The MW Grand Master's address, June 2019

grand master

The Most Worshipful Grand Master, His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent, GCVO, gave the following address to 1,600 Brethren assembled at the Grand Lodge Investiture on Tuesday 11 June, 2019.
 
Brethren, There can be no more gratifying a sight than to see the Grand Temple full of Mark Master Masons from throughout the Constitution and I am delighted that so many of you have travelled great distances to be here today.

During the last year I have enjoyed exceptional support from the Pro Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master and Assistant Grand Master all of whom have travelled extensively in England & Wales and overseas. In each case, their reappointment today is an acknowledgement of their commitment to our Order and I thank them for all that they are doing to develop Mark Masonry at home and abroad.

This afternoon I have been pleased to invest over two hundred Brethren with Grand Rank and to each of our worthy recipients, I offer my warmest congratulations.

The award of a 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.

Brethren, I have been most encouraged to note the continuing growth of new Lodges as detailed in the reports of the General Board this year. In all, I have approved Warrants for eighteen Mark and six Royal Ark Mariner Lodges with over a third of these being established overseas.

In my address to Grand Lodge last June, I commented on the progress being made in Romania and I am delighted that our Order continues to flourish there with five Mark Lodges now in existence. The Grand Secretary tells me that plans are in place to consecrate further Lodges during the coming year and there is already keen interest from several Craft Constitutions in the Balkans to become part of our worldwide family.

Fostering good relations with other Mark Constitutions around the world is the bedrock upon which our worldwide Mark family is built. I am delighted, therefore, to announce that in September next year we will be hosting the inaugural Mark Keystone Conference here in London.

This will bring together representatives from our daughter and sister Constitutions to discuss how we approach the challenges and leverage the opportunities facing our Order now and in the future. It is hoped that following next year’s launch, the Conference will be hosted by other Constitutions on a 3 or 4 yearly rotation.

Brethren, as Freemasons, charity is at the heart of our craft and I never cease to be impressed by the generosity displayed by Mark Master Masons in support of the Mark Benevolent Fund.

It’s almost two years since I handed over the keys to the first of a fleet of new vehicles purchased for St John Ambulance through a £3.3 million Worthy Causes Grant. This project not only underlined the Mark Benevolent Fund’s commitment to supporting initiatives with a wider community impact but renewed a partnership with St John Ambulance going back almost twenty years. This project is all but complete and I am delighted that all 52 vehicles are now in operation helping to save lives at events throughout England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

The Trustees of the Mark 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. However, opportunities to support national programmes in the dementia care, loneliness and prostate cancer sectors are among those being considered with a decision likely by the end of this year.

The activities of the Mark Benevolent Fund are largely funded through the donations made to the Annual Festival which, this year, will be hosted by the Province of Sussex under the Presidency of Right Worshipful Brother Martin Wilson.

The Festival will be held in Brighton on Saturday, 6 July and I am told that the theme of ‘Sussex by the sea’ will conclude several years’ of very active fundraising by the Brethren of the Province. I wish Right Worshipful Brother Wilson, and all involved with the Festival, a very happy and successful occasion.

Brethren, I spoke last June of the increasing occurrence of Provinces, Districts and Lodges, at home and abroad, achieving significant anniversaries – and that continues to be the case.

Later this year, on 28 September, Phoenix Lodge of Mark Masters No.2, Province of Hampshire and Isle of Wight, will celebrate the first recorded working of the Mark degree under the Warrant of the Chapter of Friendship No. 3. This will be a unique occasion in the history of our Order and I wish all the Brethren involved a very successful meeting.

Brethren, when he was appointed to office in 2017, our Grand Secretary committed to improving communication across all the Orders administered from Mark Masons’ Hall through increased openness and transparency.

I am encouraged to note that through a series of leadership conferences and visits to Provinces, Districts and individual Lodges at home and abroad, more information about our current and future strategy is now reaching the membership.

I very much hope that this more proactive approach is helpful and makes you feel more engaged about the progress of the Order and the strategy we have adopted to meet our chosen objectives.

Brethren, as I approach the 40th anniversary of my Advancement into Mark Masonry, I have reflected on the many changes I have seen in the Order during that time.

I believe we are well placed to develop in the years ahead and in that spirit of optimism I feel sure that our heritage will continue to shape what we become – an enthusiastic Order with a clear purpose and a commitment to supporting our local communities and those in need. 

Brethren, today has, once again, been a special day.  I am sure that you are all looking forward to the refreshment that follows so I will simply close my remarks by placing on record my thanks to the Grand Secretary and his staff for the behind the scenes work that makes a day like this happen and to the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his team for the excellence of the ceremonial we have witnessed.

I wish you all a very happy and successful year in which to further the traditions of our beautiful Order and I hope that you all have a very pleasant evening.