GRAND MASTERS CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2017.
Brethren, Sisters and friends of our Institution, another year has come and almost gone, the last twelve months have passed so quickly. Our Institution once again has played its part in all the main anniversaries celebrated this year. We were invited to be part of the planning committee for the Luther 500 parade organised by the Orange Institution and the Royal Black Preceptory and played a major role in all that happened at Portadown in May, it was good to be part of the joint parade and service as were remembered the work of Martin Luther 500 years ago, it was also a pleasure for me to be able to welcome to Ballymoney the Grand Master, Bro Edward Stevenson, together with other Senior officers from the Orange, Black and Apprentice Boys organisations to our Luther Parade and service in November.
The highlight for the Orange Institutions is the twelfth of July celebration, and for us is was a joy as we celebrated our twelfth demonstration in Rasharkin where we enjoyed a glorious day of celebration, catching up with old friends and off course beautiful weather.
As we all look forward to Christmas with excitement, presents being given and received, loved ones coming home for the festive season, feasting and parties we must also remember those who are less fortunate, and I would encourage all our members and supporters to look in on all those in their area who may be on their own.
This year, again, the terrorists have wreaked havoc in our homeland, and on the streets of our United Kingdom in the cities of London, Manchester and others in the mainland and I offer my sympathies to all who were bereaved in the atrocities, we are all indebted, again, to the security forces whose diligence to duty keep us safe, I pay tribute to all the members of the security forces for their sterling services to our country.
In the past year I was saddened when I learned of the passing of our oldest member, Bro. Jonny Gallagher, who passed away at the age of 103, we also lost another stalwart Bro Jim Lamont, I have fond memories of Jonny and Jim down through the years, to their family circles and to others in our Institution who have lost loved one this year I send sincere condolences.
As I close I want to congratulate Prince Harry and Meghan on their engagement last month wishing them God’s richest blessings in the years that lie before them.
Finally, to all our members, their families and our supporters whether they are here at home, Australia, Argentina, England, Scotland or wherever Independent Orangemen might be I send you all seasons greetings and a happy and peaceful new year ever remembering the real Christmas message of God’s love and his special gift to us all.
Rt. Wor. Bro. James Anderson (Imperial Grand Master)