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Ideas for a Covid Safe Lodge

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With both Autumn and the second wave of Covid-19 upon us, we may well be wondering if our Lodge meetings will ever be the same gain. One profoundly human survival characteristic is the adaptive capacity to meet, overcome or work around unforeseen, challenging situations. Such changes usually start with the sharing of a simple idea or strategy that subsequently gains evolutionary traction. Supporters can see how that idea might work on the ground in the future igniting an enthusiastic desire to become an active part of a shared vision solution.

This is an idea about the future of Lodge meetings in a Covid-19 world.

Quite a number of rural pubs are keeping their businesses alive by creating outdoor bars with marquees serving as outdoors dining/social spaces; some even come with heating. Science seems to point towards a much reduced risk of Covid-19 transmission in well ventilated outdoors spaces provided social distancing etc. is maintained. An open sided marquee, barn or industrial building could all, theoretically, serve as outdoors meeting venues. After all, KST was modelled on a Tabernacle hosting the Ark of the Covenant.

The Covid-19 virus seems to thrive in autumn/winter environment and abates in the spring/summer months. The majority of Freemasonry’s meetings are held between September and April, but what if we turned this on its head and met, socially distanced, outdoors from April to September inclusive? (6 months) Considering Freemasonry’s membership age profile, venerable Brethren would also be spared the rigours of winter travel.

  • There are records of Lodges meeting outdoors (dispensations duly granted) without the benefit of any shelter.

  • The Festive Board becomes a bring your own, socially distanced, outdoor picnic.

  • Lodges could be split into groups of 20 to 30 all sharing a single outdoor Lodge space.

  • The cost of a new, suitably sized marquee would be c. £20,000. This could be funded by way of a meeting contribution of £5 to £10. Given the alternative option of no meetings at all, the majority should see this as being reasonable. The aim would be to see the facility being fully utilised 6 days a week. A Lodge of Rehearsal could be held an hour or two before Regular Meetings. Time might be made available for a shared Lodge of Instruction.

  • Some Lodges contribute a single item of Lodge furniture which, in the absence of any other practical alternative, could be stored on site by renting a container. Alternatively, we go back to back to 17th century practices of simple furnishings augmented by tracing boards on fabric with smaller items such VSL, S&C’s, Warrant, Collars being transported to and from the shared venue by individual Lodges.

  • The other demands would be temporary toilet facilities and a suitable outdoor space which could be anything ranging from an underutilised recreation area, field, private parkland etc. The other option is to revert back to meeting in local inns and public houses that have set up their own ‘private hire’ outdoors facilities. Perhaps some landlords, who cannot afford to put a marquee in place despite having the space to do so, might welcome a helping Masonic hand.

  • It might also be possible to conduct the more intimate elements of Ceremonies by developing some outdoors PPE wear for the Master and Candidate. Alternatively, where a Lodge has two or more members in a family bubble, it might be possible to visually demonstrate the same, or for the Candidate to be shown a short video of the same on a mobile device.

  • An income might be derived from renting the facility to other non-Masonic social groups to fill any usage voids.

 

Whilst recognising that social rules are subject to some variation, the spring/summer months and being outdoors are our best hope whilst the virus is with us.

Just an idea to mull over!

 

Kim March PM

 

Image credit: Alistair Williamson/www.freeimages.com

 

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