The members of St. Thomas Lodge had to call time and surrender their warrant. It is always a sad time when a Lodge has to call time and hand back their warrant to the Provincial Grand Master. However sad the occasion may be, it was one which was done with dignity and decorum, so fitting of a fine Lodge.
Percy Mark Lodge which had been operating since 1871 was struggling to cope with the numbers of new members. In the late seventies it was suggested by the then Provincial Grand Master that another Mark Lodge should be created in Stockton. This suggestion was taken forward.
The St. Thomas Mark Lodge was consecrated in November 1978 following several founders’ meetings. The Lodge flourished for many years until about 10 years ago. Sadly, two to three years ago the struggles to keep going were more apparent. The members made the decision to call time however the pandemic intervened and delayed the final meeting.
Thankfully, all of the St. Thomas members are either members of other Lodges or are joining another Lodge. This will hopefully be of great benefit to those Lodges where the St Thomas members find a new home.
The members offered their thanks to Percy and Darlington Mark Lodges. Many of their members have helped out over the years and supported the Lodge.
The Lodge Warrant was passed to the Provincial Grand Master to hold in abeyance. It was paraded round the Lodge room by the PGM and Provincial Secretary before all present retired past it.
Whilst tinged with sadness at the end of an era, the evening went with decorum. The meal which followed marked a celebration of the Lodge amongst friends.
Following the meal, the PGM thanked the Lodge for all the hard work in progressing the Lodge and latterly for trying to save the Lodge. He commented on the generous closing remarks made by the Master, Ian Ogden. Ian hoped that Freemasonry will prosper and that Percy Lodge will keep the Mark light burning in Stockton.
The Provincial Junior Warden, John Strachan Denham gave a fitting tribute to the Lodge. He noted it is an emotional time and that it is hard letting go. In 1978 the Lodge was set up to enable Mark Masons to progress, join the Order and participate. He also noted the hard work that members do working in their local community.
Thus ended a very memorable evening for both members and visitors.