MESSAGE FROM THE GRAND MASTER
October 8th, 2020
As we all enjoy the fall colours and prepare for what we expect to be a very unusual winter, I ask you to take a moment to contemplate the people and things you are thankful for. The Covid-19 pandemic has added much stress to all our lives, but it is the kindness and support we all give to each other on a daily basis that will get us all through these challenging times.
It has now been over six months since facing the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic when we first suspended our Masonic activities. This was a difficult decision at the time but considering the events that have taken place since then, both locally and nationally, there can be no question this decision was the right one.
So here we are in October, and still we continue to face this serious health crisis and the ever-changing challenges it brings to our daily lives. Thank you all for your patience, your compliance, your understanding, and your support, not only for me but more importantly, for each other.
In my last message to you, I advised of the suspension of tyled Lodge meetings until the end of this month, with my commitment we would continue to monitor and adjust as the situation evolved. Like many of you, I had hoped we would now be in a position to start the gradual resumption of our activities.
However, with the recent increase in cases in several of our communities and the uncertainty of what may lie in the weeks ahead as we appear to be experiencing a second wave, it is clear we must continue to proceed cautiously. This virus is still with us and we must not let our guard down.
In my last message I shared with you the plans developed by the Grand Lodge Management Committee for the safe reopening of our Lodges when it is the appropriate time for us to do so. It is just not that time yet. While the thought of empty lodge rooms and not meeting to greet each other as brothers saddens me greatly, protecting the health and safety of our members and their families must continue to be our top priority.
With that being said, I am extending the suspension of tyled Lodge meetings until AT LEAST December 31st, 2020. We will continue to monitor and assess as time goes on and the situation continues to evolve.
As I have previously stated, I realize our lengthy suspension of Masonic activities has meant many of our Worshipful Masters and their Officers have not had the opportunity to perform their duties as intended. I strongly recommend Lodges consider leaving the current Officers in place for a second term, even after our Lodge meetings resume, to allow them that opportunity. I will grant any Dispensation required.
I also understand the business side of our Lodge activities must continue, even though motions cannot be made in open Lodge at this time. Without restricting the generality of the foregoing, this would include such things as motions to pay bills, receive candidate petitions or conducting of other routine business.
To enable lodges in this regard, I hereby grant dispensation to waive constitutional and bylaw requirements that may restrict the Lodge’s ability to conduct the regular business of the Lodge. Lodges may conduct such business at the Executive Council or Committee of General Purposes either through video or teleconference means or in person if in compliance with provincial government and health authority regulations applicable to your specific region.
I also strongly encourage Lodges to make use of technology not only to meet for such purposes, but also to get together for fellowship or focused masonic education, provided such virtual meetings may not be tyled and ritual work is not permitted.
To each of you, I hope you are well and healthy. To those who do face difficulties, don’t be shy about asking for help. We are all in this together! Take the time to call your Lodge brothers, especially those who are older or shut in, even if it’s just to say, “How are you?”
I also encourage all lodges to find creative ways to promote education and fraternity on-line to engage your brothers. We cannot lose sight that we must work that much harder to ensure we promote and practice our masonic beliefs and values even If we cannot do it in person. If you need to talk to me about anything, do not hesitate to contact me. If you would like me to contact a brother who is celebrating a milestone and I can reach out by phone or Zoom, and I would be honoured to be a part of that celebration.
Thank you for your cooperation, patience, understanding which has gone a long way to protect yourselves, your families, and your fellow brethren. I also thank you for doing your part as Freemasons in helping protect our community and limiting the spread of the virus.
I wish you and your families a safe and healthy Thanksgiving. Even in the difficult times, we still have much to be thankful for. Every day is a gift.
Gordon E. S. Fardoe