24 Oct Papyrus Magazine November 2020
Volume 41 Number 5
Illustrious Sir William C. “Bill” Sweet
COVID-19 is still here, and the second wave is reportedly just emerging! This dominant subject is controlling everything we do. It has changed almost everything we do in our business model. Change in and of itself is scary. We have not been here before. Now what do we do? Where do we go from here?
Mankind has not stood still out of fear of change and neither should we. Some of this change is forced upon us, some of it is chosen so that we can take our place in this 21st century.
My slogan for this year is “FOCUS ON OUR FUTURE”. I tried to stay on this course in everything I have done. We had to use “virtual meetings” or there would not have been any meetings at all. We have grown by leaps and bounds using “ZOOM”. There are many other platforms that can be used but Shriners International uses ZOOM so we did also.
Communications started off in January with a Potentate’s Facebook page. The page was tracking the Potentate through all the installation ceremonies.
When COVID-19 took charge on Friday March 13, 2020, the Divan began weekly ZOOM meetings to react to and announce cancellations and shutdowns. Some upbeat posts happened on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. My family hosted a virtual birthday party for me in May. But we all continued to soldier along.
There is a “scorched earth” list of event cancellations all due to COVID-19. However, on the positive side, we paid attention to all the health expert’s entreaties and stayed home when asked and followed social distancing complete with mask-wearing and hand-washing directives as well. The result is that Rameses Shriners has not been decimated. Good job folks!
Our Social Media efforts have delivered many encouraging outcomes. We have created a positive online community. We have reached 3 million people. We have received from Shriners International a first place Dromedary award in the Instagram category. This is a significant stamp of approval regarding our communication strategy.
We did not reach our membership target. COVID-19 negatively affected this, but we were able to send more than 215 referrals who wanted to become Masons to Grand Lodge for their action when they can resume normal meetings. I like to think of this as filling up the pipeline for future Shriners.
We are on the right track! We have joined the 21st century even if it is 20% finished. Keep up the good work Nobles!
It has been a pleasure to serve all of you over the last 5 years and it was a distinct honour for me to serve as Potentate and Lady Barbara as First Lady during this most unusual year.
Lady Barbara and I wish all of you continued success in your endeavours. May all of you enjoy a Merry Christmas and a Happy and prosperous New Year.
Remember to . . . Focus On Our Future