RESUMPTION OF MEETINGS
These notes are to assist you regarding the resumption of meetings following the lifting of the suspension with effect from the 17 July 2020.
They are based also on the assumption that the Centres will not be open for business until the 1 September 2020
Please take the time to read all these notes
- Meetings missed due to the suspension:
If your Lodge was due to meet during the suspension period but was unable to do so then you MUST enter into the Lodge’s Minute Book a statement substantially in the following form:-
“As a result of the suspension by the Most Worshipful Grand Master of all Masonic activities, due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, the Lodge was unable to meet during the period 17 March 2020 to 17 July 2020.
- Social Distancing & other safety measures
Social distancing must be maintained at all Masonic Centres and at meetings.
Each of the Masonic Centres in the Province will be issuing Guidelines as to the safety measures adopted at that Centre (which may include staggered start times).
- Resumption of meetings:
Your regular meetings must now recommence and you should send out summonses as normal.
- Cancelling meetings
You may not cancel or simply not hold a meeting (Rule 137, Book of Constitutions). If you need to change the date of a meeting 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.
- Numbers attending the meeting
The permitted maximum number attending a meeting is 30 (thirty). However, the number that may actually attend will depend on the capacity of the Temple at the Centre where you are to meet.
Each Centre will be providing details of the maximum attendees that each Temple at the Centre is capable of holding whilst complying with the social distancing guidelines.
You should, therefore, ascertain as early as possible who intends to attend the meeting and, if necessary, it will be up to the Lodge Secretary and Worshipful Master to “cull” the numbers if they exceed the maximum permitted for the Temple you are allocated for the meeting.
Please note that, for the time being, any “Chain visit” will be by the “Chain” and his Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies and they must be counted towards the total number of attendees. Similarly, if your Lodge Visiting Officer is making an official visit to your Lodge he should be counted as one of the attendees.
Before you issue the summons for the meeting you must confirm with the Centre at which you will be holding your meeting (a) the start time and (b) which room you will be allocated.
- Meeting Number
It is common practice for each Lodge to refer to each meeting being the “nth” meeting of the Lodge.
Please note that you do not count, when stating the number of the meeting to which the summons refers, those meetings which have been missed due to the suspension.
For example, if the last meeting held before the suspension was the “170th Meeting of the Lodge” and you missed one or more meetings due to the suspension, the next regular meeting held after the suspension has been lifted would be the “171st Meeting of the Lodge”.
The minimum number required to hold a Lodge is 5 (five). This must include two members of the Lodge and an Installed Master who is able to open and close the Lodge (see Rule 119, Book of Constitutions). This number can include visitors but does not include the Tyler or any candidate.
If for any reason a quorum can not be made then the meeting must be abandoned and the fact recorded in the Lodge’s Minute Book.
Board of Installed Masters
Three Installed Masters are required to constitute a Board of Installed Masters (excluding the Master Elect and the Tyler).
- On-line meetings
- No part of a “called on” tyled meeting may be transmitted in any form;
- If all the members of the Lodge who are physically present at the meeting then the Lodge, having been opened, may be “called off” and, subject to password protection, transmitted to those members who are not physically present;
- The “on-line” meeting MUST be for the discussion of administrative business ONLY;
- Once the administrative business has been conducted the transmission must be ended and the Lodge may then be “called on”;
- Once the Lodge is “called on” votes may be taken on any business that was discussed during the “on-line” transmission. Due regard should be given to the views of those who are not physically present but who attended the “on-line” transmission;
- Lectures/talks may be given during the “on-line” transmission but subject to the requirement that no Masonic secret be divulged during the transmission;
- The agreement to hold an “on-line” transmission as part of the Lodge meeting MUST be recorded in the Minutes.
- Singing at meetings
For the time being and until further notice there will be no singing at meetings.
- Festive Boards
For the time being and until further notice there will be no Festive Board held after a meeting.
Lodges MUST not organise a meal for their members as that would breach the Government guidance on visiting restaurants in groups of more than 2 households (or 6 people if the meal is held outside).
- Lodges of Instruction
It is the Province’s recommendation that you do not hold Lodges of Instruction for the time being but if you do then the same rules will apply to Lodges of Instruction.
As most LoI rooms are small you will need to ensure that numbers attending are limited to what is COVID-19 secure for the room in question. Please ensure that the LoI Secretary and Preceptor are aware of this.
Please note that LoI’s should not be held on-line (e.g. by Zoom).
ELECTION AND INSTALLATION MEETINGS
The following guidance notes are given on the basis that no regular Lodge meetings will be held after the 17 July 2020 and before the 1 September 2020.
As a result of the suspension of meetings during the period 17 March 2020 to 17 July 2020 inclusive your Lodge may have missed holding its regular election meeting at which the Master Elect (“ME”), the Treasurer and Tyler (if paid) would have been elected and/or may have missed its regular Installation meeting.
The following notes will hopefully assist you in understanding the complexities of the Rules in the Book of Constitutions regarding such issues.
Regular election meeting after 1 September 2019 and regular Installation meeting of ME for 2020 on or before the 16 March 2020.
If your Lodge held its regular election meeting within the period 1 September 2019 and 16 March 2020 inclusive and Installed the ME prior to the 17 March 2020 then it will be business as normal. You will elect the ME for 2021 at your next regular election meeting after the 1 September 2020 and install him at the next regular Installation meeting thereafter.
Regular election meeting on or before 16 March 2020 and regular Installation meeting on or after 1 September 2020.
If your Lodge held its regular election meeting on or before the 16 March 2020 and the next regular meeting of the Lodge (which will be the Installation meeting) is not until the 1 September 2020 or later then again it will be business as normal.
Regular election meeting on or before the 16 March 2020 and regular Installation meeting during the suspension period.
If your Lodge elected the ME for 2020 on or before the 16 March 2020 and was due to Install him during the period 17 March 2020 to 17 July 2020 then Rule 108(a) Book of Constitutions will apply, This means that the election of the ME will be void and the “outgoing” Master will continue until the next regular period of election within the Lodge and until a successor shall have been duly elected and installed in his stead.
If, by any chance, this would mean that the “outgoing” Master, having already ruled the Lodge for 2 years running, would then be ruling for a third year in succession then this would be covered by Rule 115, Book of Constitutions. This Rule provides an exception to the general Rule (that a Master can only rule for 2 years running) when he is required so to do by virtue of Rules 107 and 108.
The Treasurer and the Tyler (if paid) having been elected prior to the suspension period can be invested at the next regular meeting of the Lodge after the 31 August 2020.
Regular election meeting and regular Installation meeting during the suspension period .
If your Lodge would have held its regular election meeting during the period 17 March 2020 and 17 July 2020 and would also have held its regular Installation meeting during this period then the “current” Master will have to continue on office for a further year.
However, Rule 115 (see above) would NOT apply in these circumstances and it would be necessary for the Lodge to apply to the Provincial Grand Master for a Dispensation (in the usual way).
Insofar as the Treasurer and Tyler (if paid) are concerned they will have to be elected at the next regular meeting of the Lodge held on or after the 1 September 2020 (after Notice having been given on the summons). Rule 121 Book of Constitutions applies.
Regular election meeting during the suspension period and regular Installation meeting on or after 1 September 2020.
If your Lodge would have held its regular election meeting during the period 17 March 2020 and the 16 July 2020 and its regular Installation meeting is on or after the 1 September 2020 then:-
- If possible the Master may summons an Emergency Meeting, by Dispensation, in order to elect a ME. However, the Emergency Meeting MUST be held at least 3 weeks before the regular Installation meeting.
So, for example, a Lodge not having elected a ME due to the suspension period, but having its regular Installation meeting in say October or November may hold an Emergency Meeting to elect a ME, Treasurer and Tyler (if paid) provided that Emergency Meeting is 3 weeks or more before the regular Installation meeting.
Similarly, a Lodge not having elected a ME due to the suspension period but having its regular Installation meeting on say the 21 September 2020 would not be able to hold an Emergency Meeting as it would not be more that 3 weeks before the regular Installation meeting.
- If it is not possible for the Lodge to have an Emergency Meeting (in order to elect a ME etc) more than 3 weeks before the regular Installation meeting (due to either time constraints or other reason) then at the next regular Installation meeting it can elect a ME [also a Treasurer and Tyler (if paid)] and then install him at a meeting (this being either the next regular meeting of the Lodge or an Emergency Meeting) held within 5 weeks of the regular Installation meeting.
If the “outgoing” Master is elected to rule for another year the he can be proclaimed and he can then continue to appoint and invest his Officers.
Download a copy of these Guidance Notes HERE