Mark in Warwickshire
Who are the leaders of the Mark Degree?
Grand Mark Lodge is governed by The General Board from Mark Masons’ Hall in St James’s Street which is very near to St James’s Palace in London. The Grand Master is His Royal Highness, Prince Michael of Kent. The current MW.Pro Grand Master is Raymond John Smith.
What Social Functions are there that involve Ladies?
The Warwickshire Provincial Mark Lodge organises many events, all of which are well supported and in every case non-Mark Masons, Ladies and guests are very welcome. As with all Mark social functions and meetings you will be greeted with a overwhelming feeling of belonging, we are not called the “Friendly Degree” for nothing.
Present Social Functions include:
- The Family Luncheon held at various venues in the Province.
- The Annual Mark vs Craft Skittles match where we simply love to win! (But not this year thanks to the Royal Arch!)
A Summer BBQ event held in July of each year.
- A Bonfire/Fireworks Extravaganza in November. A fully catered event involving everyone within our own and adjoining Provinces.
The Carol Service in December is a very popular family function at Edgbaston Old Church. After the service, light refreshments and a glass or two of wine are served. Providing an opportunity for families to meet and chat together.
Additional events such as barn dances, barbecues, pig roasts and weekend breaks have been included in the programme from time to time. Many Mark Lodges have attractive “Ladies to Dine” occasions, or “Ladies’ Evenings”. Warwickshire Installed Mark Masters Lodge No.1400 have their very own Ladies Weekend every year too. In 2020 it will be held in Winchester.
What does it cost to belong to the Mark in Warwickshire?
The cost of joining a Mark Lodge is decided from time to time by the Lodge concerned and can vary somewhat. To this should be added the regalia costs of about £50. The annual Lodge subscription varies according to the number of meetings, for four meetings a year it is about £90. It is appropriate for a newly advanced Brother in the Mark to have a Warwickshire Mark tie and a book of ritual. The dining costs are related to the Masonic Hall where the Mark Lodge meets and are additional to the costs listed.
What commitments are there in being a Mark Master Mason?
A few Mark Lodges in the Province meet just twice in a year, while most meet four times in a year. In addition to the regular meetings there are Past Masters and Officers meetings. There are also several excellent Lodges of Instruction at Knowle Masonic Hall. The expectations for a newly advanced Brother include regular attendance and a commitment to the attractive and straightforward ritual.
Every year there is the Provincial Grand Lodge Meeting which is supported by Mark Master Masons. This is held on a Saturday, most recently at the Heart of England Conference Centre near Meriden and is followed by a delicious luncheon. Many Provincial Grand Masters from other Provinces attend and most of the other Orders in Freemasonry are represented. The Provincial Grand Master of the Craft and the Grand Superintendent of the Royal Arch are often present as well as “Rulers” in many Orders emphasising our closeness. After attaining the Chair there is a thriving Installed Mark Masters Lodge of which membership is available.
What regalia and dress are required?
The Mark Master Mason’s regalia is a simple apron and key stone breast jewel. These are given at the Advancement Ceremony. Morning dress – Black short jacket and striped trousers are optional – a dark suit is quite usual for members. White collared shirts are enhanced by the Warwickshire Mark tie. Other Mark Provinces have different Mark ties.
Why is the Mark known as the Happy Degree?
This is perhaps a little over simplified. Today, the Mark Degree is concerned that every ceremony should be dignified and meaningful. At the Festive Boards there is a special kind of relationship amongst the Brethren which includes the use of first names across age groups and most ranks. There is no doubt that the principle of being happy and communicating happiness is one of the charms of the Mark Degree.
Another important feature of the Mark Province of Warwickshire is the happy relationship with the neighbouring Mark Provinces of Worcestershire, and Staffordshire and Shropshire. This has resulted in visits being made by the Provincial Officers to these two Provinces – and also receiving visits from them.
How is the Mark Degree Meaningful?
The Mark Ritual revolves around a verse from Psalm 118: “The stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner” It explores the building of King Solomon’s Temple and the craftsmen involved in the work. But there is also a clear message that men in responsible positions can make mistakes, which cause distress to others; that there is a place of honour for the humble man who shows that he has qualities of perseverance and integrity. Mark Masons who become familiar with the ritual frequently see other important principles in the ceremony that add to the quality of behaviour in everyday modern life.
Who is eligible to join?
Who is eligible to join? Any currently subscribing Craft Master Mason.
Is an invitation to join necessary? No. Application can be made to a Mark Lodge Secretary, who will make the necessary arrangements – which do include a candidate having a Proposer and a Seconder. But the more usual way of joining a Mark Lodge is for a Brother to have friends in the Mark Lodge and who will be the Proposer and the Seconder.
An introduction to the Mark Degree is frequently through a social function where a potential candidate can appreciate the “tone” of the Order. The paper work is very simple and includes obtaining a Clearance Certificate from the existing Craft Lodge and completing a Mark Proposal Form.
What Ceremonies are there in the Mark Degree?
There is the Advancement Ceremony where a candidate is made a Mark Master Mason and welcomed into the Order. The Ceremony involves most of the Lodge Officers and an organist is particularly important. There is also a Tracing Board and a Mark Lecture which may be given at a later meeting. Annually, there is the Installation Ceremony where the Worshipful Master Elect is installed into the Chair.
Is there Progress in the Mark Degree? Progress in the Mark Degree is similar to progress in the Craft.
In a Mark Lodge there is a succession of responsibilities and rôles to be taken and these lead to the office of Worshipful Master. There are several offices usually taken by Past Masters – Almoner and Chaplain are examples. A couple of years after attaining the Chair, a Mark Master Mason is likely to become a Provincial Officer. Promotion may follow in Provincial Grand Lodge after a few more years. For a select few there is Grand Rank in the Mark Degree.
Each year there are two meetings of Grand Mark Lodge held at Mark Masons’ Hall and two other meetings held at the Freemasons Hall in Great Queen Street. The latter meetings are for the investiture of Grand Ranks in the Mark Degree and the Royal Ark Mariners Degree, which is an Order associated with the Mark.
“Among Mark Master Masons you will ever find friends, who will administer relief to your distress and comfort in your affliction…”.
Known as the “Happy Degree”, Mark Masonry has found great popularity for it’s ritual and fellowship. If you are interested in becoming a Mark Master Mason please contact W. Bro. Ian Belsham, the Provincial Grand Secretary.
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