Lincolnshire’s video communications wizard Chris Watkin has put together an invaluable tutorial to help everyone stay in touch until we can ‘resume normal service’ again.
It involves use of the video conferencing tool Zoom, which has the power to display lots of people on the screen at once.
“It’s easy to get hold of the software and install it,” says Chris. “The tutorial I’ve made explains how to do that and to set up links with others, making virtual meetings possible.” You can watch it at this link
Provincial Grand Master Dave Wheeler said: “Zoom lets us meet each other without being in the same room or even the same town. It’s a perfect bridge between normality and self-isolation. We can get together and still follow Government advice.”
However, he sounded a note of caution. “Whilst I commend the work Chris has done, I would urge everyone to be careful how they use this tool, bearing in mind that Grand Secretary David Staples has taught us to be cautious, especially about working ritual on line. He said it was the opinion of the Grand Registrar that it was an ‘Antient Landmark of the Order’ that Lodge meetings and the related ceremonies could take place only with all Brethren physically present in a properly tyled Lodge Room.”
Dr Staples went on to say: “It is acceptable for members to practise such ceremonies, most particularly those aspects which make up the spoken parts of the ritual, over the internet. The security implications and pitfalls (for example the ability to record on a number of software platforms) unfortunately do not square with our Obligation to assure privacy and confidentiality of proceedings – and we therefore ask members to refrain from any demonstrations of those elements of the ceremonies covered in the Obligation, or any attempt to reproduce the ‘choreography’ online.
“We have no doubt that our Directors of Ceremonies will have no difficulty in putting our Brethren right on such things when we are happily able to meet again. For these reasons please do not try to hold a genuine Lodge or Lodge of Instruction in a virtual form, but feel free to practise those elements outlined above.
“We have been promised that Lodges of Instruction will be provided with material from Solomon, and our extensive archives to enable learning, discussion and that ever important Daily Advancement in Masonic Knowledge.
“As previously stated, I have no doubt that Brethren will continue to adapt to this challenging situation – but simply ask that thought is given to the implications that these have on our ancient Craft.”