Brethren and Companions,
I know for many of you this third lockdown is difficult, perhaps more so than the previous two. A year ago, we were still meeting but there were some early warning signs that all was not well. Now we are unable to meet at all. What a difference a year makes! However, I think there are many positive signs and I should like to share these with you.
The vaccination programme is progressing well and every day more of us receive our first jab. I have not yet been summoned but I am hoping that early March will bring some good news.
Early March will also bring a new season, Spring, and we are already seeing snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils in our gardens. This is a season when new life emerges and I am sure this will be so for the resumption of freemasonry, although we should expect progress in small steps rather than giant leaps.
I still look forward eagerly (and no brethren I am not going mad!) to every Government announcement, hoping there may be better news. We all want to resume our freemasonry as soon as it is safe to do so but must recognise the Government’s stated intention to relax restrictions gradually. We must be realistic and it may be that we are limited to small business meetings until later in the year.
Brethren and Companions, I know the lockdown is testing us all but we still have freemasonry and are luckier than many. We can support and help each other, whether through telephone calls, emails, Facebook or WhatsApp messages etc. Zoom meetings, are a great way of keeping in touch; I was so pleased to be able to award a 50-year Chapter certificate, recently, as well as congratulating, at the same meeting, WBro/Ex.Comp Doug Forsdyke on not only reaching his 100th birthday, the previous Sunday, but also his first Zoom meeting! If Fidelity Chapter can attract such interest, then why not try to emulate them? The Light Blues, at the other end of the age spectrum, have recently held some exceptional events inviting specific members of the Executive to address them on Zoom. The Executive are always available and willing to attend and brief your lodge or chapter meetings.
Furthermore, such meetings will invigorate our membership, reduce disaffection which could lead to unnecessary resignations, and revitalise our bonds of friendship. At the same time why not encourage potential initiates or exaltees to join us at such meetings? Involving them early and sharing our esprit de corps must be beneficial. Zoom meetings also afford a timely opportunity to remember those brethren who have, sadly recently, died.
Please do not forget that the MCF, Charity for Care & Relief, the Provincial Grand Almoner George Brennan and indeed all the almoners remain available to help brethren or their families in difficulty, as George reminded us in his recent letter.
On 10th March, the Province will announce the promotions and appointments to Provincial rank in both orders, and, whilst many active officers will be asked to do a second year (well, really a first after this year’s write off!), there will be some changes which will bring a new life and energy to our teams. Please look out for the announcements that day.
We still have both Provincial Meetings booked for 2nd July but I have asked that we reserve a standby date and venue, as the future is uncertain as to when larger meetings might be permitted. So, please keep Thursday 21st October free as an alternative date when we might be able to recognise and congratulate all the 2021 appointees but also the 2020 ones.
Brethren and Companions, thank you, as always, for your support, friendship, and commitment. The spring shoots are just starting to be visible; a new era is beginning and I am convinced that freemasonry will flower, and indeed flourish. With the promise of an exciting second half of 2021 filled with many special meetings, events, and celebrations, let us remain upbeat and positive.
Yours sincerely and fraternally,