Brethren. Once again, I greet you all well. And trust that after the first week of this lockdown that you are coping well, that you are staying isolated, and staying within your bubble. And at the same time following the Government’s instructions on what to do, and what not to do.
I can’t stress this enough: how important it is that we stay safe, we stay well protected, and we treat ourselves as if we have the virus so that it won’t spread from person to person.
It’s a tough time for New Zealanders. It’s a tough time for Freemasonry in general. We’re one wee down, with three more to go, as it stands at the moment. So, we’re in for the long haul, as I said in the first video. So, do look after yourself, follow the instructions, and keep in touch with your friends and neighbours by telephone or other medium. It is important.
I also want to say that our National Office through the leadership of our Executive Director, is working very, very closely with his team of National Office members – who are all working from home as well – to ensure that Freemasonry continues as we know it, in the sense of achieving our objectives.
And our work stream at the moment is to focus on what Freemasonry is going to do when we start to come out of this bubble, when we start to get back to normal meetings – and let’s hope that happens sooner, rather than later – but what that will mean for Freemasonry.
We want to connect better with our members during this period. And we’re impressed and very, very pleased to see some of the initiatives that are coming up from brethren, from Lodges, Districts, and from the Divisional Grand Masters.
On a regular basis, I meet with the Executive Leadership Team, and Division Grand Masters – only this week. And over the weekend, I will be meeting with the Divisional Grand Masters again via video, and I will be joining their conferences as they talk to the District Grand Masters. After that, the District Grand Masters will be engaging with their Masters via medium of Zoom or similar.
It’s important that we do communicate and we work on scenarios that will look at what Freemasonry will need to do as we move towards the end of this period of lockdown. We are in for the long haul, as I said earlier, but it’s important that we plan for the future, we don’t rush the decision that have an impact greater than what they really are, and that we make measured decisions that are right for the brethren, and right for Freemasonry.
Over the last few days, there’s been a lot of popping up of virtual Masonic gatherings. They’re not Lodge meetings, and they are going to be regarded as virtual Masonic gatherings. That is where Freemason can join together through an online streaming medium such as Zoom, Teams, or other – Skype for example – where work can be done in the educational field or Masonic knowledge. And I want to see that continue. I think that’s really, really good initiative, and I want to encourage that.
We can’t confer degrees. We can’t conduct ceremonies. There can be no formal opening of a Lodge, or anything else in the virtual space, as it stands at the moment because our Landmarks are quite clear in what we can do, and how we can do it. We need to protect those things going forward. So, Masonic virtual gatherings are important and I want to encourage those to continue.
Over the next couple of days I will join other meeting and talk to brethren – and I’m going through the same process as everybody else: working from home, trying to communicate, and trying to have a social life as well. And I know how difficult that is. But we do want to work together, and we do want to stay in touch with each other.
Finally, a word of warning: please don’t commit to projects in the District that can expose you to risks. It is important that we look after ourselves. Think through things. Take on activities that you may be able to do from home, and within your Lodge, from a virtual point of view. But don’t’ engage in the community, where you put yourself and others at risk.
These videos, in future, will appear on the Grand Lodge website every Thursday or Friday. And I do encourage you and your members to visit regularly for updates on what Freemasonry is doing for you, and our future.
Thank you for your time.