GLoS

The Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland

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

Brethren

The Grand Lodge of Scotland has over recent years developed a very positive two-way relationship with Prostate Scotland. In the light of the current pandemic, Prostate Scotland are keen to better serve their client group and gain a better understanding of the challenges that have arisen for men with prostate cancer due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Prostate Scotland have just launched a survey to garner the information needed and have asked for our help to publicise and reach as many men as possible, the survey which can be found by following the link below:-

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From the link the survey can be either downloaded and e-mailed back to Prostate Scotland or completed using the SurveyMonkey version online. Scottish Freemasonry has supported Prostate Scotland well financially over past years, on this occasion the request is for some of your time to complete the survey. If you are personally affected by prostate cancer please complete the survey, if you know of another man with prostate cancer please send him a copy of the link and ask him to complete the survey. The closing date for all surveys to be returned is 24th July. Please help if you can, the information could help improve services for others!

Latest news from the Scottish Constitution Freemasonry Supports Facebook page is as follows –

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                                                                Last week                                            This week

Members                                            2707                                                       2863                                      

Posts                                                     276                                                         299                                                        

No of Members posting                150                                                         161                                                        

Lodges mentioned                           163                                                         176                                                                        

Provinces mentioned                     29                                                           29                                          

Districts & Lodges abroad             8                                                              11          

Monetary Value                                               £207,753                                              £214,170

Scottish Freemasonry continues to support the communities in which they belong throughout the world. An increase in giving this week of almost £6500 – fantastic achievement. In Barbados, our DGM, Trevor Campbell, gave an excellent interview on the national television – Scottish Freemasonry was given a very positive two-minute slot on the national news programme – congratulations to our Brethren in Barbados.

There has been a commendable amount of positive and encouraging activity on the SCFS page with reference to our Overseas Brethren and interest in the page remains at a very high level as more and more of our Brethren in our Districts become aware of it and subscribe into its current raison d’être. 

  • We had 51Brethren added this week bringing our Overseas Membership of SCFS to 558
  • We had new members join from Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bermuda, Botswana, East Africa, Far East, Fiji, Jamaica, Malawi, Middle East, North Island New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Western Province of the Cape of Good Hope and Zambia. 
  • We now have our first members from Japanin the District of the Far East, from Kuala Lumpurin the District of the Middle East and from Fiji, through Lodge Polynesia, No. 562, which is under the supervision of Grand Lodge. 
  • The largest increase was seen in the District of the Far East with 22new members. 
  • A notable number of Brethren have joined from Lodge Perla del Oriente, No. 1034, from the Philippines in the Far East and from Lodge Api-Api, No. 1826, from Malaysia in the Middle East. 
  • The posts being submitted from our Overseas Members have been of an extremely high quality, varied, interesting and, most importantly, inspiring. 

Over the past week, given the easing of restrictions, I have received a significant number of messages and phone calls regarding Masonic Clubs reopening and the possibility of Lodges reopening. The Masonic Club queries have been easy to respond to, not so the questions regarding Lodges reopening. Very valid points have been made regarding churches being able to reopen, so why can’t we?

Brethren, I have gone through the guidelines carefully and while there is reasonably clear guidance regarding churches and indoor live events to name but two, I am uncertain as to whether we as Masonic Lodges fall into either of those two categories. In fact, there is no specific guidance relating to the opening of public halls or for similar organisations to ours such as Probus Clubs, Rotary Clubs and others.

Accordingly, I have written to the Scottish Government seeking specific advice for Masonic meetings. I have also asked for guidance in respect of the many Lodges whose buildings are used as a community hub for all sorts of other organisations as to when those organisations can be allowed to use the premises. Until I get a response from the Government, I would recommend that we continue with our zoom meetings and other electronic means of communicating. We cannot lose sight of the fact that despite there being no Covid-19 deaths in the past week, the virus is still very much with us. That coupled with the age profile of our members should remind us that we need to proceed with caution.

Brethren, as we enjoy the easing of restrictions, 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

 

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

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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.

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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.

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