An Open Invitation had been extended to all Mark Master Masons and Royal Ark Mariners to attend, WetherMasonic Hall, Wednesday, 29th June, to receive a presentation entitled, ‘The Mark meets The Ark’. This had been prepared, and was presented, our Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Dr. Rod Taylor.
The Lodge was honoured the presence of the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles G.M.R.A.C. and other distinguished guests notably, Past Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother George Henry Philip Birch and Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Brian Emmett. The Worshipful Commander, Worshipful Brother George Wise, opened the Lodge when the first item was a Eulogy, delivered Worshipful Brother Robert Winterflood, in respect of Worshipful Brother Keith Robson, now sadly in the Grand Lodge above. W. Bro. Keith had been a very keen and committed Mark Master and Ark Mariner and was, not only sorely missed all the Brethren of the Lodges he was a member, but also many who had met him and his wife Christine. A number recalled trips to London for Grand Lodge when much hilarity was experienced both down and back, W. Bro. Keith is now in Christine’s arms again, God Bless. The essential business was then despatched and the Lodge closed. At this time, the Brethren retained their Regalia and four Mark Master Masons were admitted to witness the presentation.
Bro. Dr. Rod began with the immortal words, ‘Are you sitting comfortably, then I will begin, welcome to the World Premier of The Mark meets The Ark’. The Lecture is an insight into the Royal Ark Mariner Fraternity, therein lies the first point of note, it is not a degree or order but a Fraternity where all wear essentially the same regalia. One of the earliest records refers to a Brother William Boyce in Bath in 1790 but the working of the Fraternity then faded. Eventually it came under the protection of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons where it remains, there is neither a Grand nor a Provincial Grand Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners; these are covered their Mark counterparts.
Much is spoken, quite correctly, about the ambience, brotherly feeling and general mood of friendliness that characterises Mark Master Masons Lodges, in Royal Ark Mariners perhaps it goes up a notch. At this juncture it is not appropriate that I say any more about the detail other than it was superbly prepared and delivered one the most competent public speakers I have ever witnessed, W. Bro. Dr. Rod Taylor, our Assistant Provincial Grand Master. It is now in the hands of the Royal Ark Mariner Lodges to pull together interested Mark Master Masons and then request W. Bro. Dr. Rod to attend; I can assure you they will not be disappointed.
For the record the four Mark Master Masons were Brothers Rex Sunders, Howard Marshall, David Preston and Jim Brown, having spoken to them afterwards I am confident that some will take the opportunity to enjoy the Elevation ceremony in the near future. In fact, after writing this, but before submission, I have now heard that Bro. David Preston is to be elevated in Claro R. A. M. No 525 on Wednesday 31st August, a date for your diaries!
The festive board in a buffet style, another triumph for Chef, Worshipful Brother Robert Snowden, was eagerly consumed and the usual bustle of laughter and chatter abounded. Toasts were kept to a minimum with the Provincial Grand Master thanking Claro Lodge of Royal Ark Mariner No. 525 for hosting the event, W. Bro. Rod for preparing and delivering a superb insight into the Royal Ark Mariner Fraternity and all for attending, particularly the four potential candidates. He finished asking them where could you go to enjoy a meeting more than the Mark? Well now you know!!
As always Smile , be happy, and enjoy the Summer, if it comes!!
W.Bro. Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.