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PROVINCIAL VIRTUAL MEETING – 25 JULY 2020

On Saturday 25th July 67 Brethren from within and without the Province joined with us on or “Annual Meeting” but due to the Covid Pandemic we had to hold a Virtual Meeting via Zoom.

We were privileged to welcome the Grand Supreme Ruler Most Worthy Brother Andrew C Sweeney, his Deputy Grand Supreme Ruler Right Worthy Brother James R Hodge, the Grand Recorder Right Worthy Brother Ryan A Williams, The grand Summus Right Worthy Brother Ian S Currans and his Assistant Grand Summus (also Provincial Grand Supreme Ruler of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Hertfordshire) Right Worthy Brother Howard S Markham.

All the necessary business was concluded in accordance with the guidelines laid down by Mark Masons’ Hall and the Provincial Grand Supreme Ruler confirmed and congratulated all the Brethren that were promoted or appointed to Provincial Grand Rank. A list of these can be found under the “Provincial Officers” page.

A copy of the Provincial Grand Supreme Ruler’s Address is copied below.

At the conclusion of the Virtual Meeting, a new Zoom Meeting was opened where the Brethren enjoyed a ‘Harmonious’ Virtual Meeting.

PROVINCIAL GRAND SUPREME RULER’S ADDRESS

Brethren, I thank you all for attending this Virtual Meeting here today. It is really good to see you all smiling and healthy. Please stay that way.

My first task today is to acknowledge and thank all the Visiting Deacons of every Conclave for the absolutely great work that they have done and continue to do in carrying out your duties during this dreadful pandemic. Your efforts are really appreciated by all your fellow Brethren and myself.

Brethren, you may have heard that the Suspension of Masonic Activity has been lifted by Mark Masons’ Hall under a number of strict provisos, but I feel that it will be more likely, that we in Scotland, will have to wait until 2021 before Grand Lodge of Scotland permit meetings in the Scottish Lodge Rooms.

I would once again congratulate the Brethren who have received promotions and new appointments within the Provincial Grand Conclave today. Every one of them is thoroughly deserved, I look forward hopefully in the near future to working with you for the benefit of the Province.

We started the year off last September on a high after a really enjoyable get together at Musselburgh last August. I would once again thank the many visitors who travelled great distances to be with us on that day.

Since then, we, without any thought of viruses, carried on as normal and held 9 meetings as normal within the Province including Installing three Supreme Rulers at Claverhouse of Dundee, Wy Bro Grant Thomson; Inchcolm Wy Bro Stewart Jeffray; and also at Stanley T Geddes Conclave, our Supreme Rulers Conclave V Wy Bro George Philp. Congratulations to all 3 of you and I extend my thanks for your commitment to these Conclaves and the Order in General.

From September up until the Suspension, we received eight new members into the Order and another joining from another Province. That is really encouraging as we lost 4 members through resignation and one member called to Higher Service in Bro Thomas Byers who had been a member of Claverhouse of Dundee Conclave for 31 years. Never took an Office but was happy to join our meetings until ill health prevented him attending.

Last November, I was accompanied to the Grand Conclave Meeting in London by many Brethren and I congratulate the following Brethren on their Promotions and Appointments: V Wy Bro George Philp who really enjoys visiting Conclaves was appointed as Active Grand Visitor and did manage to make a few reports to Grand Guide of visits he made prior to the General Suspension. V Wy Bro Harry Turner to Past Grand Visitor, Wy Bro Bob Melville to PGSwdB, and Wy Bro Graham Nicoll to Active Grand Steward. I should also mention that our new member from Northumberland Wy Bro Ewan Notman was also appointed as a Grand Steward. Congratulations to you all.

Last year the Provincial Grand Conclave supported by the OSM Benevolent fund made a donation of £500 to John Fergus School, here in Glenrothes. This school is solely for pupils of all ages (3 to 18) who have Learning difficulties and they are in the process of constructing a new Sensory Room where pupils can go to if they are under a lot of stress. It was really pleasing to go there accompanied by my Deputy V Wy Bro David Thomson and make the donation.  It really was inspiring to see these youngsters.

I feel that I must reiterate the message from Grand Conclave that we must do everything in our power to visit where we can or call on everyone that is isolating.

Make them aware that they are in our thoughts all the time. We must ensure that we retain our membership as much as possible at this time.

You will all know that I along with the Provincial Executive, took the decision to waive all Provincial Fees of Honour this year and the Annual contributions that the Conclaves have been contributing to Provincial Funds.

It is only a small thing but I feel that as I know some members are struggling financially due to enforced lock-down, ‘every little helps’, as they say. I would also like to thank the Management Committee of MMH for the latest Schedule of Fees that was issued yesterday. I feel really confident that this will make a great difference in recruitment and hopefully retention within all the Orders, not just the OSM.

A very quick mention of the Scarlet Cord Brethren. I know that a great percentage of this Provinces members are indeed already members of the Scarlet Cord, either at Berwick, Brampton or Alnwick.

Please continue to spread the word about this great Order which is totally dependent on the OSM members for Candidates. If any Brother is interested, please Contact David Thomson, Martyn Greene, Ewan Notman or myself at any time.

Before I do finish this Address, it would be very remiss of me not to include a few thank yous. Firstly, I would like to thank our Provincial Grand Recorder Wy Bro Martyn Greene for all his hard work throughout the last year. There is hardly a day goes by where Martyn and I chat about something. That could be about what is happening in this Order or other Orders or even just about how are you. Martyn, I really do appreciate everything that you do for the Province and myself. I know that you are extremely busy in lots of Orders in Scotland and England as well as with your family. I very rarely let anything go out to the Province without it being scrutinised by Martyn.

I would also like to say a great Thank You to my Deputy, V Wy Bro David Thomson. Over the last year you have had to endure many family crisis’s but you have always remained positive in everything that you do.  I wish you and your good lady Mary every good wish for the future.

We have become very good friends over the years and I really do thank you for that.

David travels with me to most of the Sister Provinces when he can and we attend every Conclave Meeting within the Province together and some in our Sister Provinces.

I must also pass on grateful thanks for all the hard work done behind the scenes by Wy Bro Alex Sharp our Provincial Treasurer and Wy Bro Graham Nicoll our Provincial Director of Ceremonies.

Brethren, I think it is true to say that any decision taken within the Province has been discussed by the 5 of us and we usually come up with the best solution. Your counsel and advice over the last year has been greatly appreciated. Thank You.

As a reminder Brethren that in accordance with Mark Masons’ Hall Seven Step Process for holding Virtual Business Meetings, I will be closing this Zoom Meeting immediately after I have closed this Business Meeting. As per the separate Invitation sent out, I will open up a Virtual Harmony Meeting with the same ID and Passwords. In this Harmony Meeting Formalities will be relaxed ever so slightly and you will be permitted to raise a glass if you so wish.

In conclusion Brethren, I must thank you all again for joining us here today. I would much rather have been able to buy you all a drink at Musselburgh but maybe next year.

Do not applaud too loudly Brethren, as you are all muted. Thank You Brethren.