Members of the Grand Council of the Independent United Order of Mechanics, Friendly Society of North, Central and South America, Islands of the Seas and the Entire Western Hemisphere, Inc., their families, supporters and friends braved the inclement weather on Dec. 1 and travelled from the five boroughs in New York City and Long Island for the annual Christmas tree lighting at the Order’s headquarters, known as The Temple, on Putnam Avenue, in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.
Panamanian-born Rt. Hon. Winston George, executive grand prelate, during the invocation read from Holy Scriptures, in the Book of Isaiah, which speaks to an awareness of the “reason for the season.”
He also prayed for prayed for global peace, love and healing for countries that are at war, especially the mothers and children who have become victims in the midst of chaos and strife.
“Christmas brings the ‘gift of light’ to the world,” he said, “and, by example, the greatest gift we can give during this festive season is the gift of a smile, peace, love and forgiveness.”
Rt. Hon. Gary S. Miller, newly elected executive grand trustee, flipped the switch to “Light up the Temple,” signifying the beginning of this year’s Mechanics’ holiday celebrations.
“This has become an annual tradition,” said Jamaican-born Rt. Hon. Glenver R. Jones, deputy master of the order, who welcomed guests to the event.
“I am very pleased to see the turnout this evening, and, despite the inclement weather outside, I have watched the attendance at this event get larger and larger every year, and, because of that reason, we may have to find another spot in the building to accommodate the tree-lighting next year,” he added.
He also said that it was a privilege, since the recent closing of the 27th Triennial International Convention in Brooklyn, to introduce the Jamaican-born leader of the Order, Rt. Hon. Errol G. Collins, who was re-elected for a 2nd term as the Most Worshipful grand Master.
Photo by H. Robinson-Goldson
In his very short remarks, Rt. Hon. Errol G. Collins commended the organizers and guests. He also recognized the executive grand councilors who were present, with special mention to newly-elected Executive Grand Trustee, Rt. Hon. Gary Miller, whom he gave the privilege of lighting the tree for this year, and introduced Rt. Hon. Joseph Morgan, executive grand councilor, who has been appointed commissioner of the Resource & Finance Commission, since the closing of the 27th Triennial International Convention held in October.
“Peace profound” he said to all. “We must give thanks that we can meet again, in spite of the many trials and tribulations, to give thanks and celebrate one of the special seasons of the year.
“I hope and pray that this festive season will bring peace, love and joy among you and your families, and that we continue to enjoy the many blessings that are bestowed upon us,” Collins added.
He also introduced other Executive Grand Councilors present including, Rt. Hon. Leighton Dingwall, Executive Grand Secretary; Rt. Hon. Casper Edwards, Executive Grand Treasurer, Rt. Hon. Francisco E. Bethune, Sr., Executive Grand Tyler, Rt. Hon. Neville S. Reid, and Rt. Hon. Verol Gill, Executive Grand Trustees.
Representing the various District Grand Jurisdictions in New York City were: Hon. Kenneth Ponder, District Grand Master (Ad-Interim) of the King Solomon District Grand Lodge #1; Hon. Herald Saunders, District Grand Master (Ad-Interim) from the Composite District Grand Lodge #2; Ven. Waldron DaSilva, Deputy Master of Brooklyn District Grand Lodge #1; Hon. Sylvester Gibson, Deputy Master of Alpha District Grand Lodge #1; and Hon. Federico Beaumont, Deputy Master of Ben Hur District Grand Lodge #1.
Everyone joined in the singing of old traditional Christmas Carols, including “Oh Come all ye Faithful,” “Deck the Halls” and “Do You Hear What I hear.”
Members of the Mechanics Choir, who came decked out in their holiday colors, led the singing.
Santa Claus (Hon. Beaumont) made a grand entrance during the singing of carols, ringing in the holiday spirit, much to the surprise of attendees.
“Unwrapped toys collected and were meticulously placed under the tree during the ceremony, said Sis. Hyacinth Robinson-Goldson, the Jamaican-born community liaison.
Photo by H. Robinson-Goldson
She said these toys will be turned over to members of the NYPD 88th Precinct for their annual Holiday Community Treat.
“As an organization, these acts of kindness are some of the additional ways in which we give to families in need,” Robinson-Goldson said. “We appreciate and express our sincere thanks to Cpt. Michael E. Goodchild, 88th Precinct Commanding Officer; and especially Det. Christopher Kenny and P.O. Evita Poole of the 88th Precinct Community Affairs Department, who have worked with us as community partners to accommodate this annual toy drive.
“Our members look forward to bringing an unwrapped toy every year because they realize that our united kindness and generosity have become blessings in providing gifts for needy children during this special time of the year,” she added.