From the Grand Master...
This has been a long six months. We have avoided superspreading events and hopefully saved some lives, but it has taken its toll on us individually and as
lodges, both mentally and financially.
The Temple Board of my mother lodge described the situation well:
“COVID-19 has reduced significantly the “usage” of our building (or Temple) and literally no Masonic meetings and/or events took place for many months and potentially more months to come. Our Temple is still a very important part of our Masonic life and we are still bound to maintain it, which comes at a cost...
The Board reduced as much costs as possible by eliminating building activities such as garbage removal, postponing repairs, etc... but insurance, tax, etc. are still part of our commitment to keep our Temple in place. We would like to thank all of our partners, brethren, lodges, chapters, councils, for their continued support of our Masonic home. In order to have our Temple ready and in proper condition when we return (and we will return), we are asking each of the core voting lodges and concordant bodies to keep their commitment and ask all Masons that are part of our Temple to please keep being dedicated in supporting our Temple for our future.”
Likewise, Grand Lodge has a building to keep up, as well as services to lodges which remain ongoing. We have looked into lowering the per capita, but as you
will note from the budget, we are already in a deficit position despite trimming many items (including yours truly’s travel budget, which is fine because I’m
not going anywhere at the moment.)
Those of us who are retired or have secure jobs, may have fewer expenditures as we have avoided concerts, theatre and dining out in order to reduce the spread. However, it cannot be concealed that we have many members who are not so lucky. With reduced hours of work, lay-offs or struggling businesses, these brethren are suffering. As Masons we are encouraged to relieve the necessities of our brethren and fellows. I know that many lodges have significant benevolence funds. And even those that don’t can consider what they have in their general funds or put away for a rainy day. For some brethren, it is raining still
You may well want to do more, but the very least you can do for these brethren is to remit their dues. Section 200 of the Constitution says that a lodge may by open vote remit the dues of any brother, with notice of motion at the regular meeting immediately before, and that the notice of motion must contain the amount of the dues but need not contain the name of the brother. Section 202 outlines the procedure for suspension due to non-payment of dues. As we don’t know when we will be able to have regular meetings again these procedures are
problematic. The Worshipful Master, Secretary and Treasurer of each lodge have already been authorized to conduct the necessary business of the lodge until the lodge re-opens, subject to retroactive approval at the next regular meeting. I therefore decree that, until we return to labour, they may authorize the remittance of the dues of any member without requiring notice of motion or a vote. This will, like all their other decisions, be ratified at the next regular in-person meeting.
Our hearts may be disposed to soothe our brothers’ afflictions in a greater way than just looking after their dues. Those lodges that have the funds may want to consider finding out how they can do more. Many districts have benevolence accounts as does Grand Lodge. This is the time to reach out to our brethren and help. (Even just asking may be all the support that some need – knowing we care about him and his family.) Don’t forget to ask the widows.
Some of our brethren are needing to use food banks, as well as many in the community. The Masonic Foundation has instituted a new project to support
Feed Ontario, a network of 130 member food banks and over 1,100 affiliate hunger-relief programs and agencies across the province. I encourage you to
support this endeavour.
Keep safe and look after each other.
David J. Cameron