It has been quite a week with news, first and foremost that the barbers will be able to open next month. I think for many of us, that will be one of the first ports of call! However, despite the slackening of quite a number of the restrictions I still haven’t seen any indication that we will be able to have indoor meetings with large numbers. That coupled with the warnings from the Royal College of Surgeons and others about the possibility of a second wave of coronavirus keeps me cautious about meetings happening this year in Scotland although I am delighted that our Lodges in a number of countries are opening again.
Over the past week I have received calls from some of the Lodges who were due to have celebrations during the past four months but which we rescheduled to take place from September onwards. Unless things change soon regarding indoor meetings, it looks like we will have to reschedule once again. However, the Phase 3 announcements from the Scottish Government are due to be made fairly soon and I would ask you to wait until then before definitive decisions are made. I will undertake to contact each Lodge personally to discuss with you the options. Grand Lodge is keen to ensure that all Lodges who have missed out on celebrations will be rescheduled as soon as it is safe to do so.
Latest news from the Scottish Constitution Freemasonry Supports Facebook page is as follows –
Last week This week
Members 2243 2394
Posts 200 219
No of Members posting 129 132
Lodges mentioned 118 127
Provinces mentioned 29 29
Districts & Lodges abroad 7 8
Monetary Value £148,365 £166,870
Overseas Brethren membership position on SCFS during the last week is:
- 31 represented in total
- Within the past week: Sri Lanka has joined us and there has been a notable increase in membership from Malaysia and Gibraltar
- 72 new members this week
- There are now over 350 Overseas Brethren.
Grand Almoner, Tom Davidson has informed me that he has been in touch with Archie McGown, Past Depute Grand Master, who has been in hospital. Grand Almoner reports that Brother McGown is feeling good and much better than he was before going into hospital. He was asking how things were going at the two masonic homes and was delighted to hear that they were still virus-free and that the staff were doing a great job for the residents. Brother McGown sends his best wish to all at Grand Lodge and hopefully he will see everyone as soon as possible and safe.
Through recent Zoom meetings and thanks to Lodge Secretaries sending reports into Grand Lodge, I can sadly report, that to date we have lost over thirty Brethren from the Scottish Craft to the deadly Coronavirus. As we all enjoy this spell of glorious weather and the lifting of some of the restrictions, let us remember those who have passed to the Grand Lodge above and keep in our thoughts and prayers the families of those who have lost those nearest and dearest to them. I know and appreciate the amount of love and care that our Brethren have shown to those families – please continue to give that support. At the first opportunity, we will have a special In Memoriam service in Grand Lodge for those who have died as a result of the virus and the many others who have died during the lockdown and for whom families have been unable to hold proper funeral services. I would ask that all Lodge Secretaries at home and abroad, if you haven’t already done so, to pass the names and Lodge names of all Brethren whom you wish to be remembered to Sue Williams in Grand Lodge. Thank you.
Bro Tom Smith, Depute Grand Master and Proxy District Grand Master of the Middle East and I were on night shift last weekend when we attended a Zoom meeting of the District Grand Lodge of the Middle East. It started at 09.00 Kuala Lumpur time which was 02.00 our time, but we both agreed that it was worth being there. The District is in good heart and the Masters of all 21 Lodges gave reports as to the state of their respective Lodges. The meeting was very well organised, and everyone stuck to the proper protocols. The Malaysian Government have indicated that no large meetings will be allowed before the end of the year, but Singapore and Thailand may well resume before that.
This weekend I am looking forward to two Zoom meetings – one with the District Grand Lodge of Central South Africa and one with the District Grand Lodges in the Caribbean
The Grand Lodge History and Heritage Group series of lectures are attracting weekly audiences of between 70 and 80 Brethren. So far, we have received presentations on the history of Lodge Mother Kilwinning No 0, the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary’s Chapel), No 1 and the Lodge of Melrose St John No 1(2). Next Thursday it is the turn of the Lodge of Aberdeen No 1(3) at 7.00 pm.
Please remember for any urgent issues whether at home or abroad – you can contact Grand Lodge on the following numbers – Dawn Oliff – 07464 683630, Sue Williams 07881 440272 and Andrew Paterson 07787 217772. Emails to Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org will also be picked up and forwarded to the correct person.
Even although some of the restrictions are easing, please take care of yourselves and each other – stay safe.
Kindest regards to you all.
Grand Master Mason