Dear Brethren,

2020 should have been a year like any other year, full of anniversaries.

  • 80 years since Dunkirk
  • 75 years since the liberation of the Concentration camps starting with Auschwitz in January working through 75 years since VE Day
  • 75 years since Hiroshima and VJ Day so many momentous events left without the proper means to be commemorated

Instead, 2020 will always be remembered as the year that a new pandemic with a new name, Covid-19, engulfed the world. When the world we enjoyed was turned upside down and so much of what we took for granted, even our very liberty, was denied us.

So, whilst we miss our families, our friends, the companionship of our fellow Brethren, going to the pub, restaurants, theatre, concerts, travelling to exotic places or just hiking in the countryside, we desperately need to find reasons to be grateful.

Firstly, we live in a wonderful democracy where freedom of speech and thought allow us to challenge ideas with which we disagree. Whose leaders are daily held to account by a free press and media. Where our NHS, whilst far from perfect, is the envy of most civilised countries.

Secondly, we belong to a fantastic organisation whose very raison d’etre is to help anyone and everyone, whose very DNA encourages us to help all those who require our assistance, whether it’s making PPE, providing meals on wheels, delivering food to isolated families and individuals and much, much, more. Whose leaders quickly mobilised the National Charity to ensure that the neediest amongst us could be helped financially, as Freemasons do whenever there is an emergency, local, national or international. We are truly privileged that we are able to belong to a group of men who put acts of selflessness above all else and we should be proud as well as grateful.

Thirdly, we have to be grateful for and believe in the indomitable spirit which many of our more senior members of society have likened to the war time spirit, that carried a nation through to victory in 1945.

Mankind has an amazing capacity for self-harm, but at the same time an incredible capacity for self-preservation and survival.

The virus one day will be defeated, a vaccine or anti body testing will be found, and when that day comes we will be able to return to so many of the things we have been missing these past days, weeks and months.

Those of us who have been forced to self-isolate will be allowed to resume a more normal life.

Sporting life will start again, Masonic Meetings will come to life and we will pick up our lives from its suspended animation, that started back in March.

When that day dawns and there will be a new dawn, we will reflect on all that has happened, of the amazing acts of self-sacrifice performed by so many ordinary people.

Throughout this crisis the Province has been providing the support that the Brethren expect and demand. They have all provided much needed solace and encouragement during the current lockdown and the Chaplaincy is here to provide any assistance to Lodges, Chapters and individual Brethren.

We are all responsible for each other’s welfare. They and their loved ones.

May we all have the confidence that one day things will return, if not exactly as they were at the start of the year, at least as a close approximation of what we once knew and took for granted.

Please keep safe and well, and protect your loved ones.

The Province needs all its members if we are to be able to resume Masonic life.

WBro Russell Conn, PAGDC, ProvGChap