The Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland
William Ramsay McGhee, MStJ, D.L., Grand Master Mason
2020 started well – after a busy January and February at home, I flew out to Johannesburg where accompanied by Grand Treasurer, Brother Jim Bell, I had the pleasure of visiting our District Grand Lodge of Central South Africa followed by the Installation of our new DGM of Botswana, Brother Jayaraman Ramesh. We then headed to Harare in Zimbabwe where we joined the Brethren of the District at their annual communication. From Zimbabwe, next stop was Malawi to visit two schools and two Lodges before making our way to KwaZulu Natal to install the new DGM, Brother Ken Tucker. It was then back to the UK where we encountered a country beset with the deadly Coronavirus.
Since then we have all experienced a year that has been extraordinary, frustrating and difficult. For many, a year of sadness losing loved ones and being unable to mourn their passing properly – for many, a year of distress through ill health, mentally and physically – for many a year of concern with loss of jobs or businesses collapsing and of course a year which has seen all our Lodges closing whereby we have been unable to join with each other as would be the normal.
However, in the midst of adversity we have much to be thankful for. We have witnessed first-hand the valued tenets of Brotherly Love and Relief being demonstrated in so many ways throughout all of our Districts, Provinces and Lodges. We have witnessed the creative and imaginative use of technology to keep everyone in touch with each other. We have witnessed the staff at Grand Lodge going that extra mile to keep the wheels of our beloved organisation turning and we have witnessed the tremendous dedication of our staff in the Masonic Homes resulting in them remaining Covid free. Working Parties have been established to work on the future strategy of our organisation and to update the present discipline system with further working parties to be established in the New Year to take us forward in a positive and upbeat manner. I extend my sincere thanks to you all for your support and understanding during the year – it is greatly appreciated.
Tomorrow we celebrate Christmas, our Jewish Brethren have just celebrated Hanukkah and only a month ago our Hindu Brethren celebrated Diwali. The common theme in the three celebrations is Light. As we approach the start of a new year, while there will be ongoing difficulties, likewise there will be light. We have, thanks to the dedication of our scientists and medical experts, a vaccine which will hopefully give us all the protection that we so desperately seek to allow a return to some form of normality.
I wish you all a peaceful, a hopeful and a light-filled Christmas. May you and yours enjoy Christmas despite the restrictions and I pray that the New Year will be a year of great blessings for you, your families and all those dear to you.
An additional 44 new members joined the group which now has a membership of 4213 Brethren. All members are from Lodges working under, or whose Grand Lodges are recognised by the Grand Lodge of Scotland.
This week saw the total examples of charitable giving recorded within the group rise to 595, submitted by 243 of its members.
These updated contributions can now be attributed as to being made on behalf of 294 Lodges, from within 31 Provincial Grand Lodges, 20 District Grand Lodges, Superintendence’s and Lodges under the direct supervision of Grand Lodge.
The total identifiable monetary value of the contributions now recorded has risen to £513,171.There have been 82,214 individual comments likes, and other reactions to the group from its members since 1st May 2020.
SCFS Overseas Report
- Our Overseas Membership of Brethren from Lodges under the Scottish Constitution is steadily climbing and is now standing at 1250 New members were welcomed from Lodges in Central South Africa, East Africa, Jamaica, Middle East, Zambia
- International Constitution Membersjoined from the United Grand Lodge of Queensland, UGLE (Cyprus), Grand Lodge of Texas, Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, Grand Lodge of Wyoming, Grand Lodge of New York, Grand Lodge of Quebec, Grand Lodge of Newfoundland and Labrador, Grand Lodge of South Africa, Grand Lodge of the Philippines, United Grand Lodge of Victoria, Grand Lodge of Czech Republic, Grand Lodge of Cuba
- The 100th International Constitution Memberjoined this week and is Brother Manuel Carrasco, Grenfield Park Lodge, St. Lawrence District, Grand Lodge of Quebec. Congratulations are extended. Total ICM membership is now 117.
- Extremely interesting posts were received from Lodge Ailsa, No. 1172, (Singapore, Middle East) and Lodge Tasker, No. 454, (Newfoundland and Labrador) which shared the wonderful support being provided by them to their local communities.
Grand Master Mason