Being a mason on lockdown isn’t easy. After all we’re a sociable bunch. And with a large % of our membership being a little more senior, some fall under the category of ‘vulnerable’, and therefore under compulsory lockdown. For others we might be missing some good old-fashioned friendship too.
So, here’s a few tips on what you can be doing:
1. Keep up appearances - Socialise!
Masonic meetings, social outings and get togethers aren’t possible but that doesn’t mean our friendships have to be put on hold for the lockdown either. Fast broadband, free technologies can make it simple to stay in touch. Skype, Zoom, Facebook, WhatsApp, Teams & Houseparty are some of the most popular apps that enable you to video call each other. And many of them can host multiple people. Set up a call, see your masonic friends, share a 9 o’clock toast, and catch up on the latest non-happenings elsewhere! And whilst you’re at it, don’t forget those who don’t join in – either they need help setting it up, or support in general. Encourage them, as you don’t know how lonely they maybe or what support they have around them.
2. Brush up on your ritual
Sometimes our daily routines dictate how we learn our ritual and what we do in masonic ceremonies. Right now, working from home may afford us more than an hour usually lost in commuting. Lockdown also may mean more quality time to take a break – whether it’s a walk, jog or cycle. Most mobile phones have the ability to record and playback your voice, so use that time to consider another way of learning. Of course, make sure your phone is secure and be careful to delete those files when you don’t need them, but what better way to enjoy a walk round the block, than with a gentle bit of ritual soaking into your subconscious?
3. Help your Almoner
Normally, it’s the job of the Lodge / Chapter Almoner to look after the welfare concerns of the members and their families. Usually, we hope, it’s only a few at a time that need our help, but right now it could be many more. Make yourself available to your Almoner to help others. It could be just a regular phone call and a friendly voice that’s needed. But for those in isolation, unwell or otherwise locked down you could be vital in dropping to their doorstep deliveries of food and medicines. Share in the responsibilities of your Almoner, we can all do this.
4. Make a daily advancement
We all aim to have a daily advancement in masonic learning, but now you can truly make it part of your routine. The Province is continually sharing news, masonic learning and history on its news pages, web site and social media. Pick up on Solomon, an excellent learning tool, too from UGLE, that’s online and simple to engage with. Visit https://solomon.ugle.org.uk/
5. Support Masonic Charities
Lodge and Chapter Charity Stewards will be having a lean time with less person to person opportunities to engage you. However, when the going gets tough, the tough get going? Our beloved charities will need help now more than ever. With online facilities provided by the Masonic Charitable Foundation, Lodge and Chapter Charity Relief Chests are still open for business. Individual donations can still be made and Gift Aid applied. Donations can be made with a debit or credit card. Please visit https://rcs.mcf.org.uk/. Scroll down the page and enter your Lodge or Chapter number. For example, Lodge 1234 = L1234, Chapter 1234 = C1234. Just think of the money saved on sumptuous banqueting at the festive board!
6. A little spring clean
Now we’re not saying you don’t wash your gloves regularly, but a few minutes extra in the day can go a long way to refreshing your regalia, jewels, collars and gloves. A little polish, a little clean and you could be sparkling at your next meeting. If we pick up any cleaning tips from readers of this, we’ll be certain to share them.
7. A new party trick
Always envied that mason who delivers a flawless piece of ritual or lecture, or has that piece of work you’d love to one day learn? Well, today is that day. You’ve got a fantastic window to polish up, learn and master that piece. It’s not often you get a few extra weeks in the diary, so profit for a little masonic learning.
8. Get organised
If you attend meetings with a feeling of a 20 tonne weight being carried in your masonic briefcase, then lockdown is just the tonic. Instead of piling in summons after summons and paperwork, clean out your briefcase, file your treasured paperwork and keep sakes, ready for then masonic business starts up again. No need to have one long arm from carrying that heavy load!
9. Read all about it
Masonic halls and centres are full of the weird and wonderful histories and tales of Freemasonry. Countless books have been published on our wonderful work and people. Many of them are available to buy online, digitally and in print. Grab yourself a bargain now, whilst stocks last and you’ve the time to enjoy them.
10. Take a tour
Did you know that Freemasons Hall offer tours to visitors – I bet some of you did, but what you might not have known is that they have a virtual tour online, on their YouTube account. Click here to see it and be one of the many subscribers to their videos. They’ve even built a Lodge room in Lego complete with masons.
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