5th January 2020
Dear Bro. Secretaries and Scribes,
With this latest pandemic lockdown the Provincial Grand Master is keen that you should encourage your Lodge members to maintain contact both through Virtual Business Meetings as well as less formal ‘social’ virtual meetings. We cannot meet face to face for at least the next 7 weeks and clearly there will be significant restrictions beyond that. Over the next 3 months alone, 31 of our Lodges (75%) have Regular Meetings scheduled and of those only 18 (44%) have held a virtual business meeting to date, indeed some have held 2 such meetings. Over the next 5 months, all of our Lodges have Regular Meetings scheduled.
Many Lodges have within their Membership enough expertise to arrange their own virtual meetings using the Zoom (or similar) platform. However for those Lodges who are unsure, as I advised in my letter on 16th October 2020, the Province now maintains a Zoom platform for the use of all Lodges should they so wish. Please contact me or any of my team if you would like our assistance to arrange hosting of such a meeting. The platform is available for both business as well as social purposes. It is easy for Lodge members to login to these meetings and it costs them nothing. If they do not wish to be seen they can turn off video and likewise for audio – but by logging in they can at least see and hear their friends whilst at the same time make their presence known.
I attach a copy of the latest Secretariat Lodge Liaison support groupings giving contact details for all of those in my team and confirming their Lodge allocations. They will be happy to assist you.
In my letter of 16th October I referred also to keeping track of the health and wellbeing of your Members and their families. The Provincial Grand Master would like to involve Mark Lodge Overseers to assist Almoners in that role, both for their Mark and moored RAM Lodges. For most of our Lodges that represents a couple of telephone calls per week per Overseer to ensure that all of your Members have been contacted once a month, whilst a regular check in with the Overseers by the Almoner will ensure that any hardship is identified and can be acted on quickly at whatever level is necessary.
Equally importantly perhaps, through this regular contact with Members, issues that they identify in the wider community could be relieved through the assistance of Mark Masonry. For example :-
- The latest restrictions do not require everyone aged 70+ to shield, just those with underlying issues. We are allowed go outside to volunteer and with an anticipated vaccination programme of 2 million per week the NHS are seeking volunteer responders. To find out what support is required and what your Members can do to assist check out the following https://nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk/i-want-to-volunteer
- Already Worcestershire Mark has made positive contributions to local food banks. What does your local food bank need – money, food, drivers to collect and deliver, packers ?
- Does someone you know of need assistance with shopping or collecting medication or perhaps a regular telephone call to help relieve isolation?
We can help ourselves by doing something, by responding to the needs of others through helping the wider community, after all we are the “friendly degree”.
Please circulate your membership accordingly.
Kind, sincere and fraternal regards