Welcome to the Friendly Degree
Brethren, welcome to 2021, let us hope it’s a better year than 2020.
We are still in these continued days of uncertainty, the likes of which most of us have never witnessed, it is perhaps a good opportunity to pause and reflect on the events of last year while we have time on our hands.
Most importantly Brethren, if you have any spare time, is to keep in contact with your Lodge members, many of whom may live alone or might need a bit of cheering up, it’s surprising what a friendly voice on the end of the phone can do.
A question I am sure all of us Mark Masons are pondering is “what impact will this pandemic have on this “friendly degree”?
Throughout its history Freemasonry has had to weather adversity and disruption, through Wars, The Great Depression, the Spanish flu pandemic, bad press, scorn and ridicule, but as we all know, we are resilient.
It is inevitable that there will be some changes in our Organisation going forward; in the short term it could be the manner, and where we meet but, I am confident that due to the character of our Brethren, we will come through this crisis not only stronger as individuals, but the friendship and brotherly love that we share in the Mark Degree will be cemented further.
Having spoken to many of you, I am aware of your eagerness to return to normal, but Brethren you will have to be patient, better times are ahead but they are not here yet.
At the time I was concluding these thoughts, I was delighted and relieved to hear that there are various vaccines being rolled out, with many millions already administered.
This is offering protection to a large percentage of the vulnerable population in general and many of our members in particular. We can only hope that this is not a false dawn and that the light at the end of this tunnel is from the open door of a Lodge Room and not someone with a torch bringing the latest prohibition notice.
Brethren, most of our lodges are holding virtual meetings via Zoom sessions and I fully endorse and encourage this, it is a great way of keeping in touch with each other whilst dealing with the business of the lodge, it is vital in the wellbeing of your lodge and its members
I am pleased to announce that just prior to Christmas we donated £ 1,500 from the MMBF to the Salvation Army for the distribution of hygiene packs to the homeless community.
We have also been able to make “Emergency donations” to our three main chosen charities, of £5000 each
This is something I am immensely proud of and I cannot thank you all enough for your continued support in helping the less fortunate than ourselves.
This will be an exceedingly difficult but, especially important year for our great organisation, please stay safe, look after yourselves and your families so that we can celebrate together when the time comes.
God bless you all
Edward R. Garty RAMGR
Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Middlesex