Grand Master’s Letter Regarding Lodge Re-Opening

Brethren;

With the start of the Province’s relaxation of the rules surrounding the State of Emergency, I’m sure most members are wondering if they can attend Lodge. I have considered this issue extensively and have sought advice from numerous people, including members of AHS who are members of the craft. They all advise caution and patience.

Based on this advice, starting on June 1, 2020, lodges located in the Province where the State of Emergency has been relaxed will be able to hold meetings under strict conditions. Calgary and Brooks lodges cannot, at this time hold, meetings. All meetings must follow the Province of Alberta’s Covid-19 gathering restrictions such as:

  1. limits on attendance (15 maximum in a building);
  2. mandated physical distancing of at least 2 Metres from each other;
  3. access to hand washing / sanitizing stations;
  4. use of Physical Protection Equipment (PPE); and
  5. exclude people who have any symptoms.

Please see the Government of Alberta Covid-19 website for a complete list.

The WM will be responsible to ensure the lodge is following the directives laid out by AHS. The WM will also need to know, in advance, who will be in attendance to ensure the attendance limit is not exceeded. At this time, lodges will not be open to visiting except by-invitation-only from the WM and keeping within the 15-person maximum. Remember, while lodges may hold meetings, of primary concern is member’s safety. If you have symptoms or are uncomfortable with attending lodge, please stay home.

The Initiation ceremony and the third degree are not permitted at this time, due to social distancing requirement from AHS. The Fellowcraft or second degree, can be performed as long as the candidate follows his guide, and the Grip and Token be demonstrated on yourself and not with the candidate.

Regarding the Installation ceremony, balloting has been laid out in my letter of Mar 28, 2020. The handing over of the Gavel from the Worshipful Master to the Installing Master or from the Installing Master to a Past Master, the grip and word of an installed master may be by-passed in this instance. The handing over of the Gavel from the Installing Master to a New Worshipful Master, while maintain social distancing, remains the largest stumbling block. On advice from

The Grand Lodge of Alberta ANCIENT, FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS

210, 2816 11 Street N.E. Calgary, AB, T2E 7S7 Telephone (403) 262-1149

May 19, 2020

AHS, and if both the Installing Master and Master-elect are comfortable with the situation, the Gavel can be passed using the following approach:

  1. N95 masks must be worn by both parties (must be N95, not homemade),
  2. Latex Gloves must be worn by both parties,
  3. Keep the contact period as short as possible, and
  4. Use hand sanitizer after contact.

If either party is not comfortable with the situation, or the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are not available, Installation cannot go forward at this time.

Grand Lodge Annual Communications will take place at Freemason’s Hall, 10318 – 100 Ave., Edmonton on June 12 – 13, 2020. Due to the State of Emergency restrictions placed on us by the Province, the attendance will be strictly regulated and be “by-invitation-only”. Since we are unable to have a full debate on the Constitutional Amendments put forward by the Board of General Purposes, only those motions which are considered “housekeeping” motions will be dealt with. These motions are those motions that keep Grand Lodge functioning on a daily basis or are of a routine nature. Please see “Overview of Grand Lodge Communications 2020” for further information.

Since we are unable to collect physical ballots this year, we will be utilizing a digital election process that will enable a much larger portion of our members to cast a ballot for the various positions open on the Grand Line and Committees. The actual process will be looked after by an Edmonton firm, with the Grand Registrar be in charge of reporting the results to Grand Lodge. The instructions on how to vote will be fanned out from the Grand Secretary, to Lodge Secretaries and then to the member’. To ensure only one vote per member, the member’s GL Number will be part of the verification information required to cast your ballot.

At this time, there will be no ladies program at Grand Lodge. For the people who will be at the Grand Lodge Communications on June 12 and continuing on with installation in the afternoon, there will be sandwiches and coffee between the two sessions.

Brethren, these are trying times we’re all going through. I know you will have lots of questions and we at Grand Lodge will attempt to answer them. But you also have a responsibility to the Lodge but more specifically to the Laws of the Province. If a brother is not comfortable doing something, don’t pressure them. Remember it is not only their life they’re putting at risk, its also their wives, children, and grandchildren.

I hope you all remain safe and healthy. I’m looking forward to seeing each and everyone of you in lodge over the next few years.

Ken Cheel

Grand Master