MESSAGE FROM THE PRO GRAND MASTER – 21st SEPTEMBER 2020
George Strachan our Lodge Tyler and Chapter Janitor, was born 90 years ago on 20th September 1930 and it was our intention at our Lodge Installation Meeting on Monday 21st September 2020 to mark this special birthday both during the proceedings and also during the Festive Board.We were going to invite all the other Lodges and Chapters that meet in Weyland Hall, and others that knew George from within the Province, so we could have a bumper well attended meeting.
A big part of George’s life before Freemasonry was his naval career and in particular when he was appointed Ship’s Chef of HMS Amethyst shortly after her return in late 1949 to Hong Kong following her escape under fire, in what is now known as, the Yangtze Incident. We thought this would be good theme for his Birthday
George was to be reappointed as our Lodge Tyler and it had been planned that Bob Dixon, a fellow Round Table Chapter Companion and Ex-Naval who knew George back in the days, would “Pipe” him in wearing a Petty Officers Cap, with a Bosun’s whistle when he approached the Worshipful Master to be invested. The Temple was to be adorned with a large White Ensign Flag and during the Festive Board he was to be presented with a large Birthday Cake in the shape of HMS Amethyst produced by RD Catering Services, the Weyland Hall catering team, to be sliced and distributed to all, whilst a large Birthday Card was circulated for signature by all.
Regarding George’s Masonic Career it can be said that whereas he looked after the stomachs of his ship’s crew, in Freemasonry he looked after our Temple’s Furniture and Regalia
It is said that sailors never complained to their Chef about his food because they would probably have ended up wearing it rather than eating it. Similarly it is true that no one ever complained in Freemasonry about George’s setting up of the Temple but that was not because they were frightened of his drawn sword, it was simply that he was always right.
He became a Mason in 1974 and his first appointment as Janitor was in 2003 and since then he has Tyled for 3 Lodges and was Janitor for 5 Chapters, totalling in all 278 official ceremonies (plus others when he stood in for someone).
He has been our Lodge Tyler for 13 years and our Chapter Janitor for 11 for which we have been and will always be grateful.
The Most Excellent Grand Superintendent at the Installation Meeting of Oxfordshire Installed First Principals Chapter on March 2016 recognised George’s service to many Chapters and his reputation for attention to detail when preparing the Temple and awarded him a Meritorious Service Award, commenting on the fact that one prominent Director of Ceremonies referred to George as the “Scary Janitor” in tribute to his exacting standards.
Although all the above are why we wanted to celebrate George’s special birthday we cannot do as we had hoped due to current Covis 19 restrictions, we can only hold a basic Installation Ceremony under Quorum.
So we have instead produce this file.
Also in lieu of a large cake in the form of HMS Amethyst to be cut into slices and distributed at the Festive Board a smaller HMS Amethyst cake will be delivered to George’s home on the Saturday before his birthday, for his and his family’s personal consumption when they meet on the Sunday.
In lieu of a Birthday Card being circulated for signature by all present at the meeting emailed best wishes have been invited and are attached below.
Sadly we cannot replicate the “Piping In” of George nor fly a White Ensign, but here below is a picture of the family sized cake made by RD Catering of Weyland Hall.
READ GEORGE’S MASONIC HISTORY (NOTE: This is password protected – Members only) – CLICK HERE
READ ALL THE GREETINGS FROM AROUND THE PROVINCE – CLICK HERE
READ THE LATEST ‘FIRST RISING’ FROM UNITED GRAND LODGE – SEPTEMBER 7th 2020
INSTALLATION MEETING – CANCELLED
Unfortunately the planned Installation Meeting on Monday 21st September has had to be cancelled. The recent changes in Covid restrictions, the fact that the Bicester Centre has not yet re-opened, and the lack of a quorum has caused this. We will keep you informed of future plans as soon as they are formulated..
MESSAGE FROM THE PROVINCIAL GRAND MASTER
Brethren / Companions
RESUMPTION OF MASONIC ACTIVITIES
I hope that you will all have seen the announcement in the First Rising issued on Monday 6 July, regarding the resumption of masonic activities. It is, of course, welcome news and marks a key step on our return to normality. However, if I may use a well know masonic phrase, I was taught to be cautious. We cannot run the risk that freemasonry returns to lockdown because of a precipitate rush back to meetings, like holidaymakers streaming down to Bournemouth.
The first priority is that our centres are ready for our return. As a minimum, they have to comply with Government guidelines, so that there is a safe environment for those who do wish to meet. I know our centre management teams are working hard to achieve this, but compliance with these minimum standards is something that the Provincial Executive and I cannot, and will not, compromise on. I would prefer them to take a bit longer to ensure that they are 100% ready, rather than rushing to achieve 17 July. 1 September may be a more realistic goal, but for some of our centres, even this may present a challenge, purely because of the physical constraints of the building.
Our second priority is that our meetings are safe, when we resume them. We have to remember that many of our members are particularly vulnerable, either because of their own age or health, or their partner’s age or health. Indeed Government guidance is that this group should continue to stay indoors and not attend any meetings such as ours. Many will have been members for many years; we should remember that they could well feel left out and abandoned. We must be alive to that possibility and find ways to ensure that all members continue to be included in Lodge activities to assure them that they are indeed members of the family whose absence will be much missed. Continue to meet by Zoom and keep in contact on a one to one basis, whether by telephone, e-mail or some other means.
We have been given much guidance on how to make meetings safe, and how to perform our rituals, at least those we are allowed to. This guidance is not discretionary, and Lodges and chapters cannot unilaterally decide to ignore bits of it as they choose. As above, the Provincial Executive and I will not compromise on this.
One word on “business” meetings, if I may. There has been talk about holding business only meetings. Where you do not have candidates, consider using the opportunity to make a daily advancement in masonic knowledge – there is so much material available on Solomon – or demonstrate bits of the ritual that are not often used, such as the Lectures in the three degrees. I am sure also that a member of Provincial Executive would be happy to come along to help.
I have no doubt that many questions will arise. Please do not hesitate to contact the Provincial Secretary or Scribe E in the first instance, but remember that they are only human and may need to consult further to find an appropriate answer.
Let me finish with two messages. The last four months have been immensely challenging for all of us, and those challenges have not finished yet. It is a great source of pride how you, as individuals, and Freemasonry, in general, have responded. Let’s not lose the benefit of that and continue with the good practices we have developed.
And secondly, I am sure that many lodges and chapters have a backlog of work to do, and we have also seen an increase in enquiries from the public who have seen the benefits of Freemasonry over the past four months and want to be part of that, which is great. Let’s ensure that as we return to ceremonial work, we maintain our high standards and traditions, but above all we make the meeting an enjoyable experience. Feel free to ask for support, and we will see what we can do.
Finally, and above all, brethren, stay safe and well
Provincial Grand Master / Grand Superintendent
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FROM GRAND LODGE:
In March, the Most Worshipful Grand Master suspended Masonic activity in England and Wales until 17th July 2020. Having consulted the Grand Registrar, Sir John Chadwick, who has studied the UK Government’s advice (in particular the guidance for safe use of multi-purpose facilities), we are content that there is presently no requirement to extend the suspension in England, and accordingly Masonic meetings may begin again from this date. We recognise that, excluding emergency meetings which some Lodges and Chapters may wish to hold under appropriate dispensation, the vast majority of meetings will not begin again until September.
Meetings may only be held in obedience to prevailing National Guidance, local rules from Hall and Venue Companies, and in conformity with the General Guidance given, jointly with Mark Masons’ Hall, below.
READ THE LATEST EDITION OF ‘THE FIRST RISING’
READ THE LATEST EDITION OF ‘THE SECOND RISING’ FROM OXFORDSHIRE PROVINCE
NEWS FROM THE MASONIC CHARITABLE FOUNDATION
PROVINCIAL APPOINTMENTS – ROUND TABLE LODGE
- Robin Barter – Provincial Junior Grand Deacon
- Alex Macdonald – Past Provincial Grand Standard Bearer
- Bill Winter – Past Provincial Grand Registrar
- David Wallis – Past Provincial Grand Registrar
- Ian Elkington – Past Provincial Senior Grand Deacon
- Rory Gear – Past Provincial Senior Grand Deacon
Congratualtions to all!
MASONIC PIES FOR FREEMASONS, FAMILY & FRIENDS!
Following the issue of the new guidelines from the Prime Minister, R&D Catering at Weyland Hall are planning to supply a selection of freshly made pies ready to oven bake or freeze.
You will be able to place your order for your choice/choices via Email or by Phone.
They will be preparing them on Friday for pickup on Saturday morning between 10:00 and 12:00 from Weyland Hall Masonic Centre in North Street Bicester. A strict adherence to the social distancing guidelines will be in place at the hall. This will include clear signage guiding you through the process of pickup and departure with your goods.
With a cut of for last orders on the Thursday 17.00 of that week.
They will all be prepared in foil containers which can easily be recycled.
Price: £6.00 each Pie
Chicken and Leek, Chicken and Vegetable, Minced Beef & Onion, Cottage Pie, Steak & Ale, Chilli, Apple
HAVE YOU MADE YOUR WILL?
Read about the way the Masonic Chairtable Foundation have teamed up with the Goodwill Partnership and are offering a free will-writing service.
HAVE YOU SUPPORTED THE OXFORDSHIRE 2022 FESTIVAL APPEAL?
In support of the grants and services provided by the Masonic Charitable Foundation, the Oxfordshire 2022 Festival appeal is now in its second year.
The Foundation took over the work of the four central Masonic Charities in April 2016 and now provides a wide range of grants and services to Freemasons and their families who have a financial, health and care or family need. The Foundation also supports other charities.
The Province of Oxfordshire is one of the first Masonic Provinces to launch a Festival appeal for the new Foundation.
For further information and to make a donation CLICK HERE
BUY A ROUND TABLE LODGE POLO SHIRT!
The fashion statement for everyone in Round Table Lodge!
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WELCOME TO EVERYONE!
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