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The Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland

William Ramsay McGhee, MStJ, D.L., Grand Master Mason

Brethren

This is the 57th edition of the weekly update. Over the past 57 weeks I have tried to keep everyone up to speed with what is happening and issue advice on a whole range of issues currently affecting Lodges. Last week I highlighted the latest Discretionary Budget. A member of our Craft, who wishes anonymity as a whistle blower, has launched a personal attack on me by informing The Times that my giving advice to claim public money is “atrocious”. While this is yet another personal attack, whoever is behind this and the previous Times articles should be aware that I am not being damaged by these actions. However, a great deal of reputational damage is being done to Scottish Freemasonry as a whole. Did the person responsible ever give any thought to informing the Times of the other information in the Update last week – that Scottish Freemasons have, during the Pandemic, contributed over £800k to the communities in which they operate?  Since day one, I have adopted an open-door approach. While I cannot physically be in Edinburgh at the present time, I am easily contactable at the end of a phone. I am more than happy to discuss any grievances that Brethren may have regarding what I put in the Update each week or on any other topic. So, please, if you want to have a pop at me personally, then don’t hide behind the cloak of anonymity. Identify yourself and speak to me, instead of besmirching the good name of our Craft in the media.

The next lecture in the History & Heritage Group Series will be by Brother Joe Curry, Immediate Past DGM of the Bahamas, on Wednesday 3rd March at 7.00 pm.

 
 

SCFS

 

  • The group witnessed its membership rise to 4689 Brethren from both Scottish Constitution Lodges and Lodges from other Constitutions recognised by the Grand Lodge of Scotland.
  • The total recorded examples of charitable giving within the group rose to 659, submitted by 257 of its members.
  • These updated contributions can now be attributed as to being made on behalf of 305 Lodges, from within the 32 Provincial Grand Lodges, 21 District Grand Lodges, Superintendencies and Lodges under the direct supervision of Grand Lodge.
  • The quantifiable monetary value of contributions has risen to £848,096 during the 43 weeks since the group was started. This represents an average weekly contribution of £19,723.

SCFS Overseas Report 

  • With new members joining the SCFS group from the Districts of Central South Africa (RSA), Middle East (Malaysia), Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada, and Lebanon(District with most joining members this week), we now have 1346 members from Overseas Lodges. The largest number of new members were from Lodge Al Arz, No. 1853, in Lebanon (our youngest Lodge).
  • New ICMs were welcomed from the Grand Lodge of Argentina, Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario, UGLE (England, Wales, Argentina), Grand Lodge of Spain, Grand Lodge of Alberta, Grand Lodge of Israel, Grand Lodge of Bolivia. The list of Grand Lodges represented by brethren within them joining as ICMs had the Grand East of the Netherlands added this week. This brings the ICM membership to 360 Brethren. 
  • A warm welcome was extended to Brother Yaron J. Ze’elim (Past Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Israel).
  • We received an excellent post from Brother George Rogers, IPDGM of the District Grand Lodge of Western Australia, of behalf of the Scottish Masonic Charitable Foundation and Lodge Royal Stewart, No. 893.

 

Letters have gone out this week to all Provinces stating that a Dementia Awareness Initiative has been successfully implemented in Fife and Kinross.  In this regard, it has been agreed to hold an evening Zoom event on Tuesday, 16th March, at 7pm, in order that the benefits of this initiative in Fife and Kinross can be shared.  Thereafter, we would be very happy to provide further information and assistance to any Provincial Grand Lodge which would like to progress a similar initiative in their area. It is hoped that we will get a good response – details are available through your Province. It is hoped to arrange a further two such events and these are in the process of being planned.

Very shortly Grand Secretary will be sending out letters to the Districts and Provinces inviting young Masons under the age of 40 to attend a zoom seminar on Saturday 20th March to begin a process with the young Masons to map out their vision for the future of Scottish Freemasonry. This is a project that I would commend to all young Masons.

Finally, as always, please stay safe and look after each other

Ramsay McGhee

Grand Master Mason


 
 


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The Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland

William Ramsay McGhee, MStJ, D.L., Grand Master Mason

Brethren

 

I am indebted to Brother Stewart Quigley, PGM of Fife and Kinross for the following information which I would commend to all Lodges who have not previously applied for grants or who have been refused grants in the past.

Brother Quigley reports that he has been keeping an eye on the Scottish Govt Business Grants website and recently noticed a new Fund, administered by Local Authorities called, "Local Authority Discretionary Fund" that is aimed at those businesses that have suffered financial restrictions from Covid restrictions / closures AND have NOT benefited from previous Scottish Govt grants.

Thinking of Lodges that do not own their own premises and either rent from other Lodges or even from Local Authorities / Bowling Clubs etc. Obviously, these Lodges generally get most (or all) of their income from collections and raffles at meetings, which has not happened since March 2020. Brother Quigley contacted Fife Council and was advised that the scenario detailed above could well allow a one-off grant (£3,000) to be made.

He then asked one of the Lodges in Fife and Kinross that rents space from another Lodge, to apply and a couple of days later they were advised that their application had been successful, and they should receive payment "within the next 10 days".

All the Lodge needed to supply, was bank statements and proof that the Lodge has insurance cover. As the name of the fund suggests - it is discretionary, so any award may differ from one Local Authority to another, however Brother Quigley noted that the funding for Scottish LA's to administer this fund, has increased from £60 million to £120 million.

Please find the link below for details of the fund that includes a link for the application for the appropriate LA.  

Local Authority Discretionary Fund (findbusinesssupport.gov.scot)

https://bgfdes.targetdashboard.com/ladf/qualify

My thanks to Brother Quigley for highlighting this particular grant. I would urge those Lodges who have not applied for grants to get an application into their local authority. Success with this grant will ensure that run of the mill expenses such as utilities, insurance premiums and annual dues can be met without dipping into reserves.

The next lecture in the History & Heritage Group Series will be by Brother Jim Kerr, DGM of Central South Africa, on Wednesday 24th February at 7.00 pm.

 

SCFS

 

The group can now boast a membership of 4659 Brethren from both Scottish Constitution Lodges and Lodges from other Constitutions recognised by the Grand Lodge of Scotland.

This week saw the total examples of charitable giving recorded within the group rise to 652, submitted by 255 of its members.

These updated contributions can now be attributed as to being made on behalf of 304 Lodges, from within the 32 Provincial Grand Lodges, 21 District Grand Lodges, Superintendencies and Lodges under the direct supervision of Grand Lodge.

An increase in the quantifiable monetary value of contributions to £846,346 was recorded during the week.

There have been 95,627 individual comments, likes, and other reactions to the group since its inception.

SCFS Overseas Report 

  • With the inclusion of the new members who we have welcomed from our Lodges overseas this week, our Overseas Membership has now risen to 1340
  • These new members joined us from their Lodges in ... Central South Africa (Transvaal), Chile, India, Lebanon, Middle East (Singapore) 
  • The largest increase in membership was from the District of India. 
  • Our International Constitution Members (ICMs) viewing the SCFS page has increased by 26, bringing our total to This week Brethren joined from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, Grand Lodge of Texas, Grand Lodge of the Philippines, Grand Lodge of Alberta, Grand Lodge of India, Grand Lodge of Bolivia, Grand Lodge of Victoria, UGLE (England, Northern India, Bombay, Malaysia) 
  • In addition, the number of Grand Lodges represented by Brethren within them joining as ICMs increased by 2 this week with the new additions being the Grand Lodge of North Carolina and the Grand Lodge of New Jersey. 

 At the European Grand Masters Forum on Thursday night, it was announced that the European Grand Masters Conference, due to be held in Vienna in March, has been postponed until June. The three Home Grand Lodges all stated that it would be highly unlikely that travel to Europe would be allowed in June. However, it is apparently going to be run in such a way that there will be an option to attend debates by Zoom.

Finally, as always, please stay safe and look after each other

Ramsay McGhee

Grand Master Mason


 
 


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The Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland

William Ramsay McGhee, MStJ, D.L., Grand Master Mason

Brethren

Last Saturday, I was privileged to chair a very interesting and productive meeting with the majority of our District Grand Masters. In all our Districts the true spirit of Freemasonry is being shown in so many ways in sometimes difficult and challenging circumstances. In most countries there are strict restrictions in place – only in Hong Kong and New Zealand are our Lodges operating physically while in Kenya and Jamaica outdoor meetings are being carried out but with social distancing in place. As is the case here at home, the great tenets of Brotherly Love and Relief are being amply demonstrated by our Brethren throughout the world. While space precludes listing all that is happening, but to give you a flavour of what is happening in the Districts, I have noted just a few of the initiatives –

In India where they have been experiencing 5000 deaths per day, our District Grand Lodge has dispersed PPE equipment to the value of 2,000,000 Rupees (approx. £20k).

Several Districts are donating i-pads and i-phones to children to enable them to home school.

Our District in Zambia has been giving much needed support to a Mission Hospital.

In Lebanon where the Brethren are coping not only with Covid-19, the aftermath of the blast and a serious economical crisis, they have started a “Jobs Workshop” to assist those who have been made redundant or lost businesses – something I have asked the Strategy Group to look at as we will no doubt see mass redundancies and business loss here and in many of our Districts as a longer-term result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the midst of all of this, many Districts and Provinces are engaging in a wide range of Masonic Education projects which is equally encouraging.

All Provincial and District Grand Masters have been asked to seek the opinion of the Brethren on a number of topics but more especially, the five major issues emanating from the recent survey. When your Province arranges to collect such information, please participate – your opinion will count.

As you will read in the SCFS report, the total Identifiable monetary value of contributions recorded within the group has now risen to a magnificent £843,386. What an effort by Scottish Freemasons throughout the world – in excess of £20,000 per week to assist those less fortunate – the lesson of the North East corner is very much to the fore – congratulations.

 

SCFS

 

  • Membership of the group from Lodges working under, or recognised by, the Grand Lodge of Scotland has risen over the last week to 4616 Brethren.
  • The number of posts recorded within the group has risen to 642 submitted by 255 group members.
  • These updated contributions can now be attributed as to being made on behalf of 301 Lodges.
  • We are delighted to report that, as from this week, contributions have been recorded from Lodges within all 32 Provinces, 21 of our Districts, Superintendencies or from Lodges under the direct supervision of Grand Lodge.
  • Last week the group was fast approaching a total identifiable monetary value of contributions of £600,000. However once again Bro. Kevin Taggart, IPM, has secured on behalf of his Mother Lodge, Lodge Buchan St. John, No. 636, 3 full articulated trailers of foodstuffs, clothes, toys, and household goods. The value of the goods received is valued in excess of £250,000. Donations from this windfall entitled “Lodge Buchan St. John, No. 636 - National COVID-19 Care Initiative” to make significant donations to the 2 Masonic Homes and are in the process of being shared with Lodges and Provinces with which Lodge Buchan St. John has an association. This in turn will be distributed to many worthwhile groups and organisations throughout the country.
  • The total Identifiable monetary value of contributions recorded within the group has now risen to a magnificent £843,386.

SCFS Overseas Report 

  • With the inclusion of the new members which we have welcomed from our Lodges overseas this week, our Overseas Membership has now risen to 1334 Brethren - nearly 30% of our total membership. 
  • These new members joined us from their Lodges in ... Bahamas, Belgium, Central South Africa, Eastern Province of the Cape of Good Hope, India, Lebanon, Middle East, Western Australia, Zambia
  • The largest increase in membership was from the District of the Middle Eastwith the most Brethren joining from an individual Lodge coming from Lodge Ratanakosin, No. 1833, based inBangkok in the Middle East. 
  • Our International Constitution Members (ICMs) viewing the SCFS page has now passed through the targeted milestone of 300, with the addition of 26new ICMs joining the group bringing our total to This week Brethren joined from the Grand Lodge of South Africa, Grand Lodge of Japan, National United Grand Lodges of Bulgaria, Grand Lodge of Manitoba, Grand Lodge of Texas, Grand Lodge of Ireland, UGLE (England, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand), Grand Lodge of Victoria, Grand Lodge of Ohio, The Norwegian Order of Freemasons. 
  • We are delighted to note an increase in the number of our ICMs who are being extremely proactive in inviting their fellow Brethren to join this group .. a reflection of the quality of the posts which Brethren are submitting for publication. 
  • A very special welcome is extended to Brother Charles (Chad) Ward, Lodge Washington, No. 17, in the Grand Lodge of Ohio, who has become our 300th International Constitution Member. Many congratulations.
  • In addition, very warm welcomes were extended to Brother Bharat V Epur(Past Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of India) and to Brother Stan Barclay (Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba).

 Finally, as always, please stay safe and look after each other

Ramsay McGhee

Grand Master Mason


 
 

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The Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland

William Ramsay McGhee, MStJ, D.L., Grand Master Mason

Brethren

 

I reported last week on the successful meeting with the Provincial Grand Masters. Grand Secretary and I now look forward to meeting with our District Grand Masters this Saturday. In between the two meetings the Strategy Working Group have enjoyed a busy and productive meeting and are progressing much work to ensure that the Craft is in a good position to resume physical meetings whenever safe and practical to do so. Five smaller working groups have been established to examine in detail the five major issues established by the earlier survey. Those small groups will be fed information from the Provinces and Districts and the young masons group. They will then report back to the Strategy Group who will pull everything together in a comprehensive report to the Administration Committee.

Given that we have been unable to admit anyone into the Craft for almost a year now and probably another six months before we will have that opportunity, I am more than conscious that while no one has come into the Craft, we have lost a significant number of Brethren, some through Covid-19, many others through other causes. It is imperative therefore that the strategy working party address issues such as this with some urgency. I am aiming to have the report available by the end of March.

Could I also suggest that where you have candidates waiting for initiation, please invite them to your zoom meetings; if you have assistance initiatives happening in the Lodge / Community, invite them to participate - make them feel that they are already part of the Lodge family. Please don’t leave them out in the cold.

Much work is also being carried out with the revision of the Constitution and Laws. A small working group has produced what we hope is now a true representation of the work carried out some considerable time ago and that has been returned to the original working groups for any further amendment required. Further changes will be required as a result of the Covid experience but, once again, things are progressing even in our locked down state.

            Grand Committee met yesterday morning and confirmed the following appointments as Provincial Grand Master – PGL Forfarshire – Brother Peter Taylor, Lanarkshire MW – Brother Andrew D Miller, Ross and Cromarty – Brother Raymond A MacKeddie, DGL of Gibraltar – Brother Paul D Villalta, Middle East – Dr Abel W K Arumugam and a one-year extension for the Grand Superintendent of Malawi, Brother Gordon Sheppard. My heartiest congratulations and those of Grand Committee go to all our new PGM’s who will take over as and from 10th June and my sincere thanks to all those who have completed their term.

            Please remember, the 3rd series of lectures being organised by the History and Heritage group – they start a five-week run on Wednesday 17th February. After I mentioned this last week, a number of Brethren pointed out that they don’t subscribe to Facebook. That being the case, I’m hoping to have the links placed on the Grand Lodge website each week and you will be able to pick them up from there.
 

SCFS

 

An additional 70 new members joined the group which now has a membership of 4557 Brethren from Lodges working under or recognised by the Grand Lodge of Scotland.

This week saw the total examples of charitable giving recorded within the group rise to 634, submitted by 254 of its members.

These updated contributions can now be attributed as to being made on behalf of 300 Lodges, from within 31 Provincial Grand Lodges, 21 District Grand Lodges, Superintendencies and Lodges under the direct supervision of Grand Lodge.

The total identifiable monetary value of the contributions now recorded has risen to £592,936.

This represents and average weekly contribution of around £15,000 over the last 40 weeks. Brethren, this is a truly remarkable achievement brought about by our Lodges at home and abroad. My sincere thanks to you all for a tremendous effort in the fight against Covid-19.

SCFS Overseas Report 

  • We welcomed another 25 Overseas Brethren this week, bringing our Overseas Membership to 1321Members. 
  • A very special welcome is extended to Brother Jamel Reid, ChaplainLodge Royalian, No. 1605, in Trinidad, who is our 1300th Overseas Member. 
  • The geographical spread of Overseas Members saw Brethren being welcomed from Bahamas, Barbados, Central South Africa (RSA), East Africa (Kenya), Jordan, Lebanon, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and The Gambia, Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada. 
  • The largest increase in membership was from the District of Trinidad & Tobago and Grenadawith the most Brethren joining from an individual Lodge coming from Lodge Royalian, No. 1605, in that District. 
  • Our International Constitution Members (ICMs) viewing the SCFS page has now increased to 296, with new ICMs joining the group from the Grand Orient of Brazil, UGLE (England, South Africa, Brazil, Ghana, Cyprus), Grand Lodge of New South Wales and ACT, Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario, Grand Lodge of Tasmania, Grand Lodge of the State of São Paulo. 
  • In addition, a warm welcome was extended to Brother Gerald Koppe Junior(Past Depute Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Brazil). 

·         We look forward to receiving posts showing the outstanding support which is being provided by our Overseas Brethren. 

 Finally, as always, please stay safe and look after each other

Ramsay McGhee

Grand Master Mason


 
 

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The Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland

William Ramsay McGhee, MStJ, D.L., Grand Master Mason

Brethren

Last Saturday I held a meeting with the Provincial Grand Masters. I am delighted to report that every Province was represented, and we had a very productive three-hour meeting. A significant number of actions have emerged from the meeting and they have been disseminated to all PGM’s. Information from the meeting will be getting fed into the Strategy Group, the Admin Committee and Grand Committee. However, many of the topics can be actioned immediately such as encouraging Lodges to hold zoom meetings on Regular meeting nights, the sharing of successful initiatives, the collection and recycling of laptops within each Province and circulating the devices to Brethren who do not have one along with relevant training. Any Brother who has suitable hardware that they no longer use should notify their PGM and each Province will be looking for Brethren with expertise in cleaning and refurbishing the devices and Brethren to give training.

Much emphasis was put on the necessity for every Lodge to ensure that the premises are checked on a weekly basis and that each visit is logged – that all Lodges check their insurance policies in respect of the premises being vacant – that the insurance cover is adequate. Please ensure all those routine tasks are carried out so that in the event of an issue, the Lodges are not caught out by insurance policy escape clauses.

Many actions have been placed on your PGM’s and they will be working with you over the next few months to assist with initiatives during lockdown and in the preparation for re-opening in due course plus the dissemination of useful ideas that were discussed on Saturday. Grand Lodge, through the Strategy Group and Administration Committee will be producing useful and necessary information packs over the spring and early summer months.

A week on Saturday the same exercise will take place with the District Grand Master’s and next on the list will be the under 40 group. There has been a slight delay with the under 40 group because one of the contractors has failed to get the fibre optic cable into the building – the main contractor has all the internal wiring complete, but we still await connection to the main cable. Given the numbers that will be involved initially with the under 40 group and that we want to use the break-out facility as well, the present infrastructure in Grand Lodge would not cope. However, I am keen to get that particular meeting underway as soon as is practical.

Can I also bring to your attention, the 3rd series of lectures being organised by the History and Heritage group – they start a five-week run on Wednesday 17th February. The past two series have concentrated on the history of the 10 oldest Lodges – this series we will be transported to some of our Districts with the first lecture coming from the DGL of Lebanon – I commend them to you – the links to get into the lectures appear on Facebook each week.
 
 

SCFS

 

  • An additional 59 new members joined the group which now has a membership of 4487 Brethren from all 4 quarters of the globe.
  • This week saw the total examples of charitable giving recorded within the group rise to 629, submitted by 253 of its members.
  • These updated contributions can now be attributed as to being made on behalf of 299 Lodges, from within 31 Provincial Grand Lodges, 21 District Grand Lodges, Superintendencies and Lodges under the direct supervision of Grand Lodge.
  • The total identifiable monetary value of the contributions now recorded has risen to £589,561.
  • There have been 92,490 individual comments likes, and other reactions to the group since its inception.

SCFS Overseas Report 

  • A wonderfully inspiring post was received this week from Brother George El Khebbez, Substitute District Grand Master of the DGL of Lebanon, sharing the outstanding support which Lodge Kadisha, No. 1002,is providing to the Red Cross, underprivileged families, and the local community in Beirut. 
  • With the inclusion of our new Overseas Brethren this week, our Overseas Membership is now sitting at 1296 We look forward to welcoming our 1300th Overseas Member this coming week. 
  • The geographical spread of Overseas Members saw Brethren being welcomed from Belgium, Jamaica, Lebanon, Western Province of the Cape of Good Hope. 
  • The largest increase in membership was, once again, from the District of Jordan, with the most Brethren joining from an individual Lodge coming from Lodge Kadisha, No. 1002. Congratulations
  • The reach of the SCFS page is increasing extremely encouragingly with another 43 Brethren from other Masonic constitutions being warmly welcomed into the group this week.
  • Our worldwide International Constitution Members (ICMs) viewing the SCFS page has now increased to 288 (we look forward to welcoming our 300th) with new ICMs joining the group from the GL of Canada in the Province of Ontario, UGLE, GL of India, GL of South Africa, GL of Ireland, GL of Peru, GL of South Africa, GL of Japan, United GL of Germany, United GL of New South Wales and ACT, GL of the Philippines, Regular GL of Portugal, National United GL of Bulgaria, GL of China. 
  • We also welcomed Brother Roberto Inchauste Varela... our first member from a Lodge operating under the constitution of the Grand Lodge of Bolivia. 
  • An additional warm welcome was extended to Brother Jai MurtiGrand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Japan.

 Finally, please stay safe and look after each other

Ramsay McGhee

Grand Master Mason


 
 

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The Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland

William Ramsay McGhee, MStJ, D.L., Grand Master Mason

Brethren

Can I take this opportunity to thank the many Brethren who have been in touch since last Friday regarding the joint decision to suspend all meetings until June – your support and understanding has been tremendous and is greatly appreciated.

Tomorrow sees the first of the meetings I alluded to last week when I will be meeting with Provincial Grand Masters to discuss the role that Provincial Grand Lodges can play in getting their respective Lodges through the pandemic. The results of tomorrow’s meeting will be fed into the Strategy Group and also to the DGM’s whom I’ll be meeting with very soon. A meeting with all young Masons under the age of 40 is also on the priority list and will be happening early in February.

Last night I had the fortnightly zoom meeting with the European Grand Masters. The word from Europe is no better than it is here. However, according to one chart that was produced, the UK are well ahead of the rest of Europe in respect of the number of people who have been vaccinated. Despite the contradictory news we hear on the media, hopefully that momentum will continue.

Over the past week I have received numerous invitations to virtual Burns Suppers. Many of them clash and I can’t get round them all but, if at all possible, I will join you. Can I wish you all a very enjoyable Burns season albeit a virtual one.

The tremendous work carried out by the Benevolence and Care committee carries on at full tilt despite the Coronavirus restrictions. The committee will be meeting on Wednesday to ensure that all that can be done for those who need assistance is being done. The Masonic Homes also feature largely on the agenda. The staff at both homes have been nothing short of brilliant over the past eleven months – I’m happy to report that the vaccine programme has commenced in both homes with everything going to plan.

It’s a wee while since I mentioned it, but can I just give a gentle reminder to ensure that all Lodge premises are being visited regularly to ensure that there are no problems and that water supplies are being run, toilets flushed and that there are no fire hazards. It is also prudent to log each visit for insurance purposes.

 

SCFS

 

During the week the membership of the group rose to 4428.

This week saw the total examples of charitable giving recorded within the group rise to 621, submitted by 250 group members.

These updated contributions can now be attributed as to being made on behalf of 298 Lodges, from within 31 Provincial Grand Lodges, 21 District Grand Lodges, Superintendencies and Lodges under the direct supervision of Grand Lodge.

The identifiable monetary value of contributions rose to £559,652 during the course of last week. This represents an average of £14,727 per week over the last 38 weeks.

SCFS Overseas Report 

  • We welcomed another Overseas Brethren this week, bringing our Overseas Membership to 1288. We look forward to welcoming our 1300th member.
  • The geographical spread of Overseas Members saw Brethren being welcomed from Bermuda, Central South Africa, East Africa, Jordan, Middle East, Newfoundland and Labrador, Sierra Leone and The Gambia. 
  • The largest increase in membership was from the District of Jordanwith the most Brethren joining from an individual Lodge coming from Lodge Jordan, No. 1339. 
  • The reach of the SCFS page is increasing very encouragingly with another 60 Brethren from other Masonic constitutions joining this week. 
  • Our International Constitution Members (ICMs) viewing the SCFS page has now increased to 245 with new ICMs joining the group from the GL of China, GL of  Japan, GL of Peru, GL of Argentina, United GL of New South Wales and ACT, GL of VictoriaUGLE, GL of Ireland, GL of India, GL of the District of Columbia, GL of Florida, GL of Alberta, GL of Canada in the District of Ontario, GL of the Philippines, United GL of Germany, GL of Hungary
  • Congratulations to Brother Taichi KatoSecretary, Aomori Lodge, No. 10, Grand Lodge of Japan, who is our 200th ICM. 
  • Additional warm welcomes were extended to Brother Plamen Mateev(MW Immediate Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of AF&M of Bulgaria), to Brother Mark Walton (Deputy Grand Master of the Symbolic Grand Lodge of Hungary) and to Brother Kazufumi Mabuchi(Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Japan).

·         An outstanding post was received this week from Brother Roland Prince, RWM, Lodge Peace, No. 908, in Lebanon, sharing the wonderful support which the Lodge is providing in Beirut. 

 Finally, please stay safe and look after each other

Ramsay McGhee

Grand Master Mason


 
 

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The Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland

William Ramsay McGhee, MStJ, D.L., Grand Master Mason

Brethren

At the meeting of the Heads of Orders on Wednesday, it was unanimously agreed that meetings of all Orders in Scotland will remain suspended for the foreseeable future. The decision was based on a number of factors – the current rise in cases and in deaths, the speed by which vaccine will be available and administered to all and the fact that we received notice that all public events have been cancelled indefinitely – for example, I received notification yesterday through the Lieutenancy that the Garden Parties in July have been cancelled. I know, accept and appreciate that this will be disappointing news to many, but the health and safety of our membership is paramount. With regard to our Lodges abroad, my advice is to remain closed unless you are 100% sure of the safety of the Brethren and are working in strict compliance with the law of your country.
 
As a result of Wednesday’s meeting, I will be calling an early meeting of the strategy group and will be tasking them, as a matter of urgency, to bring forward their work to ensure that we can do all that we possibly can to keep interest and enthusiasm as high as we can possibly can. We all need to remain positive and upbeat. I will also be meeting at an early date with all Provincial and District Grand Masters to emphasise to them the role that I expect them to play in this ongoing pandemic.
 
Brethren, please be assured that I will do all in my power to keep morale, enthusiasm and passion for our Craft as my number one priority. I don’t enjoy the situation any more than anyone else – however, I am confident that we will come out of the pandemic strong and vibrant – it may just take a bit longer than I was anticipating.  
 
In the meantime, please keep the Zoom meetings going – I’ll move to try and expand the meetings so that we can do more than we are maybe doing at the present time. Keep in touch with the more vulnerable Brethren, widows and families. Make sure they are safe. 
 
I’ll also explore the possibility of Lodges applying to “Connecting Scotland” for i-pads for those members who have no way of connecting to the internet. I would also make an appeal on two counts – if anyone has a laptop or i-pad that they no longer use then I’m sure we all know someone who could use it and secondly, if we can get second hand devices, it would be good if we could get some expertise in the Provinces and Districts to ensure that they are stripped of all data and the recipients shown how to use them – I’ll expand on this with the PGM’s and DGM’s.
 
My sincere thanks to you all for your patience and perseverance. The Heads of Orders are going to meet again in June to review the situation.
 

SCFS


The group can now boast a membership of 4346 Brethren from both Scottish Constitution Lodges and Lodges from other Constitutions recognised by the Grand Lodge of Scotland.

This week saw the total examples of charitable giving recorded within the group rise to 611, submitted by 246 of its members.

With the District Grand Lodge of Zambia being added this week, these updated contributions can now be attributed as to being made on behalf of 297 Lodges, from within 31 Provincial Grand Lodges, 21 District Grand Lodges, Superintendencies and Lodges under the direct supervision of Grand Lodge.

An increase in the quantifiable monetary value of contributions to £534,515 was recorded during the week.

There have been 88,325 individual comments, likes, and other reactions to the group since its inception.

SCFS Overseas Report 

  • We welcomed another 13Overseas Brethren this week, bringing our Overseas Membership to 1281
  • The geographical spread of Overseas Members saw Brethren being welcomed from ... the Bahamas, Barbados, Far East, Zambia.
  • The largest increase in membership was from the District of Zambia.
  • Lodge Lusaka, No. 1368, (Zambia) andLodge Perla del Oriente, No. 1034, (Far East). had equally the largest number of Brethren joining from an individual Lodge.
  • Our International Constitution Members (ICMs) viewing the SCFS page has increased to 185with new ICMs joining the group from the Grand Lodge of India, Grand Lodge of South AfricaUGLE, United Grand Lodges of Germany, United Grand Lodge of New South Wales and ACT(we were delighted to welcome Brother Jamie Melville, Past Grand Master), Grand Lodge of the Philippines, Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia

Outstanding posts were received this week.

  • Brother Andrew Shaw shared news of a donation of £4,000 organised by Lodge Lusaka, No. 1368, and Lodge NKana, No. 1378, in the District of Zambia, for the erection of a hospital partition for Covid treatment. 

 Brother George Rogers, IPDGM of Western Australia, shared news of a donation, by the DGL and Daughter Lodges, of over £11,300, to support funds of the Motor Neurone Disease Association (WA). 

 

I have asked Sue to distribute a paper by Brother Alan Carmichael from Lodge `Dalkeith Kilwinning No 10 in which he gives some expert advice on grants that are currently available. The paper will accompany this update. My sincere thanks to Alan for his assistance in this matter.

View Grants document here

 Finally, please stay safe and look after each other

Ramsay McGhee

Grand Master Mason


 
 

Logo

 

The Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland

William Ramsay McGhee, MStJ, D.L., Grand Master Mason

Brethren

I hope you had an enjoyable, albeit quiet New Year within the lockdown restrictions. May I take this opportunity to wish you all, and your families, a very blessed, happy and healthy 2021. We will overcome the nightmare that is Covid and we will get back to our meetings – we just need to hang in there a bit longer, but we will get there.

That said, it has not been the start to the New Year that we would have wished for. Little did I think when I penned the first update that I would be writing the 50th update in January 2021. The whole country is back in total lockdown but that little light, provided by the vaccine being made available, is still shining and we should all be eternally grateful for the skill of the scientists for getting us to this stage. Last night I had a Zoom meeting with the European Grand Masters and while it is no consolation, we are not alone in this upsurge – it is widespread throughout Europe and the Brethren in Croatia are also fighting against earthquakes. It was reported at the meeting last night that in and around Zagreb yesterday they experienced thirteen tremors – the day before it was seven. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this very difficult time.

As I reported last week, the Heads of Orders meeting will take place on this coming Wednesday. Please don’t expect a definitive answer as to when we can get back to holding meetings again. We will be looking at all our options and the Strategy Group are working on guidelines for a safe return to opening. I have asked Grand Secretary to contact the Scottish Government this week – they have never responded to any of my three letters to them – and ask that when the lockdown is over and some of the restrictions are lifted that we are given the same privileges that the churches have enjoyed. If we can get that assurance, then we can start planning in earnest.

I am very much aware that I haven’t been in contact with the Lodges who should have had Anniversary Celebrations – simply because the goalposts keep changing. This week I have rescheduled the Calendar yet again in the hope that we will get out and about sooner rather than later but what I can do is give an assurance that every single Lodge who have had an anniversary over the past year will have a Rededication Ceremony carried out by Grand Lodge. Depending on future restrictions there may be a greatly reduced Deputation from Grand Lodge, but we will be there with you. Each Saturday, my Depute and Substitute will be heading Deputations so that we will have three events running every Saturday – we may even do some mid-week, but we will be in every Lodge on the list. Once the Government give us a clue as to what we can or cannot do, we will be in touch with proposed dates.

Likewise, I am mindful that I have eight Provincial Grand Masters waiting to be installed. That too will happen, and I will be speaking to each of them soon to discuss arrangements.

SCFS


An additional 68 new members joined the group which now has a membership of 4308 Brethren from both Scottish Constitution Lodges and Lodges from other Constitutions recognised by the Grand Lodge of Scotland.

This week saw the total examples of charitable giving recorded within the group rise to 605, submitted by 246 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.

Another £11,644 was added to the total identifiable monetary value of the contributions, which now stands at £527,615

SCFS Overseas Report 

  • With another 11 OverseasBrethren joining the group, Overseas Membership is steadily climbing and is now standing at 1268  New members were welcomed from Lodges in Central South Africa, Far East (Japan), Lebanon, Peru, Sierra Leone and The Gambia, Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada, and Western Australia.
  • The first Overseas Member of 2021 was Brother Gary Bonifacio, Lodge Perla del Oriente, No. 1034, the Philippines in the District of the Far East. Congratulations, Brother Bonifacio.
  • 40 International Constitution Membersjoined .. coming from the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales and ACT, Grand Lodge of Quebec, UGLE, Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario, Grand Lodge of Spain, Grand Lodge of Ireland, Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of the Philippines, Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon, Grand Lodge of India, Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, Grand Lodge of China, Grand Lodge of Virginia, Grand Lodge of South Africa, Grand Lodge of Cuba, Grand Lodge of Nigeria, Grand Lodge of Russia, Grand Lodge of Alberta. 
  • We now have 172 members from other Masonic Constitutions which are in amity with the GLoS. News of the wonderful support by our Brethren, featured on the SCFS page, is truly being spread world wide.
  • The first ICM of 2021 was Brother Michael Van Der Linde, Lodge de Goede Trouw, No. 2, from the Grand Lodge of South Africa. Congratulations, Brother Van Der Linde.
  • We had the greatest of pleasure in welcoming Brother Andrey Bogdanov into the group as an ICM. Brother Bogdanov is the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Russia. 
  • Finally, a very interesting post from the Widows Sons Lebanon Chapter was shared with the group ... we look forward to receiving and sharing many more posts from our Overseas Districts, Lodges and Brethren this coming year. 

 Finally, please stay safe and look after each other

Ramsay McGhee

Grand Master Mason


 
 

Happy New Year 2021The Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland

William Ramsay McGhee, MStJ, D.L., Grand Master Mason

Brethren

I hope and trust that you all had a very enjoyable Christmas despite the restrictions.

I have little to report this week given that Grand Lodge staff are on Christmas Leave although Grand Secretary and I have been in regular contact during the holiday period.

Unfortunately, the Craft has suffered quite a few deaths during the past week with both Brethren and wives of Brethren passing away. It is extremely difficult for families who suffer bereavement at this time of the year on top of the many restrictions relating to funerals brought about by Covid-19. I’m sure you would wish to join with me in extending our united condolences to all in our Masonic family who have suffered bereavement at this time.

The Heads of Orders meeting will take place on 13th January. This will be followed on Thursday 14th with a meeting of the Administration Committee. I will provide an update from those meetings in the weekly update on 15th January.

The announcement this week that the vaccine produced by Oxford University has now been given full approval will hopefully mean that the vaccination programme can now go ahead with some speed. This, however, has been dampened somewhat with the significant rise in cases throughout Scotland this week.  We will need to remain patient, but I am confident that we will have meetings in the New Year.

Hogmanay is certainly going to be much quieter than normal this year with all the usual celebrations put on hold. Despite the stay-at-home restrictions, I hope that as we step into 2021 you and your families will all be blessed with good health and happiness in the year ahead

SCFS


An additional 27 new members joined the group which now has a membership of 4240 Brethren from not only the Scottish Constitutions but from many of our Sister Constitutions throughout the world.

This week saw the total examples of charitable giving recorded within the group rise to 599, submitted by 245 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, Superintendencies and Lodges under the direct supervision of Grand Lodge.

The total identifiable monetary value of the contributions now recorded has risen to £515,971.

SCFS Overseas Report 

  • Although understandably quiet, due to festive period priorities, we did welcome Brethren from Central South Africa (Transvaal), Middle East (Malaysia and Singapore), Jamaica, Western Australia Goldfields, Nigeria, Lebanon. Our Overseas Membership of Brethren and is now standing at 1257 
  • International Constitution Membersjoined from the Grand Lodge of Nigeria, Grand Lodge of New South Wales and A.C.T., Grand Lodge of Ireland, Grand Lodge of Illinoise, Grand Lodge of India, Grand Lodge of Virginia, Grand Lodge of Quebec, UGLE (Cyprus), Grand Lodge of Japan, Grand Lodge of Russia, Grand Lodge of Italy, United Grand Lodge of Queensland, Grand Lodge of Texas. 
  • Total ICM membership is now 132
  • We look forward to welcoming both our first Overseas Member and first ICM of 2021.

 

Ramsay McGhee

Grand Master Mason