17 September 2020
Rule of 6 – Guidance Notes for Meetings
Please be advised that, following further guidance from Supreme Grand Chapter, clarification had been given today with regard to the attendance of the Janitor at convocations under the Rule of 6.
The Janitor will not be counted as amongst the “6 assembled” provided he does not at any time enter the convocation once the Chapter has been opened and/or if it would mean that there would be more than 6 assembled in the convocation.
However, whilst this is welcome, you will need to be careful that you do not inadvertently breach the Rule of 6 and I would draw your attention to Nos 2; 5 [in particular 5(B)]; and 7 of the revised Guidance Notes.
Please stay safe and remember: Hands – Face – Space.
With fraternal best wishes,
John L Eynon
Deputy Grand Superintendent
Meetings Under The “Rule of 6”
These notes are to assist you regarding meetings held under the “Rule of 6”, which became effective on 14 September 2020
Please take the time to read all these notes
- Convocations: You may not cancel or adjourn a regular
A summons must be issued in accordance with the Chapter’s by-laws for every regular or emergency convocation. Should you need to hold your regular convocation on a different date or place to that specified in your By-laws, because of circumstances relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, then you will have to apply for a Dispensation in the usual way, for which no fee will be charged, but if for any other reason, the usual fee will apply. (See Regulation 58)
A convocation may be abandoned should you fail to reach a quorum on the day.
- Numbers attending the meeting: The permitted maximum number attending a meeting is 6 (SIX), The Janitor is NOT included in this number provided he does not partake in the convocation. This would mean the Janitor may not enter the Chapter once it has been opened and/or if it would mean that there would be more than 6 companions in the Convocation.Note that whilst this is helpful for ordinary convocations it does add an additional level of complexity for installations – see No 5(B).
- A) Quorum to open a Chapter: The minimum number attending is FIVE and all of the following conditions must be satisfied.
There must be TWO subscribing members of the Chapter present plus THREE others, which may include visitors but excludes the Janitor.
Whilst the Janitor does not count towards a quorum, he may count as attending the meeting under the “Rule of 6” in certain circumstances – See No 2 and No 5(B).
1st Principal (Z): If your 1st Principal is not attending the meeting his Chair may be occupied by one of the following and in this order:
- Immediate Past 1st Principal (IPZ)
- The Senior Past 1st Principal of the Chapter
- A Past 1st Principal who is a subscribing member of the Chapter
- A Past 1st Principal who is a subscribing member of another Chapter.
Note that whoever occupies the 1st Principal’s chair must be a subscribing member of a Chapter. If you are unable to satisfy this condition you do not have a quorum.
2nd and 3rd Principals (H & J) & Treasurer: These chairs may by occupied by any suitably qualified Companion (who may be, for instance, a visitor). Likewise, any Companion may be asked to act as Treasurer.
Please note that if you do not have THREE suitably qualified Principals you do not have a Quorum.
B) Quorum to open a conclave of Installed Principals: The requirement is THREE INSTALLED PRINCIPALS (Installation of J) but no Conclave of Installed First (to install MEZ) or Second Principals (to install H) may be opened unless there are at least two such Principals present (excluding the particular Principal Elect). The Janitor may act as one of the Installed 1st or 2nd Principals provided he is qualified. In such circumstance another Companion must act as Janitor temporarily.
Refer to No 2 above. Should the Janitor act as one of the Installed Principals then he will count in the maximum of six attendees.
Note that if you do not install a Principal at your Installation meeting then he may be installed at the next regular Convocation of the Chapter at which he may be present (or as provided by Regulation 53).
- On-line meetings: Guidance has been issued previously but for the sake of completeness:
- No part of a ‘called on’, tyled meeting may be transmitted in any form.
- If ALL members physically present agree, the Chapter, having been opened, may be ‘called off’ and transmitted, subject to password protection, to members unable to be present,
- For the discussion of administrative business only.
- Once the transmission has ended and the Chapter has been called on again those physically present may vote on that business (but having regard to the views expressed by those not present).,
- Lectures/talks may be given on-line but subject to the above requirements being met and care should be taken that the content does not impart any Masonic secret.
- The agreement to transmit the discussion must be recorded in the Minutes.
- On-line Raffles: Guidance has been given already but for the avoidance of doubt it is included in this document again.
Many of you are thinking that, in these difficult times, it might be an idea to hold an on-line raffle in order to raise money for Charitable purposes. However, an on-line raffle would be illegal unless it is licensed by the Gambling Commission. Unless your Lodge/Chapter has obtained such a license you should not hold an on-line raffle. There are several on-line hosts who use the term “raffle” but are actually providing a ‘Prize competition’ that is subject to different rules of the Gambling Commission. In view of the complexities involved it is strongly recommended that Chapters do not participate in any on-line fund-raising activity and instead invite members to “make a donation” to a chosen Charity direct.
- Social Distancing & Face Coverings: Social distancing will be maintained at all Masonic Centres and at meetings. Face coverings must also be worn at all meetings and in Masonic Centres unless you are exempt from so doing.
- Festive Boards: As it does not breach HM Government’s “Rule of 6” a Chapter may arrange for a Festive Board for the 6 (or fewer) members attending the convocation.Note that you should take care that you do not inadvertently exceed this number if your Janitor attends and participates in the convocation – See No 2 and No 5(B).
- Chapters of Instruction: It remains the Province’s recommendation that you do not hold Chapters of Instruction but if you do then the same rules will apply to these meetings.
- If you have read this far: thank you for your kind attention. The Province wishes you the very best in these challenging times and hope that you will manage to achieve as much as possible at your meetings.
Much of what we do and how we cope with restrictions, as a consequence of the pandemic, will be governed by common sense. However, if you have any questions then please direct them to the Provincial Office (email@example.com) and we will do our best to answer them.
Download a copy of these guidelines HERE
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