SCF

The Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland
William Ramsay McGhee, MStJ, D.L., Grand Master Mason
10 July 2020

Brethren
The past week has brought about quite a few changes with some of the restrictions easing, allowing some of our Masonic Clubs to prepare to reopen but not in the way we are accustomed to – the Government guidelines are in place and all Clubs who decide to open will require to adhere strictly to the guidelines – we don’t want any adverse publicity about Masonic Clubs ignoring the rules. In some of our Districts things are changing too with meetings starting or about to start again but unfortunately, we have some Districts where the pandemic seems to be taking hold again and the number of coronavirus cases are rising.


Also published in the past week has been the United Grand Lodge of England’s “Operation Kick Start” in which it has been announced that the cessation of Masonic activity will not be extended after 17th July, therefore Lodges in England (but not in Wales) can start meeting again but with significant restrictions. I have received a few enquiries since the announcement asking if this decision includes Scotland. The short answer is no – it does not include Scotland. The Scottish Government and the UK Government are beginning to move in different ways on several issues and this is one of them. In Scotland we still cannot hold indoor meetings with any significant number of people. The first minister announced yesterday that during Phase 3 we will start to resume and re-open many activities and settings such as opening indoor pubs and restaurants, allowing more indoor meetings between households, and re-opening places of worship. Having ploughed through the changes, my understanding is that the indoor meetings alluded to will be restricted to no more than eight people at present.
The “Operation Kick Start” document contains a lot of extremely useful information. Grand Lodge of Scotland will issue a similar document as and when the time is right but, for the foreseeable future it is unlikely that we will be able to have what we would regard as normal meetings. The First Minister emphasised the fact that eliminating the virus as far as possible now - ahead of the almost inevitable challenges we will face come winter - remains the objective and that the five principles behind the FACTS campaign – face coverings; avoiding crowded spaces; cleaning hands and surfaces; two metre distancing; and self-isolation if you have symptoms – are more important than they have ever been.


We are planning for the return of Staff to Freemasons’ Hall based on Scottish Government guidance and an assessment of business needs. Basically, what they are saying is that non-essential offices and call centres can re-open following implementation of relevant guidance but not before 31st July. We are now compliant with the guidance and I look forward to seeing all staff back in the building before too long.
On the Masonic Homes front, I am delighted to report that after putting all of the necessary protocols in place and having our risk assessments approved by Public Health Scotland, we have been able, in line with Scottish Government guidelines, to resume visits (outdoor only) from family members to Residents in the Masonic Homes.
Latest news from the Scottish Constitution Freemasonry Supports Facebook page is as follows –


https://www.facebook.com/groups/Scottish.Constitution.Freemasonry.Supports/

Last week This week
Members 2584 2707
Posts 246 276
No of Members posting 143 150
Lodges mentioned 148 163
Provinces mentioned 29 29
Districts & Lodges abroad 8 8
Monetary Value £182,933 £207,753

Congratulations Brethren on breaking through the £200k mark – tremendous effort but we also acknowledge the tremendous “in kind” contributions that have also been made. Please keep up the good work – as the furlough scheme ends and redundancies increase there will be an even greater need for our help and assistance.
Once again, there has been an increase in the number of Overseas Members in SCFS. Another milestone has been reached on the back of the Middle East hitting the 100 members last week. This week has seen the Overseas Memberships pass through the 500.


This coming week a targeting exercise will be carried out on identified Districts etc. who have no representation in our group. There is normally a delay following an exercise such as this before results begin to be seen.

The SCFS Group now has Overseas Members from:
Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bermuda, Botswana, Central South Africa, Chile, East Africa, Eastern Province of the Cape of Good Hope, Far East, Gibraltar, India, Jamaica, Jordan, Lebanon, Kwazulu Natal, Malawi, Mauritius, Middle East, Namibia, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Zealand South, North Island New Zealand, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Sierra Leone and The Gambia, Sri Lanka, Trinidad & Tobago and Granada, Western Australia, Western Province of the Cape of Good Hope, Zambia, Zimbabwe (33 in total)
Within the past week: Belgium has been added
There were 43 Overseas Brethren approved this week
There has been a notable increase in membership from Botswana and East Africa this week
There are now over 500 Overseas Brethren in the group ... the total standing at 507

Brethren, as we enjoy the easing of restrictions, we have also witnessed Covid-19 spikes appearing in some areas so please stay alert, look after yourselves, your families and the Brethren who are in any of the vulnerable categories.

Kindest regards

Ramsay McGhee
Grand Master Mason


Hello Brethren, it is hard to believe that we are into July already. The lockdown does not seem to have slowed down the passage of time as George001another year zooms by.
July is a wonderful summer month for seeing the beauty and glory of colours in a garden. George Bernard Shaw said, “The best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for him there.”
Shaw’s religious path was a complex one. As a young man he was an atheist but later embraced the teachings of Jesus from the New Testament while still wary of the vengeful Jehovah of the Old Testament. He aligned himself with being a mystic later in life.
 
His observation of potentially finding God in a garden rings true with me. But I don’t think you need to dig for him. He is all around us in a garden. We can behold his works as the bees, butterflies and other insects fly and scurry about their business. We can see God’s beauty in the colours of the flowers and plants in their summer splendour. But seeing God in a garden isn’t just an experience in summer. The seasons show the plants and trees begin to age as we come to autumn and then die off over the winter months. Spring then brings us the miracle of birth and regrowth. Colours peep up with snow drops and crocuses and then daffodils leading us into another summer.
The pollination of the plants shows us how God provides for us. Without it we would not eat. We rely on the plants for our food and for those of us who are not vegetarian or vegan the plants that the cattle, sheep and other animals need to sustain them.
 
My wife has built three raised beds, one for flowers, one for herbs and one for veg. She has shown me the wonder of taking last year’s seeds and planting them to produce this year’s flowers and vegetables. I am amazed at how quickly things can grow. She planted various vegetables seeds in the latest raised bed on the 1st of July and within a week the growth was coming up and is now very evident after only 9 days: one of God’s miracles which we can all see for ourselves in a garden or park or allotment.
If like me you are lucky enough to have a garden, enjoy it. If not you are now allowed to get out and about so go and visit a park or another peaceful place with plants and flowers. Look at it with fresh eyes and I certainly think you will get a glimpse of God
 
I hope you are well and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It may be a long time until we can meet again at a Masonic Lodge but I hope you are seeing things improve socially with friends and family. A few weeks ago I posted a message saying I hope you are getting the support you need. If not let me, or a member of your Lodge, or of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Renfrewshire West know and we will see what we can do to help. That offer still stands if you need support or someone to talk to.
 
Last time I said Love Thy Neighbour this time I’ll add Love a garden or park where you can enjoy God’s glory.
 
Your Chaplain,

George

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Brethren, I hope you and yours are all keeping well and making the best you can of these difficult times. Sadly we have lost brethren and some have lost family and friends. On top of this we see madness at home and all over the world. It can be hard to keep positive. 

As well as the some of the chaos we are experiencing in the UK, some administration seem so be at odds with just about every other country in the world as well as their own citizens.

This month alone has seen Chinese forces killing Indian soldiers at a disputed border. North Korea has blown up the joint liaison offices with the south and threatened to send troops into the demilitarisation zones. Poland has invaded the Czech Republic, albeit it seems by mistake. 

These are just a few examples that have filtered through the news to me, mostly clogged up with Covid 19 information.

One of the good things to come out of the stay at home as much as possible and don’t journey more than about 5 miles is we are all meeting and getting to know our neighbours more. Dog walkers regularly pass the house. Families say hello when out for their exercise. Neighbours are working in their gardens washing their cars.

If the world could just get back to those basics. Acknowledge that black and indeed all lives matter. Respect other people’s religions and beliefs. Respect their colour and creed. Try to show understanding and tolerance.

In the Christian faith this is fundamental:  Mathew Chapter 20: V36 to 40.

36. Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

If only we could all obey these commandments how much better would the world be? 

Brethren, I hope you are finding that people are coming together to help one another, friends, family and neighbours all. I hope you are getting the support you need. If not let me, or a member of your Lodge, or of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Renfrewshire West know and we will see what we can do to help. 

Please love thy neighbour because if we all did that the world would be a better, happier, more positive place.

Bro George Carson

Provincial Grand Chaplain

This is a link to the Provincial Grand Master Bro Robin McIntyre's message from 6th June 2020PGL Logo WP 900x450b2

Click me

This document can also be found under 'Latest Documents' on home page of website and also under 'Documents - PG Master Latest' in the top menu.

David Bain2

Along with Bro. James Watson, the RWM of Lodge Sir Michael No 989, I was delighted to assist with the presentation of the cheque to MH House. Many congratulations to Bro. David Bain for his tremendous effort. David undertook the sponsored cycle following the cancellation of the Annual Degree which is carried out by the RW Masters of the Province of Renfrewshire West to raise funds for MH House

Bro. Robin McIntyre PGM

mhh ipads

As Provincial Grand Master of The Province of Renfrewshire West I was delighted to accompany Bro Malcolm Sinclair to Marcus Humphrey House this morning and present the Home with a donation of 3 Apple Ipads.

This initiative commenced following a suggestion by Bro Sinclair, that because of the current restrictions in place due to the Corona virus, the residents of the Home were now unable to enjoy face to face contact with their family and friends.Ipad telegraph

Following donations received from Provincial Grand Lodge, the Lodges in the Province and individual Brethren we have been able to purchase a number of Ipads.

 

The donations received will also allow the Province to donate a number of Ipads to Inverclyde Royal Hospital in Greenock.

I am very grateful to the Lodges and Brethren of the Province for the very generous donations that were received ensuring that the residents of the Home now have the ability to communicate with their friends and family at this very difficult time for us all.

mhh ipads 001

OB 2020

On Tuesday 4 February I attended Lodge Greenock Kilwinning No 12, where Lodge Firth of Clyde Gourock No 626, conferred a FC Degree. 

On Thursday 6 February I attended Grand Committee and the February Communication of Grand Lodge in Edinburgh

On Friday 7 February the Annual Communication of PG Lodge took place in the Masonic Temple, West Stewart Street, Greenock, where we enjoyed an excellent Installation of the Elective Office-bearers by the Sub. PGM Bro Paul Docherty. A very well attended meeting with the Citizenship Award being presented to Mr Billy McCready at the supper following the meeting. see more photos below

On Monday 10 February I attended a FC Degree at Lodge Firth of Clyde No 626.

On Thursday 13 February I had the pleasure of heading a Deputation from PGL to Lodge Inverkip Ardgowan No 1425 for their Annual Visitation of the year where we enjoyed an excellent FC Degree and following the reports from PG Secretary and PG Treasurer, I was pleased to award the Lodge a Clear Minute for the session 2018-19.

PGLAyr 20 02 14On Friday 14 February, accompanied by PG Sec Bro Alan Beck and Jr.PG Warden Bro Robert Bain, I attended the Quarterly Communication of the PG Lodge of Ayrshire. On this occasion I had the privilege of heading the Deputation from the Sister PG Lodges. The MWGM Mason Bro Ramsay McGhee was also present and installed the new Substitute PG Master of Ayrshire Bro George Reid.

On Sunday 16 February I headed a Deputation from PGL to the Annual Divine Service of Lodge Doric Kilwinning No 68 and Lodge Cumberland Kilwinning No 217.

On Tuesday 18 February, I attended the funeral service of Bro Alistair Gleeny PM of Lodge Greenock Kilwinning No 12 and PG Almoner in St John’s Church Gourock.

On Tuesday 18 February I had the pleasure of heading a Deputation from PGL to Lodge Greenock Kilwinning No 12 for their Annual Visitation where we enjoyed an excellent EA Degree and following the reports from PG Secretary and PG Treasurer, I was pleased to award the Lodge a Clear Minute for the session 2018-19.  My thanks to PG Chaplain Bro George Carson and PSPG Warden bro Richard Harrison who attended the Communication of the PGL of Kilwinning on the same evening.citizen 2020

On Monday 24 February I attended Lodge Firth of Clyde Gourock No 626 where I witnessed a MM Degree conferred by the Past Masters of the Lodge. I also assisted the RWM Bro Graeme Wallace present Jubilee Certificates to Bro Raymond Bruce PM and Bro Jack Turpie PM.

On Tuesday 25 February along with PG Sec Bro Alan Beck I attended an EA Degree at Lodge Crawfurdsburn no 1121.

On Saturday 29 February, in the company of IPPGM Bro James Livingstone I attended the Annual Communication of the PGL of Stirlingshire in Grangemouth.

Bro. Robin McIntyre PGM

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RH PGSW cert

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