There is always a festive feel to December’s Royal Ark Mariner Annual Assembly and Monday was no exception. The full Grand Temple at Freemasons Hall looked spectacular with the Brethren resplendent in their rainbow trimmed regalia. And the presence of M.W.Bro. HRH Prince Michael of Kent, GCVO, Grand Master, served to enhance the special nature of the meeting.
Following the opening business, the Most Worshipful Grand Master spoke of the important links between Craft and Royal Arch Freemasonry and the Mark and Royal Ark Mariner Degrees, as well as the other Companion Orders of Freemasonry, and highlighted the present collaboration being enjoyed between Freemasons’ Hall and Mark Masons’ Hall. In recognition of this, and his services to Mark and Royal Ark Mariner Freemasonry, the Most Worshipful Grand Master announced that he was appointing R.W.Bro. Jonathan Spence, Pro Grand Master of the Craft, to the Rank of Grand Master’s Royal Ark Council (Honoris Causa). This was warmly received by the Brethren in attendance who applauded as R.W.Bro Spence was escorted to be invested.
Then came the appointment of 115 Brethren to Royal Ark Mariner Grand Rank and those present were invested.
The Most Worshipful Grand Master then addressed the meeting, welcoming everyone and speaking of new beginnings and how important it is to see an appointment such as Grand Rank in this Order as the start of a new passage in one’s Masonic journey. He also spoke of how each of us has a responsibility of stewardship to the Order and asked for a collective renewal of commitment to the Degree.
He then went on to pick out many of the charitable highlights of the year achieved by the MBF and the generosity of the Brethren towards the fund.
The Grand Master then called on R.W.Bro. Richard Gan, P.Prov.G.M. for Middlesex, to give a short but very interesting talk on the celebration of it being 150 Years since the Degree of Royal Ark Mariner was taken under the protection the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons. You can read R.W.Bro. Gan’s informative and entertaining talk here.
Lastly, the Grand Master welcomed the many Brethren visiting from foreign constitutions and Districts overseas, before thanking the Grand Secretary and M.M.H. staff, and the G.D.C. and his team, for their efforts in arranging the day’s meeting.
He closed by wishing everyone a happy Christmas and New Year, wishing us the very best in our endeavours to further the traditions of this beautiful Order in 2024.
The Brethren then retired, many taking the opportunity to join the dining in the Grand Connaught Rooms, where they were pleased to drink the health of the Most Worshipful Grand Master in his presence, and enjoy his response to his toast.