Dear Brother and Companion,
Consequent to the Cornonavirus Update issued by Dr David Staples FRCP, CEO and Grand Secretary of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) earlier today, the Joint Executive met this morning at Cardiff Masonic Hall to discuss the impact on our Province and its Brethren and Companions.
The Joint Executive fully supports and reiterates the advice issued by UGLE. Namely:
- That those over the age of 65 years old, and those with hypertension, heart disease, lung disease or diabetes should not attend Lodge and Chapter meetings for the foreseeable future.
- That meetings of over 100 members should not take place.
The Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master and Most Excellent Grand Superintendent wish to be clear; they do not want Brethren and Companions in the groups identified by UGLE to attend meetings due to the risk to their health and well-being. They understand that meetings may need to be abandoned as a result of these measures but wish to reiterate that the Book of Constitutions (Rule 137.) states that there is no power to cancel any regular meeting. If Dispensations are required to cover changes during this period, there will be no fee levied by Province. Advice on abandoning meetings has been previously circulated by UGLE and is repeated at the end of this document (pages 4 – 6).
As a result of these measures the Joint Executive will adopt a similar approach. Until you are advised differently, the Executive will not attend Installation meetings. There are two reasons for this. First, several members of the Joint Executive fall into the categories highlighted by UGLE; second, Provincial Teams travelling the length and breadth of the Province may contribute to further spreading and worsening of the outbreak. Lodges and Chapters with forthcoming Installation meetings will be contacted separately regarding this point.
Several Provincial events will be affected as a result of these measures.
- UGLE and Supreme Grand Chapter (SGC) have not cancelled or postponed the Annual Investitures, as far as we are currently aware these will go ahead as planned. However, the Luncheons hosted by the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master and Most Excellent Grand Superintendent at the Imperial Hotel will be cancelled. Brethren and Companions who have already paid will be issued with a full refund in due course.
- Several of our Kindred Provinces have today cancelled their annual meetings and I can confirm that our Annual Provincial Celebration, to include the Annual Meetings of Provincial Grand Lodge and Provincial Grand Chapter, will not take place on Saturday 27th June 2020. The Joint Executive understands that this will be very disappointing to many Brethren and Companions, but health and well-being must be the priority. Appointment and Promotion letters are currently in the postal system. It is important to note that these new ranks will take effect on 27th June 2020, and that the luncheon booking form should not be returned to the Provincial Office. We will find a way of celebrating the achievement of these ranks later in the year.
The Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works will hold a meeting with representatives of the Masonic Centres within the Province in due course in order to ensure that appropriate systems of support are in place. The Provincial Grand Almoner will undertake similar work with his team to ensure that those Brethren and Companions that require additional help will receive it.
Following the example set by Freemasons’ Hall in London the Provincial Office will close to visitors, and volunteers will be asked to work from home until further notice. Brethren and Companions wishing to contact the Provincial Secretariat are asked to do so by email via email@example.com providing full details of their inquiry.
This is clearly a time of great uncertainty and change. Many Lodges and Chapters will have to adapt in order to comply with the requirements set out by the Book of Constitutions, but the advice is clear. The health, well-being and safety of our Members is paramount.
All other factors are of secondary consideration. A relaxed attitude to this outbreak is not appropriate when the age demographic of our Province is considered. The situation is clearly evolving daily, and we will issue further advice where appropriate; possibly in addition to that issued by the Government and UGLE.
Please think of your Brethren, Companions and family at this time, especially those who may be more vulnerable to illness, and perhaps telephone them to see how they are coping.
Provincial Grand Secretary/Scribe E.
Please note that if you know of any members that do not have an email address – please endevour to pass this message on where possible.