Brethren

Further to today’s update, I have received a number of queries about opening up of Masonic Clubs.

The fact is that it is still unclear as to what measures will be required within pubs or clubs. What we do know is that from 15 July, indoor areas of pubs and restaurants will be permitted (subject to physical distancing rules and public health advice). These moves depend on safety measures being put in place, and hospitality businesses (not sure if this will include pubs and clubs) will have to retain contact details for customers for four weeks.

We know that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that the Government intends that pubs and restaurants will open indoors from 15 July – but on a limited basis initially and subject to a number of conditions and that detailed guidance will be issued as soon as possible.

And that is the issue – we still have not received official Government detailed guidelines as to what the conditions will be. It is further confused by the fact that the Scottish Government appear to be taking a more cautious approach than England so there could be significant differences.

Yesterday, the First Minister indicated that social distancing measures will be reduced for the hospitality industry on the understanding that additional practices are introduced by businesses from 15 July when industry can fully reopen. Again, we do not have the specific details, but my understanding is that outdoor areas will need to maintain 2m social distancing for the present.

As soon as detailed guidelines become available, I will have them circulated but general guidance can be found at – https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-tourism-and-hospitality-sector-guidance/

Kindest regards

Ramsay McGhee

Grand Master Mason

Brethren

Last weekend I participated in two Zoom meetings – one with the District Grand Lodge of Central South Africa and one with the District Grand Lodges in the Caribbean. Both were well attended, and both were positive in looking at the way ahead. A pleasing aspect of the meetings was that several Proxy Masters also participated. Zoom is a tool that should enable all Proxy Masters to keep in close contact with their respective lodges. Please get in touch with your Proxy Lodge if you haven’t already done so and find out if they are having Zoom meetings and join in. The Lodges will be delighted to put a face to the name and you will be able to do likewise with the members.

Latest news from the Scottish Constitution Freemasonry Supports Facebook page is as follows –

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Scottish.Constitution.Freemasonry.Supports/

                                                Last week                                 This week

Members                                  2394                                         2584                            

Posts                                        219                                           246                                          

No of Members posting             132                                           143                              

Lodges mentioned                     127                                           148                                          

Provinces mentioned                 29                                            29                                           

Districts & Lodges abroad         8                                              8                                             

Monetary Value                        £166,870                                  £182,933

The SCFS Group now has Overseas Members from:

Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Botswana, Central South Africa, Chile, East Africa, Eastern Province of the Cape of Good Hope, Far East, Gibraltar, India, Jamaica, Jordan, Lebanon, KwaZulu Natal, Malawi, Mauritius, Middle East, Namibia, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Zealand South, North Island New Zealand, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Sierra Leone and The Gambia, Sri Lanka, Trinidad & Tobago and Granada, Western Australia, Western Province of the Cape of Good Hope, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Within the past week: Namibia and New Zealand South have joined us 

There were 113 Overseas Brethren approved this week

There has been a notable increase in membership from East Africa, Middle East, and North Island New Zealand. Middle East membership has now hit 100 members

There are now over 450 Overseas Brethren.

 

 

Indoor Gatherings

Over the past week I have received queries about allowing groups who use Lodge premises back into the premises and I was also asked – “can bingo sessions restart”. The basic answer is no on both accounts.

The Scottish Government guidelines for gatherings are quite plain and straight forward albeit they do not yet allude to indoor gatherings. Regarding mass gatherings outside, their response, while aimed at households, is nevertheless quite specific that it is recommended the maximum number should not exceed eight people.

As far as indoor activity is concerned, all we can do is look at specific areas such as church buildings which are as close to Lodge buildings as we can find in the guidance notes.

Places of worship will be able to reopen for individual prayer or contemplation from 22 June under physical distancing rules and hygiene safeguards. This means that individuals can go to their place of worship on their own or in their household group to pray or take part in religious or spiritual contemplation.

It follows therefore that neither Masonic meetings nor meetings of other groups who use Masonic premises, can take place for the foreseeable future. There may be some movement when Phase 3 is announced but it is more likely that we will not see any significant movement until Phase 4. In general terms you should still adhere to the general guidelines –

  • stay at home as much as possible
  • only go outside for limited purposes
  • stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people
  • wash your hands regularly and as soon as you get home
  • wear a face covering on public transport and enclosed public spaces
  • self-isolate if you have symptoms and book a test

Just for avoidance of doubt we moved to Phase 2 on 19th June. It is expected that Phase 3 will be announced next Thursday 9th July.

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 pa@grandlodgescotland.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.

Ramsay McGhee

Grand Master Mason

Brethren

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 –

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Scottish.Constitution.Freemasonry.Supports/

                                                            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 pa@grandlodgescotland.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.

Ramsay McGhee

Grand Master Mason

Brethren

It has been brought to my attention that the Covid-19 Business Grant is taxable. I have asked Grand Treasurer to check out the implications and he has given me the following helpful advice.

Business Support Grant

I am aware that many Lodges have claimed the £10,000 Business Support Grant from their local authority to assist their finances during the current pandemic. Please be aware that, in common with all business recipients, this grant is taxable. At the current rate of Corporation Tax this will result in a liability of £1,900. Currently a large number of Home Lodges will not require to complete a Company Tax Return as any income will be treated under the “mutuality of trading” doctrine – that income is derived from members and that those members have a right to share equally in any surplus. The receipt of the Grant falls out with this doctrine and is therefore taxable. Those Lodges who currently submit Company Tax Returns should ensure that whoever is responsible for completing the Return is aware of the receipt of the grant. Lodges not currently required to lodge a Company Tax Return have an obligation to contact HM Revenue & Customs (telephone number 0300 200 3410) and advise accordingly.

It is important that we all keep well within the law, so please take heed of the above advice.

I have previously mentioned that our Lodges in Hong Kong and Western Australia are beginning to open their doors again – yesterday I got the following news from Brother James Ironside our District Grand Master of New Zealand South –

 It is agreed that meetings will resume as of July 2020. The first meeting will be a District Grand Lodge committee meeting to be held on Wednesday 1st July 2020 at the Masonic Centre Dunedin.

It is then proposed that the Lodges will resume their meetings from Wednesday 15th July 2020. All meetings will be in accordance with the current published guidelines, with strict contact tracing in force by a separate signing in sheet (other than the attendance register) to include contact phone numbers, or by use of the Government NZ COVID Tracer application by way of scanning the ‘QR’ code on the official registered poster.

The District Grand Master will provide dispensations to Lodge Peninsula Kilwinning 696, Lodge St. John 461 Milton and Lodge Cargill Kilwinning 632 to allow them to alter their respective meeting dates to a suitable and agreed time with their Brethren should they so desire.

It has been stipulated that all July 2020 meetings will be strictly of a business nature, with the option of a lecture of masonic interest only which will enable the Lodges to conduct any necessary ballots before degree work will be able to resume in August 2020.

This is good news and gives us all a boost to know that each week more of our Scottish Brethren are able to get back to meetings albeit within fairly strict guidelines. The strict contact tracing put in place by the New Zealand Government is of particular interest.

Latest news from the Scottish Constitution Freemasonry Supports Facebook page is as follows –

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Scottish.Constitution.Freemasonry.Supports/

Members                                           2243

Posts                                                  200

No of Members posting                129

Lodges mentioned                         118

Provinces mentioned                     29

Districts & Lodges abroad             7

Monetary Value                                             £148,365 an increase of over £2,300 since last week

Overseas Brethren membership position on SCFS during the last week is:

* 91 new members

* 2 New Districts … Peru and Nigeria

* 30 Districts/Under Grand Superintendency/Under Supervision.

I have now had three Zoom meetings with our District Grand Masters all of which have been very informative and encouraging. On Tuesday night I had the pleasure of hosting a first Zoom conference with our Provincial Grand Masters – we had 29 out of 32 PGM’s present which was excellent. I was delighted to get up to date reports from everyone on the tremendous amount of assistance being given to communities as reflected above but equally delighted to receive the very upbeat messages from everyone – my sincere thanks to all our Lodges throughout the world who are continuing to operate via “What’s App”, “Zoom” and other platforms and who are doing great work in all the communities where they live, work and operate. The help and assistance being given to communities, hospitals, hospices, care homes and to individuals should make us all extremely proud to be Freemasons.

Grand Lodge has undergone a full deep clean this week with a view to start getting some staff back into Grand Lodge. Offices have been rearranged to ensure that social distancing will be observed. It will be a step by step process to ensure that staff are going to be safe. Once the process starts, I will keep you all up to date with progress but, in the meantime, please continue to use the contact details below.

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 pa@grandlodgescotland.org will also be picked up and forwarded to the correct person.

Please take care of yourselves and each other – stay safe.

Kindest regards to you all.

Ramsay McGhee

Grand Master Mason

Brethren

At long last we are seeing a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel with our Lodges in Hong Kong and Western Australia ready to open once again and the Lodges in the Bahamas not far behind albeit I understand that the Government in the Bahamas have stipulated that no one over the age of 65 will be allowed to attend.

That said, at home and in many of our Districts, there is little prospect of getting back to regular meetings in the foreseeable future. Yesterday, we should have been in Edinburgh for the June Communication at which we would normally have made recommendations in respect of Office-bearers for the coming year. As that was not possible, I did write to all members of Grand Committee and they have agreed to my suggestion that the current Grand Lodge Office-bearers will remain in Office for a further year and that all Lodges, where practicable, should consider taking the same action. It follows that those who were due to come off Grand Committee this year will remain in situ and that we will simply move the elections for Grand Committee forward to next year.

We would also have welcomed new Provincial and District Grand Masters yesterday. I have written to them all welcoming them to their new Offices and have likewise written to those demitting office yesterday to thank them for their endeavour over the past five years. We welcome to the ranks of Provincial and District Grand Masters, Brother Chrispin Deigh in Sierra Leone and the Gambia, Gary Dinham in Newfoundland and Labrador, Chris Wong in the Far East, David Collings in Sutherland, Gordon Sewell in Stirlingshire, Andrew Forsyth in the Scottish Borders, William Semple in Perthshire West, Alan Balfour in Orkney and Zetland and Michael Mulholland continuing for a further five years in Forfarshire. I look forward to installing them all in due course. That was supposed to happen at a joint Installation meeting in October but unless there is a monumental change in direction from the Government that date will possibly have to be rescheduled. Likewise, all the Lodges that we have scheduled or rescheduled to have Rededication Ceremonies from September onwards will, in all likelihood, have to be rescheduled again. I would ask you to sit tight on the dates until we get more positive guidance from the Scottish Government and thereafter, I will be in touch with you all to agree when we can best carry out the ceremonies.

All Lodges will have much to do before being allowed to reopen. Grand Lodge are preparing guidelines that will hopefully provide a step by step routine to ensure that every possible precaution can be taken to safeguard all Brethren.

Could I give another reminder about the Covid-19 Business Relief Fund – there is still time to apply and contrary to the belief held in one Lodge, Grand Lodge do not receive a proportion of the grant from each Lodge. The grant, in full, is for each Lodge to use to best advantage in their respective premises.

The Scottish Constitution Freemasonry Support Group (SCFSG) now has members from:

Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Botswana, Central South Africa, Chile, East Africa, Eastern Province of the Cape of Good Hope, Far East, Gibraltar, India, Jamaica, Jordan, Lebanon, Kwazulu Natal, Malawi, Middle East, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Zealand North Island, Panama, Republic of Mauritius, Sierra Leone and the Gambia, Trinidad & Tobago and Granada, Western Australia, Western Province of the Cape of Good Hope, Zambia, Zimbabwe (28 in total).

Zimbabwe has just joined us within the past week with 12 members. There are now over 185 overseas Brethren with Central South Africa, Middle East and Western Australia having most representation.

As of this week the Facebook has:

Members                           2061

Posts                                   182

Members Posting             120

Lodges Mentioned           114

Provinces mentioned      28

Districts etc.                      7

Monetary value                £146,061            

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Scottish.Constitution.Freemasonry.Supports/

The History and Heritage Group presented the first of a series of five lectures on Thursday night with Brother Tom Wood, PGM of Lodge Mother Kilwinning No 0 giving a history of the Lodge. The lectures take place at 19.00 hours each Thursday night. Next week Brothers Scott Harrison and Ewan Rutherford will give a joint presentation on The Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary’s Chapel) No 1. If you miss any of the lectures you can catch up on the Scottish Craft Freemasonry Facebook page.

This past week Brother Charles Iain Wolrige Gordon and I attended the monthly Zoom conference of the European Grand Masters. Many of the Grand Lodges throughout Europe are beginning to look at opening up again but all three of the Home Grand Lodges reported that there is no immediate likelihood of a resumption of Lodge meetings anywhere in the UK or Ireland.

It was with great sadness that I learned this past week of three more Covid-19 deaths within our ranks. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of all Brethren who have been taken from us as a result of the Pandemic.

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 pa@grandlodgescotland.org will also be picked up and forwarded to the correct person.

Please take care of yourselves and each other – stay safe.

Kindest regards to you all.

Ramsay McGhee

Grand Master Mason

Brethren

I hope and trust that this weekly update finds you and your families all keeping safe and staying well.

The Scottish Constitution Freemasonry Supports Facebook page continues to grow.

Scottish Constitution Freemasonry Supports
Weekly Posts SummaryCurrent
 
Date04 May 202011 May 202018 May 202025 May 202003 June 2020
 
Members9681221146317781926
 
Posts2967104133157
 
No. Members Posting27558293106
 
Lodges Mentioned26587892105
 
Provinces Mentioned1624242626
 
Districts Etc. Mentioned01566
 
Identifiable Monetary£31,650£40,320£94,375£112,527£129,746

Brother Jim Ellis has informed me that the involvement of our District Grand Lodges on the Facebook page is continuing to grow and that has to be welcomed by all. I would encourage all Scottish Lodges irrespective of where they are to contribute to the SCFS page. Many thanks to you all for all your efforts.

For the avoidance of doubt, can I make it abundantly clear that contrary to recent press coverage, neither I nor the Grand Lodge of Scotland has ever banned the use of Zoom or any similar platform. Indeed, we have been promoting its use in order that Lodge members can meet with each other, discuss any urgent business and most importantly, give those Brethren living on their own some much needed company with those whom they know.  In the past week alone, I have been privileged to attend various Zoom meetings every single day. What Grand Committee agreed was that Enquiry Committees could not use electronic interviews and that decision was endorsed by Grand Lodge at the Regular Communication of Grand Lodge on Thursday 31st October 2019. If any Brother has any queries about articles that appear in the weekly updates, please feel free to contact me and I’ll happily discuss them with you personally.

You will all be aware of the controversy surrounding Care Homes at the present time. I would like to put on record through the weekly update, and I’m sure you will all join with me in recording a tremendous vote of thanks to Mrs Dawn Oliff and the Managers of our two Homes, Wilma and Gillian and all members of staff at the Homes for the outstanding level of care, attention and dedication they have given to all our Residents during the lockdown. It has been a very difficult time but each and every member of staff has displayed tremendous commitment and devotion to duty. Thank you.

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 pa@grandlodgescotland.org will also be picked up and forwarded to the correct person.

Please take care of yourselves and each other – stay safe.

Kindest regards to you all.

Ramsay McGhee

Grand Master Mason

Brethren

Despite the lockdown, the past week has been a busy one behind the scenes. The Information and Communications Committee issued new guidelines for the use of Zoom and similar platforms. Information has been circulated by the Benevolence and Care Committee regarding the Covid-19 Challenge Appeal and on Wednesday I chaired the annual Tripartite Meeting via Zoom.

The Scottish Constitution Freemasonry Supports Facebook page continues to grow. Between the page and the Covid-19 Challenge Appeal, we are beginning to see a picture emerging that shows magnificent support being given to local communities by Scottish Freemasons around the world. My sincere thanks to all for your commitment, consideration and care toward those who are struggling at this time.

Members                                                            1778

Individual Posts                                                 133

Members who have posted                             93

Lodges Mentioned in posts                               92

Provinces represented                                       26

Districts/Superintendence’s etc.                       6

Total Identifiable Monetary                              £112,527

The success of this group would not have been possible without the efforts of those Brethren who contributed in developing the group and continue to promote and manage its membership and content.

Our thanks are extended to the team which is made up of the following Brethren:

Administrators: Bro. Jim Ellis PGM Linlithgowshire, Bro. Dougie Fergie PGM East Lothian

Moderators: Bro. Alex Craib PM Old Inverness Kilwinning St John’s No. 6, Bro. David Campbell Treasurer, the Lodge of Dunbar Castle No. 75, Bro. Kevin Taggart PM Lodge Buchan St. John No. 636

and Findlay Ross PM Lodge Wemyss No.777.

The direct link is- https://www.facebook.com/groups/Scottish.Constitution.Freemasonry.Supports/

Over the past number of weeks, I have received many enquiries from home and abroad regarding several issues. I hope that the following will clarify matters for everyone.

Can we use Zoom to nominate and elect Office-bearers?

The answer is no. The main reason is that not all members can communicate through technology. The nomination and election of Office-bearers is an important event in the life of any Lodge and will be done, in open Lodge, as and when we can get back. If necessary, I will look favourably on granting dispensation to hold the nomination and election of Office-bearers on the same day as the Installation.

If our National Government allow meetings can we go ahead, or do we need permission from Grand Lodge?

At the outset of Covid-19, Grand Lodge suspended all Masonic activity until further notice – we did not use a specific date. If your national Government allows meetings to take place, please start to do so provided you remain within the Government guidelines

Can we ballot for candidates who have gone through the Enquiry Committee on the night of their Initiation?

If there are extenuating circumstances, I would consider dispensation, but I’d much prefer if, when we do get back, that all Lodges consider starting with a business meeting rather than the conferring of degrees. This will allow a catch up with all the issues that will have accumulated. Any Ballots can therefore be carried out at such a Regular meeting.

Will Grand Lodge give all Lodges a year without paying annual fees?

The answer is no. First, that would require a motion to be placed in front of Grand Lodge and it is becoming less likely that there will be a meeting of Grand lodge this year. We would ask that the Brethren continue to pay their Test Fees as normal. Each Lodge pays an annual Capitation Fee of £33 per member to Grand Lodge. In the majority of Lodges but not all, that amount is included in the annual Test Fee. It is important therefore that Brethren continue to pay their Test Fee in order that the Lodge receives its portion and that Provincial or District Lodges receive their portion. We do acknowledge and appreciate that there may be individual Brethren who, as a result of Covid-19 are experiencing extreme hardship. It is expected that the Lodge, the Province or District and Grand Lodge would all pull together to assist Brethren and their families who experience such hardship but for the vast majority we would ask that they support their Lodge in particular, Freemasonry in general by paying their annual dues.

Can we interview Candidates using Zoom or similar?

The answer is no. It is imperative that candidates are able to meet, in person, with the Enquiry Committee. Indeed, almost a year ago the Administration Committee agreed that Enquiry Committees could not use electronic interviews and that decision was endorsed by Grand Lodge at the regular Communication of Grand Lodge on Thursday 31st October 2019.

I hope that will help with your decision making.  I will include other questions in future Updates.

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 pa@grandlodgescotland.org will also be picked up and forwarded to the correct person.

Please take care of yourselves and each other – stay safe.

Kindest regards to you all.

Ramsay McGhee

Grand Master Mason

Brethren

In this 9th week of lockdown, I hope you are all keeping safe and well. It is obvious that wherever we are in the Scottish Constitution, we are all affected by Covid-19 to some extent or other. Having been in touch with most of our Districts recently, I am aware that some, like the UK are in lockdown, some have night-time curfew restrictions, others have roadblocks and so on. While it is frustrating for us all and we are missing our meetings we need to keep vigilant in order to beat the horror that is Covid-19. We will overcome, we will get back, it may take a bit of time, but we’ll get there. Keep safe, keep your families safe, keep your communities safe and keep your Lodge members safe, especially the elderly and vulnerable.

I mentioned in last week’s update that Brother Douglas Fergie, PGM of East Lothian, continues to keep a record of the posts on the new Scottish Constitution Freemasonry Supports group page – I hope to provide an update from Dougie and his team each week as it continues to grow and provide us with a clearer picture of all that is happening.

Members                                                      1463

Individual Posts                                          104

Members who have posted                   82

Lodges Mentioned in posts                  78

Provinces represented                           24

Districts/Superintendence’s etc.           5

Total Identifiable Monetary                 £94,375

The direct link is- https://www.facebook.com/groups/Scottish.Constitution.Freemasonry.Supports/

As you may have seen, the Covid-19 Challenge Appeal was launched earlier this week and I am pleased to say that it has generated a good deal of positive interest.     Please note that, with the exception of Daughter Lodges which are under the direct supervision of Grand Lodge, applications for funds from the Covid-19 Challenge Appeal must be coordinated by the appropriate Province, District or Grand Superintendent and it will be for  them to decide how to manage the selection process and which community based projects are put forward to Grand Lodge to be considered for support; and to submit an application accordingly.      More than one project may be nominated for support but the combined funding for the project(s) will be a maximum of £2,000.  In order to facilitate the application process, Guidance Notes and an Application Form will be issued automatically to Provinces, Districts, Grand Superintendence’s and Lodges which are under the direct supervision of Grand Lodge as soon as finalised. Scottish Freemasonry worldwide has a rich history of helping community- based projects and we know that there is already much being done to support local Charities and Organisations during these difficult and unprecedented times.  Grand Lodge very much looks forward to being able to play a part in providing this valuable local support.

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 pa@grandlodgescotland.org will also be picked up and forwarded to the correct person.

Please take care of yourselves and each other – stay safe.

Kindest regards to you all.

Ramsay McGhee

Grand Master Mason

Brethren

I hope and trust that this finds you and your families keeping safe and well – over the past week we have been able to rejoice in several good news stories of Brethren being released from Intensive Care into High Dependency wards which has to be a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, however, we have been notified of several more deaths among our Brethren from Covid-19. I am sure that you will all wish to join with me in extending to all those families who have experienced bereavement at this time whether from Covid-19 or otherwise, our sincere condolences. We try to understand how difficult it is for all who are grieving, given that you are unable to have proper funerals, unable to have even a wee hug to console each other or unable to celebrate the life that has been taken in the way that you would wish. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this exceedingly difficult time. If there is anything that Lodge / District or Provincial Almoners can do to assist, please do not hesitate to contact them.

Brother Douglas Fergie, PGM of East Lothian, continues to keep a record of the posts on the new Scottish Constitution Freemasonry Supports group page and I detail below an update of the activity as of Wednesday.

1221 Members in the group.

58 Lodges mentioned in the posts.

25 Provinces/Districts represented

£40,320.00 of identifiable support.

The direct link is- https://www.facebook.com/groups/Scottish.Constitution.Freemasonry.Supports/

This is good and starts to paint a picture of all the good that Scottish Freemasons are doing throughout the world in our Lodges, Districts, Superintendence’s and Provinces. Can I please encourage all Lodges and home and abroad to put their good works on this site and let us see the full picture.

Can I remind everyone that even although all our Lodges are closed, it is imperative that they are checked externally and internally on a regular basis to ensure that all is safe and well. We have had an incident this week where rubbish that had accumulated around a Lodge was set alight resulting in damage to the Lodge – in fact, had it not been for the quick response of the fire service, we could have lost the Lodge. So please make sure arrangements are in place to have your premises checked regularly – this can easily be done without breaking any of the isolation rules and it will give peace of mind. While doing the checks, if your water system has not been fully drained, remember to run the taps and flush the toilets to save the likelihood of issues with Legionnaires Disease.

We will shortly be announcing the detail for the Covid-19 Challenge Appeal – the Benevolence and Care Committee met yesterday and are in the process of finalising the details.

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 pa@grandlodgescotland.org will also be picked up and forwarded to the correct person.

Please take care of yourselves and each other – stay safe.

Kindest regards to you all.

Ramsay McGhee

Grand Master Mason

Brethren

Today we mark 75 years since VE Day – a day for all of us to remember and to give thanks to all those who gave their all, thereby allowing us, over the past 75 years, to have the freedom to enjoy our Freemasonry and all other pursuits that we participate in. Many Scottish Freemasons from our Lodges at home and abroad paid the ultimate sacrifice. The words of John Maxwell Edmunds say so succinctly – “When you go Home, tell them of us and say, for your Tomorrow, we gave our Today”

As a result of Covid-19, the many VE Day celebrations planned for today will no longer happen, but I ask that you pause at some point today in remembrance of them.

And as the death toll at home continues to rise as a result of Covid-19 let us also remember those who have died as a result of this unseen enemy and keep in our thoughts the families of those who have died.

As we approach this weekend and with a forecast of good weather, we should have been looking forward enjoying The Abseil Event off the Forth Rail Bridge on Sunday.  This would have seen 36 brethren and 1 lady from 28 provinces all over Scotland taking part in a fundraising event to support our nominated charity Prostate Scotland. The brethren and their supporters did exceptionally well to raise over £20,000 in the short time before the lockdown.  Regrettably, the event has been postponed due to the current health emergency but hopefully it will not be long before the participants are able to complete their challenge and help the charity in its essential work for men in Scotland.

Last Saturday, I was delighted to participate in the second conference with 21 of our 26 District Grand Masters. Irrespective of where our Scottish Lodges are situated, they have all suffered at the hands of Covid-19 in some way or another. It was good to get updates from each District and hear directly what conditions are like for everyone. My sincere thanks to all who participated and to Brother Jarmakani for making all the necessary arrangements.

I mentioned last week that two of our Provincial Grand Masters were setting up a new Facebook page dedicated to all the assistance that our Provinces / Districts / Lodges , Individual Brethren have given in so many ways to their fellow Brethren and their families but equally important, to the communities in which they operate. There has been an excellent uptake for the page, but I would like to encourage our Brethren in the District Grand Lodges to participate as well. I learned last Saturday that all our Districts are doing amazing work in their communities. So please, Brethren, share your efforts with us – we would be delighted to know what Scottish Freemasons are contributing to their various communities throughout the world. The direct link is-

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Scottish.Constitution.Freemasonry.Supports/

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 pa@grandlodgescotland.org will also be picked up and forwarded to the correct person.

Please take care of yourselves and each other – stay safe.

Kindest regards to you all.

Ramsay McGhee

Grand Master Mason