Pro Grand Master’s Address September 2019
Address of the Pro Grand Master
M.W.Bro. Raymond J. Smith
Brethren, a warm and special welcome to this September Communication of Mark Grand Lodge. I hope everyone has enjoyed the past few months of Summer; part good, part not-quite-so-good – especially for those affected by storms and heavy rainfall.
This meeting marks the beginning of the new Masonic Season, one that I’m sure will bring much pleasure to you all.
I begin this address with good wishes, but an apology, from our Most Worshipful Grand Master, His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent. He greatly enjoyed the June Investiture meeting and his commitment to this Grand Lodge is further demonstrated by his forthcoming visits to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in October, then to Southampton University Hospital in November to formally handover equipment funded by your Mark Benevolent Fund. Earlier this year the Trustees approved a grant of £85,000 to Addenbrooke’s for the purchase of a Laparoscopy surgery kit, £200,000 to Southampton University for a Nanoscope to help treat patients suffering from cancer. Further to this, our Grand Master will be visiting the RMBI Prince Michael of Kent home on 24 September to open the new orangery which is being supported by a grant of £36,850 from your Mark Benevolent Fund.
The success of the June communication of Grand Lodge was quickly followed by the Mark Benevolent Fund Festival held in Brighton under the Presidency of Right Worshipful Brother Martin Wilson, Provincial Grand Master for Sussex. Following several years of fun, dedication and hard-work by the Festival Committee, several years of support from the Brethren of that Province – and by that I must mention Brethren from all the Orders in the Province, and none more so than the Craft Lodges in Sussex, together with support from other Provinces and Districts. A truly remarkable festival total of £1.37 million was announced by the Grand Secretary when he read out the festival amount following an excellent festival dinner. Brethren, I know that we would all wish to thank the members of the Province of Sussex for their generosity and commitment to the Festival and also to thank the Provincial Grand Master of Sussex and his Festival Committee for their ingenuity, their flare and fine liege. Brethren, can we thank the Province of Sussex.
The Festival next year will take place a little earlier in the year – on Saturday the 13 of June because of a clash with the Open Golf Championship at Royal St George’s. The Festival under the Presidency of Right Worshipful Brother Archie Torrance, Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Kent. I’m certain it will be a another most enjoyable and successful occasion.
Membership remains a challenging area, but I am pleased to report that headcount and memberships are being held within acceptable parameters. The Recruitment, Retention and Rejuvenation toolkit rolled out last Autumn has resulted in positive feedback and it is hoped that this resource will be at the heart of our efforts to maintain and grow the Mark and the Royal Ark Mariner Degrees.
Since the last meeting, we have seen further expansion in Romania, with the consecration of another lodge in July, and one other planned for October. This will bring the total number of Mark lodges in Romania to seven and reflects the great enthusiasm for the Order in this, the newest part of our Constitution. In October, I will be visiting Romania to Constitute the Inspectorate of Romania and the first tier of the management structure will be put into place to support the further expansion in the coming years.
Following the success of last year’s event, the Grand Secretary yesterday hosted the 2019 Seminar for Provincial and District Grand Masters, held at Mark Masons’ Hall: this has become a key element of our strategy to communicate and engage with both the Leaders and our Membership.
A very special event history is fast approaching; on 28 September it will be the 250th Anniversary Celebration of Phoenix Mark Lodge, No. 2 – this will be held in Portsmouth Guildhall. This will be a unique occasion in the history recognising that the Phoenix Lodge can demonstrate the earliest known workings of the Mark Degree. Under the Warrant of the Chapter of Friendship, this event will be supported by representatives of Supreme Grand Chapter as well as many Masonic orders present in Hampshire and Isle of Wight.
It is now my pleasure to welcome our distinguished Visitors and Members of our Districts Overseas. I will ask that you keep your applause and welcome until I have completed my introductions.
We welcome R.W.Bro. Sir Frederick Crawford, Lieutenant General Commander of the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Rite. Sir Frederick I know you will be shortly celebrating 60 years since your Advancement into the Mark Degree – I hope you have a very enjoyable Ceremony.
Also with this us is R.W.Bro. David Williamson P.G.S.W., Grand Chancellor of the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Rite, Past Assistant Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England.
R.W.Bro. Graham Flight, Grand Sovereign of the Grand Imperial Conclave of the Masonic and Military Order of the Red Cross of Constantine – Graham, welcome.
With us also is R.W.Bro. Kessick Jones, Grand Master of the Grand Council of the Royal and Select Masters and our Grand Senior Warden.
R.W.Bro. Tom Jackson, Grand Master of the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees
R.W.Bro. Andrew Sweeney, Grand Supreme Ruler of the Grand Conclave of the Order of the Secret Monitor
R.W.Bro. Ian Currans, Grand Summus of the Grand Senatus of the Ancient and Masonic Order of the Scarlet Cord.
R.W.Bro. Michael Herbert, Past Deputy Grand Master, Grand Master of the Grand Priory of the Knights Beneficent of the Holy City. Michael, may you have a very successful meeting of your Grand Lodge on Thursday.
W.Bro. Chris Maiden, Grand High Priest of the Grand College of the Holy Royal Arch Knights Templar Priests and Order of the Holy Wisdom.
And also present for the first time since his Installation, the Supreme Magus of the Societas Roscruciana in Anglia, W.Bro. Tony Llewelyn – Tony, very pleased to have you with us today, congratulations on your Appointment.
And, Brethren, from our own Constitution I welcome:
from Belgium; R.W.Bro. Jean Verbiste – welcome, and you are accompanied by V.W.Bro. Martin Sale, W.Bro. Francis Clarembeaux, and W.Bro. Gilbert Denys – welcome to you all.
from Germany; once again a large number, R.W.Bro. Michael Cooper, District Grand Master, accompanied by V.W.Bro. John MacKinnon, Deputy District Grand Master, V.W.Bro. Mark Walton, W.Bro. David McDougall and W.Bro. Allan Morecroft – welcome to you all.
from Hong Kong; W.Bro. Patrick Purnell-Edwards, Deputy District Grand Master and also you are accompanied by W.Bro. Andrew Richie, Paul Whitmore – who was a recipient of Past Grand Senior Deacon today – and W.Bro. Trevor Gray. And to all of those I look forward to being with you in Hong Kong next Summer.
from Jamaica and the Cayman Islands; W.Bro. Billon Young-Chin, a recipient to P.G.S.D. today, and W.Bro. Freddie Clarke.
From the Netherlands; their District Grand Master, R.W.Bro. Cornelis Van Putten.
And Brethren, all the way from River Plate in South America; R.W.Bro. Ernesto Marcer, the District Grand Master – it’s a long way to travel, and we welcome you most sincerely. You are accompanied by no less than six members of your District; W.Bro. Carlos Stefanizzi, Julian Truviano, Bro. Gabriel Giogourtzian, Diego Ugolini, Paul Staglos, and Fernando Marcer – welcome to you all and my apologies for pronunciation.
from Singapore; W.Bro. Ronald Ng – Ronald was a recipient today, but I know he is here, and Karl Nadrianov.
from South and East Caribbean; R.W.Bro. Stephen Cobham – Stephen, delighted once again to have you with us, accompanied by W.Bro. Stephen Gill.
from Spain; R.W.Bro. Barry Mansell, the District Grand Master
from New Zealand; R.W.Bro. Ian Dingwall, Past District Grand Master
and Brethren, from the Victoria Lodge, No. 47 in Australia; V.W.Bro. Kent Henderson, recently a recipient of Past Grand Master Overseer today – thank you for travelling a very long way to be with us.
and from the Trident Lodge, No.1990 in Thailand; V.W.Bro. James Moxon-Steele recipient today of Past Grand Junior Overseer
from the USA; but a member of the Province of London, R.W.Bro. Jean-Pierre Wyss recipient today to Past Grand Senior Deacon.
I then conclude the list with three very special leaders of our Order: our Past Pro Grand Master, M.W.Bro. John Hale, M.W.Bro. Ben Addy and M.W.Bro. Richard Wallis – delighted once again to have all three of you with us.
Brethren I’d be in trouble if I don’t mention our Past Deputy Grand Master, R.W.Bro. Keith Emmerson.
Brethren, please shown just how much we appreciate their presence with us today.