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Thursday, 09 February 2017 13:36

District Grand Master Address - 2017

Right Worshipful Brethren Distinguished Brethren Dear Brethren and Friends all,

I would like to warmly welcome to you all to this years´ Assembly of the Mark Master Mason´s District Grand Lodge of Spain. Thank you so much for joining us today for the 2017 Annual Assembly and I sincerely hope that you have all enjoyed the morning and that you feel that your journey here has been worthwhile.

Once again the presence of so many Brethren from all parts of the District of Spain and from the United Kingdom is tremendous and I am grateful for the effort you have all made to be here to share this special day.

I have to admit to being somewhat concerned a fortnight ago, I was not sure whether anyone would make it when I saw snow falling! That was definitely a first for me here on the Costa Blanca and I am not keen to repeat that experience again. Weather worries aside, we have had a busy and I hope interesting weekend.

On Thursday brethren of Royal Ark Mariners had the opportunity to experience the consecration of the newest RAM Lodge here in Spain, namely Harmony Lodge No. 1960 which will based in the Canary Islands. As with all consecrations it was a special moment for the Founders of the Lodge and also for those of us involved in or witnessing the ceremony. I would like to repeat my congratulations of Thursday and I sincerely wish the Lodge a long and happy future.

Friday we were able to enhance our Mark masonic education when the Warwickshire Ancient Ritual Demonstration Team provided us with a superb demonstration of their skill. Thank you all so much for travelling to Spain and sharing your expertise with us. All who attended have commented on how much they enjoyed your performance.

Back to today and as always the Annual Assembly has been a busy and exciting day, even more so for those of you that have been re-appointed, promoted or invested with first appointments. Many congratulations to you all, your recognition is well deserved. These honours are awarded for your past services to your Lodges and the District; they are not automatic and I expect you all to continue to support both your Lodges and the District. I am truly looking forward to working with you all and I hope that you enjoy your year.

Congratulations are also due to those members of the Province who were honoured with their first Grand Rank in June last year, namely Roy Mitchell, Terry Whitehead and Txema Oleaga Zalvidea. It is also pleasing to be able to report that there were two Brethren recognised by Mark Grand Lodge for promotion and they were my Deputy V. W. Bro Rod Hales and our Grand Master in the Craft R.W. Bro Oscar de Alfonso Ortega, I am sure you would like to join me in congratulating them all on their preferment.

The sight of the Royal Ark Mariner Worshipful Commanders and their Wardens making their entrance into the Assembly this morning provided added pomp and ceremony to the occasion and I urge those of you who are not members of The Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Royal Ark Mariners to seriously consider joining. It is always moored to a Mark Lodge to confirm the close connections between the two Orders.

This past year has been as eventful as any other with many high spots and naturally a few low ones and this seems like a good time to share just a few of them with you all.

Membership numbers have been increasing slowly but surely over the last few years as have the number of Lodges in the District. Our membership has risen over that time by approximately 60 and the number of Lodges has gone up from 19 to 25. These figures present a positive trend that I hope will continue into the foreseeable future. However, despite these successes we cannot afford to become complacent and it is incumbent upon us all to encourage our brethren in the other orders to join our ranks.

During the past year I have attended a number of Lodges and it is my intention that the Executive Committee and I make more visits in the coming year. As I mentioned in my address last year, this is a large District geographically, in fact it is 505,990 square kilometres or for our English visitors 195,364 square miles, or to put it into perspective, this Mark District is over twice the size of the UK. To visit every Lodge in one year is an impossible task. I have asked the District Secretary to prepare a three year plan for Official Visits paying particular attention to those Lodges which have not received a recent visit. He will be in contact with Lodge Secretaries to make the necessary arrangements.

Administration is not a favourite activity; I quite understand that, however, the District Secretary works hard to ensure that the District maintains its paperwork and databases in an accurate and usable condition. To do this it is essential that all Lodge Secretaries play their part by providing timely and up to date information. Many, many, hours have been spent by our District Secretary over the last year trying to ensure that our historical records, in all their formats, are accurately recorded both by Grand Lodge and by ourselves. Hopefully this has now been achieved, but Lodges must ensure that they submit their appropriate returns accurately and in a timely manner.

Brethren, please remember you too have an individual responsibility to notify any personal changes promptly to your Secretary – I urge you to play your part in what may seem to you to be a tedious process.

Prior to the Assembly, you will have received an envelope containing several important pieces of information about proceedings today and a small token to help you remember this day. The badge was produced by the Mark Province of Berkshire as part of their Mark Benevolent Fund fundraising activities. The Benevolent fund does a magnificent job supporting Mark members and their families all over the world in times of need; the purchase of the badges by the District of Spain was our way of showing our support for that initiative. Please wear your badge with pride.

Brethren, these meetings don’t just happen; a lot of hard work goes into the organisation so I extend my personal thanks to the District Secretary, Terry Porter, for organising today, ably supported by the secretariat and others too numerous to mention by name but they know who they are.

My thanks also go to our Director of Ceremonies, Stuart MacDonald and his team for their exemplary performance today.

Mention must also be made of W. Bro Bernard Wilson who once again has has done a magnificent job of the seating plan and name plates, thank you Bernard.

One last thing before I close, I would like to ask the District Treasurer if he would stand. For those of you who may not know him, this is W. Bro Michael Shilan. Michael is to become the Craft Provincial Grand Master of Valencia at the end of this month and I would like to offer him our very warmest congratulations on his upcoming investiture. Michael, I am really looking forward to working with you in your new role and hope we can work together to reinforce the already strong bonds between the Craft and Mark.

Finally, I thank you all for your enthusiastic support for myself, my Executive and most of all for your unstinting support of this fantastic Order; it has been a fabulous year. Let us all enjoy our Mark Masonry for, as we say, “Among Mark Master Masons you will ever find friends”. Brethren, I would like to wish you all a Very Happy New Year and may the Great Overseer of the Universe bless and keep you well till we all meet again.

Mark Well 

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