Provincial Grand Master's Address 2019

 The Provincial Grand Master's Address to Provincial Grand Lodge at Ipswich, 27 July 2019

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It is a huge delight for me to look out and see the room full of Mark Masons all of whom have a smile on their faces and are enjoying their day.

I have already introduced to you our guests, their attendance here today adds lustre to our proceedings and helps to cement and build on the friendships given from our colleagues around the constitution.

I would like to introduce you to a very special group of mark masons, representatives of those who have been advanced during the past twelve months, I hope you have enjoyed your day with us so far and thank you for attending. You Brethren are the life blood of our lodges and are extremely welcome today. I was over whelmed by your enthusiasm when we met and I presented you with your commemorative mark token.

Also seated in the west are another group of brethren equally deserving of our respect and congratulations. The Worshipful Masters of our lodges, who have given so much, guiding their lodges to ceremonial excellence and setting a bench mark for their officers to emulate or surpass. I thank you very sincerely for all your efforts and support of our order.

The award of a Provincial Grand Honour is not something that is given without consideration. It is a positive reflection of, and reward for, the work that each of today’s recipients has carried out and I have no doubt that their preferment will stimulate them still further to promote the Order at every opportunity.

In any organisation change is inevitable, change is required to stimulate and refresh the whole, each office has a limit, that limit is difficult to define, hard to quantify, and we would struggle to put a strict time upon it, but change is necessary.

I have today appointed new officers to Provincial Grand Lodge and I look forward to sharing experiences with them during our visits. I urge you all to come and join with us as we go around our wonderful Province.

As a result of this change W.Bro Richard Pryor and W.Bro David Fisk retire as Senior and Junior Warden respectively. Both of them embraced with enthusiasm the duties of this high office and have travelled many miles both in East Anglia and beyond promoting, supporting and encouraging mark masonry at its best. On occasion they also stood in and represented me; thank you.

We have just installed and saluted W.Bro David Boswell as our Assistant Provincial Grand Master and I welcome him to that office.

This was a consequence of the retirement of W.Bro Tim Ridley, who asked to stand down so that he could undertake the duties of an Assistant PGM in the Province of Norfolk. He was installed into that office in May of this year. Tim, we all extend our very grateful thanks to you for your vital and valuable contribution to the life of this Province and wish you well for the rigours of your new office.

In todays paper of business the Provincial Grand Registrar has highlighted a the number of resignations, a number higher than I would wish. He also notes that some lodges have failed to attract new members. With this in mind I have established two working committees, firstly Care and Compassion under the chairmanship of W.Bro Tinley and Recruit and Retain under the chairmanship of W.Bro Pryor. The membership of these groups is clearly expressed in the terms of reference. Both these brethren are expected to work together to provide helpful best practice guidelines and establish some solutions to our needs, solutions not problems is their challenge; I wish them well.

 Brethren, I never cease to be impressed by the generosity displayed by you in support of the East Anglian Mark Benevolent Fund.

The Trustees of our Benevolent Fund are now turning their attention to identifying our next major grant project. This is no easy task Brethren, as there are so many projects and initiatives that are worthy of the Fund’s support.

The trustees were so impressed with the take up of the matched funding initiative, they have agreed to continue this for next year. Details and application forms will be on line from August 1st.
The Provincial Charity Steward is always available to you for help and advice, indeed so is the Secretary of the EAMBA.

Provincial Grand Lodge had two exceptional occasions during the past year. I was invited to preside at the centenary meeting of Lowestoft Lodge No 686 and that of Barnard Lodge No 687. Both lodges celebrated in a unique style and with a nod to the past, but with clarity of vision to the next 100 years. Indeed I have today presented to Barnard Lodge their hand engrossed centenary warrant, what a great treat for us brethren. Two extraordinary meetings in the company of great Mark Masons.

Events do not just happen. They need a great deal of planning and preparation over a sustained period of time. I should like to place on record my thanks to the Provincial Secretary and Provincial Director of Ceremonies for their tireless attention to detail; they together with their supporting teams have achieved so much today. To the Provincial Stewards Lodge, who are responsible for so much of the hard work both before and after the meeting, also at the luncheon to follow this meeting. Thank you Brother Stewards

I am most grateful for the courteous and helpful assistance given to us by the staff here at Suffolk One, and I promise not keep you much longer from your refreshment and a well deserved drink!

What of next year? Well we have the centenary meeting of Eversley Lodge No717 of Mark Master Masons in November 2020, two full team visits, and a visit from the Pro Grand Master in 2020.

The Pro Grand Master will be in attendance because it is my intention to talk with the Grand Secretary in March and ask him to enquire of the Most Worshipful Grand Master if he would graciously release me from my duties as Provincial Grand Master.

The Grand Secretary has asked me to inform you that whilst he understands that speculation will be rife, no decision will be given until late spring.

By informing you of my decision now it gives me an opportunity to conclude this annual address with my humble and grateful thanks for all the friendship that you have given, the memories you have provided and an immeasurable gift of affection that I have for you all.

May the Great Overseer of the Universe give to you and your families’ health and happiness to enjoy all his wondrous gifts. Mark well and God bless you all.