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Not quite so Uninitiated

General Suspension of all Masonry in England & Wales

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Thank goodness the suspension order came through before you cancelled your lodge meeting. There is no power to cancel lodge meetings - see rule 137 B of C. If you did cancel it, the warrant would need to be returned or it would be seized and the lodge would no longer exist, it would have been erased.

Solutions:
1. If you have a quorum of five (briefly) including one installed master (of any lodge) and at least two members of the lodge itself, you could open, confirm the minutes and close quite legitimately as a 'regular' lodge meeting.
2. If there is no quorum, then you note in the minute book that the meeting was abandoned due to insufficient numbers.

Fortunately, UGLE has ordered the suspension of all meetings which effectively and officially hits the 'pause' button, so all we do is wait until they end the suspension and we are all back to normal - if you can regard what we do as normal!! This is what happened in the first few months of WWII.

Further, if you use common sense, don't hold any other gatherings - GPC, LoI, functions and ladies' nights, coach parties, BBQs. The reason is obvious.

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11 hours ago, Trouillogan said:

Thank goodness the suspension order came through before you cancelled your lodge meeting. There is no power to cancel lodge meetings

Indeed... which is why my post include "less 5 members to open/close" 🙂

It is situations like this where the words (probably incorrectly) attributed to Douglas Bader are appropriate: Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men.

Edited by Not quite so Uninitiated

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16 hours ago, Trouillogan said:

Thank goodness the suspension order came through before you cancelled your lodge meeting. There is no power to cancel lodge meetings - see rule 137 B of C. If you did cancel it, the warrant would need to be returned or it would be seized and the lodge would no longer exist, it would have been erased.

Solutions:
1. If you have a quorum of five (briefly) including one installed master (of any lodge) and at least two members of the lodge itself, you could open, confirm the minutes and close quite legitimately as a 'regular' lodge meeting.
2. If there is no quorum, then you note in the minute book that the meeting was abandoned due to insufficient numbers.

Fortunately, UGLE has ordered the suspension of all meetings which effectively and officially hits the 'pause' button, so all we do is wait until they end the suspension and we are all back to normal - if you can regard what we do as normal!! This is what happened in the first few months of WWII.

Further, if you use common sense, don't hold any other gatherings - GPC, LoI, functions and ladies' nights, coach parties, BBQs. The reason is obvious.

Do you REALLY believe Masonic discipline would have been applied in such a Draconian way?  I'm sure that the Master (and more importantly, his Secretary!) would have been educated in the correct procedure.

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Surprisingly, some Lodges have been doing this.  It has taken a reiteration of the rules to remind Secretaries and WMs that they can't just cancel a meeting as a safeguard against infection.  If there are a minimum of 5 to hold the quorum, the meeting should go ahead.  No need for regalia or formalities.  If there isn't, then the meeting is abandoned rather than cancelled.

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Here in Malaysia we are in lock down and ALL our meetings including our District Grand Lodge meeting are to stop until 30 June 2020. All Lodge buildings are closed

 

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The BoC though, gives District Grand Masters more power over their Districts than Provincial Grand Masters have over their Provinces.

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21 hours ago, Sparker said:

Do you REALLY believe Masonic discipline would have been applied in such a Draconian way?  I'm sure that the Master (and more importantly, his Secretary!) would have been educated in the correct procedure.

It's surprising (or perhaps not) how many secretaries are unaware of this.  Some years ago a severe winter weather situation arose while I was lodge secretary, so I said the proposed meeting would have to be abandoned.  A very experienced brother told me to cancel it, which I knew was incorrect.  I asked the ProvGSec to advise and that advice was to abandon.  I only did this because the brother was adamant.  I since learned that if 'cancellation' is noted in the minutes and those minutes become confirmed, then the lodge's fate is technically sealed.  Undoubtedly a bit of backtracking could be done even after the minutes are confirmed, so I cannot see an erasure actually taking place on that ground alone these days.  Provinces don't like to lose lodges!

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There seems to be a lot of talk about rule 137, however there seems to be a direct order from the GM. So what do we do? Issue a summons saying the meeting has been abandoned by order of the GM? Do nothing or anything in between?

Rex Kerslay

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12 hours ago, RexK1 said:

 Issue a summons saying the meeting has been abandoned by order of the GM?

That's what I'm going to do.

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13 hours ago, RexK1 said:

There seems to be a lot of talk about rule 137, however there seems to be a direct order from the GM. So what do we do? Issue a summons saying the meeting has been abandoned by order of the GM? Do nothing or anything in between?

Rex Kerslay

You just enter the fact of the suspension in the minute book, along with the GM's letter, and circulate the minute in the normal way.  It will come up for confirmation at the next regular meeting.  I don't think it would make much sense to issue a summons of any kind when a lodge or all lodges are under suspension.  It would make sense, though, to issue a notice, with the GM's letter, in lieu of a summons, advising that the lodge is suspended - even though everyone already knows.  In cases where rule 119(a) would be in effect, then the letter should be in the name of the SW.  As always, if in doubt ask your ProvGSec.

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I'm going to tweak the circular advice from the GSec about abandoned meetings (ie) ...

“The regular meeting of the Lodge on  …. day …. March, 2020 was duly called in accordance
with the attached summons. Owing to the incidence of the coronavirus the required number
of Brethren to open the Lodge could not be assembled and the meeting was abandoned”

The minutes will state ..

"By command of the Grand Master, the regular meeting of the Lodge on xx May 2020 was abandoned due to suspension of Masonic Activity for a period of 4 months to combat the Coronavirus (infomally known as Covid-19) pandemic."

And I'll append a copy of the command to the minutes.

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New guidance from MMH tells Secretaries of Orders they administer what to do - essentially put a copy of the suspension order in the Minute Book then (when it comes) a copy of the resumption order. I've already printed off 6 copies of the suspension order!

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