Lodge Whifflet St. John 963

"Supporting local charities and good causes within the community"

RWM Coronavirus Update - 11 August 2021

Dear Brethren,


The Heads of Scottish Masonic Orders met on Wednesday 11 August 2021, and discussed in general the fact that the United Kingdom continued to emerge from lockdown. In particular the focus was on the Scottish Governments most recent announcement which provided that all protection levels had been rescinded from Monday 9 August 2021.


As a result of these significant recent developments, the Heads of Orders were unanimous that Masonic activity in Scotland may resume with immediate effect.


Please refer to the Lodge News Page for the full report


I will look to hold a committee meeting in the not to distant future to discuss the way forward with our meetings and will provide regular updates on this page and the Lodge Facebook page. 


I feel it is just as important that we keep in communication and keep the principals of freemasonry alive and well during the return to masonry. This is an opportunity for freemasonry to shine and support our communities by following the guidance provided. 


As Freemasons and as good citizens, please continue to follow guidance from the Government and although we can now look forward to commencing meetings, please remember those less fortunate than yourself who may be frail and may not be ready to return to meetings. 


I will ask our younger brethren to act as almoners for the lodge and ensure we have contact with all of you should you need anything. If you are not good with social media do not fret, as we will ensure we call you all using traditional phone calls.


Feel free to message this website, any office bearer or myself direct via social media or phone.


The GAOTU will give us strength in all our times of need, courage brother do not stumble.


RWM Bro. Jim Durning.



https://www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/



https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19



https://www.mind.org.uk/




Grand Master Masons Communication 

The Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland

William Ramsay McGhee, MStJ, D.L., Grand Master Mason



Grand Masters Communication                                                   10.09.2021


Brethren


It has been another busy week – two Provincial Installations carried out - one in East Lothian and one in Stirlingshire, a trip south to London to attend the Glasgow in London Dinner through the Incorporation of Masons and yesterday a meeting of Grand Committee by Zoom.


It was agreed by Grand Committee, having discussed the papers submitted by the working parties, that Grand Secretary and I prepare a list of items raised in the papers that can be used immediately by District and Provincial Grand Masters to address a range of issues that may be needed in their Districts and Provinces. Furthermore, that we prepare for Grand Lodge approval a remit for a new strategic working party who will put together a five-year strategic plan which will be delivered to Grand Lodge early in the New Year.


With that in mind, could I draw to your attention again the Register of Interests. If any brother, at home or abroad, feels he has knowledge and experience of strategic planning that could assist in the process, could you please contact Grand Secretary, marked “Register of Interests”, and include a short CV of your experience in strategic planning.

We are also looking to add to the Register of Interests any member qualified as a paramedic who would be available to attend all Grand Lodge meetings in Edinburgh – again, please email Grand secretary if you are interested.


SCFS


https://www.facebook.com/groups/Scottish.Constitution.Freemasonry.Supports/


  • The Group saw its membership rise to 5632 Brethren from not only the Scottish Constitution but from many of our Sister Constitutions throughout the world.
  • This week saw the total examples of charitable giving recorded within the group rise to 919, submitted by 308 of its members.
  • These updated contributions can now be attributed as to being made on behalf of 331 Lodges, from within 55 of its Provincial Grand Lodges, District Grand Lodges, Superintendencies and Lodges abroad under the direct supervision of Grand Lodge.
  • This week posts were submitted by group members representing the Provinces of Aberdeen City, Fife & Kinross, Glasgow, Midlothian, Perthshire West and Stirlingshire.
  • The total identifiable monetary value of the contributions now recorded has risen to £1,416,983.

SCFS Overseas Report

  • Our Overseas Membership has now risen to 1578 Brethren. This is thanks to new members joining us from Lodges in the Districts of The Bahamas, Central South Africa, Eastern Province of the Cape of Good Hope, Lebanon, and Western Australia.
  • The largest increase in membership was from the District of Western Australia, with the most Brethren joining from an individual Lodge, this week, coming from Lodge Sir Walter Scott-Breadalbane, No. 859, in Western Australia.
  • Our membership of Brethren who belong to Lodges whose Grand Lodges are in amity with GLoS continues to grow. We now have 859 Brethren spreading news of the wonderful support featured in the posts on the main SCFS page and on the increasingly popular SCFS-Showcase, throughout their constitutions.
  • During this week, the expanding reach of SCFS was seen by the fact that Brethren joined from 11 different Masonic Constitutions, including: GL of Nigeria, GL of New Jersey, GL of Newfoundland and Labrador, GL of Massachusetts, GL of Virginia, GL of Argentina, United GL of Victoria, UGLE (England, South Africa, Bengal), GL of Illinois, GL of India, GL of Pennsylvania.
  • Brother Janine Blaghorn, Lodge Margate, No. 1420, in the District of Kwa-Zulu Natal, shared an interesting post showing Brethren in Widows Sons (East Coast Chapter), from his and other Scottish Lodges, being involved in joint Masonic Constitutional support of underprivileged children by donating toys, clothing and cooking equipment to their care home.
  • Brother Rinus Grau, District Grand Secretary, shared a wonderfully kind gesture by Brother Rory Fahy, WJW, Lodge Acacia, No. 1582, in the District of Zimbabwe, in which he provided and delivered a total of 2280 eggs to the residents of the Masonic Homes in Harare, to help relieve the ever-escalating costs of even basic commodities.
  • Lodges in our Districts, under Grand Superintendents and under the supervision of Grand Lodge, are all encouraged to share examples of the excellent support in which they are involved, and we look forward, in turn, to sharing it with all our Brethren.

I am delighted to report that Past Grand Master, Brother Marcus Humphrey, Chair of the Benevolence and Care Committee, announced yesterday that the total sum raised by Scottish Freemasons for Prostate Scotland now stands at £771,665.


It has been decided that Prostate Scotland will continue to be our nominated external charity until November 2022 by which time we hope and trust that we can work together to raise £1 million for this very necessary charity. Ideas are already coming in as to how we can raise the remaining £228,335 – so please, let Grand Almoner know of any ideas you may have that will help along the way – we will do all we can from Edinburgh to assist you in your efforts.


Finally, as always, please stay safe and look after each other.



Ramsay McGhee
Grand Master Mason

Grand Masters Communication                                        30.07.2021


Brethren


We might still be living under restrictions, but time certainly does not stand still. Here we are at the end of July ready to start not only a new week on Sunday but a new month. Hopefully August will bring with it good news about the fight against Covid and the re-opening of Lodges.

In accordance with the reduction of Government protection levels the Grand Lodge shop at Freemasons’ Hall will once again be open to customers from Tuesday 3 August 2021. Customers will be limited to a maximum of four in the shop at any time and they must wear face coverings when inside Freemasons’ Hall. No other part of the building will be open, but it’s a step in the right direction.

The weekly update is featuring a first this week – the announcement of the winners of the Grand Lodge June Draw.

Number Name / Lodge Amount
1278 Robert J Edgar - £600
6612 Lodge Unity No 682 - £500
6407 The United Lodge of Dunkeld No 14 - £400
5100 Lodge St John Operative No 37 - £300
3170 Lodge Oak No 877 - £200

Congratulations to all the winners – if your Lodge has not taken out tickets or you personally haven’t taken a ticket, now is the time to do so. The Draw is open to everyone at home and abroad – it is a bit of good fun – give it a go. Get details from Grand Lodge on 0131 225 5577.

SCFS
https://www.facebook.com/groups/Scottish.Constitution.Freemasonry.Supports/
 
➢ The Group saw its membership rise to 5475 Brethren from not only the Scottish Constitution but from many of our Sister Constitutions throughout the world.

➢ This week saw the total examples of charitable giving recorded within the group rise to 875, submitted by 299 of its members.

➢ These updated contributions can now be attributed as to being made on behalf of 324 Lodges, from within 55 of its Provincial Grand Lodges, District Grand Lodges, Superintendencies and Lodges abroad under the direct supervision of Grand Lodge.

➢ This week posts were submitted by group members representing the Provinces of Edinburgh and Linlithgowshire.

➢ During the course of the pandemic posts have been shared on a weekly basis highlighting the sterling work which has been undertaken by the Young Ashlars and latterly the Edinburgh Masonic Food Initiative. This initiative which has been running since the spring of 2020 drew to a close this week with a total of 25,813 meals having been cooked, prepared and delivered to Masonic Brethren
and vulnerable persons throughout Edinburgh.

➢ The total identifiable monetary value of the contributions now recorded has risen to £1,357,701.

SCFS Overseas Report

• Our Overseas Membership has now risen to 1541 Brethren. This is thanks to new members
joining us from Lodges in the Districts of Barbados, Central South Africa, Sri Lanka, and
Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada. Interestingly, this week, all new Members came from
different Lodges.

• Our membership of Brethren who belong to Lodges whose Grand Lodges are in amity with
GLoS continues to grow. We now have 755 Brethren spreading news of the wonderful
support featured in the posts on the main SCFS page and on the increasingly
popular SCFS-Showcase, throughout their constitutions.

• During this week, the expanding reach of SCFS was seen by the fact that Brethren joined from 12 different Masonic Constitutions, including: GL of Ireland, GL of Quebec, GL of Russia, MWGL of the Philippines, GL of California, GL of South Carolina, GL of Indiana, GL of Texas, UGLE (England, South Africa North), GL of Ghana

• In addition to the above, the list of Grand Lodges represented by Brethren from within
them joining as ICMs had the GL of Mauritius and the GL of Hawaii added to it.

• A special welcome was extended to Brother Frank Condello, Past Grand Master, of the
Grand Lodge of Hawaii.

• Brother Martin Weekes, PM/Secretary, Lodge St. George, No. 200, Bermuda, shared a
most interesting post about the Lodge’s support of the charity “Meals on Wheels
Bermuda.”

• We look forward to receiving and sharing further posts from our Overseas Brethren this
week.

On Monday night I thoroughly enjoyed a Zoom meeting between the Proxy Masters and their
respective Lodges in the District of East Africa. Both the District Grand Master and District Grand Secretary were present, and we had six out of the ten Proxy Masters which was good for a first attempt. It was good for everyone to be able to put faces to names, learn a bit about each other and their respective Lodge. An exercise we will certainly be repeating and one I would recommend to
all Proxy DGM’s.

Finally, as always, please stay safe and look after each other.

Ramsay McGhee
Grand Master Mason


Grand Masters Communication                                        25.06.2021


Brethren


I was very much heartened by a story that Brother Jim Ellis related to me. He received a message from one of our brethren in Cape Town stating that one of the positive things to come out of Covid is the fact that it has, through the weekly updates and Zoom meetings, brought the Brethren in the Districts much closer to Grand Lodge and to other Scottish Brethren than in the past.

It has indeed been good to witness zoom meetings between Proxy Masters and their Lodges, meetings with the District Grand Masters and the ability to join in meetings throughout the world. Tomorrow, I’ll have the privilege of joining our Brethren in South Africa when they meet for their District Communication. Zoom is here to stay, and I have no doubt that it will continue to enable us to forge stronger links with our Lodges scattered throughout the globe.

On Monday evening I had the pleasure of giving a presentation to the Young Masons in the Province of Renfrewshire East and have asked them to make contact with another thriving Young Masons group here in the Province of Ross and Cromarty.

There are no doubt similar groups in other Provinces and Districts – how good it would be to have greater inter Province and District meetings between such groups who are, after all, the future of our Craft. If those Brethren who organise Young Mason Groups drop Grand Secretary a line with their contact details he’ll happily arrange to have a list compiled and circulated to all the groups.

SCFS

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Scottish.Constitution.Freemasonry.Supports/ 

➢ The Group saw its membership rise to 5316 Brethren from not only the Scottish Constitution but from many of our Sister Constitutions throughout the world.

➢ This week saw the total examples of charitable giving recorded within the group rise to 849, submitted by 295 of its members.

➢ These updated contributions can now be attributed as to being made on behalf of 322 Lodges, from within all 32 Provincial Grand Lodges, 23 of its District Grand Lodges, Superintendencies and Lodges abroad under the direct supervision of Grand Lodge.

➢ During the week posts were submitted by group members representing the Provinces of Dumfriesshire, East Lothian, Edinburgh and Linlithgowshire.

➢ The total identifiable monetary value of the contributions now recorded has risen to £1,347,091.

SCFS Overseas Report

• Our Overseas Membership has now risen to 1496 Brethren. This is thanks to new members joining us from Lodges in the Bahamas along with Sierra Leone and The Gambia.

• Our membership of Brethren who belong to Lodges whose Grand Lodges are in amity with the GLoS (International Constitution Members) continues to grow ... we now have 678 Brethren spreading news of the wonderful support featured in the posts on the main SCFS page and on the increasingly popular SCFS-Showcase, throughout their constitutions.

• This week Brethren joined from 8 different Masonic Constitutions, namely: GL of Ireland, Most Worshipful GL of the Philippines, UGLE (England, South America, Bombay), GL of Canada in the Province of Ontario, GL of Pennsylvania, National GL of Romania, Most Serene GL of the Republic of San Marino, Worshipful GL of Japan.

• A very special welcome was extended to Brother Massimo Tumietto who is the Grand Chaplain of the Most Serene Grand Lodge of the Republic of San Marino.

• A most interesting post was received from Brother Horace Gock, JD, on behalf of Lodge Polynesia, No. 562, Suva, Fiji, sharing the Lodge’s remarkable, ongoing active support in assisting those families in the local community who have been most severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

My grateful thanks to the members of the Young Masons Group in the Province of Renfrewshire East for their very warm welcome to their meeting last Monday.

Finally, as always, please stay safe and look after each other.

Ramsay McGhee
Grand Master Mason

Grand Masters Communication                                       20.05.2021


Brethren,​​​​​​​​​​

The Update is being circulated a day earlier this week due to the fact that the entire IT system in Grand Lodge will be closed down from Thursday night until Monday to accommodate preparations for the new fibre optic cable being brought into the building and the resultant upgrades that will be required on all devices in Grand Lodge being implemented. This has been a long time coming but at last we are working towards wi-fi throughout the building which will enable improved functionality to our communication applications such as Zoom. It will also mark the beginning of various hardware and software changes being implemented under the direction of our IT manager, Willie Rice.

The Strategy Group met on Tuesday. It was a very productive meeting with four out of five reports ready to go to the Administration Committee for their consideration. The fifth report was only received minutes before the meeting, but it will be forwarded as soon as the Strategy Group have a chance to go through it. The members of the five focus groups have worked well and have produced excellent final reports – I extend my grateful thanks to all those Brethren who have been involved.

SCFS

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Scottish.Constitution.Freemasonry.Supports/ 

The Group saw its membership rise to 5142 Brethren from not only the Scottish Constitution but from many of our Sister Constitutions throughout the world.

This week saw the total examples of charitable giving recorded within the group rise to 792, submitted by 286 of its members.

These updated contributions can now be attributed as to being made on behalf of 319 Lodges, from within all 32 Provincial Grand Lodges, 23 of its District Grand Lodges, Superintendencies and Lodges abroad under the direct supervision of Grand Lodge.

During the week posts were submitted by group members representing the Provinces of Edinburgh, Midlothian and Perthshire West.

The total identifiable monetary value of the contributions now recorded has risen to £1,258,495.

Showcase progress for Info.


SCFS Overseas Report

• As a result of new members joining from Lodges in Lebanon, Malawi, Mauritius, Middle East (Singapore), Sierra Leone and The Gambia, and also Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada, our Overseas Membership has now risen to 1458 Brethren.
• The largest increase in membership was jointly from the District of Sierra Leone and The Gambia and the District of Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada. Interestingly, no two Brethren who joined from those Districts came from the same lodge.
• Our membership of Brethren belonging to Lodges whose Grand Lodges are in amity with the GLoS continues to grow. With the addition of 25 new International Constitution Members (ICMs) this week, we now have 586 Brethren spreading news of the wonderful support, featured in the posts on the main SCFS page and on the new SCFS-Showcase, throughout their constitutions. We look forward to welcoming our 600th ICM next week.
• This week Brethren joined from 13 different Masonic constitutions, namely: GL of Norway, UGLE (England, Trinidad & Tobago, Bombay, Eastern Archipelago), GL of Chile, GL of India, United GL of New South Wales and ACT, GL of British Columbia and Yukon, GL of California, GL of Norway, GL of Spain, MWGL of the Philippines, GL of Japan, GL of Victoria.
• In addition to the above, the list of Grand Lodges represented by Brethren within them joining as ICMs had the Grand Lodge of New Zealand added to it.
• A very special welcome to the SCFS group is extended to Brother Sanjiv Chhibber, who is a Past Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of India.
• A most interesting post was received from Brother Charles Stewart, in his capacity as HM and Proxy WJW of Lodge Civil and Military, No. 726, in Bermuda, showing the continuing charitable support from that Lodge and our other 2 Lodges in Bermuda.

My sincere thanks to the Brethren of the Province of Fife and Kinross for their kind invitation to be with them on Wednesday night to discuss the way forward.

Finally, as always, please stay safe and look after each other.

Ramsay McGhee
Grand Master Mason


Grand Masters Communication                                       26.03.2021


Brethren


The Young Masons zoom conference last Saturday attracted a total of 205 Brethren. I was delighted with the turnout and even more delighted with the vibrancy displayed and the standard of the discussions in each of the five breakout groups. This has resulted in a significant amount of feedback which Grand Secretary is now feeding into the Strategy Working Groups. My sincere thanks to all who took time out on a Saturday morning to attend. I would also like to record my sincere thanks to the facilitators and the scribes in each of the five breakout groups and to Grand Secretary and our IT manager for their excellent organisation.


Next week brings three Zoom meetings – on Tuesday, the Overseas, External Affairs and Special Purposes Committee will be meeting followed that afternoon with the Information and Communications Committee then on Wednesday by the Benevolence and Care Committee.

I had the pleasure last week to attend the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Vernal Equinox meeting at which ME Companion J Stewart Wood, Grand Master of the Great Priory of Scotland gave an excellent presentation on the various Orders related to Royal Arch Masonry. It was a well-attended meeting expertly chaired by the 1st Grand Principal, ME Companion Joseph John Morrow, CBE, QC, LLD.


SCFS

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Scottish.Constitution.Freemasonry.Supports/


▪ The Group saw its membership rise to 4843 Brethren from not only the Scottish Constitution but from many of our Sister Constitutions throughout the world.

▪ This week saw the total examples of charitable giving recorded within the group rise to 704, submitted by 265 of its members.

▪ These updated contributions can now be attributed to 313 Lodges, from within all 32 Provincial

Grand Lodges, 23 of its District Grand Lodges, Superintendencies and Lodges under the direct

supervision of Grand Lodge.

▪ The total identifiable monetary value of the contributions now recorded has risen to £1,032,131.

▪ There have been 106,912 individual comments likes, and other reactions to the group since its

inception.

SCFS Overseas Report

Our Overseas Membership has now risen to 1383 Brethren with new members joining us from their Lodges in Bermuda, Far East (Hong Kong), Fiji, Guyana, North Island New Zealand, Sierra Leone and the Gambia, Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada. The largest increase in membership was jointly from the District of Guyana and from Bermuda (which has only 3 Lodges, all under Grand Superintendents).


The most Brethren joining from an individual Lodge were from Lodge Alpha, No. 1594, based

in Georgetown in Guyana.


An additional 32 Brethren (ICMs) joined from Lodges operating under Grand Lodges in amity with the Grand Lodge of Scotland, bringing our ICM membership to 434. This week Brethren joined from the GL of the Philippines, GL of Quebec, GL of Canada in the Province of Ontario, GL of Victoria, UGLE (England, Montreal and Halifax, Bermuda), GL of Wisconsin, Grand Lodge of Texas, United GL of New South Wales and ACT, GL of California, GL of Japan, GL of Ireland, GL of Ohio. In addition, the list of Grand Lodges represented by Brethren within them joining as ICMs had the Grand Lodge of Lithuania and Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Ontario and Jurisdiction added to it this week.


Interesting fact - Brother Rick Huggins joined as an ICM within hours of his initiation into Lodge

Mornington, No. 160, GL of Victoria ... having been invited by his uncle, Brother Lex Law, WJW, Lodge Blackridge, No. 1145.


A very special welcome was extended to Brother Robert Dupel, who will be installed as Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Quebec on 29th May.


A very touching post was received from Brother Joseph B Lum-On, WJW, sharing details of a donation made by Lodge Polynesia, No. 562, in Fiji, towards the support of an elderly gentleman who is experiencing medical and social challenges during this difficult period.


Finally, as always, please stay safe and look after each other.


Ramsay McGhee
Grand Master Mason

Grand Masters Communication                                       26.02.2021


Brethren


This is the 57th edition of the weekly update. Over the past 57 weeks I have tried to keep everyone up to speed with what is happening and issue advice on a whole range of issues currently affecting Lodges. Last week I highlighted the latest Discretionary Budget. A member of our Craft, who wishes anonymity as a whistle blower, has launched a personal attack on me by informing The Times that my giving advice to claim public money is "atrocious".

While this is yet another personal attack, whoever is behind this and the previous Times articles should be aware that I am not being damaged by these actions. However, a great deal of reputational damage is being done to Scottish Freemasonry as a whole. Did the person responsible ever give any thought to informing the Times of the other information in the Update last week that Scottish Freemasons have, during the Pandemic, contributed over £800k to the communities in which they operate?

Since day one, I have adopted an open-door approach. While I cannot physically be in Edinburgh at the present time, I am easily contactable at the end of a phone. I am more than happy to discuss any grievances that Brethren may have regarding what I put in the Update each week or on any other topic.

So, please, if you want to have a pop at me personally, then don't hide behind the cloak of anonymity. Identify yourself and speak to me, instead of besmirching the good name of our Craft in the media.


The next lecture in the History & Heritage Group Series will be by Brother Joe Curry, Immediate Past DGM of the Bahamas, on Wednesday 3rd March at 7.00 pm.

SCFS.


https://www.facebook.com/groups/Scottish.Constitution.Freemasonry.Supports/

o The group witnessed its membership rise to 4689 Brethren from both Scottish Constitution Lodges and Lodges from other Constitutions recognised by the Grand Lodge of Scotland.

o The total recorded examples of charitable giving within the group rose to 659, submitted by 257 of its members.

o These updated contributions can now be attributed as to being made on behalf of 305 Lodges, from within the 32 Provincial Grand Lodges, 21 District Grand Lodges, Superintendencies and Lodges under the direct supervision of Grand Lodge.

o The quantifiable monetary value of contributions has risen to £848,096 during the 43 weeks since the group was started. This represents an average weekly contribution of £19,723.

SCFS Overseas Report

With new members joining the SCFS group from the Districts of Central South Africa (RSA), Middle East (Malaysia), Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada, and Lebanon (Distrjh  nbngv ict with most joining members this week), we now have 1346 members from Overseas Lodges. The largest number of new members were from Lodge Al Arz, No. 1853, in Lebanon (our youngest Lodge).


New ICMs were welcomed from the Grand Lodge of Argentina, Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario, UGLE (England, Wales, Argentina), Grand Lodge of Spain, Grand Lodge of Alberta, Grand Lodge of Israel, Grand Lodge of Bolivia. The list of Grand Lodges represented by brethren within them joining as ICMs had the Grand East of the Netherlands added this week. This brings the ICM membership to 360 Brethren.


A warm welcome was extended to Brother Yaron J. Ze'elim (Past Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Israel).

We received an excellent post from Brother George Rogers, IPDGM of the District Grand Lodge of Western Australia, of behalf of the Scottish Masonic Charitable Foundation and Lodge Royal Stewart, No. 893.

Letters have gone out this week to all Provinces stating that a Dementia Awareness Initiative has been successfully implemented in Fife and Kinross.  In this regard, it has been agreed to hold an evening Zoom event on Tuesday, 16th March, at 7pm, in order that the benefits of this initiative in Fife and Kinross can be shared.  Thereafter, we would be very happy to provide further information and assistance to any Provincial Grand Lodge which would like to progress a similar initiative in their area. It is hoped that we will get a good response details are available through your Province. It is hoped to arrange a further two such events and these are in the process of being planned.

Very shortly Grand Secretary will be sending out letters to the Districts and Provinces inviting young Masons under the age of 40 to attend a zoom seminar on Saturday 20th March to begin a process with the young Masons to map out their vision for the future of Scottish Freemasonry. This is a project that I would commend to all young Masons.

Finally, as always, please stay safe and look after each other.

Ramsay McGhee
Grand Master Mason


Grand Masters Communication                                         29.01.2021


Brethren


Last Saturday I held a meeting with the Provincial Grand Masters. I am delighted to report that every Province was represented, and we had a very productive three-hour meeting. A significant number of actions have emerged from the meeting and they have been disseminated to all PGM's. Information from the meeting will be getting fed into the Strategy Group, the Admin Committee and Grand Committee. However, many of the topics can be actioned immediately such as encouraging Lodges to hold zoom meetings on Regular meeting nights, the sharing of successful initiatives, the collection and recycling of laptops within each Province and circulating the devices to Brethren who do not have one along with relevant training. Any Brother who has suitable hardware that they no longer use should notify their PGM and each Province will be looking for Brethren with expertise in cleaning and refurbishing the devices and Brethren to give training.


Much emphasis was put on the necessity for every Lodge to ensure that the premises are checked on a weekly basis and that each visit is logged, that all Lodges check their insurance policies in respect of the premises being vacant, that the insurance cover is adequate. Please ensure all those routine tasks are carried out so that in the event of an issue, the Lodges are not caught out by insurance policy escape clauses.

Many actions have been placed on your PGM's and they will be working with you over the next few months to assist with initiatives during lockdown and in the preparation for re-opening in due course plus the dissemination of useful ideas that were discussed on Saturday. Grand Lodge, through the Strategy Group and Administration Committee will be producing useful and necessary information packs over the spring and early summer months.

A week on Saturday the same exercise will take place with the District Grand Master's and next on the list will be the under 40 group. There has been a slight delay with the under 40 group because one of the contractors has failed to get the fibre optic cable into the building - the main contractor has all the internal wiring complete, but we still await connection to the main cable. Given the numbers that will be involved initially with the under 40 group and that we want to use the break-out facility as well, the present infrastructure in Grand Lodge would not cope. However, I am keen to get that particular meeting underway as soon as is practical.

Can I also bring to your attention, the 3rd series of lectures being organised by the History and Heritage group - they start a five-week run on Wednesday 17th February. The past two series have concentrated on the history of the 10 oldest Lodges - this series we will be transported to some of our Districts with the first lecture coming from the DGL of Lebanon - I commend them to you - the links to get into the lectures appear on Facebook each week.



SCFS


  • An additional 59 new members joined the group which now has a membership of 4487 Brethren from all 4 quarters of the globe.
  • This week saw the total examples of charitable giving recorded within the group rise to 629, submitted by 253 of its members.
  • These updated contributions can now be attributed as to being made on behalf of 299 Lodges, from within 31 Provincial Grand Lodges, 21 District Grand Lodges, Superintendencies and Lodges under the direct supervision of Grand Lodge.
  • The total identifiable monetary value of the contributions now recorded has risen to £589,561.
  • There have been 92,490 individual comments likes, and other reactions to the group since its inception.


https://www.facebook.com/groups/Scottish.Constitution.Freemasonry.Supports/



SCFS Overseas Report 

  • A wonderfully inspiring post was received this week from Brother George El Khebbez, Substitute District Grand Master of the DGL of Lebanon, sharing the outstanding support which Lodge Kadisha, No. 1002, is providing to the Red Cross, underprivileged families, and the local community in Beirut.
  • With the inclusion of our new Overseas Brethren this week, our Overseas Membership is now sitting at 1296 Members. We look forward to welcoming our 1300th Overseas Member this coming week. 
  • The geographical spread of Overseas Members saw Brethren being welcomed from Belgium, Jamaica, Lebanon, Western Province of the Cape of Good Hope. 
  • The largest increase in membership was, once again, from the District of Jordan, with the most Brethren joining from an individual Lodge coming from Lodge Kadisha, No. 1002.Congratulations
  • The reach of the SCFS page is increasing extremely encouragingly with another 43 Brethren from other Masonic constitutions being warmly welcomed into the group this week.
  • Our worldwide International Constitution Members (ICMs) viewing the SCFS page has now increased to 288 (we look forward to welcoming our 300th) with new ICMs joining the group from the GL of Canada in the Province of Ontario, UGLE, GL of India, GL of South Africa, GL of Ireland, GL of Peru, GL of South Africa, GL of Japan, United GL of Germany, United GL of New South Wales and ACT, GL of the Philippines, Regular GL of Portugal, National United GL of Bulgaria, GL of China. 
  • We also welcomed Brother Roberto Inchauste Varela ... our first member from a Lodge operating under the constitution of the Grand Lodge of Bolivia.
  • An additional warm welcome was extended to Brother Jai Murti, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Japan.

Finally, please stay safe and look after each other.


Ramsay McGhee
Grand Master Mason


Grand Masters Communication                                        15.01.2021

Brethren

At the meeting of the Heads of Orders on Wednesday, it was unanimously agreed that meetings of all Orders in Scotland will remain suspended for the foreseeable future. The decision was based on a number of factors – the current rise in cases and in deaths, the speed by which vaccine will be available and administered to all and the fact that we received notice that all public events have been cancelled indefinitely – for example, I received notification yesterday through the Lieutenancy that the Garden Parties in July have been cancelled. I know, accept and appreciate that this will be disappointing news to many, but the health and safety of our membership is paramount. With regard to our Lodges abroad, my advice is to remain closed unless you are 100% sure of the safety of the Brethren and are working in strict compliance with the law of your country.


As a result of Wednesday’s meeting, I will be calling an early meeting of the strategy group and will be tasking them, as a matter of urgency, to bring forward their work to ensure that we can do all that we possibly can to keep interest and enthusiasm as high as we can possibly can. We all need to remain positive and upbeat. I will also be meeting at an early date with all Provincial and District Grand Masters to emphasise to them the role that I expect them to play in this ongoing pandemic.


Brethren, please be assured that I will do all in my power to keep morale, enthusiasm and passion for our Craft as my number one priority. I don’t enjoy the situation any more than anyone else – however, I am confident that we will come out of the pandemic strong and vibrant – it may just take a bit longer than I was anticipating. 


In the meantime, please keep the Zoom meetings going – I’ll move to try and expand the meetings so that we can do more than we are maybe doing at the present time. Keep in touch with the more vulnerable Brethren, widows and families. Make sure they are safe.


  I’ll also explore the possibility of Lodges applying to “Connecting Scotland” for i-pads for those members who have no way of connecting to the internet. I would also make an appeal on two counts – if anyone has a laptop or i-pad that they no longer use then I’m sure we all know someone who could use it and secondly, if we can get second hand devices, it would be good if we could get some expertise in the Provinces and Districts to ensure that they are stripped of all data and the recipients shown how to use them – I’ll expand on this with the PGM’s and DGM’s.


My sincere thanks to you all for your patience and perseverance. The Heads of Orders are going to meet again in June to review the situation.



SCFS

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Scottish.Constitution.Freemasonry.Supports/

The group can now boast a membership of 4346 Brethren from both Scottish Constitution Lodges and Lodges from other Constitutions recognised by the Grand Lodge of Scotland.

This week saw the total examples of charitable giving recorded within the group rise to 611, submitted by 246 of its members.

With the District Grand Lodge of Zambia being added this week, these updated contributions can now be attributed as to being made on behalf of 297 Lodges, from within 31 Provincial Grand Lodges, 21 District Grand Lodges, Superintendencies and Lodges under the direct supervision of Grand Lodge.

An increase in the quantifiable monetary value of contributions to £534,515 was recorded during the week.

There have been 88,325 individual comments, likes, and other reactions to the group since its inception.

SCFS Overseas Report

• We welcomed another 13 Overseas Brethren this week,  bringing our Overseas Membership to 1281 Members.
• The geographical spread of Overseas Members saw Brethren being welcomed from ... the Bahamas, Barbados, Far East, Zambia.
• The largest increase in membership was from the District of Zambia.
• Lodge Lusaka, No. 1368, (Zambia) and Lodge Perla del Oriente, No. 1034, (Far East). had equally the largest number of Brethren joining from an individual Lodge.
• Our International Constitution Members (ICMs) viewing the SCFS page has increased to 185 with new ICMs joining the group from the Grand Lodge of India, Grand Lodge of South Africa, UGLE, United Grand Lodges of Germany, United Grand Lodge of New South Wales and ACT (we were delighted to welcome Brother Jamie Melville, Past Grand Master), Grand Lodge of the Philippines, Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia.
Outstanding posts were received this week.
• Brother Andrew Shaw shared news of a donation of £4,000 organised by Lodge Lusaka, No. 1368, and Lodge NKana, No. 1378, in the District of Zambia, for the erection of a hospital partition for Covid treatment.
Brother George Rogers, IPDGM of Western Australia, shared news of a donation, by the DGL and Daughter Lodges, of over £11,300, to support funds of the Motor Neurone Disease Association (WA).

I have asked Sue to distribute a paper by Brother Alan Carmichael from Lodge `Dalkeith Kilwinning No 10 in which he gives some expert advice on grants that are currently available. The paper will accompany this update. My sincere thanks to Alan for his assistance in this matter.

Finally, please stay safe and look after each other.


Ramsay McGhee
Grand Master Mason


Grand Masters Communication                                        23.10.2020

Brethren

Once again, we face further lockdowns and restrictions here in Scotland. The licensed trade sector is in a perilous position and that includes many of our Masonic Clubs. Provided clubs meet the fairly stringent conditions they can apply for assistance through the Coronavirus Restrictions Fund. Full details can be found at - https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/service/funding/coronavirus-restrictions-fund - but please note that this relates only to licenced premises and that application is made to your local council. Applications will close on Tuesday 3 November at 5pm.

A number of Brethren have asked recently about the tax situation with regard to those Lodges who were successful in obtaining the £10k grant. There is still some dubiety about the position, but we are pursuing the issue with HMRC and I hope to be able to give you a definitive response soon.

Latest news from the Scottish Constitution Freemasonry Supports Facebook page is as follows –

SCFS Overseas Report
We welcomed 32 Overseas Brethren this week. Our Overseas Membership is now standing at 1114 Members.

Congratulations is extended to Brother Pédro Turnquest, Secretary, Lodge San Andreas, No. 1835, The Bahamas, who is our 1100th. Overseas Member.

The geographical spread of Overseas Members this week saw Brethren being welcomed from ...The Bahamas, Central South Africa, Eastern Province of the Cape of Good Hope, Gibraltar, India, Jamaica, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Lebanon, Middle East, Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada, Western Australia.

The largest increase in membership was from the District of The Bahamas with a very impressive spread of new members from more than half of the Lodges in that District ... Lodge St. Andrew, No. 1756, and Lodge San Andreas, No. 1835, equally having the largest number of Brethren joining from an individual Lodge.


The Masonic audience viewing the examples of the excellent support being shared on the SCFS page was further extended as new International Constitution Members joined the group from the GL of the State of Israel, GL Alpina of Switzerland, GL of Peru, United Grand Lodges of Germany, GL of New South Wales, GL of the District of Columbia (USA), Simbolic GL of Paraguay, UGLE and the GL of the Philippines.

Many of you will hopefully have received a circular from Mrs Dawn Oliff by now but just in case you haven’t, we were delighted to receive a very generous donation of a hand crafted, sterling silver watch chain (please see the picture below).   It has been decided to raffle the chain with all proceeds going to the Scottish Masonic Homes. Brother John Muir has kindly agreed to manage the raffle for us and requires certain information to progress the entries and payments – each draw entry costs £5 and if you would like to participate, please email John at john.muir1779@gmail.com

I will draw the winner on 26th November at a special broadcast. The closing date to enter is 5 p.m. on 25th November.

Thank you to everyone who takes part, your support is greatly appreciated, and all of the funds raised will be used for the benefit of the Residents.

I’m delighted that arrangements have been made for our first joint meeting between our District Grand Masters and the Proxy District Grand Masters. I have also issued an invitation to our 19 Lodges who report direct to Grand Lodge. This will be an ideal opportunity for the Proxy DGM’s to meet with those whom they represent.

Brother Gordon Michie has kindly given me a copy of the latest guidance relating to Remembrance Parades and Services. I will arrange to have it circulated to the Home Lodges along with this update. I will be in Edinburgh on Monday to lay a wreath on behalf of the Grand Lodge of Scotland in Princes Street Gardens.

In the meantime, please stay safe, look after yourselves and each other.



Kindest Regards

Ramsay McGhee
Grand Master Mason


Grand Masters Communication                                        16.10.2020

Brethren

Latest news from the Scottish Constitution Freemasonry Supports Facebook page is as follows –




SCFS Overseas Report

We welcomed 20 Overseas Brethren this week. Our Overseas Membership is now standing at 1082 Members (with the anticipated 1100th. Overseas Member joining this coming week.)

 

The geographical spread of new members this week saw Brethren being welcomed from ... Bahamas, Bermuda, Central South Africa, Jamaica, Lebanon, Middle East, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and The Gambia, Western Australia

 

The largest increase in membership, once again, was from the District of Lebanon closely followed the District of Central South Africa.

 

Lodge Pythagoras, No. 1841, and Lodge El-Mizab, No. 1130, had equally the largest number of Brethren joining from an individual Lodge.

 

The Masonic audience viewing the examples of the excellent support being shared on the SCFS page was further extended as a new International Constitution Member from the Grand Lodge of Minnesota joined the group.

 

An inspiring post was received from Lebanon demonstrating Al Arz Lodge, No. 1853, only consecrated on 28th. June this year, exhibiting true Masonic principles in assisting the local communities, psychologically and physically, in the wake of the Beirut Port blast.


I attended a meeting of European Grand Masters last night and while the news on the spread of coronavirus throughout Europe was of great concern to us all, it was evident that we are all committed to doing all that we can to keep Brethren in our respective Constitutions involved and active in whatever ways we can. While we accept that zoom meetings are no substitute for the real thing, there was universal agreement that we use zoom and all other similar platforms to the best of our ability to ensure the safety and welfare of Brethren and their families.


I am extremely proud that Scottish Freemasons throughout the world have displayed Brotherly Love and Relief in abundance not only within our fraternity but in local communities as well. As we face further restrictions and see the covid-19 statistics rising once more, let us all commit to putting the basic tenets of our Brotherhood into practice – let us be constantly mindful of our Brethren and the families of our Brethren who are struggling physically, financially or mentally – let’s all be there for them. Let us continue to meet by Zoom or similar means whereby we can assure that we take care of the business and administrative issues facing the Lodges and do everything that we can to enable as many Brethren to use the available technology to join in the meetings. Keep positive, keep safe and keep your sense of humour well honed



Our Grand Secretary has now been with us for over a month and has settled well into his Office. However, it has been brought to my attention that not everyone knows him so here is a wee bit about him.

 

Brother William M S Semple, Past Master of The United Lodge of Dunkeld No14, Past Provincial Grand Secretary of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Perthshire West and currently the Provincial Grand Master of Perthshire West.


After a distinguished career in the Police Service, Brother Semple set up William Semple Consulting Ltd, a company providing bespoke investigation, risk & crisis mitigation services and mentoring to both the public and private sector. Having enjoyed much success both at home and abroad with his firm, the time was right for a change in direction and we were delighted to welcome him as our new Grand Secretary at the beginning of September. Brother Semple looks forward to meeting Brethren at home and abroad as soon as the current restrictions are lifted, and we can resume normal service.



Grand Secretary

Brother William M S Semple


Grand Masters Communication                                         02.10.2020


Brethren

As I mentioned in last week’s Update, we have received many requests as to how financial support can be sent to the Lebanon in the wake of the explosion. At long last we have been able to get the banking issues both here and in Lebanon sorted out. Grand Secretary sent out information this week but just to widen the scope let me repeat the information - Individuals, Lodges, Districts or Provinces who would wish to contribute to the Lebanon Appeal can now do so by Bank Transfer to the following account - The Bank of Scotland (The Mound, Edinburgh), Grand Lodge of Scotland Support Account : Account number – 10119866, Sort Code – 80-31-20 – the reference word LEBANON should be included for ease of identification and an email sent to glfinance@grandlodgescotland.org informing Grand Lodge that money has been sent. All monies paid into this account will be sent safely to a new “fresh money” account jointly operated by the three Grand Lodges in Lebanon – the Grand Lodge of Scotland, the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, Washington DC and the Grande Loge Nationale Française (GLNF). A letter signed by the three Grand Masters will also be sent to all Regular Grand Lodges worldwide seeking their support.


Last week I circulated detailed information from Brother Gordon Michie of Poppy Scotland regarding the procedure for Poppy crosses. This week Brother Michie had hoped to send additional information regarding Remembrance Parades but is still awaiting confirmation from the Scottish Government as to what will and will not happen. As soon as that information is to hand, I will ensure that it is circulated to all Lodges at home, but it would certainly appear that any form of large gathering will not be allowed.

I mentioned some weeks back that the dates for all Lodges having rededication ceremonies and all Districts and Provinces having Installation Ceremonies for new District or Provincial Grand Masters had been rescheduled into 2021. I did intend to circulate the new dates but with the total uncertainty that we are currently experiencing thanks to Covid-19, I have decided to hold back as it looks like at least some of the re-scheduled dates will need to be re-scheduled once more. Once things settle down and there is a reasonable possibility of being able to conduct the ceremonies, I will issue a fresh schedule at the earliest opportunity to allow local planning to take place. But I can assure you all that a Grand Lodge Deputation will be there with you as soon as it is lawful and practical to do so.


Due to the impending cessation of the Furlough Scheme, Grand Lodge staff will be returning to the office on Monday 5th October. From Monday the switchboard will be open during normal business hours. Could I also ask that if any Lodge has a query regarding the database to address the query to Lyndsey on the email address – Rashell@grandlodgescotland.org


Latest news from the Scottish Constitution Freemasonry Supports Facebook page is as follows –

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Scottish.Constitution.Freemasonry.Supports/


SCFS Overseas Report

We welcomed 20 Overseas Brethren this week. This means that the amazing milestone of an Overseas Membership of 1,000 has now been passed, with Overseas Membership now standing at 1019.


Many congratulations is extended to our 1000th. Overseas Member who is Brother Johann Swanepoel, Past Master, Lodge Oranje, No. 1603, Orange Free State and Country Lodges, Central South Africa.


The geographical spread of new members this week saw Brethren joining from Barbados, Central South Africa, Eastern Province of the Cape of Good Hope, Gibraltar, Lebanon, Newfoundland and Labrador, Sierra Leone and The Gambia, Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada


The largest increase in membership was from the District of Central South AfricaLodge Argyll, No. 1548, Roodepoort, The Reef, Central South Africa, had the largest number of Brethren joining from an individual Lodge.


A new category of Membership has been introduced ... that of International Constitution Member (ICM). Membership is by invitation and is aimed at Brethren from other Constitutions which are in amity with the Grand Lodge of Scotland. This development will result in the examples of the excellent support being shared on the SCFS page reaching a much wider audience.


We welcome Brother Paul Sefton, Past Master, Elwy Lodge, No. 4721, Province of North Wales, UGLE, as our first International Constitution Member.

As the Covid-19 situation worsens here in Scotland and in some but not all of our Districts, please stay safe, look after yourself and be constantly mindful of our Brethren and the families of our Brethren who are struggling physically, financially or mentally – let’s all be there for them.


Kindest Regards

Ramsay McGhee

Grand Master Mason

Statement from Legion Scotland / Poppy Scotland

in respect of Remembrance 2020

Back in March no one thought we’d still be in this position but whether we like it or not, the risks to public health from Coronavirus are real, particularly amongst our older members.


Remembrance must not fall victim to coronavirus but plans at a national and local level must be adapted. Public safety is paramount so please consider the following guidelines when planning your remembrance event. Although we expect some further clarity from the Scottish Government later this week, we felt it important that we provided some guidance as things stand today:


  • Parades are not currently permitted. Please do not make plans to include a parade as part of your remembrance event.
  • All outdoor events, including remembrance events, are not currently permitted in the following health board areas - Ayrshire & Arran; Forth Valley; Greater Glasgow & Clyde; Lanarkshire; and Lothian.
  • Outdoor events in the other health board areas are permitted but if they involve more than 6 people from 2 households they can only go ahead if Local Authority approval has been sought and granted.
  • Scottish Government guidelines on outdoor events must be adhered to. This includes having a nominated individual who will be responsible for preparing a risk assessment and overseeing the safe delivery of the event.

These rules are in place until the 25th October but given the upward trajectory in coronavirus cases, it is quite possible that they will be extended beyond this date to include the Remembrance period. 


Remembrance is of the utmost importance to Legion Scotland members, the Armed Forces Community and the wider Scottish public and although our activities this Remembrance-tide will be very different to previous years, we will still be remembering the fallen in a safe and compliant manner.


We are encouraging the wider public to take a moment at home on their doorstep on Remembrance Sunday and on the 11th of November at 11am for the two minutes silence. You can also pay your personal respects at war memorials at a time of your choosing, but please avoid 11am as per the guidelines above.


We are also acutely aware of the potential catastrophic impact the restrictions could have on this year’s Scottish Poppy Appeal so we urge you all to support the Appeal utilising the various new digital methods that Poppy Scotland have introduced. 


You can make a donation via their website, where you can also Donate, Download and Display a poppy at home https://www.poppyscotland.org.uk


Although we are devastated we cannot gather in our normal numbers across the country, we can join as

a nation in heart and spirit to pay our respects.

Courage Brother Do Not Stumble

Courage, brother, do not stumble,

Though thy path be dark as night;
There’s a star to guide the humble:
Trust in God and do the right.
Let the road be rough and dreary,
And its end far out of sight,
Foot it bravely;  strong or weary,

 

Trust in God, trust in God,

Trust in God and do the right.

 

Perish policy and cunning,

Perish all that fears the light!

Whether losing, whether winning,

Trust in God and do the right.

Trust no party, sect, or faction;

Trust no leaders in the fight;

Put in every word or action,


Trust in God, trust in God,

Trust in God and do the right.


Some will hate thee, some will love thee,

Some will flatter, some will slight;

Cease from man, and look above thee:

Trust in God and do the right.

Simple rule, and safest guiding,

Inward peace and inward might,

Star upon our path abiding,


Trust in God, trust in God,

Trust in God and do the right.



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