Tuesday, 29th May 2018 and the Oﬃcers and Crew, the Founders, together with an invited audience gathered at the slipway at Thornﬁeld House Masonic Hall to witness the birth of the new Royal Ark Mariner Lodge; some of the Crew were absent on leave with the agreement of the Commander Designate, Worshipful Brother John Fred Clough. Prior to proceedings, the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Worshipful Brother John Vause addressed the Brethren with the usual house notices including a warning about incest, he meant to say incense, roars of laughter from the audience and John. He then attended upon the Admiral of the Fleet, the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles, G.M.R.A.C., Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Alan Oldﬁeld, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother John Trevor Bolton and an escort of Provincial Grand Lodge Oﬃcers; they all then took their allotted stations and the Consecration Ceremony commenced. The opening hymn was sung and prayer rendered whereupon the Founders were arranged in order and the Warrant was read by the Provincial Grand Secretary, Worshipful Brother Fraser McPherson, this was approved and attention turned to the Provincial Chaplain Very Worshipful Brother Edward Patnick.
He gave the Oration where, for inspiration, he had looked to his usual source, the Bible, where he was inspired by the greatest Prophet of them all, Moses. The Lodge number, 1965 had some particularly wonderful memories for him. It was the year that he visited Israel as a member of the Great Britain management team for the Maccabiah, the Jewish Olympics; upon arrival in Tel Aviv, he was made the Manager of the Wrestling Team, his sport was football; he knew nothing about wrestling which, in turn, reminded him of when he was appointed Provincial Chaplain!. On his return from Israel he met his wife, Anne and some fifty two years later, they are still together with children and grand children. This was all down to the Righteous Noah and his Ark, who saved the world from total destruction.
In celebrating the beginning of a new Royal Ark Mariner Lodge, the Bible reminds us that beginnings are always important whether it’s the beginning of the world in seven days, a new relationship, the birth of a child with the emergence of new life or, and closer to home, a new Lodge or Candidate. Names of Lodges are chosen for number of reasons but in Royal Ark Mariners we have to be moored to a Mark Lodge by its number but not necessarily using the same name, this Lodge has done both. Noah had three sons named Shem, Cham and Japheth. Shem means name, and is used here in reference to idol worship, the intention of those who built the tower of Babel. They were people who wished to “make a name” for themselves. Cham means “hot” and hints at violent crimes committed in the heat of the moment, like murder and theft whilst Japheth means beauty.
The lessons that it teaches are that we should face adversity together and help to look after those less fortunate than ourselves. The history of Noah and his mes is given in the Exposition, Dissertation or Gopher Wood Address, which forms part of the ritual in most Lodges at the Installation, like all Masonic ritual it contains facts, fiction and a story that is a fable. Adam passed on a book called The Liberal Arts and Sciences, which contained all the knowledge of how the world was built and even how man was made. Noah knowing of the intended flood, read the book to his three sons and then hid it in the hope he would find it after the flood, of course he never found it again. Fortunately Shem, the righteous son, with the help of the Grand Commander of the Universe learned every word and years later recited the Liberal Arts and Sciences to Abraham who wrote them down.
Royal Ark Mariners teaches the Grand Principle of Freemasonry, Brotherly Love (love thy neighbour), Relief (charity) and Truth. (A belief in a Supreme Being), but it may also contain the Genuine Secrets of a Master Mason which could be the “Liberal Arts and Sciences”. My hope is that more people are brought into Royal Ark Mariners through the founding of this new Lodge we have consecrated today. May The Rugby Royal Ark Mariner Lodge prosper, “until time with us shall be no more”.
The Lodge Board was then uncovered and the Consecrating officer, R.W.Bro. Jim together with his Wardens, Worshipful Brother Mark Holland, Senior Warden and Worshipful Brother Alex Geddes, Junior Warden carried the elements of Consecration three times around the Lodge. A further perambulation by R.W.Bro. Jim was then taken when salt was placed on the right shoulder of each of the Founders, the emblem of Fidelity, Hospitality and Eternal Friendship, the Lodge was then dedicated. W.Bro. Edward, Provincial Chaplain, then perambulated three times, censing and that took us back to where we came in, incense. The Lodge was then Consecrated.
An Assembly of Installed Commanders was formed and the Asst.Prov. G.M., W.Bro Trevor proclaimed and Installed W.Bro. John Fred as the first Commander of the Lodge. R.W.Bro. Jim then presented the Warrant to the Lodge and Very Worshipful Brother Bob Corfield conducted the address to the Commander, spot on as a Brother commented. After the appointment and investiture of the Officers, the newly created Immediate Past Commander, Right Worshipful Brother Bob Clancy delivered the Exposition in a most professional and sincere fashion, a delight to behold. Brethren should note that the Lodge has four Provincial Grand Masters in its ranks R.W.Bro. Bob , Right Worshipful Brother Keith Hodgson , Right Worshipful Brother Alex McLaren and our own R.W.Bro.Jim, the first two named both played rugby at a professional level.
W.Bro. John Fred then acknowledged a large number of donations in respect of Lodge Ornaments, this being followed by the presentation of Founders Jewels. The consecrating Officers then retired and the Lodge held a positive ballot for four joining members, that press gang was quickly formed and executed its commission, hopefully there will be many more. The Lodge was closed and all adjourned to enjoy an eagerly awaited repast. Toasts followed with R.W.Bro. Jim responding to that dedicated to himself saying that he felt very lucky to be the P.G.M. at this time, his first Consecration in the role. He thanked all the Consecration Team for their contributions, particularly the Chaplain who had a lot do but could read most of it, which did not apply to himself. The P.G.M. then went on to propose the Toast to the Lodge, the twenty second in the Province, which came about after the creation of the Mark Lodge in the Province of East Lancashire moored at Rochdale, a number of locations were considered, and he hoped that they would be very successful in attracting new ‘players’. Their next meeting is on Tuesday, 31st July, well worth a visit. Overall this was a meeting of superb quality throughout where all who took part deserve congratulation.