First and foremost, I hope that you, and your families and friends, are all well and that you are managing the additional stresses created by the seemingly endless effects that COVID-19 is having on our lives. I do also hope that you have been able to enjoy some festive spirit with your family, or as we now affectionately know them, your "bubble".
It is indeed very humbling to note that the human race, with our assumed complete superiority over everything on this planet, can be put under so much pressure by what is little more than a chemical compound. It also, as perhaps pointed out by HG Wells in 1898, (War of the Worlds), does not bode well for any future human extra-terrestrial exploration plans.
I am currently lucky enough to be able to work reasonably well from home, but am having to work additional hours to try to maintain at least some forward momentum. While working from home is normal for many of you, I am still getting used to a change of chair as the key difference between work and home life. I am also acutely aware of how difficult it can be for those of you and your family members, who are having to home-school, manage younger kids whilst working, manage on a reduced salary or have the daily worry of losing what was previously thought to be a secure income.
These times could be considered to be very difficult, if we anxiously focus on having to wait on-line for hours to progress from position 14021 in a food ordering queue, or having to consider any person that encroaches on our 2 meter personal exclusion zone as a potential death threat. However we must not forget that these are in reality manageable inconveniences, that pale into insignificance, compared to the fantastic bravery and sense of duty shown by our Brethren, their families, and the many others, who, with an very poignant analogy to trench warfare, are in what are now called, “Front Line Jobs”.
In many ways Masonry has always promoted the kind of behaviours that are now so essential to our wider society, Brotherly love, relief and truth, being honourable, charitable, and trying to do the right things, are in times of adversity even more important and relevant.
On the other hand, the enforced incarceration within our households and the remarkably clement weather during the summer, provided an unexpected opportunity to catch up with all those niggling jobs you have intended to do for many years. I suspect that gardens and homes across the nation will be much improved, and our store cupboards, freezers, sheds, and garages will become incredibly well organized, and for those of you who are still able, that you may discover many interesting local walks and other natural features, close to you home, that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. I also wonder if the way that this organic virus has now forced many of us to leverage “new” technologies to work and routinely interact with family and friends, may be a positive change for the future.
While our Masonic year this year and last clearly remains somewhat in chaos and far from the steadfast and reassuringly familiar process we have come to expect ( largely due to the efforts of our Secretary, and Past Masters), I am sure that normal service will be resumed, hopefully before too long as the effects of the newly announced vaccines become more widely available, where we will all be, delighted to have met, happy to part, and delighted to meet again.
Please try to support our Almoner by keeping in contact with each other, and where possible, without increasing your or their infection risk, provide any additional support they may need and that you are safely able to provide. The excellent work by Paul & Alan and the rest of the team in maintaining Operation Contact has been a huge benefit to our older and less mobile brethren and we should continue this worthy activity for the foreseeable future.
Finally Brethren, it just remains for me to wish you a healthy and peaceful 2021. I truly believe we will see off the remainder of the Pandemic in short order so that we can return to our beloved Masonry as soon as it is wise and safe to do so.
Stay Alert and Stay Safe.
W Bro Tim Stott