Hawton Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No.100 held a virtual business meeting on Wednesday 27th.
20 members of the Lodge and Visitors assembled in the ether of Zoom to hold the meeting. The dispensation was read by WCN Jack Parnell and the usual administrative business was attended to, orchestrated by the Scribe W.Bro. John Smerdon and managed very efficiently.
The eulogy on behalf of W.Bro. Brian Lewis was given by W.Bro. John Smerdon which covered Brian’s masonic activity and abilities, this was endorsed and enriched by W.Bro Bob Gordon in relation to Brian’s Navy career in the Submarine Service. Brian was a much respected and loved freemason and by all that met and knew him.
Another reminder of the importance of keeping in touch with our brethren was during the meeting with the report from the Almoner. The report covered the situation of several brethren one of whom is in hospital due to be discharged but was now in quarantine because of Covid in the ward. Brethren please keep in touch with your lodge members, a call, a card, a video call or an email.
W.Bro. Mick Carter then gave a talk about the Porphyry Stone and its place in Royal Ark Mariner ritual and history which was most informative and well researched. The talk was very much appreciated by those that attended. W.Bro Smerdon was asked to send a copy to those brethren not able to attend tonight. Congratulations and thanks were extended to W.Bro. Carter.
The last business was to note that the next meeting will be on the 28th April with fond hopes of being a physical meeting but not excluding the fact that we may be meeting virtually again.
Exon Mark Lodge No.1075 Also met on Wednesday evening again with business to be managed to ensure the Lodge is in as good a place as it can be during the current suspension. The business was again well managed by the Acting Secretary W.Bro. Chris Elliott (one would expect no less!).
The highlight of the evening was a lecture delivered by WBro. P Bailey, PAGStdB on the subject of the ‘Historical Origins of the Mark Degree’, containing material not heard before and was well received by the Brethren. The Worshipful Master was warmly thanked and congratulated W.Bro. Bailey on behalf of the Lodge.
Finally this week was a meeting of the Provincial Active Officers on Thursday 28th. This meeting was called to allow R.W.Bro. Peter Balsom to address the officers of the Province appointed in October 2020 at the Virtual Provincial Grand Lodge Meeting. There were 32 present.
The PGM explained that there had been over 1000 virtual meetings held across the Provinces in the country and that Devonshire had been at the forefront of capitalising on the use of the technology and the guidance from MMH that allows business to be conducted in terms of votes and resolutions as well as having lectures and talks in Lodges. He said that there are brethren in the Province willing and able to attend a virtual business meeting to give a lecture/talk and urged the active officers to promote these when in contact with any Lodge they attend virtually. The PGM also mentioned that some areas have started doing Lodges of Instruction which may be something that we could consider.
R.W.Bro. Peter Balsom went on to express his hope that the Provincial Grand Lodge in 2021 may have returned to normal, however the Province is aware of the fragility of the Covid situation at this time and will be prepared for a continuation of virtual meetings even at Provincial Grand Lodge. He then asked the officers appointed for 2020 – 2021 to consider and accept the opportunity to carry on in office 2021 -2022. This is in the hope that by then we will be back to face-to-face meetings and the opportunity for them to attend Installations and fulfil the expectation and responsibility of being an Active Officer of the Province. Contact to be made with the Provincial Secretary with their acceptance or not.
The Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies was asked to address the brethren about conduct expected at meetings (when we have them) and the Provincial Registrar, W.Bro. Alan Cockman, had sent the online spread sheet and an explanation for booking in process was given by the Provincial Secretary. The Provincial Almoner W.Bro. Dennis Challis introduced himself and the role that he was fulfilling which was followed by W.Bro. Paul Howard –Baker, Provincial Charity Steward, giving a quick update about getting charity donations to the Province. If any problems brethren should contact him.
W.Bro. Brett Varker, Chair of the DMCA gave an update as we move closer to the 2022 Celebrations and the hope that in 2023 at the Provincial Ball we will see the culmination of all the hard work and to see the benefits we have given to charity. He also reminded brethren that requests for good causes need to be submitted to the DMCA for consideration.
There was some discussions about the Newsletter, Website and Social Media. W.Bro. Nic White asked all brethren to send in photographs and items for publication and to make use of social media as much as they can.
Finally, it was reiterated that all lodges should be encouraged to hold virtual business meetings or even social gatherings during these time and to perhaps hold them on a night when the Lodge would have met normally or within 14 days, to invite the executive or invite brethren to visit.
The meeting was closed with all attendees in good spirits and hopes for meeting face-to-face as soon as we can.