Forgive the tardiness of this months’ Trestleboard, I have been somewhat preoccupied with some home improvement tasks that continue to be ongoing and somewhat in depth…due to some laziness on my part and a lack of a round TUIT…therefore rendering me unable to get around to it as I should have.
I know, horrible joke (groan).
As everyone knows the Stated Communications was cancelled for the last three months due to concerns over the COVID-19 virus. Per guidance from the Grand Master, all Lodge functions and gatherings are at this point cleared to resume this month and unless otherwise directed by Grand Lodge, I am still looking to hold the Stated Communications on our regularly scheduled day and time, Monday July 20th at 7:30 p.m. (as usual, 1930 for those of us still in a military mindset). Any changes to this will be forwarded to everyone at the soonest possible time. It will remain Hawaiian shirt night for any that attend the meeting.
As noted in last months’ Trestleboard, the Lodge and the Fraternity took a serious blow with the loss of Right Worshipful Brother James Albert Newcomer. We all know that Jim was a mainstay in the Lodge and a mentor to many a “young” Blue Lodge Mason as well as many Scottish Rite Masons. A hard act to follow, he will continue to be both deeply missed and a difficult pair of shoes to fill. A memorial service will be held at a later date due to current COVID-19 restrictions. He will be buried at Quantico National Cemetery.
Also, as previously stated in past month’s Trestleboard, 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 continue to keep him in our prayers.
Administrative notes and parting shots:
In the meantime, for those of us that are tasked with speaking roles in the Lodge, I once again urge you to practice your parts, to include your obligation, as often as you are able as all things can become “rusty” if not used from time to time. Follow the old military habit of knowing the job of the person at least two levels above you to improve your proficiency.
A few notes on reopening (thank you Mount Vernon Lodge for guidance on these):
No one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 or known or suspected exposure to a COVID-19 case in the prior 14 days is permitted to enter the Lodge.
No one that has traveled to Brazil, China, Iran, Europe, or the United Kingdom or Ireland in the last 14 days is permitted to enter the Lodge.
Everyone that enters the Lodge does so at their own risk.
No called or stated communications shall be held for the purpose of conferring any of the Degrees in Freemasonry. Only Lodge business will be conducted at a stated communication. Other than Lodge Officers, all members are encouraged not to attend the stated communications. Programs during the stated communication are suspended.
John A. Lejeune Lodge suspends all fraternal visits. Brethren are discouraged from visiting other Lodges. Visitors will not be permitted at stated communications unless approved by the Worshipful Master in advance.
Social distancing with a minimum of 6 feet must be observed at all times and no more than 50 people, to include Lodge Officers, members, and guests, may gather in the Lodge at any given time or participate in a tiled communication.
No food or drink will be served or is permitted in the Lodge except for bottled of water. Brethren should bring their own bottles of water and should take the empty bottles with them. Lodge trash cans should not be used to dispose of empty bottles or any other trash.
The kitchen is closed until further notice.
Seating in the Lodge room will be marked and restricted so as to promote social distancing of at least 6 feet during a stated communication.
Cloth face coverings are not required but are strongly encouraged. The Lodge will not provide face coverings. Bring your own.
Gloves must be worn when voting. Plastic gloves will be provided.
One (1) person in a restroom at a time. There is no way to maintain a 6 foot distance between people given the size of our restrooms.
Hand sanitizer is readily available throughout the Lodge. Hand soap is also available in all restrooms. Wash your hands often and keep your hands away from your face. Hand sanitizer should not serve as a substitute to washing your hands.
The next stated communication of John A. Lejeune Lodge is scheduled for Monday, July 20th at 7:30 p.m. Brethren should not arrive prior to 7:15 p.m. Brethren should not gather in the social hall but should immediately proceed upstairs to the Lodge room. The meeting will start promptly at 7:30 p.m.
The ritual for opening and closing a lodge and for voting has been heavily modified.
Regardless of the rules and guidelines and the efforts that we all take, the decision to return to the Lodge is an individual determination. Each Brother has to make that determination for himself based on both his physical and mental health. If you do not feel comfortable coming to Lodge, although you will be missed, the Brethren will understand.
Feel free to email me if you have an questions, comments, or concerns.
Sincerely and Fraternally,
Randall Arnold, Worshipful Master