21 May Papyrus Magazine June 2020
Volume 41 Number 3
Illustrious Sir William C. “Bill” Sweet
Has anyone seen the bottom of March lately? Just asking! I was just at home on Friday March 13, 2020 minding my own, and Shrine, business and the bottom dropped out of March! The last I heard it is still going!
Somewhere! COVID-19 did it I hear. Took April, May, June and July with it.
Just recently, the Imperial Session in Kansas City was cancelled. The Canadian/US border is closed so we can’t think of NYOSA events either. Everyone is under social-distancing restrictions and self-quarantine. Our lives are certainly different now. No large gatherings is the restriction that hurts our fraternity the most right now. But we have ZOOM!
Zoom has grown exponentially ever since COVID-19 arrived. The technology is simple to use and you can download a free version of it and also use it for free. I have paid $20 for a license for a month to be used by Rameses. The license allows extra time on meetings and up to 100 attendees. Your Divan is meeting once a week via ZOOM to try to stay abreast of this rapidly changing environment. That is how the Divan members are respecting the social distancing and stay at home rules while remaining in contact and relatively up to date.
Our Social Media Membership Campaign is going along nicely. We have garnered about 130 leads so far. The list is split about 50/50 between men who aren’t yet Masons and Master Masons who have expressed an interest in the Shrine. The stay at home directive from our government is a boon to the marketing part of this campaign because we know that they are at home with not much to do. On the flip side of that, these Masons don’t have ready cash to give us for initiation fees since they are without their usual jobs.
We have been behaving quite well in Ontario with respect to the pandemic self-distancing rules. As a result, the Provincial Government has now announced their strategy to reopen life and return to a new normal. There are no dates attached to that strategy yet but if we continue to behave, we might be quite pleased with the outcome. This sliver of optimism has not escaped my notice. Accordingly, save the date of November 13 and 14, 2020. We are contemplating a Fall Ceremonial and a Potentate’s Ball on those dates. Naturally, the virus controls whether we can enjoy these events with you.
Lady Barbara and I want to extend a sincere thank you to those Nobles and Ladies who had intended to be with us at the Potentate’s Ball, the Guelph Spring Ceremonial and also in Kansas City. They had concluded their travel arrangements, so we hope all the cancellations are not a burden for you.
Back to ZOOM! I have been pleased to handle weekly Divan meetings on Zoom. I was also included in a meeting in Belleville and one at Rameses Hillbillies. I have hosted one at Trillium Lodge No. 724 and am scheduled to hang out with Niagara Shrine Club very soon. The spread of this technology is what is needed in the 21st century so please try to embrace it. I offer to attend virtual meetings of each club/unit in Rameses. You can help me to schedule these meetings by using the Oasis Green 2020 Directory and scheduling your meeting based on your regular meeting night.
I will have to shuffle things around a bit sometimes, because of obvious conflicts but we must all stay resilient and connected for the good of our Fraternity. Even the canals of Venice are running crystal clear now, the Himalayan Mountains can now be seen from India for the first time in 20 years and industrial pollution has been temporarily eliminated from China and Europe. These are landmark occurrences. Let us endeavour to make our new normal more environmentally friendly.
Lady Barbara and I hope to Zoom around our realm and see all of you in the near future.
Remember to . . . Focus On Our Future