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September 30, 2021

The Annual Meeting of the Hertfordshire Mark Provincial Grand Lodge

The annual meeting of the Provincial Grand lodge of Mark Master Masons of Hertfordshire including the Provincial RAM Assembly took place on 29th September 2021. 

The global pandemic ensured that the meeting was delayed from its usual July date but the Great Overseer nevertheless provided a warm, summer day for our late September proceedings, which was a far cry from the deluge of 24 hours earlier.  

The later date also necessitated a change of location to the new venue of the Metropolitan Bushey and all of the adjustments to proceedings and protocols that such a switch inevitably entails.  

Despite these changes of time and place, a tremendous number of Hertfordshire Mark Masons and their guests took the opportunity to gather again, renew old acquaintances and forge new friendships.

The procession into the Temple and the opening of Provincial Grand Lodge by the Provincial Grand Master, R W Bro Richard Walker was watched by a capacity audience, before the names of much-loved and recently departed brethren were recited and their names respected by all in silent memory of departed merit.   

The PGM welcomed the visiting brethren.  Although travel from other Provinces and regions was restricted due to Covid, we were honoured with the presence of many distinguished brethren from other Masonic Orders in Hertfordshire, and they were welcomed with customary Herts Mark acclamation. 

A very full business Agenda ensued, the highlights of which included confirmation of the re-appointment of W Bro Maurice Smith as Deputy Provincial Grand Master and the obligation, investiture and installation of W Bro Mark Saunders as Assistant Provincial Grand Master.  

R W Bro Richard Walker then confirmed the appointments and offered his congratulations to the Mark Provincial Grand Officers and recipients of Provincial Royal Ark Mariner Grand Rank which became effective on 13th July and 1st June respectively.  

The Provincial Grand Master then delivered his traditional address to Provincial Grand Lodge which reflected upon the disruption and profound change brought about by the pandemic, conveyed his sincere thanks to the brethren of the Province for their determination and hard work in ensuring the wellbeing of the Order despite these difficulties and their support for each other, and looked forward to the future with renewed confidence.  

The Provincial Grand Master was pleased to share with the Brethren a biography of WBro David Newell detailing his considerable and distinguished Masonic career, and his contribution to Hertfordshire Mark Masonry. The Provincial Grand Master then asked the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies to escort WBro David to him. The PGM was then delighted to award WBro the prestigious Silver Token of Merit in recognition of his long and illustrious service to the Hertfordshire Mark.

Provincial Grand Lodge was then called off to enable the brethren to receive a short presentation from Dr Natalie Shenker, the founder of the Human Milk Foundation, a recent recipient of donations from the Hertfordshire Mark Benevolent Fund.

Despite being the only lady in what must have been the most intimidating environment of hundreds of men dressed in morning suits and regalia, Dr Natalie gave a most assured and compelling account of the work of her organisation.   Readers of Mark in Time will be aware of their life-saving work and the importance of neo-natal milk for vulnerable, tiny lives but it was incredibly moving to hear her story first-hand.  The audience listened in absolute silence as Dr Natalie recounted their struggles to assist helpless babies and their mothers and their heartbreak earlier that day as the current fuel crisis prevented them from delivering help to a point of need for the first time in their history.  The importance of their collaboration with SERV Herts and Beds, another recipient of our sponsorship, and the blood car donated by us and parked outside the Metropolitan Bushey for all to admire, was stressed once again.

Dr Shenker was presented with a cheque for £2,000 by the PGM before she left the temple to sustained applause and left behind a room of Mark Masons with many lumps in throats and more than a few producing a handkerchief to address a sudden bout of late summer Hay Fever.

We should continue to be very proud of the difference that we are helping Dr Natalie and her team to make to vulnerable and helpless individuals.  
Provincial Grand Lodge was called back on and the business Agenda completed before being closed with solemn prayer and procession out of the temple, until our 2022 annual meeting which will (hopefully) be held at its more usual time back at the traditional venue of the Girls’ School, Rickmansworth.

The brethren and their guests enjoyed each other’s company for drinks before they gathered for a  Festive Board of Roast Beef, Yorkshire Pudding and all the trimmings.  

The toast to the Provincial Grand Master was proposed by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master and the PGM’s response again conveyed his thanks to us all for our efforts throughout the recent challenging times.

A wonderful day and a momentous occasion.  It was delayed and delayed – but good things are worth waiting for!

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This post was written by markadmin