Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Meetings Resume!

 

Meeting Update!

 

We’re going live in 32…1…GO!


It has been too long since our last meeting.  Between COVID-19, summer, hurricanes, Grand Lodge Edicts, Ohio Department of Health restrictions, CDC pronouncements, and WHO warnings, it has been hard to guess what is coming down the road.  Oops, we forgot death and taxes.

The one thing we are sure of is that our WM has determined it is proper to resume our customary meetings.  We will resume in-person meetings on Wednesday, October 7th, at 7:30pm.  That will mark our return to our regular meeting schedule.  We will have hand sanitizer available, and will be following ODH restrictions.  If you feel safe to attend, please do, unless you are exhibiting symptoms.

As a result of the 15th District Annual Meeting, we have learned a few things.  Most significant to us is our Inspection Date.  We will be having Inspection in the EA degree on Saturday, March 20, 2021.  No, that is NOT St. Patrick’s Day, as had been originally typed, but we should be done by noon anyway.  And we'd still suggest Coonie’s for lunch!

We’ll see you soon in Lodge.

 

Friday, August 28, 2020

Meeting Update!

Greetings! 
 
In case you haven’t noticed, very little has occurred during the past 6 months that could be considered routine.  Unfortunately, this email will continue that trend. 
 
Every news report highlights the current state of concerns and restrictions related to COVID-19 infections and projections.  These cover every level, from local to international.  In addition, the Lodge has received many suggestions, directions, orders and edicts governing everything from how we pay bills to how meetings are permitted to occur.  From Grand Lodge alone we have received ten Grand Master’s Edicts this year.  As reference, most years pass without any being issued. 
 
Our understanding of the current restrictions limits us to 10 or less people present, socially distant (6’ apart), masked, with numerous sanitizing stations throughout the building, with no person-to-person contact.  Food and beverage preparation, serving, and consumption entail additional restrictions.  There are also recommendations that select categories avoid significant contact.  These include persons over 60, chronic medical conditions (diabetic, respiratory, heart, etc.), and those living in households with members in those categories. 
 
Grand Lodge has permitted Lodges to hold on-line meetings, otherwise called “Virtual Stated Meetings”, for limited purposes, such as paying bills or educational programs, while not permitting degree work or practice.  A list of those guidelines, from an earlier post, are copied below as reference. 
 
A glance at our membership roster reflects the following: 
 
A total of 18% of our members have Grand View accounts (10). 
Of those, roughly half have the ability to participate in on-line meetings. 
17 of our members are under 60 years old.  Of those, 9 are considered “local”, and 4 are current officers. 
 
These are difficult times, especially for a small Lodge.  Due to the factors mentioned above, our Worshipful Master has determined it is unwise to attempt to hold meetings at this time.  This includes both in-person and virtual meetings, until such time as restrictions are sufficiently adjusted to permit our customary activities. 
 
What does that mean for me? 
If you show up on a normally scheduled meeting night, bring a friend so you will have someone to talk with outside. 
 
How long will this last? 
That will be determined by the folks issuing gathering and congregating restrictions, not by us. 
 
How will we know when things change? 
We will send another email, and post the information on the web site: http://larue463.blogspot.com/ 
 
What about this year’s Grand Lodge Annual Communication? 
Grand Lodge is in a similar situation.  As a result, the Annual Communication is being held virtually this year.  “Attendance” is still required, in that each Lodge is to be represented. 
 
 
Like you, we miss the fellowship of our normal meetings and activities.  As soon as that is again a viable option, we will resume labor.  Until then, take care of yourself and your loved ones. 
 
****************** 
 
On-line meeting guidance from the Grand Lodge of Ohio: 
 
Ohio Virtual Stated meetings are to include: 
* A password protected secure tool for members to utilize for accessing a virtual Lodge

Stated meeting (e.g. Zoom, GoToMeeting, WebEx, etc.).

* An email to the lodge members sent from our Grand View membership program and

posted on the lodges Grand View dashboard.

* The Worshipful Master or Warden in charge will proclaim the meeting open: “This

Stated Meeting is symbolically opened in the Entered Apprentice Degree.”

* Conduct business of the lodge.

* Fellowship with our brethren.

* Education programs.

* The Worshipful Master or Warden in charge will proclaim the meeting closed: “This

Stated Meeting is symbolically closed in the Entered Apprentice Degree.

 

Note: Ritual work of any type or nature, candidate examinations, and candidate balloting are not permitted.

 

******************


Thursday, July 30, 2020

Uncharted territory


Greetings.



To say 2020 has been an unusual experience would be the understatement of the century.  Our long-term members don’t recall anything similar, and a glance at our records for the first 100 years fails to reveal anything close.  Suffice it to say we are in uncharted territory.



Locally, what has changed since our last post?

On a practical level, not much.  We customarily do not meet during the summer.  Standing Resolutions provide for the payment of bills and all routine expenses of the Lodge, which has allowed us to take care of things like utility bills during our shutdown. What has changed is that for obvious reasons we are unable to make significant future plans. 



Within the District, what has changed since our last post?

Many events and activities were placed on hold, postponed, or cancelled.  This included the 15th District Grand Master’s Reception, and the Grand Master’s One Day Class.  Our last information is that the 15th District Golf Outing is still “on”. 



Within the Fraternity, what has happened since our last post?

A full answer would require a recap of the 10 Edicts already issued by the Grand Master, and numerous notifications by the Grand Secretary’s office.  Instead of a full recap, here are three items worth highlighting:



1.  The Deputy Grand Master Rollout Programs have been changed from multiple in-person meetings to a single virtual meeting via the Grand View System.


2.  The Grand Lodge Annual Communication, customarily held in-person in October, is being changed to a virtual meeting via the Grand View System.


3.  Every communication includes a phrase referencing that “everything is subject to change”.



***  In case you didn’t notice a trend, the Grand Lodge of Ohio is expanding its use of the Grand View System to disseminate information to the membership.  If you have not yet established your account, doing so will allow you to stay up to date with events.



What are the concerns at this point?

As you might guess, there are many.  After reviewing all the factors, the common thread seems to be the restrictions on meetings.  This references state, local, and Grand Lodge restrictions on meeting attendance, location, and circumstance.  As example, the current situation is not conducive to performing degree work, or even having large meetings.



Why is that a big deal?

As an observation, the fraternity seems to function on schedules set months and years in advance.  To its credit, this has worked well for the past couple hundred years.  Unfortunately, we now have only vague definitions of requirements and restrictions that might be in place next week, next month, or possibly next year.   As a result, something as simple as not being able to have a single meeting, like the 15th District Annual Meeting each September, creates significant ripples.  Using that as an example, everything usually resolved during that meeting would have to be resolved in other ways.  This would include election of District Officers and establishing the Inspection schedule for the coming year.  Those are minor activities in the world view, but significant obstacles at the Lodge level.



Is Ohio the only Grand Jurisdiction in this situation?

Not hardly.  We regularly receive communications from other Grand Jurisdictions in the form of newsletters, web sites, and social media posts.  Each has cited similar issues, and appear no closer to a solution.



While we forge a path through this interesting time our best suggestion for proceeding comes from an earlier post:



1 - Follow the restrictions placed into effect to address possible exposure to and treatment of the Corona virus.  
2 - Follow the great tenets of Freemasonry:  Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth.
3 - Check on your Brothers and neighbors, especially those who may be in the higher risk groups.  Resist the urge to just "stop by".  Instead, consider calling, texting, or video chats.  
 


We will post additional information as it is made known to us.  In the meantime, take care of yourself and your loved ones.