From The East
I have chosen to share a letter received from Grand Master John E. Trauner, written March 18, 2020:
Masonic Events During COVID-19 Gathering restrictions
On March 16, the California Department of Public Health released new guidance on the prevention of COVID-19 transmission. Department has found that all non-essential gatherings should be postponed or canceled until further guidance is provided. All gatherings are non-essential in the context of this guidance. In addition, a growing number of counties are issuing “shelter in place” orders, directing everyone in those counties to stay inside their homes and away from others as much as possible while the order is in effect. They may leave their homes only to provide or receive certain essential goods or services, engage in certain essential activities or work for essential businesses and government services. All Masonic gatherings are also non-essential in the contest of these shelter in place orders.
Based on the foregoing it is my direction that there be no Masonic gatherings of any kind in this state until further direction is received from me.
This includes all Masonic organizations and Masonic Youth Orders. None of our Masonic organizations or Masonic Youth Orders may hold a gathering of any kind in this state until further direction is received from me.
Masonic Funeral and Burial Services
While there is some authority to the effect that a funeral is an essential activity, you should contact the licensed funeral director for the service about your participation. If the licensed funeral director believes that the conduct of the funeral will qualify as an essential activity which you may attend, then members of the lodges Masonic organizations, and Masonic Youth Orders may attend and participate, but only in such numbers and with such social distancing as the licensed funeral director for the service shall determine.
Payment of Lodge Essential Bills Including Charity
As a result of these actions, no lodge can hold a stated meeting to pay its bills, and there is no clear remedy in our law to solve this problem. I do note CMC 403.095 which allows the elected officers of a Grand Lodge to conduct the essential business of the Grand Lodge if a competent state or national authority prohibits an Annual Communication. While this provision is not available for use by constituent lodges, I believe that the extraordinary and unforeseeable circumstances we are now experiencing allow me to exercise my powers as follows:
Special Procedure for Lodges
Effective today, a majority of the elected officers of the lodge may order the advancement of lodge funds to pay those essential lodge bills whose payment cannot reasonably be deferred.
- The elected lodge officers may confer by telephone, video conference, or email in making this determination.
- Expenditures by the lodge charity committee are an essential lodge bill for which payment should not be deferred.
- The lodge must ratify these payments at the next stated meeting held by the lodge.
The lodge master should inform the inspector of any other circumstances that may need to be addressed while this special procedure is in effect.
This special procedure is available only during the pendency of any applicable inhibition or prohibition on non essential gatherings. In any event, it will have no further force or effect after my term as Grand Master ends.
Sincerely and fraternally,
John E. Trauner
Grand Lodge F&AM of California
Forrest M. Bird
John J. Robinson
During his lifetime he was a member of the Medieval Academy of America, The Organization of American Historians, and the Royal Over-Seas League of London. He also headed a family trust dedicated to historical research and publication.
Robinson first began studying Freemasonry in the early 1980's and came to the attention of Masons with his book "Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry" presenting a believable explanation for a connection between the Knights Templar and modern-day Masons. A second book, "Dungeon, Fire and Sword: The Knights Templar in the Crusades" soon followed. He soon found himself regularly speaking to Masonic and non-Masonic groups: the former having a profound interest in his findings while the latter often concerned about perceived secrecy and imagined wrong-doings.
In 1993, Robinson published "A Pilgrim's Path: One Man's Road to the Masonic Temple" in which he described his experiences with Masons and those against them. Masonic authors praised the work as comprehensive and profound. As a result of his interactions with Masons, he ultimately petitioned a lodge and became Brother Robinson - as explained in his book. Regretfully, not long afterwards, he became ill and passed to the celestial lodge above.
The Masonic Information Center is a lasting tribute to his interest in and acceptance of Freemasonry as a way of life.
Don’t wait for the funeral after he’s dead. Call up a widow and brighten her day, by offering help along the way. I think if you’ll live by the Masonic Creed, you will find in this life everything you need. And you’ll find that you hate for lodge night to end, when it cuts short the time you can spend with a friend.
From The Secretary's Table
Our dues for 2020 are $125.00. Check your dues card. It should say: “Paid through December 31, 2020”. If not: They are due now and delinquent after January 1, 2020.
Fraternally, Bob Jackson, Secretary
Spring is almost here and so is this nasty virus. But your hallboard is still looking after your lodge building.
Most of our tenants have cancelled their meetings thru the month of April, so your rental manager is actively working with them concerning their rents.
Your Hallboard wants to make sure we look after our ten-ants and keep them thru the rough times that we all are experiencing.
Brother Bob Jackson is doing a great job juggling all the tenants and the chores around the lodge building. Thank You Brother Jackson.
These are trying times for us all, we all miss the people who we see and socialize with on a regular basis, I assure you hope happier times will return. This situation is only temporary. The Supreme Grand Master is giving us a test. We all can pass this test with flying colors. Please pray for those who are sick in our lodge and pray the Good Lord will keep them safe.
Tom Tompkins, PM
HSJ Hallboard President