Brethren and Companions,
As a result of HM Government’s announcement yesterday of a three tier structure of restrictions for local COVID alert levels, the whole of the Province of Middlesex, including its four Centres situated at Harrow, Southgate, Twickenham and Uxbridge, has been designated as now falling within Tier 2 (High Risk) in the Greater London area.
This includes the restriction that individuals must not socialise with anybody outside of their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.
Legal opinion is divided as to whether this means that in such areas Lodges and Chapters cannot meet and, until such time as the point has been resolved, the Grand Lodge and Grand Chapter recommend that they do not meet.
Whilst a (Pro) Provincial Grand Master, or Grand Superintendent, has no express or implied power to impose a general suspension on meetings or convocations within his Province, he does have a duty to do so in particular areas to prevent breaches of the law, and a limited power to do so to ensure the safety of the Craft, its members and the general public and the Grand Lodge and Grand Chapter yesterday evening re-affirmed that limited discretionary power.
Having consulted with senior members of both the Craft and Royal Arch Executive Committees, and taking into account the current temporary closure of the Twickenham Centre, by its management, for health and safety reasons as a result of members of staff and management testing positive for COVID-19, I have reluctantly decided that, for the safety and well-being of our members, their families, loved ones and friends, and the general public, all Lodge and Chapter meetings and convocations and associated Masonic activities shall be suspended for the foreseeable future.
To provide some clarity, I have decided that the period of discretionary suspension shall take effect from 0001 hours on Saturday 17th October 2020 and expire at 2400 hours on Sunday 3rd January 2021.
Clearly this period of suspension will be kept under constant review and will be amended in the light of any further HM Government’s announcements or restrictions and/or the advice or directions of the Grand Lodge and Grand Chapter.
This is not a decision I have taken lightly, indeed it is with a heavy heart that I have used my limited discretionary power to ensure the safety of the Craft, its members, and the general public.
The consequence of this suspension is that UGLE’s guidance, given for the four-month suspension between 17th March and 17th July 2020, must once more be followed.
In particular, there will be no need to issue a Summons for a Meeting or Convocation that falls within this latest period of suspension, but an entry should be made in the Minute Book that:
“As a result of the discretionary suspension, owing to the local Coronavirus alert level restrictions, by the RW Pro Provincial Grand Master (or ME Grand Superintendent) of all meetings (or convocations) from 17th October 2020 to 3rd January 2021, the Lodge (or Chapter) was unable to meet”.
During this period of suspension I implore all members to continue to communicate and care for each other via audio or video-conferencing and other social media platforms, whilst at all times duly observing the terms of UGLE’s “Temporary Emergency Measures for COVID-19” and its related Guide.
I also urge you to continue to voluntarily pay the per capita Temple rental fees for Meetings, or Convocations that you would have held during this discretionary suspension period, in order to ensure the continuing and future financial viability of our four Centres, who have fixed overhead and other costs to service.
If you may have any questions regarding this notice, please address them to me via the Middlesex Provincial Office.
Finally, please stay safe and stay well and always observe the three simple actions we must all do to keep on protecting each other, that is to: “Wash hands > Cover face > Make space”.
Peter R A Baker
Pro Provincial Grand Master for and
Grand Superintendent in and over Middlesex
Friday 16 October 2020
Share this Post