W Bro Martin Vidler SLGR reports
In early December 2020 one of the young Almoner Liaison Officers, W Bro Sami Steinbock, working under W Bro Barry Laws SLGR, suggested the idea of an open Zoom forum for Freemasons to drop in over the Christmas period. The idea was developed by the Communications Team under W Bro Darrel Palmer PAGSwdB MetGAlm, W Bro Bob Gardner SLGR and W Bro Martin Vidler SLGR who dubbed it the Metropolitan Grand Almoner’s Zoom Tea Room. They formulated a code of conduct, drew up a roster of volunteers to assist and created the iconic poster we now recognise on Social Media. The project went live at 18:00 on 23rd December and attracted much interest.
Bro Darrel’s team was contacted by W Bro Ian Clark PSGD MetGInsp and W Bro David Luckins SLGR who were developing the strategy for a similar initiative. Following the launch on Social Media, we joined forces over eight sessions, each lasting three hours, targeting any Freemason who simply wanted to drop in for a chat. The forum also enjoyed interactions from designated Assistant Metropolitan Grand Master’s, serving and former Metropolitan Grand Inspectors, an Assistant Metropolitan Grand Secretary and RW Bro Sir Michael Snyder, Metropolitan Grand Master, who were all pleased to join in with the initiative.
Given that this enterprise was launched within a few weeks of its inception, an online community quickly developed, and the Tea Room began to serve its purpose. By the eighth session, the Zoom Tea Room was held up as a true Metropolitan success story, having provided fun and companionship to many Brethren who otherwise might have been stuck watching repeats on the television or, worse still, overindulging on seasonal fayre.
Going forward the Zoom Tea Room will be Open for business every Tuesday afternoon and Thursday evening, finishing with a 9 o’clock toast.
It also features The Almoner’s Surgery, where participants can request an audience with the Metropolitan Grand Almoner or any of his operational Assistants in a private breakout room, secure in a one-to-one setting.
You will find the poster on Social Media at the London Mason’s Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as hopefully cascaded to you by your Almoner, Secretary or Scribe E.
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 44 April 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 44.