The Provincial Grand Master's Response and Address
Thank you, Bill, for those kind words, and thank you all, brethren, for making the effort to attend again despite the unfortunate clash with a Chapter Cluster Meeting in the North of the Province.
Brethren, before I go on to announce the names of my Wardens and Grand Steward for next year, I should like to update you all on the latest and most important items of Provincial news. You should all have found a flyer on your tables giving details of the Masonic Benevolent Fund Charity Walk on the 6th May 2017. This initiative will see teams of six from all Mark Provinces walk the 7 miles around the Royal Parks to raise monies for the MBF. Our team consists, at the moment, of my Deputy PGM, Richard Bowyer; one of my APGMs, Roger Wacey; my Provincial Secretary and DC, John Stannard and Mark Reeve; my ProvDepDC, John Finlay and my Prov. AsstSec, James Tyrrell. Sadly, I cannot take part as the date coincides with the Somerset PGL meeting, a fact for which most PGMs are grateful for, I’m sure! This team of “elite athletes” will, I have no doubt, with their influence and connections to other Lodges and the Rotary Clubs (Richard); to business links (Roger, Mark and John F); John S with his Cinque Ports roots and James with his Cornerstone Club connections, raise a significant amount of money. All monies raised in Essex will be utilised, through the MBF, to further assist Hope for Tomorrow and our own 2030 Festival. What a great legacy this is to leave to others, to know that we have contributed directly to helping others receive vital care and treatment through the HFT mobile chemotherapy units as well as giving those Mark Brethren to follow a real foundation to the 2030 Festival total.
As far as the walk is concerned, individual, Lodge or group donations can be easily made via the dedicated website, mbfwalk.org.uk (see the website entry for details). We are, brethren, one of the largest Mark Provinces so let’s see if we can ensure that translates into becoming one of the biggest donors to this worthy cause.
Moving on, our next Provincial Grand Lodge is on the 1st June 2017, at the Felsted School and, this year, we will be honoured by the presence of the Deputy Grand Master. I also intend to introduce another small change to proceedings so not only watch this space, but do make every effort to attend along with members of your Lodges; it is your efforts and encouragement that is relied upon to help swell the number of attendees.
To other news, we now have the basis of our Historical Degree Enactment Team. V.W. Bro. David Embling is pulling the volunteers together and is in the process of arranging their first steering meeting. If you are still interested, and there is always room for more volunteers, please contact David. If you don’t have his contact details, the Provincial Secretariat have.
In a similar vein, my ProvDepDC, John Finlay, is in the process of updating the Ritual Support Team and Brethren who are willing to deliver talks, lectures and other matters of interest when there is no candidate. Again, there is always room for more volunteers, so please contact John if you are interested; his contact details are in the members section of our website.
I am also looking at how we can improve and augment our communications strategy and, to that end, I shall be holding future meetings with experts in that field to extend and increase our footprint. We have our own website, of course, and I trust all of you are aware of it (www.essexmark.co.uk), it is public facing but the member’s area is password protected; my ProvDepSec, Mick West, can give you details if you contact him. Similarly we have a private Facebook Group (Essex Mark and RAM Masons), membership of which is strictly limited to Essex mark Masons. That said, in a Province of some 1300 members, only 167 have joined so far, therefore please go to the site and join, again, contact Mick who will be pleased to assist. We have even got a tentative footprint in Twitter with my account @Pgmessexmark now live and running, again, take the time to follow and we can go forwards utilising social media to our best advantage and spread the word of the worth of Mark Masonry as well as advertising the good works we do.
Brethren, by way of an update, our proposed “fine dining Lodge” is getting closer to bearing fruit. Dates for its’ meetings are finalised; they will be the 4th Friday in the months of June and September. The Lodge, which will take over the Fillebrook Warrant, will be a Past Masters Lodge, to reduce costs, and will meet at Mark Masons Hall, the Lodge will open around 1230 and dine at lunchtime around 1pm. Maximum membership (or attendance) will be 30 due to restrictions at Mark Masons Hall catering. Dining costs and membership will be in the region of £200 p.a. with a one off joining fee of £34. For those of you interested in joining please email me on the email address in the members section of the website.
Brethren, as you know, when I consider members for potential office or promotions, I do take into account, amongst other matters, the support given to this Degree in particular and Freemasonry in general, by those being considered; this year is no exception. I am certain that those I have asked to fill the positions or Senior and Junior Warden and my nomination for Grand Steward will continue to give great support and, as they have done already, give their all for the good of our Province. So, without further ado, I can announce that I will be appointing:
W.Bro. John Jackson as Provincial Grand Senior Warden
W. Bro. Pierre Waddoups as Provincial Grand Junior Warden
W.Bro. Chris Smith as Grand Steward.
Brethren, I trust you approve of these appointments and I’m confident that you will show them the friendship and courtesy throughout their year of office and on their visits as you have shown myself and their predecessors.