As we all know, the Stated Communications was cancelled at the last minute due to concerns over the COVID-19 virus. Additionally, at the direction of the Grand Master, all Masonic functions; to include Stated Communications, degree work, and all appellate bodies be cancelled or suspended until the 30th of April.
I received an update from Right Worshipful Jim Newcomer that Brother Earl Covey, one of our very senior and honored members, was not doing well physically and also may be beginning to show signs of Dementia, I ask that all of us please keep him in our prayers.
The Grand Master sent out a Community Engagement Memo with advice to all Lodges as well as some guidance for all to consider during this time of emergency for the nation. I have pasted what I think are the most pertinent points.
To: All Ancient Free and Accepted Masons within the Commonwealth of Virginia
Subject: What we can do to help during this Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak
Brethren, I have been asked, given everything we’re going through, what can we do, as Masons, to be present and engaged in the community? Great question! During this time when COVID-19 has brought Masonic activities and so much of our daily routine to an abrupt halt, we still want to serve and help others; it’s just who we are as men and Masons. Right now, we can’t be out there on the front lines, but we can—clearly— still serve, and we can still be a beacon of light in the community even at a time when we must—except for essential activities—stay pretty close to home. What we can do, until this thing passes, is going to look a little different than what we’re accustomed to as we allow— out of absolute necessity—common sense and healthy practices to rule the day.
So, while the doctors, scientists and government officials work tirelessly to combat the virus, here are some ideas on what we can do and still remain in compliance with state and local directives and those directives I have issued as Grand Master.
Go to the grocery store or pharmacy for Brothers, widows, or neighbors, who can’t get out of their home—or shouldn’t—due to underlying health conditions. You can simply get what they need and leave it on their doorstep.
Offer to prepare a hot meal for those who may need some help. Again, call, tell them you’re on the way, and leave it on the doorstep. In the same vein, many restaurants are offering take out and home delivery during this time. Have something delivered.
Assist elderly Brethren, widows, or neighbors, who may need some help with yard work or other chores where exposure is limited.
Stay in touch by email and telephone, offer encouragement. Send a card of cheer. Share inspirational thoughts you come across or bits of humor (clean, of course).
If your Lodge uses a phone tree to communicate information, use it to send an encouraging message and also remind the Brethren to reach out, if they need assistance.
Pray for those at risk and those with specific needs. Pray for Law Enforcement personnel and other First Responders. Pray also for doctors, nurses, scientists, and government officials working to combat COVID-19.
Hopefully, this list of ideas will generate creative thinking and other safe ways to be of service. When we consider what we can do, we must remain vigilant and take every possible step to mitigate risk.
With time, this will pass, and we will start to return to normal; although, not unlike the aftermath of other tough times in our history, it may well be a “new normal.” To the extent we are able to help, our communities need us now, and they will need us when this is over. If we lead the way with Loyalty and Kindness, we can be a stable force in unsteady times.
I believe being a Master Mason is condition of the heart. COVID-19 will not extinguish our passion nor will it extinguish our desire as Masons to “……do good unto all……” Because you see……
“You’re Not Just a Man, You’re A Mason.”
An administrative note on upcoming events:
Due to the possibility of the continuing threat of a Coronavirus infestation, the Scottish Rite dinner that was scheduled to be held at the same location as last year on May 16th, up at Fair Oaks in Fairfax, has also been cancelled due to health concerns amongst the brethren.
Sincerely and Fraternally,
Randall Arnold, Worshipful Master
A refreshing thought from one of our trestleboard readers:
Even though our lodges are dark. We are the light.