As we are on the point of starting yet another week of Lockdown and Masonic Suspension, I have taken the opportunity to reflect on how much the Executive and I have been delighted to be involved with you during the past few, extremely busy and fulfilling weeks on a variety of virtual gatherings.
January 24th saw so many of us together at a memorable Burns Supper where I am sure those in attendance will agree that the Deputy Grand Master stole the show! I only managed one other Burns event in January; non-Masonic, but nevertheless I had to sing for my supper, quite literally, at that event.
The first 2 weeks in February have been a whirlwind of activity. Freemasons Without Borders Tuesday night presentations have given us Masonry Under the Enemy by Barry Steadman (did you recognise him? He is the man on the sound desk at meetings in Grand Temple in FMH!) and a most interesting talk by our own GDC, R.W. Bro. Frank Spencer. On the topic of FWB I was delighted to be invited to be the Primus SW of the new FWB Mark Lodge, and I’m hopeful there will be an impressive London turn-out for that Consecration, in due course.
February 6th was the District of Spain’s Annual Meeting (Virtual) and what a splendid affair I and a number of London Members witnessed – a mix of live speeches and pre-recorded presentations. I gave a talk on Scottish Freemasonry on 10th February to the Craft Province of West Kent, and was pleased to see many of my London Mark colleagues in the audience. Every Monday night, of course, is taken up with Grand Master’s Lodge of Instruction. Our numbers there just keep growing and growing, and I am delighted to note that other Provinces – notably Kent and Essex – are now holding their own regular Provincial Lodges of Instruction; not only to keep Brethren engaged and involved but also to maintain familiarity with our Ceremonies, in anticipation of a flying start when we get back to face-to-face meetings again.
Interspersed with all of the above and reviewing last week alone, all the Chains have been out and about at Lodge VBMs and social gatherings. Locomotion, Spirit of Rugby, Abernethy, Kelvin, Euston, Public Schools, Dramatic, Commemoration, Carnarvon 616 – well done to all those Units and the others who are keeping spirits up and discharging important business through the wonderful medium of Zoom. Looking at the week ahead there will be no let-up as I see on the calendar Scots Lodge (more haggis!), New Era and indeed another Order – Red Cross of Constantine.
The Chains and I meet regularly every fortnight to keep the administration of the Province ticking over and I also attend a fortnightly session with the other PGMs, where we are joined by Grand Secretary and one of the Rulers to keep us all updated on developments.
The big event, which I have deliberately left until the end of this review, was our Virtual Awareness Presentation on 11 February. A huge success on the night with attendees from across the world, not just London and the Home Counties. Chris James is currently writing a full report for distribution shortly, but such was the enthusiasm shown that I am excited and encouraged at the thought of our resumption of normal business. Brethren, we have so much to look forward to and to anticipate in the form of Advancements, Elevations, Installations, Consecrations – not to mention our revised date of the Annual Meeting on 30th September.
Eunice and I are both booked in for our ‘jabs’ later this week. I understand that a number of you have already had yours, and for those still waiting I hope your turn will be coming soon.
The future is looking brighter every day and I look forward to a joyful reunion with you all as soon as circumstances permit. Be of good cheer, Brethren. Stay safe and Mark Well.