The below letter from the Provincial Grand Secretary / Scribe E
was sent on 13 April 2021
Dear Brother Secretaries and Companion Scribes E.,
I greet you well and trust that the last months of “lockdown” have not taken too great a toll on your mental and physical wellbeing, and that of your loved ones. The coronavirus pandemic has been, and remains, an enormous challenge to society; but the vaccine rollout has been exemplary, and most adults in the United Kingdom are now protected against the worst outcomes of the virus.
The latest communications from the Welsh Government suggest that should public health conditions continue to remain favourable then organised activities (indoors) of up to fifteen people will resume from 17 May 2021. The limit of fifteen should be regarded as an absolute maximum for the number of people who can attend the Masonic meeting. Outside the meeting, the Tyler/Janitor would not count towards the number.
Lodges and Chapters should therefore begin planning in earnest for meetings to resume from 17 May. This is of course subject to final confirmation by the Welsh Government.
You will recall previous advice, issued in November 2020, that set out the various options available to Lodges and Chapters upon resumption. For convenience, this will be repeated, and where appropriate, updated here.
1) Should the next regular meeting of your Lodge or Chapter take place not more than twenty-eight days before 17 May then you may apply for Dispensation to delay the meeting until, or after, that date. Please apply for Dispensation under Rule 139. (c)1, Book of Constitutions and Regulation 582, Royal Arch Regulations.
2) If a Masonic Centre has conducted a risk assessment, taken into account government guidance, and taken all reasonable steps to minimise the risk of transmission of the virus, then it may host Masonic meetings of no more than fifteen people or the maximum capacity identified in the risk assessment (whichever is lower) from 17 May (subject to the Welsh Government permitting indoor organised activities to take place from that date).
3) Summonses should be saved as a single PDF file and submitted electronically at least fourteen days before the meeting date so that they may be checked for compliance with the Rules and Regulations of UGLE and SGC. The addresses to which summonses should be sent are email@example.com (Craft) and firstname.lastname@example.org (Royal Arch). You will receive a response within two business days should a summons require an amendment.
4) It is not yet clear what restrictions and Welsh Government legislation will be in place regarding dining indoors, so Festive Boards should currently not take place.
5) If it is the Lodge or Chapter’s custom to quote the number of the meeting, then it follows the number of the last meeting held. If it is the custom to include on the summons the names and ranks of the Principal Officers of the Province, they are:
R.W.Bro. G. JONES, OBE, Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master
V.W.Bro. W. E. JENKINS, PGSwdB, Deputy Provincial Grand Master
Assistant Provincial Grand Masters
W.Bro. A. GARDENER, PSGD
W.Bro. S. C. E. HARRIES, PSGD
W.Bro. M. LEWIS, PSGD
W.Bro. K. L. JONES, PSGD
E.Comp. D. G. ROWBOTTOM, Most Excellent Grand Superintendent
E.Comp. C. H. THOMAS, OStJ, PGSwdB, Deputy Grand Superintendent
E.Comp. P. JONES, PGStB, Second Provincial Grand Principal
E.Comp. R. M. COOMBES, PGStB, Third Provincial Grand Principal
6) If the Lodge has missed its Installation meeting due to the suspension, then the current Master remains in the Chair until the date of the next Installation. The Temporary Emergency Measures for COVID-19, issued by UGLE, make provisions for two exceptions, viz. where a Master would otherwise have to serve a third or subsequent successive year in the Chair and where a Lodge is without a Master. Dispensation requests for “working ceremonies”, election and Installation of the Master, and other essential business will usually be considered favourably by the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master and Most Excellent Grand Superintendent. All applications for Dispensation should include the rationale for the request.
7) At the first Lodge meeting following the suspension:
a. Elections should be held for offices requiring such, e.g. Treasurer, Tyler
b. Officers (including Royal Arch Representative) are to be appointed and invested
c. Installation returns (LP&A4 and LIR) and yearbook returns (YBR) must be submitted within 72 hours of the meeting
Please contact all your membership, and the meeting venue, so that you can advise the Province of your intentions. To assist in your deliberations, please refer to the previously issued Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions, whilst keeping in mind that subsequent events and guidance may overrule some of the points made:
You may also wish to consider the previously issued adaptations to ceremonies, whilst noting that it is not currently possible for Raisings and Exaltations to take place.
Masonic Centres should continue to undertake all necessary risk assessments and consultations with local authorities to ensure readiness and preparedness for the resumption of Masonic meetings. Throughout the pandemic, UGLE has emphasised that, while Lodges are free to meet when it is lawful, there must be no pressure placed on any Brother to attend a Lodge meeting. All those attending a meeting must wear face coverings when indoors at the meeting venue, unless exempt.
The Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent are both incredibly proud of how Lodges and Chapters have dealt with the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic. They very much look forward to joining you at a meeting at the earliest opportunity. Until September, should you wish that a member of the Executive attends your Installation meeting please make it known to the Provincial Office, and arrangements will be made. If you do not request such representation, none will be arranged. This is to ensure that as many members as possible can attend meetings in the coming months.
Having read the guidance, please direct any questions that you may have to email@example.com (Craft) or firstname.lastname@example.org (Royal Arch). All enquiries should please be made in writing and answers will not be provided by telephone. This assists the Provincial Office in keeping an accurate record of correspondence and queries.
Thank you for all that you have done since March 2020, and your continued hard work and support in the months ahead.
With sincere and fraternal regards,
Provincial Grand Secretary/Scribe E.