delegation of 11 brethren who travelled all the way from Essex to be with us. Many representatives also brought their wives who were entertained by Mrs Sue Powell during the afternoon and evening.
Many thanks for Worshipful Brothers Norman Davis and Steve Fitzgerald for the Photographs.
Brethren I begin my address by again welcoming everyone to the 142nd meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge and especially our guests who have travelled considerable distances to be with us. This is our opportunity to welcome them and reciprocate that warmth and hospitality that has been extended to us during our extensive travels.
I offer congratulations to those appointed or re-appointed to Provincial Grand Lodge today, these appointments reflect the contribution made within their respective lodges and the Province. To the new appointees, welcome, please make the most of your office and more importantly enjoy yourselves.
This past year we were supported by an exceptional team of Provincial Grand Lodge Officers, with high turnouts at the 27 installations attended which every lodge has greatly appreciated. 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 the three Overseers.
So, to my outgoing team a very sincere thank you for your support and the individual contributions you have made, and I want you to know how much I have valued and enjoyed your company and friendship. Thank you all for a job well done. To our Grand Officers, my 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 been extremely well served by my executive. They have been diligent and conscientious. 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 well individually and as a team, complementing each other’s skills and aptitudes. To my Deputy Provincial Grand Master. Thank you for being within arm’s reach. I appreciate your perspectives and thoughts on a range of Masonic issues, and I can always rely on you for an opinion or perspective.
Next week many of us will be journeying to London to attend Grand Lodge. The Province will also be supporting the appointments of Worshipful Brothers’. Mark Lloyd, Dave Lewis and Terry Bailey to Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies. I congratulate all of them on their preferment.
Looking back, it has been a good year for the Province with us managing to maintain our membership numbers in broad terms. As always, 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. With recruitment in mind we have appointed a provincial recruitment officer, Worshipful Brother Nick Barrett who has pulled together a team of hall reps. We look forward to seeing his initiatives bear fruit as tine progresses.
Membership of the Grand Officers Lodge, Utrique Fidelis, is buoyant thanks to the support of the Provinces of Somerset and Gloucestershire and Herefordshire who have now joined forces with ourselves and Bristol. I would publicly thank the respective Provincial Grand Masters’ for the interest and support they have provided and indeed our last meeting was held in Bristol and the previous meeting in Hereford. Brethren, we are getting about the place. Come and join us.
This year of course my address would not be complete without some reference to the Mark Internet Lodge and its continued support for the cause of Mark Masonry in Romania. Brethren your support had been tremendous with numerous members travelling regularly to Romania to support the consecrations and to advance candidates in number in preparation for consecrations. On behalf of R.W Bro Derek Thomas and on my own behalf we thank you for our continued support and commitment in this venture.
This year’s Provincial Officers Messes and Carol Service were again fully subscribed. In fact, the Carol Service was oversubscribed. Brethren all I can say is….book early!!!!! The Charity Gala dinner this year was supported by the Past Deputy Grand Master and his wife Jean and was yet another full house raising a healthy sum towards our support for many locally based worthy causes.
Speaking of Charity, Brethren. This year we have seen the instigation of the Monmouthshire Mark Charity Award. Presented to the most improved Lodge in terms of Charitable giving. This award, generously donated by Worshipful Brother Norman Davies has been won for the first time by Maius Mark lodge. The award was presented at Llantarnam Mark installation and was presented to Very Worshipful Bro Gordon Brett Harris as the Senior man of the lodge….. and possibly the only one sensible enough to receive a glass trophy without any mishap!
Brethren it is my intention to attend the annual meeting of the Province of the Channel Islands in October and I intend to attend the District Grand Lodge in Spain as well. My travel plans will be made public and if Brethren and their wives and partners wish to come along as part of a travelling party then all will be welcome.
The idea of an Utrique Fidelis, Royal Ark Mariner Grand Officers Lodge has been on the drawing board for some time and in March we opened the book for petitioners , I believe that we have reached a number that makes such a venture viable and having achieved the level required we shall be making moves to petition for such a lodge in the new year. If you are interested in becoming part of this venture, please get in touch with Louis Mahendra who is the organising Secretary.
It has been said before and I will say it again. I 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 both financial and health benefits with less wear and tear on the members. Other Mark Lodges with RAM lodges moored to them might also consider this coming together in the future too.
Finally brethren, you will appreciate that these events take 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. Each year they surpass themselves.
I conclude by saying to the brethren of the Province that it’s an honour and a privilege to serve you as Provincial Grand Master. So I take this opportunity to thank you for your support throughout my first year and of course especially today.
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