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Lagavara1 last won the day on October 31 2022

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  1. Members in Freemasons' Hall Arthur Square Belfast, struggle with the Halloween menu. ( The Trustees are pleased to assist with the jovial Halloween spirit )
  2. Regrettably some lodge secretaries in Belfast (IC) are not informing members that to gain access to their hall that they must follow the same covid regulation as if seeking to enter a hotel, bar etc. These public covid regulations have been applied for several weeks and merely copied to Masonic premises. And yet of those turned away some become annoyed and allegedly surprised of the hall management enforcement. It is disappointing that the lodge almoner also appears to be sleeping behind the wheel to assist those more elderly. The messaging from both Grand Lodge based in Republic of Ireland and that of the Provincial Grand Lodge based in Northern Ireland is conflicting and discourages members from attending halls that are fully adherent to public safety. Hopefully good word of a Halls covid compliance will spread and that all members long awaited return will be further encouraged to do so. Stay safe and follow the rules, where ever you are.
  3. An update on hall (mis) management.... PGL Antrim sold its purpose built hall, which was only 50 years old and choose to rent 4th flloor office space above a betting shop at the nearby High Street. This 2017 arrangement was much praised by the hierarchy. Whilst the proceeds of the sale were never disclosed on annual accounts it is now published in the Antrim newsletter that savings of £40,000 per annum will now be made by relocating out of Belfast capital city to a village in Templepatrick near the airport to an abandoned Masonic hall. However the newsletter states, '' It was explained that the proposed refurbishment to the premises, was estimated to cost between £145,000.00 and £200,000.00, but due to the spiralling costs of materials, the costs could be as high as £400,000.'' So five years of apparently excess costs of £40k have been incurred despite 10 years of prior planning upon the sale of its former offices and now a proposed refurbishment tf a property which has an unknown cost, but likely to exceed estimates by £255.000. The PGL Antrim treasurer in 2017 was jailed for stealing £120.000 from the Order. I wonder has he now started a building company !! Happy and prosperous new year to all.
  4. Sontaran, hope you fully recovered. I have from within my immediate family those who attend to private households with Covid as their jobs demands so. Their job demands they follow appropriate measures and they never disregard their own personal reasonability. Masons are well able to follow government guidelines and regulations. The Orders blanket decision in Ireland telling members not to meet is financially closing down larger halls with catering and club bar facilities. If government permits catering and bars to be open then masons should surely be able to meet in their own premises. Even if an actual meeting is deemed unnecessary the gathering of the lodge at catering and bar maintains the masonic connection nad breaks the isoloation of many elderly. Of course such gatherings are invitational and not a summons !
  5. Sir Crawford McCullagh was indeed a member. Whilst he was a foundation member in another lodge his membership in his name sake Craft and RAC units is unclear. He also was a Rose Croix member. A few years ago, I spoke with Susan Cunningham who penned the life of her great grand-father in a book ‘Sir Crawford McCullagh – Belfast’s Dick Wittington.’ Regrettably, the publication makes no reference of his masonic involvement. It is perceivable that the absence of masonic membership recognition appears typical of that era when disclosing your membership was discouraged. And I believe that we today are missing an opportunity to promote our past successful and eminent members who made valuable contribution and impact in public life. Slightly digress – another member Sir Charles Cameron who also had a lodge (353) named after him. The Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RSCI) whilst marking the centenary of his death in 2021. The RSCI hosted a favourable section on his masonic interest. see link https://www.rcsi.com/cameron/index.html and scroll to near end of article.
  6. Sir Crawford McCullagh was not the pioneer of the ‘Two Minutes Silence’, as Newtownabbey author Bob Armstrong claimed in his publication “Through the ages to Newtownabbey.” According to The Belfast Telegraph at the time Sir Crawford called for a ‘Five Minutes Silence’ on 11th July 1916, following receiving news of the death of thousands of soldiers from the 36th (Ulster) Division at the Somme. However, significantly, he was the first recorded person to publicly call for a period of silence for fallen soldiers. This was in response to a decision made by the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland to cancel the annual 12th July celebrations. The Lord Mayor of Belfast Sir Crawford McCullagh instead requested that all businesses be suspended for the duration of 5 minutes from noon till 12.05pm. He asked that street traffic be at a complete standstill for 5 minutes, so that the City’s tribute to the heroes of the Ulster Division would thus be impressive and universal. Trains stopped in their tracks, the city’s trams came to a halt and the Police Courts were adjourned. As men and women on factory floors, in hospitals, in shops and in homes all over Ulster bowed their heads in respect of the 36th Ulster Division who had lost their lives at the Battle of the Somme. Silence echoed through the streets of Belfast as the city came to a complete standstill. Susan B Cunningham author of Sir Crawford McCullagh: Belfast’s Dick Whittington says, the first recorded instance of such an “official moment of silence” was in Portugal in 1912. In the UK, the formal adoption of a two-minute silence to remember the war dead occurred in 1919. But she added: “I think it can be held that Sir Crawford was the pioneer.” This silence was the precursor of the 2 minute silence which is now recognized worldwide. Therefore, it can be argued that Sir Crawford McCullagh was the first recorded person to publicly call for a period of silence to honour those who have fallen in battle. V W Bro Tim Whiteside penned and hosted the above on https://arthursquare.org/assets/pdfs/2020-Reflections-Issue8.pdf Regrettably in 2014 ML 427 Sir Crawford McCullagh returned its warrant but RAC 427 of same name continues within the Irish constitution.
  7. I had travelled down to RoI from NI during the weekend - not a masonic meeting but another grouping. However, another mason from RoI was attending whom i knew. Discussion regarding vaccination certificate requirement and the regulation that masonry has applied was mentioned. It appears that GLI have selected to apply the most strict regulation . I suppose better safe than sorry. Apparently we the same men could meet under a different category title of gathering without need to show a jab certificate. All very difficult and delicate issues, but surely members are well capable of assessing their own risk when many lodge rooms are only opened up once a month. Anyway - keep safe.
  8. The web site of arthur square hall have recently hosted an article on artist John Luke painting / mural. I had often sat and gazed upon it, but was never any the wiser as to what it really all meant. Hall link https://arthursquare.org/education/the-original-john-luke Hopefully this is interest to Masonic scholars.
  9. I concur that GLoI often makes Laws and stipulations up as they wish without discussion. But as a stipulation it is appears that it is only being applied partially within a part of its jurisdiction. That is not within NI, but only in RoI. And thus i enquire if any other province or GL seeking proof of jab / vaccination.
  10. Yesterday I was attending a rugby match fixture in the Republic of Ireland as a supporter from Northern Ireland. Within masonry the Grand Lodge of Ireland governs both RoI and NI. A RoI mason showed me his stated meeting circular of which it clearly states No jab - no meeting with a proof of vaccine certificate required to be shown for admission. I query the authority GLoI has to impose this when Irish Gov guidelines do not refer to such gatherings as lodge meetings in NI do not seek proof of jab. Any other provinces or GL seeking proof of jab / vaccination?
  11. Freemasons’ Hall Arthur Square Belfast, has reopened from the Covid lockdown with an Eat First initiative. The hall manager advises that to minimise issues raised under a risk assessment that holding festive boards prior to actual meeting has positive outcomes. 1Eating first enables a much needed social aspect between the brethren before entering a Lodge room for rigid formal proceedings. 2 Eating first eliminates the need to rush the meetings – which are most likely to be more lengthy – as the caterers demand an actual arrival time in the dining room. 3 Eating first also is more akin to when members would normally eat at home. That is generally 6.00 to 7.30 rather than sitting down to a meal from 8.30 onwards. 4 Eating first does not alter the time the Lodge members normally arrive at the hall. I think this a good initiative and maybe Covid has enabled change. Maybe, not suit everyone and eat first is not compulsory. And absolutely no rushing during the meeting has to be a worthy benefit. Definitely suits me and my associates. Any one else doing something different since lockdown has ended?
  12. My Province of Antrim has directed that meetings in the Province may commence from the Covid lockdown this coming Friday 1st October. I curiously wondered what other Provinces, or upon those lodges that reside in our Grand Lodge building in Dublin have been informed. Regrettably, it appears no news from the Grand Lodge of Ireland is listed, apart from 2019 Golf and St Patricks day. This is the news link https://freemason.ie/news-updates/ UGLE and GLoS have hosted numerous news items, especially surrounding Covid, No doubt on our return we will be cautioned upon apathy. Cast not the first stone! Hope all goes well and best wishes to the returners.
  13. Belfast Newsletter April 2021 https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/people/freemasons-group-awarded-will-cash-3209435 An excellent result by diligent members.
  14. The 4 series BBC crime drama of Bloodlands has concluded. Storyline was fiction, based in Northern Ireland. Filming of the internal police station scenes / hallways, stairwell and offices where recorded in the former Provincial Masonic Hall, Rosemary Street Belfast. Sadly, the purpose built hall was sold around 2015 but the Masonic Offices for Antrim remain in a nearby adjoining street above a bookies office.
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