December Newsletter 2020

Newsletter from the Pharos Secretary

Greetings Brethren,

I hope you are keeping safe and well.
Where to begin? After four weeks of lockdown, to end on the 2nd December, the hope was that things would ease slightly. As you are all aware on that date we enter Tier 3, the most severe restrictions. Even if we had been in Tier 1 we would not have been resuming ‘Rule of Six’ as many brethren assumed.

To clarify the instructions from UGLE on the 2nd November the Grand Secretary sent notice through the First risings that the MW the Grand Master had directed that all Lodge meetings be suspended from the 5th November and that the suspension would remain in place until due notice. This open-ended suspension means that at present and until advised further no meetings can take place in December and thereafter (Government lockdown or otherwise).

What does this mean to the Pharos Lodge? At this moment in time we can only speculate, but with the relaxation of rules over the Christmas period infection rates will probably increase meaning yet more severe rules. Our January meeting is doubtful and the Special meeting we were going to have in the Great Hall at the Dover Grammar School for Boys in February 2021 has been postponed.

I have mentioned in previous communications the success of our October meeting when we were able to vote on donations to our regular charities. I have received letters of thanks for our continued support in these difficult times.

Our Worshipful Master, Roger Gabriel, attended an ‘Old Pharosians’ Zoom meeting recently and discussed the situation with the Head Teacher, Phil Horstrup. It looks like we could have our special meeting in Autumn 2021 or Spring 2022 as the building works on the new school are a little behind due to Covid, so at least something to look forward to.

This is a recent picture of the progress.

On a more personal note, it has been a very sad year for the brethren and their families with the passing of four of our number (thankfully none through Covid). We have also said farewell to one of our widows, Mrs Betty Slater and the wife of one of our members, Sheila Copp. I recently contacted some of our older brethren by phone and am pleased to report that the majority seem to be coping ok. One is recovering from a serious operation and sadly another has been diagnosed with cancer. For obvious reasons I cannot go into detail here, but I’m sure you would like to join me in wishing all of our members and their families good health for the future.

Recently I set up a couple of Zoom meetings, one in the morning and one in the evening, both of which were attended by the same 5 people. I know I’ve made a hash organising a couple of these in the past, but I am doing my best to keep us all together. I will continue to set meetings up, but please, if you are free, try to join in. if there are any specific things you would like us to discuss, drop me an email and I’ll let everyone know.If you are having difficulties with the technology please ask as we might be able to resolve these for you.

News from the Province of East Kent;
At the Provincial Meeting in April, Very Worshipful Brother Peter David Williams PGSwdB will be stepping down as Deputy Provincial Grand Master having held the office for the past six years.
The Provincial Grand Master has invited Worshipful Brother Philip Neil South PAGDC of the Northfleet Lodge No 4149 to accept the office of Deputy Provincial Grand Master.
Also at the meeting in April, Worshipful Brother David William Alexander PSGD will be stepping down as Assistant Provincial Grand Master having held the office for the past four years.
The Provincial Grand Master has invited Worshipful Brother Duncan Andrew Rouse PGStB of the Old Cranbrookian Lodge No 6877 to accept the office of Assistant Provincial Grand Master.
I am delighted to inform you that both W. Bro Philip South and W. Bro Duncan Rouse have accepted their respective appointments and will be invested at the Provincial Grand Lodge meeting to be held on Friday 16th April 2021.
It will be interesting to see where the county is in relation to Covid restrictions in April.

If you are online, I recommend visiting the Solomon website at run by UGLE. There is a lot of interesting educational information available, including webinar tutorials. Remember our pledge to make a daily advance in masonic knowledge? Well here’s a place that can do just that. The ‘First Risings’ also have a lot of information about the history of freemasonry, so don’t just delete them, have a read and maybe save them as a future reference library?

If there is anything masonic you need help with, remember we have a team in place. Garry Steed is our Mentor, Dai Bennett our Almoner and I am Membership Officer. All of our details are on every summons you have.

That’s about it for now. Please stay safe, as I want us all to be able to return to our ‘normal’ life as soon as possible. Personally, I would rather have a somewhat restricted and secluded Christmas this year and live to see many more in the future. As has been stated elsewhere, ’The virus doesn’t care that it’s Christmas’, so I will be taking the same precautions over the whole festive season. I want to still be around when we can all get together again!

Stay safe, stay well,

WBro Arthur Hornby,
Secretary of the Pharos Lodge 6967