As the year draws to a close, each of us will reflect on
2017 for different reasons. Some of us will be remembering friends and loved
ones we have lost while others will recall the birth of a child, the marriage
of a son or daughter or some other happy occasion.
Masonically speaking, 2017 will undoubtedly be remembered
most of all for the tercentenary celebrations of the United Grand Lodge of
England which culminated in an outstanding celebration at the Royal Albert Hall
in October when over 4,500 guests witnessed an outstanding depiction of the
development of English freemasonry over the last 300 years. On your behalf, I
send my very best wishes to our colleagues in the Craft and pledge our continuing
support of their efforts to spread the good news about freemasonry.
For me, one of the highlights of the year was undoubtedly
being invested as Grand Secretary at the Annual Investiture meeting of Grand
Mark Lodge in June. I feel very humbled and greatly honoured to have been
afforded the opportunity to lead the team at Mark Masons’ Hall and I pledge
myself to do my utmost to further the interests of our nine Orders whenever
possible. I am very fortunate to have the support of a wonderful team and I
thank them all for their efforts. There has been much change at head office in
the last twelve months – we’ve recruited several new members to the team; we’ve
started the journey to change the way we do things and deliver a more efficient
service for our members; and we’ve invested heavily in improving the fabric of
Mark Masons’ Hall. And all this against a background of increasing assets and a
strong balance sheet. All our Orders are showing a net increase in
members and whilst that should give all of us grounds for optimism we shouldn’t
be complacent – we still have much to do to ensure we recruit new members and
retain existing ones and you’ll see much more happening in this area next year.
I am constantly amazed by the generosity of our members
in support of our various Benevolent Funds and nowhere was this exemplified
more than in May when we held the Royal Parks Charity Walk in support of the
Mark Benevolent Fund. Over 300 Brethren, their wives, friends and families
participated in this sponsored event which raised more than four times the
target sum – achieving a massive £437,934. This event demonstrated the true
impact of our collective efforts which will enable the Fund to provide further
vehicles for Blood Bike charities up and down the country – watch this space
for details of the vehicle distribution early in the New Year.
I feel confident that we are well placed to face the
challenges of 2018 and with your support I am sure we will have another
Whatever you’re doing over the coming festive season and
wherever you may be, I send you my warmest fraternal good wishes for a happy
and peaceful Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year.
regards and best wishes.
R.W.Bro. Ryan A.