Wet and Wintery for 136

On a wet winter’s night on Tuesday 10th January at Bury Masonic Hall
William Romaine Callander Lodge of Mark Masons No 136 held their installation meeting. In attendance on behalf of the Provincial Grand Master was VWBro David H Thompson APGM, the acting director of ceremonies WBro Jack Ashton, and a number from the deputation team.

The Lodge was opened by the Worshipful Master Bro Arthur Woodall PProvGJD along with 20 members and 2 guests in attendance. The Lodge Charity Steward stood up and announced that the Lodge will be donating various sums of money to charity totalling £500.

The installation of Bro Fred Blackburn the Master Elect was carried out by the Worshipful Master and assisted by WBro Anthony Cleworth ADC with the concluding part of the ceremony. The newly installed Worshipful Master took over the proceedings and installed his new team into their various offices with only two brethren being recycled.

This Lodge is going from strength to strength with many new craft masons being recruited from within the Bury District of East Lancashire. This evening we had a very distinguished guest from a Mark Lodge in South Wales who has moved to the area and was made most welcome.

After the business of the meeting had ended by 8:05 the brethren quickly went down to the bar for a swift drink and then proceeded to the dining room where 22 brethren were served a lovely 3-course meal with lots of banter and chatting around the tables. A raffle took place and raised a tidy sum for good causes. The raffle was won by none other than the APGM, David H Thompson who kindly donated it back to the charity Steward

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50 Years in Mossley 1381

On Monday 9th January 2023 Mossley Mark Lodge No 1381 held its first meeting of 2023 at Westholme Masonic Hall. This day was indeed a special one for the Master VWBro Malcolm C Moreland PGSO who, on the 8 January 1973, joined Mossley Mark Lodge No 1381 and has achieved 50 years of membership in the Mark Degree.

In attendance on this occasion were the Provincial Grand Master RWBro John Hartley Smith and VWBro David H Thompson APGM, along with 21 distinguished guests and members. Just as the Provincial Grand Master was to present a Grand Lodge certificate to Bro Gregory Brent the fire alarm system went into overdrive for around 5 minutes and the proceedings were halted. On this occasion, it was a false alarm which was a great relief to everyone.

The PGM concluded with the explanation of the certificate in a fitting manner and Bro Brent then took his rightful place in the Lodge. The Provincial Grand Master then proceeded to talk about the history of VWBro Malcolm C Moreland who over many years had achieved so much and given so much to masonry in general. 100% a Mark Man.

The meeting came to a peaceful conclusion and was closed at 1:45. Onto the dining room were 21 brethren sat down to a nice dinner of either steak or fish followed by cheese and biscuits. A great start to the new season ahead in the Mark Degree.

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Fabric Mark Lodge No 939

On Tuesday, 20th December Fabric Mark Lodge No 939 held its meeting at Rochdale Masonic Hall. This meeting was rather special as they were carrying out an Advancement ceremony along with help from the Lodge of instruction Semper Paratus.

The Worshipful Master Bro Stuart Smith opened the meeting at 6:40 with 15 brethren in attendance including RWBro Alexander S McLaren, PPGM. The main business of the meeting was the Advancement of Bro John Andrew Ling, a member of Probity & Freedom Craft Lodge No 367. The ceremony was carried out by the Worshipful Master Bro Stuart Smith in a very fitting manner along with some of the members from Semper Paratus Lodge who assisted in the proceedings.

The business of the evening being ended the brethren then moved downstairs to the dining room and were served a very pleasant 3-course meal. The atmosphere around the table was excellent and more good news for Fabric Mark Lodge as they have another candidate for Advancement in the New Year. Wishing this Lodge a very successful season ahead.

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Royal Ark Mariner Investiture

On Monday,12th December it was the Royal Ark Mariners annual investiture meeting at Great Queen Street, London. 16 brethren met up at 9:45 at Piccadilly train station to catch the 10:15 to Euston and on this day the trains were running nearly on time.

Within 20 minutes of leaving Piccadilly station our Grand Steward of the year WBro Steven Lord handed out the breakfast feast along with a Gin and Tonic or a whisky or three to set us up for the day. On arriving safely at Euston station we set off to Grand Lodge in somewhat mild weather conditions.

The timing of this year’s investiture was perfect as on arrival we were soon sat down in Grand Lodge along with many distinguished guests from around the world. The proceedings started with 112 brethren being invested with Royal Ark Mariner Grand Rank which included 3 brethren from East Lancashire. WBros Kevin M Reaney, APGM, Roger Fielding and Brendan Harte.

After the proceedings were concluded we managed to get to the bar in a relaxed atmosphere. The timing of the meal was moved forward giving us plenty of time to enjoy our 3-course meal in the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms with over 400 brethren.

It was that time to move off back to Euston station to catch the 6:33 train but sadly it was running late by 45 minutes. Fortunately, the train arrived and we all returned to Piccadilly station after being served by the Grand Steward with one or more G and T’s. An excellent day all around and many congratulations to those who received Grand Rank today

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Provincial Grand Master’s Christmas Message

As we approach the end of 2022 it is time for a moment of reflection.

Whilst the year has seen a return to Freemasonry as we know it, it is fair to say that a good number of Brethren are still apprehensive about returning to their Lodges with Covid ever at the back of their minds. Unfortunately, Covid is something which we will just have to live with and certainly, it is not the threat that it was originally, as most of us have now had at least four vaccines which offer considerable assistance in alleviating the worst symptoms. It is my sincere wish that Brethren will feel sufficiently confident to return to their Lodges in 2023.

2022 has been a busy year particularly since the start of the new season. We now have new High Rulers with MWBro John Prizeman as the Pro Grand Master, RWBro Frank Spencer as Deputy Grand Master and RWBro Denny Wilson as Assistant Grand Master. These brethren put enormous effort into our Order and are frequently seen around the Provinces. They are all extremely approachable and make the effort to engage with Brethren whenever possible.

We have celebrated the centenaries of Lancastrians Mark Lodge and Perseverance RAM Lodge and the sesquicentenaries of Skelmersdale and Wike Mark Lodges. We welcomed RWBro Denny Wilson at Skelmersdale and everyone enjoyed a wonderful evening of celebration and Mark fellowship. The Past Deputy Grand Master, RWBro Keith Emmerson presided at Wike and the Brethren attending were delighted by his easy and friendly manner. Another splendid evening enjoyed by all who were privileged to be there. In September, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of RWBro Keith Clayton’s advancement into Mark Masonry with VWBro Brian Sigsworth’s 50th in October and WBro Keith Wareing’s in November. All these brethren have given devoted service to Mark Masonry and it was very pleasing to have the opportunity to honour their commitment and dedication.

Unfortunately, 2022 has seen the loss of a number of good friends who will be sadly missed but fondly remembered by all who knew them. I particularly refer to the loss of RWBro Stephen Davison, Assistant Grand Master, whose untimely death was a shock to us all. It was also with great sadness that we mourned the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II whose life of service and dedication to her country was an example to us all.

As we look forward to 2023, I hope that you will continue to enjoy your Mark Masonry. Please keep in touch with your Brethren, particularly those who have not yet felt sufficiently comfortable to return to their Lodges. Encourage them to return and once again enjoy the special friendship of our wonderful Order.

At this Festive time, Jane and I wish each of you and your families and friends a very peaceful and enjoyable Christmas and express our hopes that you have a healthy, happy and successful 2023.

May the Great Overseer of the Universe bless you and keep you safe.

Priory Mark 693 – Whalley

This was my first visit to Whalley Masonic Rooms which is indeed a very interesting building dating back in time where many distinguished brethren have been members in various Lodges.

This meeting was the last one for Priory Lodge No 693 before the Installation in February 2023. In attendance was WBro Kevin M Reaney, APGM, PGJD along with a strong contingency of the Provincial Delegation. The Worshipful Master, WBro Stephen Croasdale, welcomed the APGM and his delegation team and offered him the gavel, however on this occasion he returned it.

The proceedings of the summons got underway in a fitting manner. The Worshipful Master gave a very interesting and detailed talk called, The Mark Degree In Scotland in which the brethren were amazed at how Freemasonry was worked in Scotland. At its conclusion, a round of applause was given to the Worshipful Master on this occasion. As there was no other Masonic business the Lodge was closed.

Moving up to the next floor where the bar and dining room are situated we were served by the members to a fine 3 course meal. This was followed by the usual raffle and once again it raised a substantial amount for good causes.

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Christmas Dinner and Brass Band

Saturday, 3rd December at Bury Masonic Hall, William Romaine Callender Mark Lodge No 136 and Latham Royal Ark Mariners held their Xmas 4 course dinner & Brass Band evening.7 for 7:30 was the start time with 55 Brethren and their partners/friends/family members in attendance.

The atmosphere was electric all evening and by 9 pm the 4-course meal had been served by Tina’s family team in a fine dining experience. The band were eager to get started and by 9:15 the Tottington Public Band were ready to give the first of many Xmas carols for the evening.

A raffle was held at the halfway stage with over 10 prizes to be picked. A big thank you to all those who donated their gifts. The band continued to play away and with the last one played at 10:25.
A most successful evening was had by us all. Can I thank everyone for their support this evening to make it a success.

WBro Thomas Stewart Mills and his good lady Janet Mills.

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