Lodge Whifflet St. John 963

"Supporting local charities and good causes within the community"

Lodge News

Coronavirus Update 05 Sept 2020 

Dear Brethren,


Due to the ongoing situation of Coronavirus (COVID 19) and the guidance from GLOS, all Whifflet St John 963 meetings will be cancelled for the foreseeable future and most likely into 2021. I intend to keep in touch with as many active Brethren by phone or text and will update social media as much as possible.


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


I would encourage that you ask friends or relatives to check this page for updates. As Freemasons and as good citizens, please follow guidance by the Government and please remember those less fortunate than yourself, self isolation can be difficult physically and mentally and it is important using our principals that we support our communities. 


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/



https://www.hsepeople.com/mental-health/mental-health-support-can-turn/



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                                         25.09.2020

Brethren

As we move into the last week in September, may I address a few words to our many Jewish Brethren at home and abroad. The New Year (5781) has arrived. This is a Holy Festival when families usually gather together to celebrate. In the current circumstances, this has not been possible, due to travel and other restrictions brought about by Covid-19 and I extend my sympathy to you all as it must be very frustrating not being able to celebrate in the traditional manner. The days between the start of the New Year and the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), are a time of solemn reflection, very different from the New Year celebrations with which many of us are familiar. Yom Kippur, on Monday September 28th, is a day of fasting and praying. As it approaches, I extend my best wishes and hope these Holy Days will bring solace, and a happy and peaceful New year.


I have received detailed information from Brother Gordon Michie of Poppy Scotland regarding the procedure for Poppy crosses. An updated letter will be sent out today along with this update.


We have received many requests as to how financial support can be sent to the Lebanon in the wake of the explosion. Due to banking issues in Lebanon we have been unable to give definitive advice but Grand Secretary will hopefully be in a position early next week to circulate details of a new account in Grand Lodge which will be used exclusively for emergency aid to Lebanon. I thank you for your patience in this matter but it is important that we have a conduit that will allow monies collected to go safely to the right place.


Back in May I gave answers to a number of frequently asked questions in the weekly update but of late, Grand Treasurer has been asked again about annual fees – please find below the response I gave in May which is still the case today.


Will Grand Lodge give all Lodges a year without paying annual fees?

The answer is no. First, that would require a motion to be placed in front of Grand Lodge and there will be no meeting of Grand Lodge this year. We would ask that the Brethren continue to pay their Test Fees as normal. Each Lodge pays an annual Capitation Fee of £33 per member to Grand Lodge. In the majority of Lodges but not all, that amount is included in the annual Test Fee. It is important therefore that Brethren continue to pay their Test Fee in order that the Lodge receives its portion and that Provincial or District Lodges receive their portion. We do acknowledge and appreciate that there may be individual Brethren who, as a result of Covid-19 are experiencing extreme hardship. It is expected that the Lodge, the Province or District and Grand Lodge would all pull together to assist Brethren and their families who experience such hardship but for the vast majority we would ask that they support their Lodge in particular, Freemasonry in general by paying their annual dues.


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 61 Overseas Brethren this week, bringing our Overseas Membership of the SCFS Group to 999. The amazing milestone of an Overseas Membership of 1,000 will be reached this coming week. The SCFS Team looks forward to congratulating our 1,000th. member in next week’s Report.


It is heartening to note that, once again, we had an expansive geographical spread of new members this week, Brethren joining from ... The Bahamas, Central South Africa, East Africa, Eastern Province of the Cape of Good Hope, Far East, Fiji, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritius, Newfoundland and Labrador, Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada, Zambia.


The largest increase in membership was from the District of Lebanon, followed by the District of Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada and the District of Central South Africa.


Lodge Mount Lebanon, No. 1312, Lebanon, had the largest number of Brethren joining from an individual Lodge ... closely followed by Lodge Jordan, No. 1339, Jordan.


A number of new Members proved to be extremely proactive in encouraging members of their Lodges to join the SCFS group. many thanks to them.


We received extremely interesting posts from our Overseas Lodges and Districts, sharing the support which they are providing, and thanks is also extended for this 


Just a wee gentle reminder that if your Masonic Club is operating, as and from today you will require to adhere to the 10.00pm curfew. Full details can be found at 


https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-tourism-and-hospitality-sector-guidance/pages/overview/


and at The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2020


Contacting Grand Lodge

The Grand Lodge telephone switchboard is now open on a part time basis - the days/hours will be: -Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday between 10am and 2.30pm


Kindest Regards

Ramsay McGhee

Grand Master Mason

Grand Masters Communication                                         11.09.2020


Brethren


During the past week, Grand Almoner and I had a very productive meeting with Brother JeanPierre Rollet, Grand Master of the Grande Loge Nationale Française and Brother Michael D. Nicholas, Sr., Grand Master of the District of Columbia. They along with the Grand Lodge of Scotland are the three Regular Grand Lodges with a presence in Lebanon. We met to discuss how we can best collectively assist after the disaster that has befallen Lebanon or Beirut in particular. We made good progress and set each other a number of tasks and we will be meeting next week again when we will hopefully be able to bring the plans to fruition.


In Grand Lodge work continues to remove the asbestos from the basement areas of the building. We have also signed a contract to bring fibre optic cabling into the building to enable us to bring our IT systems into the 21st century. It will also give us reliable wi-fi throughout the building. It is good to be able to get this work carried out during this time so that we will have the systems working when we open up again.


Still on IT, we have made good progress with the Grand Lodge Database. Most of the wish list drawn up by the Lodge Secretaries has been implemented and we now look to bringing the Lodges in the Districts onto the system over the next few weeks.


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 had 23 Overseas Brethren recorded this week, bringing our Overseas Membership of the SCFS Group to 889.


It is anticipated that the 900th. Overseas Member will be welcomed into the SCFS group this coming week ... details in next week’s Update.


It is heartening to note that, once again, we had an expansive geographical spread of new members this week ... from The Bahamas, Central South Africa, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritius, Middle East, Peru, Sierra Leone and The Gambia, Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada, Western Australia, Zambia.


The largest increase in membership was seen from the District of Central South Africa (thanks to Lodges in the Orange Free State and Country Lodges area) and from the District of Western Australia (with a notable number from Lodge Balmoral, No. 896)


An interesting post was received from Brother Rinus Grau, District Grand Secretary of Zimbabwe, which highlighted the support which our Brethren in Zimbabwe are providing for the safety of all in the Masonic Homes in Harare


We look forward to receiving posts from other Overseas Lodges and Districts ... sharing the support which they are providing.



As of yesterday, 161 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in Scotland – our Brethren and their families in a number of areas are under lockdown procedures and family meetings are again under strict guidelines. Despite the fact that things are not improving, I am still getting questions about opening Lodges and Lodge premises. Let me once again try and make it as plain as I can that, first of all, the Heads of all Orders in Scotland have taken a joint decision, based on the fact that the health and well being of our members is paramount, that there will be no meetings of any of the Orders before January 2021 when the situation will be reviewed.


With regard to allowing non-Masonic organisations back into our premises, I have written to the Government twice and have asked that specific question, but I have not received a response from them. I will write again but for the time being, the advice is that (licensed clubs excepted) we keep our premises closed.


I hope and trust that this finds you all keeping safe and well and looking out for each other.



Kindest Regards

Ramsay McGhee

Grand Master Mason

Grand Masters Communication                                         04.09.2020


Brethren 


The joy of knowing that our two Masonic Homes have remained Covid-19 free thanks to the commitment and professionalism of the Homes Managers and their staff was tinged with sadness this week when we learned that the Marcus Humphrey Home in Bridge of Weir was the target of mindless vandals who, for reasons best known to themselves, decided to smash the garden ornaments and flower pots which give so much pleasure to our residents. Police Scotland have been informed and have issued a reference number in respect of the vandalism but as far as I understand will not make any enquiry. However, the good news is that Brethren and Lodges from far and wide have responded magnificently. My sincere thanks to you all for your kindness and generosity – I can assure you that the staff and residents greatly appreciate the response.


I was recently sent an article regarding prostate cancer testing for men which is taking place in Lodges in Wales. I copied the article to Grand Almoner and to Brother Marcus Humphrey, Chair of the Benevolence and Care Committee who has reminded me that now would be a good time to reiterate the availability in Scotland of a PSA test from their General Practitioner free of charge and the willingness of Adam Gaines from Prostate Cancer Scotland to speak to any forum about it. I’m sure Adam would be an ideal speaker on some of the Zoom platforms organised by our Lodges at home and abroad – this affects men throughout the world, and I have no doubt that Adam’s advice would prove valuable irrespective of where you are in the world. One aspect that Adam frequently mentions is that an important part of the process is the relationship between the man and his GP and the requirement for the GP to properly assess and prepare the patient, talk through the potential results of the test (whether positive or negative), available support and the psychological effects on the man. This is based on Adam’s often repeated statement that more men die with prostate disease rather than die of prostate disease. While we have been and continue to be concentrating on Covid-19, let us not forget that advice. Prostate Cancer, like Covid-19, has not disappeared – it is still very much an issue for all men in our Provinces and Districts.


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

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


Brethren, as I compile this update, I’m listening to the morning news on Radio Scotland and the news is not good. Following an increase in the number of coronavirus cases in Glasgow, East Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire, additional restrictions will be introduced for people living in these areas for an initial two-week period. We have another spike in the Highlands in Grantown on Spey. Many of our Districts are still very much affected by the virus and we are seeing an increase in travel restrictions. This virus is still very much in our midst - please stay alert, look after yourselves, your families and the Brethren who are in any of the vulnerable categories.


Finally, I am repeatedly asked if I have had any response to my letters to the Scottish Government – the answer is no. Given that the Heads of Orders have agreed that no meetings will take place this year, the first part of the letter regarding the opening of Lodges is no longer urgent but I will continue to chase up the second issue – the need for definitive guidance for many of our Lodge buildings throughout the country that are effectively community hubs housing a vast array of non-Masonic organisations.

Kindest Regards

Ramsay McGhee

Grand Master Mason




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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