As promised at various points so far in this strange situation in which we continue to find ourselves, I am ensuring good communication with you all through another ‘PGM Writes…’ and yet another publication of The London Mallet. There is still so much activity, albeit virtual and electronic, it’s probably best if I start with a recap of the most recent and most important aspects of our London Mark Masonry.
Once again a huge thank you to the 700 who registered to attend our Provincial Virtual Business Meeting. Bit of a shaky start but once Mahir and Ameet had brilliantly and effectively identified the real Tom Quinn from amongst the 200 ‘impostors’, everything went smoothly! Thank you for your attendance and many, many thanks to those who donated online. More news of the final distributions to charity in the next edition of The London Mallet; and if you want to read the text of my Address then click here.
Provincial Appointments and Promotions as advised at that meeting are effective from 9 July, so as soon as they attend their next meeting, those Brethren should wear the apron and collar jewel of their new rank. W Bro John Ellis (APGM) will be in touch shortly (please keep an eye on your inbox) to arrange delivery of your new Office Jewel so you have it to proudly wear on your first outing.
Some of our members who were appointed to Grand Rank effective 9 June 2020 have been able to acquire their new Grand regalia and The London Mallet contains photographs of those who have supplied their pictures. Very smart they look, too!
These are some of the good news items I have to announce. Sadly, I have to confirm the abandonment of the Annual Royal Ark Mariner Assembly on 7 September. Those brethren who have been appointed to Provincial RAM rank may wear their collaret with effect from that date. Their names are listed on the website here.
Those brethren who visit the website will have noticed the Mark Mess for October has been cancelled, as the Imperial Hotel has brought forward the refurbishment of the Hotel and the National can’t help because of the two metres rule. Those who paid for the Spring Mess and rolled the fee over for October will receive an email to offer repayment or to roll over for next Spring. Further email information will follow in 2021. On a more positive note, however, you will all be aware that MMH will be open for business for our Lodge meetings which start in September. Robert Anderson, Provincial Grand Secretary, has already reminded your Lodge Secretaries of the MMH guidelines and I am hopeful that for those of you who elect to attend a physical meeting, this will be an enjoyable experience and a happy reunion with the companions of your former toil! Remember, though, that attendance at any Lodge meeting which is arranged in the coming months is voluntary and no brother should feel obliged to attend against his own inclinations. I know that some Lodges have candidates for Advancement and Elevation and there is a backlog of Installations to be carried out. I can tell you that with my Grand Master’s LoI Preceptor’s hat on, the Grand Director of Ceremonies and I have been working on adaptations of the 4 rituals and as soon as these are approved by the General Board you will be advised and the adapted ceremonies can commence. There is some good news around that point, too, as Grand Lodge fees have been adjusted to try to encourage Joiners and Candidates alike. Joining and Registration Fees have been halved for the moment – so now would be a good time to sign up your candidates or take the plunge if you are considering joining an additional Lodge.
As part of the Executive Communication Strategy, each of the ‘Chains’ will be telephoning Lodge Secretaries approximately 4 weeks before scheduled meetings to inquire if a physical get-together is planned and to offer whatever guidance and support the Lodge Secretary may require – ever remembering that if a physical meeting needs to be abandoned, Virtual Business Meetings may still take place to cover off essential business; or if there is none, why not hold a social Zoom gathering as there are no restrictions on the content of these.
T@3 with the Executive and friends will continue throughout the summer as do the Grand Master’s LofI weekly virtual rehearsals and, of even wider interest, the Freemasonry Without Borders presentations on Tuesdays at 6:00 p.m. continue to attract large audiences and, more importantly, interesting presentations on many aspects of Masonry and its various branches. Please tell your fellow Lodge members about all these various communication channels; the website, the Facebook group, Freemasons Without Borders, and the Provincial WhatsApp group (please contact Richard Criddle – email@example.com for details). There is still so much going on in our Province and I applaud you all for keeping in touch with one another the way that you have been doing since lockdown first hit us way back in March.
Let me end by talking about charity. This continues to take many forms and I congratulate and thank those of you who are still involved in delivering essentials to those shielding; our medically-trained members who have returned to and are doing even more on the front line for the NHS; and those who gave such a fantastic sum to the Just Giving page – £7,500 after Gift Aid tax; also to those who make a point in continuing, after all these weeks, to phone and check up on the vulnerable and needy in your Lodges. Keep up all that good work, Brethren. There are few demands from the Province on your pockets for charitable donations these days but please, if you can, respond generously to the sale (by post) of the MBF lapel badges (£11 plus p+p). Also, have a word with your Lodge Treasurer to ask the position regarding the Province’s 50-50 Club. Your efforts last year donated £2,200 to a London branch of the Scout movement in June, as well as rewarding the prize winners in your Lodges, who had signed up to a mere £12 per annum. Let’s see if we can match that £4,400 again by next June!
Anyone who needs information on any of the above points, please email your Visiting Officer – details are contained in your last Summons or email me personally firstname.lastname@example.org.
That’s all for now, Brethren. There will be another round of communications soon, when I hope to bring you more up-to-date information about the situation within MMH and report on any Lodges which have managed to meet in September. Stay Safe and Mark Well.