While we still need to be careful washing hands etc, Freemasonry is starting to feel like we are returning to “normal” – Lodges are having meetings, and are starting to arrange degree workings; visiting is starting as well. Zoom will still be used for business and other meetings where it works well; we may want to use it for a District meeting . . .
Looking back, there was a very good function in Martinborough to celebrate 50 years a Freemason for Gordon Reid, PGW (and Past Dist GM for Hutt Wairarapa) – Jim Watt spoke and made the presentation. More recently Gordon Installed his son Ed as Master of Trentham Lodge – as are all such occasions it was a very enjoyable meeting, and Trentham members were joined by a good group of Ladies for the Refectory.
Eketahuna had 3 of their members talk about themselves for a little more than 10 minutes each – even those who had known them for a long time would have found out something new and it was a most enjoyable meeting.
Thanks to Jerry Johnson GS for organising a degree working using most of the Masters of Lodges in the District – a very enjoyable meeting at Lower Hutt Lodge.
Last week Warwick Metcalfe (another Past Gist GM from our District) was Installing Master at his ‘other’ lodge, Homewood for an excellent ceremony; in refectory Warwick spoke well on the role of Grand Lodge Officers, present and past.
Do watch the Calendar for forthcoming events – quick notes about a few coming up:
8th Annual Freemasons Clay Bash – a clay bird shoot for both Districts 19 and 21, masons and non-Masons; experienced and those who have never shot before. Sunday 29 November from 9am at Waitawa, Martinborough. All that you need including lunch for $145 (and yes that is cheap!), with a cheaper option for less shots, or for non shooters / spectators. For more information contact Matt.email@example.com.
District Breakfast Meeting - a social breakfast in Lower Hutt on Mon 16 November 9am; Twist Café, High St (opposite Hutt Hospital). Bookings to firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to attending. It may be a bit far to come from the Wairarapa – if anyone wants to organise a similar meeting in the Wairarapa give me a call.
Stokes Valley December meeting. For some years this has been an Official Visit and degree working by Grand Officers, with a few variations in who does what – I gather it started out as a Grand Stewards working and Brian Green GS is planning to revive that using those who are or have been a Grand Steward. This year the Stokes Valley meeting will use a wider than normal team of members of Grand Lodge – I have asked some Grand Officers to recommend suitable Master Masons or Past Masters from Lodges in the District to put together a “Grand Lodge Team”
Finally, recently Hutt Valley Lodge found themselves needing to advise all those meeting in Udy St, Petone that the finances relating to the Hall (and in particular a high insurance bill) mean they are actively planning to find alternative accommodation. It is early days, and a number of meetings will be needed to suit all those currently meeting in Udy St; but there are opportunities to be discussed before decisions are made.
Regards, Ed Robinson
It is now one month since Level 4 Lockdown, and while Level 3 may not bring much change for many, it is a hopeful sign that we will come through; we can look forward to a return to a normal life; the ability to travel and meet with others, and to Lodge meetings starting again.
Already there Lodge Installations have been delayed, as well as some degree ceremonies, but it is not clear when Lodge meetings will be able to be resumed; even then there may be requirements for social distancing and limits on maximum numbers at any gatherings. It is too early to think about the detail of the recovery which seems to be under way.
What we can do however is more general preparations. Zoom is showing us that we may not need to travel to see and talk to our family, our grand-children, our friends. Lodge Committee meetings may be held though the internet. For those that have not tried Zoom, it is worth doing. Talk to someone in your lodge to help you through – it may change the way we keep in touch with house-bound and country members and widows. Warwick Bell has presented half-hour sessions on using Zoom in both Districts 19 and 21, and is prepared to arrange more . If you would like an invitation to the next session, let Warwick or me know.
Many lodges are looking into the issues of being visible in their community, deciding a suitable charity project, and thinking about methods of recruiting further members – the three are linked.
There are some things that can be done while we have a bit more time – we can prepare for taking different parts in ceremonies, we can review what we have in writing for new members, document lodge customs (and once agree, reducing some differences of opinion!), prepare for the next 25 year anniversary of the lodge, prepare a short talk for the lodge, etc. For those wanting a task, talk with your Master!
My challenge is to become better at the process of putting up comments on this website!
Many are starting to enjoy a bit of a quieter time, are reading more, watching more TV, catching up with house and garden, progressing other hobbies, and just being with others in our bubbles. It is up to each of us to maintain our own balance – and enjoy life!
Do keep a watch on the Freemasons NZ website, and on the Divisional website – the talks by the Grand Master are worth listening to, and other material is also posted from time to time.
Ed Robinson , District Grand Master
Lodge members have been keeping in touch with others, assisting where necessary, and continuing to be good friends, whether by phone, email or video – Zoom is new to many of us, but seeing a face does make a difference. Some members may need different assistance as we move from Level 3 – jobs have already changed for some, and for some, working at home may make activities in local communities such as Freemasonry more important.
Lockdown has given us time – time to do a lot of tasks around the house – painting, gardening, house maintenance. But we have not been able to spend time fixing up our lodge physical assets. Most of our Lodge Buildings were purchased or built with capital provided by previous generations – we do have a duty to ourselves and those that are joining to properly maintain and develop our physical assets to suit current and anticipated needs. Some of our lodge buildings do need work, and I know that this is being planned in a few cases. Now is the time to plan painting, essential repairs, cleaning out rubbish, and ensuring that our meeting places are attractive to new (often younger) members. As with our home, so with our lodge. The people come first, but we need to look after the physical assets too. Both can take time and money. But if we scrimp on either, it works against us.
We will know more about moving to Levels 2 and 1 in a few days, but there will be time to get up to date on Lodge business; to plan the next change of Officers if not already done , and to also make a daily advance in masonic knowledge.
There are quite a few lodges organising talks using Zoom on topics of masonic interest – if you are interested let me know. It is also worth checking the Freemasons NZ and the Divisional websites - there is a wealth of information; worth exploring!
From what felt like a total stop, ingenuity and sharing ideas is resulting in activities starting.
First, keeping in touch:
Telephone. Getting a call from a friend is great , but don’t just wait for the calls to come, pick up the phone yourself and call a member of your lodge; a caring call can make a big difference to the person receiving it. If you do not have a contact list contact your secretary who can email you one.
Try to make at least one call a day, and also let your lodge master or almoner know who you have called so that they can ensure that all members are being contacted regularly.
Elderly members in care will not be receiving visitors; you can keep the lodge alive for them if they are able to receive calls.
Video Zoom or other programmes enable meetings from 2 of you to however many of your lodge want to be there. Zoom doesn’t take long to install and hosting a meeting is also quite simple. Try it with someone first; then try a meeting for anyone from our lodge that wants to participate. They get sent a message inviting them at a particular time; it takes about 5 minutes to install the software and check their speaker is on; the meeting starts as people accept the invitation. Some lodges already have a weekly meeting for up to 40 minutes or a bit longer if Zoom is being generous. We will see more developments using this tool!
Help us ensure that our Local Communities know that we look after our own members well
This is a good time to brush up on charges and also to learn another charge for both Degree ceremonies and for Installations. Have a talk to your lodge for what charges will best help your lodge and other lodges near you; or discuss Installation work with me.
Installation Meetings. We will have a build up of Installation meetings after we leave Lockdown; but it is too early for specific planning. Other Districts will have the same issue; and various options will need to be considered – if you have any thoughts give me a call or drop me an email.
Third – Explore!
Some links that may be of interest: https://freemasonsnz.org/
Check your Membership details and amend if needed : Click here
News, Toolbox, Education pages here
A fun newsletter – updates are planned but may be in a different place: click here
Hutt Wairarapa District Freemasons Facebook page click here:
For other links – tell me what you found interesting and we will share it