From the DGM

Recent Communications from the District Grand Master

30 June 2020

Dear Brethren of the District of the Transvaal

Some say that competing in the Olympic Games is more important than winning, others tell you that Birthday and Christmas presents are not about the present, but the thought behind it !

 Recently I became grumpy with so many duplicate bits of Trivia coming in over WhatsApp, until I realized that It's about who sent it - he's was thinking about me - as against the content - When I started looking at it in this manner my approach changed and I realized how many Brethren I know, and just as I often think about them. they too are thinking about me. This is why it's called a Brotherhood, especially at times like these.

 Brethren it is so important to keep in touch - it doesn't have to be sophisticated levels of communication, but a  " Hi how are you doing, I'm am going along just fine thanks, and have been thinking about you ! " that's all it takes - It is the very essence of what we  are, and what we are all about. We are family !!!!  WhatsApp, SMS, Phone call, ZOOM, Skype, it does not matter, but please don't do nothing -do something every day, start now !!!!!!

Best regards & fraternally,

Dave Gurney

D.G.M of the Mark District of the Transvaal


On June 2,  I again joined the ZOOM meeting for PGM's/DGM's and Inspectorates. It was different, and the first half an hour was most informative and I do feel that much of the discussions will be of interest to you, as in some ways it answers questions that were certainly floating around unanswered in my mind.

The Grand Secretary again stipulated that anything Mark Masons Hall (MMH) rule on are subject to the Laws/Regulations of our respective Governments.

 We have to remember that the UK is their primary concern and overseas Districts will have to make their own decisions, within the rulings of MMH and the SA Government. That said there is in MMH serious discussion about when to lift the suspension of our meetings, originally it was thought to extend the suspension from the middle of July to the middle of September, but there is a growing belief there that the UK Government will not have lifted their ban of meetings by September. Some suggest not to mess with it, and continue the suspension until January 1st 2021!

Given reports I have seen recently that Covid-19 will only peak in SA in November 2020 with some terrible projected statistics, we may not ourselves feel safe to go out again even in January!

Many of the PGM's reported that amongst their members there were many - many members saying - you can restore our meetings whenever you want - but I will go back only when I feel it is safe to do so. Many masons are nervous, as many are well within the danger zone of people over the age of 60 and a good few have underlying health issues.

But it does not stop here. Questions like how do you social distance in the robing rooms? (in SA) what will meetings be like with all present masked? And how do you social distance in Lodge? How do you conduct the festive boards?, and will the caterers have managed to survive this pandemic, and if they have will they be prepared to open up their doors, given that reduced numbers may well make it unviable for them. For our UK Brethren many travel to Lodge by public transport, not a problem we face.

Even in the UK many Lodges meet in Lodge Rooms which they do not own, but rent, and certainly have no influence over, will they be prepared to open, the management of those buildings may view it all very differently.

Every year in the UK a Province is responsible to conduct a Festival with a view to gathering very significant sums of money for Charity. This year it is East Lancashire (just up the road from "Our Albert's" Mother Province of Cheshire); East Lancashire is a Province of  53 Mark and 34 RAM Lodges, which has so far missed out on some 90 meetings of one sort or another in this period of suspension, so donations are not coming into the Provincial coffers. To give you some idea of the scale of such an event they had hired the Manchester United Football Ground in which to conduct their actual Festival! They refer to receiving cheques!, their banking thinking and procedures are behind ours, which may surprise you, we would keep the boat afloat with an EFT of course. Further problem is, if any cheques have been mailed to the Province they do not have access to their Offices to see what is there. I am glad not to be PGM with such a responsibility and no tools to achieve such a huge objective.

Onto another theme. I often feel that the three degrees in the Craft fail to drive home the importance of that inner temple, which we are encouraged to build within our inner being.  Lately my frustration levels have been growing as I have seen Covid-19 as the barrier between me and my Masonic Journey, which I so enjoy. I have realised that I have to dig deep into my inner temple, to find the patience I need to endure this period of frustration, verging on inner anger. The Craft teaches us all those virtues we need to develop within ourselves, but I have never considered patience to be one of them. I have to work harder!

 To finish on a lighter note and hopefully bring a wry smile to your face ask yourself "Where did William Shakespeare's English teacher find his patience"?

 Sincerely and fraternally

Dave Gurney

D.G.M of the Mark District of the Transvaal



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