Covid 19 Newsletter No 7 09/06/2020
Today is the day we have waited for. Day one of Level one! We thought we may have to wait a little longer but we are now here..
Today the District Grand Master Rt. Wor Bro Brian James Westhead has announced that all Lodges and Chapters are now fully open from today. This announcement has been sent out to all Lodges and Chapters by our District Grand Secretary with more details to follow.
Open that special bottle of wine and pour a very big glass. Isn’t this great news? Now it’s back to lodge meetings, back to seeing mates and catching up again in person, not a zoom chat (great that they were). Back to all the Masonic things we love.
In anticipation of NZ maybe opening at level 1 at the end of June, preliminary planning had begun for a social get together on Saturday the 25th of July. It is hoped that in other parts of the District, Lodges would organise some sort of social get together to celebrate returning to normal life. More details further in the newsletter.
While most families, like ours, have had to miss out on birthday celebrations and other family social events, some of our members have had to cope with real personal tragedy and hardship issues over this time. Some had to deal with the death of a loved family member with a limited funeral and real restrictions on mourning. Others have faced major delays of planned medical or surgical treatment and others in our Masonic family still sadly have to cope with job losses and the related stress these uncertain times bring.
Similar stories are being told throughout the country and the District is very aware of the changing economics of NZ society. Two suggestions are also proposed in this newsletter to help make a difference in our wider community.
Meantime your CV-19 Committee looks forward to closing down, compiling final reports and handing the management of the District back to the Board of General Purpose. At the beginning of the country- wide lockdown, plans were made to prepare for severe situations which, unlike the UK, we fortunately never had to face.
All of the committee members, who were drawn from around the District, worked very well together and have done an amazing job. I would like to sincerely thank them all for their considerable efforts and great hearts. We grew as a District and we all certainly grew as Masons.
I would especially like to thank Wor Bro. Graeme Martin and Wor Bro. Michael Chopping, and also their understanding wives - thanks Robyn and Toni. Graeme and Michael spent hours on the phone with me at all times of the day and night trying to resolve many problems that arose.
Most especially I would like to thank Wor. Bro Roger Johnstone, our District Grand Almoner. His efforts in contacting brethren were outstanding. If there was a “Man of the Hour”, Roger you were that man.
I would also like to thank all the Lodges and brethren who communicated your encouragement of the committee, delivered food parcels, delivered hand sanitiser and phoned and visited brethren. Other brethren had no hesitation reaching into their pockets over and over again donating money to assist in covering the cost of another brother’s needs - a big thank you doesn’t begin say enough.
This difficult time brought out the very best in so many brethren whose good, generous and caring hearts makes me so very proud to be a Mason.
Take care and please continue to look after each other. We have learnt so much during this time about the practice of Freemasonry, not just the preaching of it.
Chairman of CV-19 Committee
Sanitiser - Phase two:
The Phase two Sanitiser distribution has now been completed and couriered to Lodge representatives. Lodges should now be in the process of distributing the sanitiser to vulnerable brethren.
“Donate your Meeting”
In May $680 was donated for the District Almoner and his team to use for welfare and benevolence purposes to assist our brethren. This was a wonderful amount.
This month while lodge meetings are able to resume unfortunately some will not have sufficient time to get a summons enabling a meeting to occur. For those in this situation, please consider donating June’s refectory money for either the District Grand Almoner or for your own Lodge Almoner to use.
The needs of Brethren sadly have not stopped with the lowering of the Alert level. If it is within your means to donate, it will be greatly appreciated. These donations will be only used to assist masons or their families within our District.
If you wish to donate your refectory money or wish to make a donation to assist the District Grand Almoner in his work please use the following bank account
Bank Account number: 03-0243-0157416-00
Code: CV19 donate
Reference: your surname
Any monies raised by this initiative and not utilised will be donated to the District Charitable trust fund.
“Food for those in Need”
Within our larger community there is an increasing need for food parcels for New Zealand’s struggling families. This unfortunately will only increase as more jobs are lost as a direct result of the economic effects of the Covid 19. As a District we can help a little by donating spare non-perishable food to food banks.
At the Ellerslie Masonic Centre there will be a large drop off box to place non-perishable food which will then be donated to local food banks. Brethren attending lodge meetings are encourage to drop off any extra supplies such as tined food or dry goods e.g. rice, flour, sugar etc. which may have been purchased for the lockdown. Once a month these items will be donated to either the Salvation Army Food Bank or the City Mission Food Bank.
If each member brought two items per lodge meeting, there would soon be a sizable amount to donate.
Other Lodges may wish to do something similar in their own areas.
Re-opening of Lodges and life returning to level 1. An Early Notice
To celebrate the re-opening of lodges an informal get to together is being planned for Saturday the 25th of July at Seafood King Chinese restaurant in Remuera. $30 per person for a set menu. BYO Wine only. (10 persons per table)
The idea is to meet at a nearby bar for pre drinks about 6.30pm before moving to the restaurant for dinner at 7.30pm. Members of The Prince of Wales Lodge have been there a number of times and it comes highly recommended. Parking is good. Family and friends welcome.
Please email or phone the District office to indicate your interest and number of people attending firstname.lastname@example.org
Annual Opotiki / Gisborne Masonic trip:
Just a reminder this wonderful weekend is coming soon.
DATES: 17th October at Opotiki Lodge and the 19th at Turanganui Lodge
How are your plans going? Have you spoken to your wife or other members of your lodge about making a group up to go away with?
Start planning and let the organisers know of your interest. The morning after cooked breakfast in Opotiki alone is worth the trip! The hospitality at Gisbourne is equally special and warm.
If you haven’t been before, this is a real fun time away with great company.
Please contact Pauline and Graham or Jeff and Julie Vanstone with the numbers and the accommodation you require so that they can ensure that everything is OK.
Graham 021 0274 1214, Pauline 021 758 417, Julie & Jeff 09 239 3926.
Wellington Lodge Masonic home seeks Masonic support:
The Wellesley Boutique Hotel reopened on Monday 18th May after undertaking the necessary preparations to operate under the requirements of the Level 2 lockdown. As with the hospitality industry generally, it will be a slow process to rebuild the business. That is where the Freemasons of the Wellington region or visiting Freemasons to Wellington can really be of help.
The hotel was originally purchased in 2009 to provide a home for Lodges in Central Wellington with the income from the business aimed at allowing the use of the premises without rental charge for the Lodge Room and with a good value for money Refectory, with minimal input from tenant lodges.
The hotel is now open for breakfast and lunch from Monday to Friday (8:00am to 6:00pm). The CornerCopia takeaway lunch bar is also in full operation (8:00am to 3:00pm). It is fortunate that the configuration of the restaurant area allows for an easy transition to social distancing and table service will continue as it has in the past.
The hotel accommodation is also functioning and, for a limited period, it is offering Freemasons and their partners special room rates of $99 (and $109 and $119) per night from Monday to Friday. Freemasons will receive a free upgrade, on arrival, if the better rooms are available at that time. To qualify you must book by telephone on (04) 474 1308 and advise Reception (normally Lucy).
All Brethren, plus their friends and families, are urged to come in for a meal or two. Your support at this time will help to ensure the future security of the Wellington Freemasons Centre. Please help by supporting the resumption of business. Your special place needs you.
Chairman, Wellesley Boutique Hotel Limited,
Wellington, 22 May 2020
From UGLE: Solomon update:
A new module “Starting Your Journey in Freemasonry” has been uploaded on the Solomon guest site aimed especially at potential new members and linked to the UGLE recruitment pages #AsktheGrandSec#Freemasons
From UGLE: “The First Rising “
The first edition of the First Risings will either be with your Secretary now or shortly will be. This is the first of a regular newsletter from Grand lodger that will be published every three weeks with the latest news from UGLE.
It really is a great read. It talks of what is happening in the UK and around the Districts. This edition features the opening up of lodges in Hong Kong. It also gives some directions on how lodges are to be reopened and under what conditions especially in the UK.
The Installation of the District Grand Master Designate:
Where are we up to?
Unfortunately this question doesn’t have a straightforward answer. The Covid-19 pandemic, with the closure of Lodges (and the rules of the Book of Constitution which must be applied in these situations) has meant some sitting masters have had to remain in place. In like manner the installation of the District Grand Master Designate has been affected by the rules that apply to his investiture. The original plan was for the Installation to occur on Saturday 16th of May this year.
A District Grand Master cannot be obligated at his installation until his Patent of Office has been presented and read. The Patent of Office is signed and dated by the Grand Master.
The Patent for the District Grand Master Designate had been prepared and signed and is dated the 16 of May, 2020. The Patent of the outgoing District Grand Master would then expire the day before that date - 15th of May, 2020. Unfortunately, because of the Covid- 19, UGLE also went into lockdown. This meant the signed Patent of Office, in a secure part of UGLE, could not be altered and so remained in effect. As a result this meant that on the 16th of May, our District Grand Master Patent would still expire and the District would have to come under the control of the Deputy District Grand Master.
In the case of our District of the North Island, the District Grand Master is also the District Grand Superintendent for the Chapter and this requires a separate Patent of Office. This would mean the control of the Chapter would fall to the District Deputy Grand Superintendent of the Chapter. Effectively the control of the District would be split in two.
After discussion with UGLE, the Pro Grand Master decided that this was unacceptable and made a special dispensation for our DGM to continue in office until the District was out of “Lock Down” and the Installation of the District Grand Master Designate could occur. While the District is now out of “Lock Down” and technically the Installation could occur, there is a new problem. Because UGLE is still in their “Lock Down” the existing Patent of Office is not able to be altered with a new date, signed and sent to NZ.
Provisionally a new date is being planned for the 20th November, 2020. As soon as this can be confirmed with London you will be advised.
Nothing is simple when it comes to the effects of Covid-19.