At the request of the Provincial Grand Master, R. W. Bro. James Steggles, a meeting was convened at Pontefract Masonic Hall on Friday 27 September. The main purpose was to explore and discuss the role and future involvement of the 4 associations in the continued development of the Province.
In attendance were the Provincial Grand Master, Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Provincial Grand Secretary, Deputy Provincial Grand Secretary together with Representatives from all Four Associations plus myself.
The purposes of the Associations was re-affirmed as the promotion of friendship, harmony and inter visiting of Lodges, primarily but not exclusively within the Mark Lodges of their own Association. As part of this remit, we need to facilitate greater involvement in the activities of the Province the Associations and particularly, the Associations Lodge representatives. This was warmly welcomed all present and it was noted that this would provide some relief to hard pressed Lodge Secretaries. The start of this process will involve the Stewarding of the Provincial Grand Lodge meeting. This has, heretofore, been the responsibility of a Committee in liaison with Lodges but, with effect from 2014, it will be undertaken each of the Associations in rota. First in line is the Huddersfield, Halifax and Districts Installed Masters Association and if it proves successful which should undoubtedly be the case, it will then be rolled out over the following years to the remaining Associations.
Details of the ‘Health check’ which has been undertaken the Secretariat were then given, the main message from which was that if a Lodge is in any difficulty , please advise the Provincial Executive in order that action can be taken and assistance provided.
The meeting was then advised that with effect from the Masonic year 2014-2015, the Mark Demonstration teams will be re-established. There will be two for the Province, one based on the Leeds and Bradford Associations, the other upon Huddersfield and Halifax and South Yorkshire Associations. It is being dealt with a team consisting of the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Provincial Director of Ceremonies and myself.
It was universally acknowledged that all Mark Master Masons, whether or not Installed Masters, are welcome at all meetings but it was not considered necessary to change names of the Associations at the present time. The Associations are unique to the province being our equivalent of Installed Masters Lodges and it was felt very likely that if they became a general Body, that would ultimately give rise to the establishment of Installed Mark Master Masons Lodges.
Finally it was agreed that there is a need to constantly remind Brethren that the Provincial Meeting is for all Brethren and it was suggested that the Association Representatives should mention this in their reports. Personally I also think that it would be a good idea for all Worshipful Masters, the vast majority if not all of whom, will be attending, to ask their Wardens to accompany them.
A very useful meeting with a follow up in 12 months time.
W. Bro. Duncan Smith P.G.S.D