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July 6, 2019

PGM’s Address to Brethren, Annual Provincial Royal Ark Mariner Assembly, June 2019

Brethren, I have already welcomed our visitors from other Provinces and I would now like to extend that welcome to each and every one of you and to thank you all for supporting this year’s Royal Ark Mariner Assembly. As always it has been held under the banner of the Installed Commanders’ Lodge No 1121 and my thanks go to those brethren of that Lodge who have, in any way, contributed to the success of this meeting.

This afternoon I have had the pleasure of investing several of our brethren with Provincial Royal Ark Mariner Grand Rank and I congratulate them on the honour conferred. Not only is it in recognition of the work that you have already done in your respective Lodges over the years but, and I make no apology for reminding you, it is also in the expectation that such work will continue for years to come and I trust that you will each wear your new collarettes with pride.

Since our last Provincial Assembly there has been the Annual Investiture at Freemasons Hall, Great Queen Street in December of last year where 5 of our brethren were honoured with RAMGR. In this respect congratulations go to W.Bros Colin Baldock, Brian Gerbaldi, Marc Long, Roger Southcombe and James Young. Additionally W.Bro Maurice Smith had attained the same honour on his installation as our Deputy PGM earlier in July.

At the end of the last Masonic year i.e. as at 31st August 2018, our Annual Returns show that over that year we made a nett loss in this Order both in the number of members and subscriptions. Looking at this year’s figures to date, we currently show a nett gain of 16 members and 33 subscriptions – Brother Scribes I trust that you are all up to date with your communications to Province and that I am not going to be disheartened by a flurry of late-reported resignations.

It is of course pleasing to be able to report that just under 80% of our Mark Lodges have a Royal Ark Mariner Lodge moored alongside them, with a similar percentage of brethren within the Province being in the Order – however that does mean that in excess of 160 of the Provincial membership are missing out on what this degree has to offer. Let’s start at home, as it were, and see if we can persuade some of them to join the Order.

Any Lodge worthy of its salt should be doing all it can to attract new members and to retain those it already has. Here the PGM’s Lodges of Instruction (currently holding monthly meetings at the Watford, Cheshunt and St. Albans Centres) can help by improving the quality of ritual, giving confidence to brethren, providing a social activity and assisting Lodges in need by finding brethren to stand-in for missing officers or even providing demonstration teams to present a ceremony or lecture – indeed the ‘pop-up’ R.A.M. Tracing Board you see on display here today is one of their props.

My thanks to the DepPGM, ProvGDC and many other brethren, including Bro Roger Outram who has the responsibility for maintaining the excellent PGM’s LOI website at www.mmmloi.org.uk, for all that they are doing to promote the LOI’s activities.

Brother Scribes I urge you all to plan your meetings well ahead and, should you find that you could do with external assistance, contact either the PGM’s LOI team or the Lodge Support Group without delay as blank agendas are no longer acceptable. If you wish to present a paper yourselves within your Lodge may I remind you that the ProvGInspWks has a library of such papers which may prove of interest.

Finally brethren it would be totally remiss of me if I didn’t identify one other Brother who has served this Province and this Order admirably for many years, I refer of course to our ProvGScribe, W.Bro Trevor Clarke, who will be retiring from office as ProvGSec at our Annual Provincial Meeting next month. By this time next week we will no longer be referring to Trevor in the Mark as W.Bro Trevor for by then he will have been invested as the Active Junior Overseer in Mark Grand Lodge – making him a V.W.Bro. A fitting tribute for someone who has served this Province so well over the last 8 years and whose service is also well-appreciated by Grand Lodge. Trevor I shall have more to say about you at our meeting next month but in the meantime Brethren can we please show our congratulations to Trevor regarding his forthcoming preferment and our appreciation for his service to this Order in particular. (Applause).

Brethren I look forward to the company of some of you at next week’s Investiture meeting at Mark Grand Lodge and to the company of more of you at our Annual Provincial Grand Lodge meeting next month at the Royal Masonic School for Girls.

May God bless you all.

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