I was asked this question very recently and came up with the answer, “On the Ides of January.” Already Christmas and the New Year are long behind us and 2021 is well under way.
In the last few days, my daughter Caroline graduated Master of Laws from City, University of London, and I was very fortunate to receive the first of my two Covid-19 jabs as someone deemed to be “clinically extremely vulnerable.” I have also started my new role as Provincial Membership Officer in the Province of Nottinghamshire.
However, 2021 has not signalled a change in our ability to meet without restriction. Indeed it may be many months before our members can gather together as they wish. In the meantime, we continue with virtual gatherings.
My own experience of these has been very positive. I have “met” brethren I would never have met otherwise and participated in meetings of Lodges I can rarely attend. My reach has expanded to all continents, and most timezones! I suspect far more of our members have developed a hunger for learning about Freemasonry, although I continue to be concerned that many are either not engaging with what is on offer or are simply not being contacted by their Lodges.
It is great to see platforms such as “Freemasons without Borders,” “The Lodge, Hope of Kurachee” and the “Trans Oceanic Masonic Study Circle” develop and mature and an increasing number of Lodges start their own programmes.
Although some say they are “Zoomed out” – and I know that feeling – my own belief is this is just about finding a new balance. We must continue to offer meaningful Masonic experiences, to engage our members and provide value for their membership.
As for my own talks, I have now delivered 82 online since April and have another 31 booked already – reaching as far as September this year. So, please do get in touch if you wish to book me for your Lodge / Province / District / Grand Lodge or other Masonic Association.
This post is a great opportunity to thank those who have attended my talks for making donations through my fundraising page, https://bit.ly/2012JustGiving. So far these have raised £13,755.15 for the Masonic Charitable Foundation, taking total funds raised from my Masonic speaking engagements since 2012 to £89,016.12. Including other activities such as books and sponsored events, the total raised for Scouting and Masonic charities since then is £102,029.26.
So, with the New Year behind us, we now have to make the best of 2021. I am just getting ready for the next celebration, the Mark Province of London’s annual Haggis Night. I may see you there!