Before writing this particular letter, Brethren, I’ve had a look back at previous London Mallets and ‘PGM Writes’ articles. This is now my 4th ‘PGM Writes’ since lockdown started and I will start by thanking Chris James and his team for their magnificent efforts in publishing our very special London Mallet and distributing the several news items which emanate regularly from Provincial and other sources. Since the first lockdown publication in April there have been so many successes and achievements. T@3 posts proved highly popular messages on Facebook and worked well over such historic periods as the 75th Anniversary of VE Day. Although Executive input to these has now stopped, I am pleased to note that London Brethren are still posting regularly on Facebook and WhatsApp; and I have urged your Visiting Officers to post stories and pictures of Zoom and any physical meetings which they attend.
You do not need to be reminded that Zoom has proved an invaluable ‘working tool’ in almost every Freemason’s tool box – employed by speculative masons across the world to build relationships, create new friendships, promote education, maintain communication, facilitate debate and decision-making and generally spread a measure of happiness and contentment during these recent bleak months of lockdown, Suspension and the Rules of 30 – and now 6!
This month’s edition of the London Mallet contains, amongst other articles, news of our charitable donations, what we hope might be happening on the social front, plus stories from inside 86 St James’s Street. I am pleased to report that MMH has established such effective measures in the fight against the virus that it will be receiving its final inspection on 29 September from the authorities to confirm its Covid-19 compliance standards. Five Lodges have managed to meet there already – Cenabis Bene, Mapesbury, Dramatic, Sanitarian and Loyalty. Plans are also in place for another 10 Lodges to have a physical meeting shortly – including Lodge Italia, where a Master Mason from Italy is expected to be Advanced into the Magic of our Mark Degree!
Another publication which Lodge Secretaries should look out for in the next few weeks is our Year Book for 2020/21. Despite the extreme difficulties posed by the current crisis, Chris James has managed to compile just such an item and thus maintain an unbroken link in the series, which stretches back to the formation of the Province. Well done, Chris! Each Lodge will be supplied with one hard bound copy plus any number of electronic versions.
Your contributions to charity have continued during the summer, Brethren, for which I thank you most sincerely. The London Mallet will have illustrations of the donations you have made and I am pleased to report that the sale (by post) of MBF Festival lapel badges has gone fairly well – but there are still a few left so please, when you are approached by your VO, do consider purchasing one with a view to wearing it with great pride when meetings re-commence in earnest. I am also building up a nice collection of MBF Patronage collarettes for several of you,who contribute by Standing Order and other regular payments – so I am looking forward to investing you all, as soon as circumstances permit.
In other announcements, I am delighted to advise that London Brethren have been further honoured at Grand Lodge level. Robert Anderson, our ProvGSec, has been elected President of the Board of Mark Grand Stewards, and Omaid Hiwaizi of Highgate Lodge as Treasurer of the Board. Many congratulations to both these worthy Brothers!
This month has also seen the publication of separate communications from the Pro Grand Master of UGLE and our own Pro Grand Master, MW Bro. Raymond John Smith. Both of their letters contained thanks and congratulations for the sterling work being done by masons at every level in our Orders during these turbulent times which we are all experiencing; and just as importantly, ended with a message of hope and an exhortation to continue looking forward to the brighter days which inevitably lie ahead. All this I wholeheartedly endorse for the Mark Brethren of London. Stay safe and Mark Well, Brethren.