by Dave Wheeler, Provincial Grand Master/Grand Superintendent
Masonic life is very different under lockdown and the suspension of our activities. It’s forcing us to look at everything we hold dear during circumstances we never dreamed we would see, and the host of unexpected difficulties these unprecedented circumstances bring.
The purpose of this update is to show you what the Province of Lincolnshire is doing to offer support, assistance, and cohesion to our Masonic family, alongside the work being done at Lodge and Chapter level, to bring us closer together whilst we are united in isolation. Please do what you can to make sure that all members of your Lodge or Chapter are able to see this message.
Members in difficulty: Last week the MCF launched a new section on its web site designed to offer support to any Freemason, or their family members, facing difficulties, no matter how they are caused. That document is to be found on line at this link,which offers the phone number of 0800 035 60 90, and an email address of firstname.lastname@example.org. Please make sure Almoners are aware of this development, and are able to show it to anyone who might benefit from it.
bUGLE: Bulletins from UGLE in the regular bUGLE publication will continue to be circulated widely. If you don’t wish to receive them, please do not unsubscribe for the service; this unsubscribes not only you, but also the person who sent it on to you. Please remember that others may wish to read these publications.
Appointments and promotions: We are relying heavily on Zoom to keep in touch, and it is our intention to bring together several groups of people using the technology. Those will include those who would have been receiving Grand Rank appointments and promotions at Great Queen Street, as well as the outgoing and incoming active teams in Craft and Chapter. For all of them, their appointments will be effective from the day on which they would have been conferred, even if they cannot be conferred in the usual manner.
Live Q&A: We intend to stage a live question and answer session using Zoom and with representatives from the Provincial Executive alongside me to answer questions you might like to put to us. We haven’t yet finalised details of our ‘Ask the Exec’ session, but these will be circulated in due course. It would be our intention to record the session and make it available via the web site.
Virtual Lodge meetings: If your Lodge or Chapter plans to hold a meeting via Zoom, I would be happy to ‘pop in’ at some point during the proceedings to say hello or even ‘take wine’! All I would ask is that the meeting host extends an invitation to me by email, supplying the relevant code, and with sufficient notice. Please bear in mind that I may already be committed to another meeting, but that shouldn’t prevent you from asking.
Fancy a curry? A novel idea from a neighbouring Province is the staging of a virtual curry club. Those taking part sit down to a curry at home, but share a toast and a chat over Zoom to engender a sense of ‘togetherness’. They also donate £5 to charity during the proceedings. Perhaps this idea would work for you?
Distribution of MCF funds: We are tapping into the £100,000 made available to share between Provincial Grand Lodges in our region, with our region having submitted 28 bids to the MCF, which focus on providing PPE for the NHS and care workers, food banks and getting hot food to those particularly in need, many of whom are without the support of family or neighbours.
I’m not able to tell you when these circumstances will change again, and we are once more able to meet in our buildings in the way we are so familiar with. Until then, take care, stay safe, and we’ll bring you whatever news we can whenever we have it.