The Grand Council of the Independent United Order of Mechanics (IUOM), Friendly Society of North, Central & South America, Islands of the Seas and the Entire Western successfully held its 27th Triennial International Convention at its world headquarters on Putnam Avenue in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.
The convention was held from Tuesday, Oct. 23 to Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023.
The Order of Mechanics is a worldwide fraternal organization founded in 1757 with branches throughout Europe, Canada, America and the Caribbean.
Grand councilors, delegates and alternates representing District Grand Jurisdictions in London, Holland, Suriname, Florida, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Belize, Jamaica and Canada attended the major convention, according to Hyacinth Robinson-Goldson, the Jamaican-born community liaison for IUOM’s Executive Committee of the Grand Council.
Robinson-Goldson told Caribbean Life that convention attendees were welcomed on Oct. 23 by the Jamaican-born Grand Deputy Master of the Mechanics Order Rt. Hon. Glenver Jones at a Meet & Greet in the Mechanic’s Pavilion.
Mayor of New York City Eric Adams, in a message, expressed “great pleasure in welcoming the delegates to the convention”
He alluded to the “diverse and dedicated populace of NYC with the determination to uplift others and make our city one of the greatest,” according to Robinson-Goldson.
She said Rt. Hon. Errol G. Collins, the Jamaican-born Grand Master of the 266-year-old fraternal Order, “expressed gratitude” in his remarks to all members of the various District Grand Jurisdictions, and the delegation present, stating that he “understood the great sacrifices made by District Grand Lodges, despite the many setbacks that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am sure” he said, “each of you understand the financial issues which resulted from the pandemic. However, to ensure compliance with the laws of the State of New York, and, instead of hosting the convention off-site at a hotel, as we’ve always done, the Executive Committee of Grand Council made the decision to bring the convention home,” Collins said. “This is home for all Mechanics. “I hope for the next few days you will enjoy your stay with us.”
He thanked District Grand Masters around the world, who kept their District Grand lodges intact, and asked the delegates to use good judgement and wisdom during their deliberations throughout the convention “in order to move forward from the hurdles and setbacks that the pandemic has caused worldwide.”
Thanks to Grenadian Rt. Hon. Daniel Roden, executive grand councilor for Information & Technology, the convention was livestreamed to accommodate members “near and far,” who could not attend due to space constraints.
The convention resumed with a Thanksgiving Service the next day in the Main Hall of the building. Rt. Hon. Winston George, the Panamanian-born executive grand prelate presided, and Rev. Canon George L. Bonner, the Belizean-born rector of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church on Farragut Road in Canarsie, Brooklyn, and a member of the Order, delivered the sermon.
During his sermon, Canon Bonner challenged members with the words, as written in Psalm 133, with emphasis on “Unity, Brotherly/Sisterly Love and Charity.”
Robinson-Goldson said the highlight of the service was the presentation of citations to each Executive Grand Councilor, who has served the Order throughout the administration.
Collins said “this is a first in the history of the Order” and it was his way of thanking those who served on behalf of the Order.
The Order’s Meritorious Medallion was also presented to Robinson-Goldson for her “extraordinary service to the Order and achievements in her role as Community Liaison to the Executive Committee of Grand Council.”
The following days (Thursday and Friday) were consumed with reports, deliberations and proposals, Robinson-Goldson said.
She said Certificates of Appreciation were presented by Rt. Hon. Casper Edwards, the Vincentian-born Commissioner of the Mechanics Pavilion, during the social gathering on Thursday evening, to members of the Order who assisted with repairs, gave special gifts and/or monetary donations and contributions for the renovation and refurbishing of the Pavilion.
Robinson-Goldson said delegates “got little breaks” to purchase an array of customized gifts that were designed with the Order’s Logo.
“The delegates were very excited with the items offered, and the items were produced at reasonable and affordable costs,” said Robinson-Goldson, who also served as chairperson of the Special Convention Committee. “This was a team effort; we were assigned by the Convention Chairman, Rt. Hon. Glenver Jones, the responsibilities to oversee the Meet & Greet, daily breakfast, lunch, the gift shop and the Grand Master’s Ball.
“I must give thanks and express my gratitude to members of the committee who hit the ground running and worked so hard to ensure that everything ran smoothly throughout the convention,” Jones said. “Some members were at the building from 6:30 in the mornings and never left until 11 p.m., and this went on for the duration of the convention, and the delegates were so grateful.
“It was tough; some said it could not be done,” he added. “But together, we worked hard and we did it.”
The Grand Master’s Ball was held on Friday, Oct. 27, at Friendship Hall at Nazareth High School in Brooklyn.
Collins and Mrs. Collins attended the event, with special guests, to welcome delegates, members, and friends and families. Rt. Hon. David Williams, a Grenadian, served as Master of Ceremonies.
Jones welcomed attendees and assured that the program was “very short in order to give adequate time for fraternizing and dancing.”
A proclamation from New York State Attorney General Letitia James was read by Roden.
Robinson-Goldson said the convention reconvened on Saturday, Oct. 28, with nomination and election of officers.
She said Collins was re-elected as Most Worshipful Grand Master, and installed with a new administration of Executive Grand Councilors.
The Executive Grand Councilors will serve on the Executive Committee of Grand Council, the administrative body of the worldwide fraternal organization, for the 2023 – 2026 term, Robinson-Goldson said.