In Masonic terms, and in every aspect of our lives, there are perhaps two predominant thoughts in our minds at this time. Will my family and friends come through this dreadful pandemic safe and well, without bereavement and any permanent damage to their health? When will be get back to what we comprehend as normality?
Sadly, no one can provide the answers that we all desperately want. We are all under a wide variety of concerns and pressures, be they physical health and mental health concerns, financial and employment worries, and uncertainty over our futures to name just the more obvious ones. We miss our social contact too. Whilst we understand the logic behind the lock-down and the Tier systems, and will of course abide by the rules, the inability to be with our loved ones and our friends is alien to our nature.
In a similar vein, we, as Freemasons, miss the camaraderie that the Craft has always offered us. We cannot progress our candidates, we cannot install our new Worshipful Masters or Principals, and we cannot enjoy being in the convivial company of one another. I can but encourage you to embrace the technology available to us, and, whilst this situation continues, to stay in touch with all the members of your Lodges and Chapters. I understand that you want to revert to being together as I do; but until that is possible, please embrace Zoom, Teams, Skype, WhatsApp, and all the others to stay in touch. For those less technical, and there are undoubtedly many who are not comfortable with them, the telephone still works! As does popping round to a brother when the restrictions ease. Please do not let any member of your Lodge or Chapter feel neglected or forgotten. We have a huge role to play in maintaining social welfare; nor should that be restricted to just our Masonic friends but rather to anyone and everyone who might be bolstered by our support.
We are well known for our charity and that must be continued in these strange times. The work of the Masonic Charitable Foundation is exceptional, and many Lodges are still contributing to their various charities even though they are not meeting. Please do not forget your Tylers and Organists whose income may have ceased for now but may need support. Remember that Charity is not just about money, but also about time. Please find time to help those in need. A word of comfort or an offer of assistance can be as valuable as financial aid.
Remember the true meaning of our three Grand Principles — Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. They have never been so much in demand as they are today. For those of you who come to Freemasons Hall, you will see some changes. The Shop is now on the First Floor and the Metropolitan Office is located off the Sussex Corridor. More changes are on their way, but one thing must never change - the love that Freemasons have for one another. Always be mindful of our ethos and values, and of those virtues that we have all sworn at the Master's pedestal to uphold.
Brethren, stay well and stay safe and I hope that we will be meeting together again, face to face, before too much longer
Deputy Metropolitan Grand Master
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 43 January 2021 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons - Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 43.