Message from our Executive Director – Mark Cassidy
Living in interesting times!
“May you live in interesting times”. That’s supposedly an English translation of a Chinese curse and it certainly applies to us all at the moment.
While National Office staff have all been working from home we have been extremely busy with two things. First and foremost has been the urgent and important work to support lodges that have been impacted by this lock-down.
I know there are lodges that are really struggling and I’d like to stress that we are doing everything we can to provide all the support we can.
If there is anything your lodge can think of that we are not doing, but which would be useful and beneficial, please contact us and let us know.
We are open to all feedback and suggestions – the more we understand your issues and the challenges you face, the better we can put plans in place to help.
From our standpoint, communications with Brethren has been our priority. The Grand Master, the Divisional Grand Masters and I meet regularly as part of a ‘crisis response team’ and we identified immediately the imperative of ensuring good communications to Brethren.
Our goal is to keep you informed, but more importantly, to help you all feel as connected and involved as we can.
Freemasonry is a fraternal community and in the face of this lock-down our goal was to nurture that ongoing feeling of community as much as possible.
But now that we feel we have got a reasonable handle on the immediate crisis, National Office has turned its attention to a second issue – what we can do differently to make Freemasons NZ a stronger, vibrant and more resilient organisation in future.
One of the first things we have done is begin the work of updating our systems and processes and ensuring we have business continuity plans in place.
Another key priority has been to consider how we re-open lodges so that Brethren, especially older Brethren, feel – and are – safe when attending face-to-face meetings.
And that raises the issue of when we do re-open lodges. At the moment they are closed until the end of May – and we will be reevaluating the possibilities of re-opening at that time, most likely on a regional basis.
Our thinking is also starting to turn to what we can do in the medium term to continue the momentum the Speak Up campaign generated and continue to Step Up and Show Up.
Before Covid-19 hit we had begun that planning process and, while we had to put that work aside, we want to return to it as soon as possible.
As part of that, we want to know about any initiatives your lodge or district puts in place post-lockdown to help and support your communities. If you do have plans for that kind of activity, please let us know and we will work with you to ensure we can give your efforts some profile in the media as part of raising awareness of the good works that Brethren undertake.
Level 3 may be approaching as indicated by the Prime Minister, the Board and Executive Team are investigating how this may look for Freemasons New Zealand (including Freemasons and Lodges).
OK, that’s enough from me.
Welcome to this first issue of our new-look newsletter.
We hope to publish it monthly and we welcome your input with story ideas and issues you’d like us to cover.
This Electronic Newsletter is in addition to the New Zealand Freemason magazine covering the period between its publication quarterly.