Provincial Grand Master’s address to Provincial Grand Lodge 13th September 2018

 

Brethren,

Firstly, I thank you all for attending today; it is very gratifying to see so many of you here.

Secondly, I have already introduced our guests to you individually and I now thank them once more for affording us the courtesy of attending today and allowing us to return, in some small measure, the hospitality that they show to us when visiting their Provincial meetings.

This year, once again, I have decided to continue with the same themes as those of the last 5 years.

Mark Benevolent Fund Festival
This year the Mark Benevolent Fund Festival was hosted by the Province of Lincolnshire raising the magnificent sum of £853,023 and I was delighted to see so many you proudly wearing the Lincolnshire Festival badge in support of their fund raising efforts.

In July 2019 the Mark Benevolent Fund Festival is being hosted by the Province of Sussex in Brighton on the weekend of 5th, 6th & 7th of July. Festival badges for the 2019 Festival are once again available via W.Bro. Ted Lewis who, I’m sure, would be delighted to provide you with one. I would like to see as many of you as possible supporting their Festival by proudly wearing their jewel. Should you wish to attend the Festival weekend all the details are available on the website; it would be great to see you there.
Whilst we are talking about festivals, Bro. Prov.G.D.C. will you please present to me W.Bro. David Dumigan, Prov.G.Sec. of Sussex (present cheque).

Now Bro. Prov.G.D.C. will you present to me R.W.Bro. Archie Torrance, P.G.M. of Kent (present cheque).

Of course Brethren we have a small festival of our own in Berkshire with the Craft 2023 Festival, so Prov.G.D.C. will you present to me Bro. Anthony Howlett-Bolton the P.G.M. of the Craft (present cheque).

Brethren should your Lodges wish to support the Craft Festival please feel free. After all, many Craft Lodges in our Province did the same for us.

Recruitment

As you will see by the stats in the order of proceedings the Mark Degree showed a reduction of three in both members and memberships. However, the Royal Ark Mariner degree is showing a healthy increase of five. We have Advanced twenty-one and Elevated eight Brethren in the past year and your Executive continues to promote the order at every opportunity. However, as I say every year, we mustn’t lose our focus; after all, Masonry is a progressive science.

Last year it was the intention of your Executive to hold a recruitment evening in every centre where a Mark meeting is held. Unfortunately, we only managed one at Wokingham on 12th April at the meeting of Jersey Lodge of MMM No. 257. I must apologise for only managing to organise one recruitment evening but it is my intention to rectify that this year. So I send out an appeal to any Mark Lodge in our Province to host one of the ‘Dine a Master Mason’ meetings. Your executive will do their best to accommodate your request. In the meantime talk to your Craft and Chapter members about the Mark Degree and speak to your Mark members about the Royal Ark Mariner Degree.

Always have a copy of the leaflets at hand; it’s surprising what response you get when you ask if people are interested. As you know, I believe every Mason should be given the opportunity to join our wonderful order, “The Degree with a Lightness of Touch”, the friendly degree. This year I would ask you to re-focus your drive in finding Craft and Chapter Masons who you know would enjoy joining one of the progressive and select orders in Freemasonry.

Please bear this thought in mind.
We can assume that all is well but we must never forget that such good fortune can be reversed in a few short years. We must be ever vigilant to respond and help a struggling Lodge and experienced Masons should never forget that the strength of our Order depends on the health and well-being of the Craft from which our candidates come.

Enjoyment

The atmosphere at Lodge meetings and the festive board continues to give me the belief that you are all enjoying your Mark and RAM masonry - long may that continue. I firmly believe our Masonry is here to be enjoyed.

The active officers of the year have once again been outstanding in their support for me and, more importantly, the Lodges in their attendance at Installation Meetings. My sincere thanks to you all for a brilliant year.

More and more members are also attending other Provincial and Grand Lodge meetings which is wonderful to see. There were twenty at Grand Lodge on Tuesday of this week, a brilliant number, I trust you all enjoyed your day and will be attending in the future.
This year Brethren we have had seven appointments in Grand Lodge, four first appointments, three being active, and three promotions. The recipients on 12th June were (please stand as I call your name)to Active Rank:

W.Bro. Paul Wilding to G.J.D.
W.Bro. Hugh Ranscombe to A.G.D.C.
W,Bro. Huw Hopkin to G.Stwd.
And don’t they look resplendent in their chains of office!

First Appointment
W.Bro. John Palmer to P.Asst.G.Std.B.

and on Tuesday 11th September our three promotions were:
W.Bro. Mike Sanders to P.G.J.O making him a V.W.Bro.
W.Bro. Steve Berkshire to P.G.J.D.
W.Bro. David Fisher to P.G.J.D.

Well done to you all, you have all worked extremely hard for your individual honours and I thank you for everything you have done in the past and for what you will continue to do in the future.

I have also had the pleasure to welcome nine of our newly Advanced Brethren here today, I trust you have enjoyed the meeting so far and, of course, will enjoy the festive board. I trust this will not be the last Provincial meeting you attend; let me assure you all that you will always be welcome.

Once again we are attending the District meeting in Cyprus in November. If you would like to attend please contact the Provincial Secretary to register your interest.

Earlier in the year we launched the Provincial Travelling Keystone the purpose of which is to encourage visiting and thereby help increase the special bond of Friendship between the members of our Lodges. It has now been presented and received at six Lodges in the Province and I am delighted with the support it has been given. Today I have had the pleasure of receiving it into Provincial Grand Lodge from W.Bro. Pat Leonard and members of Hungerford Lodge of MMM No. 1342 and then sending it back out into the Province by presenting it to W.Bro. Frank Hames and the members of Wallingford Lodge No. 1162 to continue its journey around the Province. They, in turn, will present it to Cranley Lodge of MMM No. 1616 on Monday 15th October and so it will continue its journey promoting Fraternal Friendship, Fellowship & Goodwill.
At this point I would like to publicly thank W.Bro. Peter Wright of Wallingford Lodge of MMM No. 1162 for making and donating the Travelling Keystone. It is a magnificent Keystone and a very generous gesture.

Brethren, these meetings don’t just happen; a lot of hard work goes into their organisation so I extend my personal thanks to the Provincial Secretary, Mike Sanders, for organising today, ably supported by his Deputy, Huw Hopkin. Also my thanks to our Director of Ceremonies, Steve Berkshire and his team and the three Lodges, Porchester, Leopold and Wilder, under whose banners we have met today.

Brethren, it is truly a privilege to serve you as your Provincial Grand Master and as I move into my 6th year, I look forward to continuing in your service.

May the Great Overseer of the Universe bless and keep you well, I look forward to seeing you all during the year.

Richard J Olliver
Provincial Grand Master

 

 


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