Regional Deputy Conference Call - March 29, 2021
Submitted by Stephen Balke, General Grand Recorder, Cryptic Masons International

General Grand Council Collar
Cryptic Masons International Collar
Photo Credit; MIC John Bridegroom
 

On March 29, 2021, a conference call was held with the Regional Deputies. A summary of the call is below.

Africa

  • I have received the summons for today's meeting. Unfortunately, I am not able to participate because the connection conditions at home are problematic.
  • Since the beginning of December 2020, I returned to TOGO. All the TOGO companions are doing well. Council meetings are suspended until further notice as the government has taken strict action on covid-19 disease. The General Assembly of the Grand Council 2020 could not be held but still postpone to a later date. I continue to do what is necessary so that the Zoom meeting between the companions of Togo is effective.
  • For Gabon, it is the same situation with a 20-hour curfew in place. For Madagascar, I tried to reach our ambassador without follow-up.
  • I apologize for this meeting.
  • Please send my respectful greetings to MPIGGMI. With God's help, I'll be at the next meeting.
  • Good reunion and fraternal greetings to all the Grand Officers.
  • 0% Subordinate Council Returns.

Asia Pacific

  • Grand Sessions timelines
    • The Grand York Rite of the Philippines traditionally holds its Grand Reunion/Grand Session in the second week of October. It's too early now to determine if the meeting will be held at the same time and what form virtual or physical.
  • Subordinate Council contacts
    • Few. Most councils are dormant.
  • Government or health restrictions on meeting and travel.
    • The government has reacted to the worsening number of Covid 19 infections by imposing a new, stricter quarantine starting 29 March until 04 April. Complete lockdown and closure of almost all business establishments, people to remain at home. Curfew from 6pm until 5am. Air travel is restricted to 1,500 incoming passengers priority for Philippine residents/citizens. This will greatly affect 28 million people in Manila and surrounding areas with varying degrees throughout the country. It's bad.
  • Festival/Degree activity
    • None.
  • Programs and educational events
    • None at present. We would like to inquire if the General Grand Council has any programs we could offer or if there could be virtual presentations for the companions.
  • Ideas or requests for General Grand Council to facilitate your work
    • See No. 5.
  • Other
    • I tried to email Bro. Paul Kao but there seems to be a problem with his email. I still need an ambassador for Japan. Please email me at this address.
    • 100% Subordinate Council Returns.

Brazil

  • Health issues in Brazil are continuing - seem to be getting worse.
  • Virtual meetings only in Brazil.
  • Masonry is all but halted.
  • Grand Council
    • Filed documentation with the government today.
    • 80% completed for the Grand Council system being programmed.
  • Allen Sylvestre named as Regional Deputy General Grand Master when Grand Council comes into being.

East Central

  • Indiana
    • Masks are being released.
    • April 23-24, 2021 Council and Commandery Grand Sessions.
      • In-person
      • Muncie, IN
      • Tom Taylor will be in attendance.
    • Looks like things are going to open up next week.
  • East Central Conference
    • Virtual - Zoom
    • Presentation by Dr. Murphy and GGC
    • Raised some money for CMMRF

Europe

  • The UK - No travel
  • Europe - COVID issues rising. - No Travel.
  • Virtual Meetings only, but not very many of those.
  • Italy - Conference call today - 360+ participants.
  • Greece - Grand Sessions went well, all officers stayed in place.
    • Needs to work on getting per capita caught up.

Latin America

  • A new wave of COVID all throughout South America
  • Little to no activity and plans for Masonic meetings and getting together.
  • Virtual meetings are going on - no ritual work, no advancement, no new members.
    • Many petitions are coming in.
  • Columbia - Working and excited - stymied by the Covid issues.
  • Panama - Aggressive quarantine has led to open for business hours.
    • Pfizer vaccine is being distributed.
  • Central America is meeting virtually.
  • Companion Oswald Hernandez - Gran Logia Cuscatlan in El Salvador
  • Mexico
    • Working!
    • 80+% Subordinate Council Returns in!
  • Paraguay
    • Communications with Odilan Ayala.
    • Need to look at education opportunities regarding York Rite/Masonry.
  • Triennial -
    • Travel is a challenge, unknown if it will be allowed.
    • Harder to sell, but working to get interest and information out.

Mid Atlantic

  • Delaware
    • New Grand Recorder
  • District of Columbia
    • General Grand Master Installed the Officers
  • Maryland - No news
  • New Jersey
    • New Grand Recorder
  • Pennsylvania
    • Not doing many visitors - hybrid meeting
    • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Virginia - No news
  • West Virginia - Chapter meeting at the same time as Maryland.
  • Regional Conference
    • TBD - Not planned yet.

North Central

  • No news

Northeast

  • Connecticut:
    • * Ambassador: Peter Smyth
    • * GL – some in-person/hybrid forms, though GM has banned full degree presentations.
    • * York Rite – no degree work; just virtual meetings. These have been really good though.
    • * Developing educational programs.
    • * Resume in-person by May?
    • * GL Annual session in April – planning for in-person.
    • * Chapter/Council Annual – June 5?
  • Massachusetts:
    • * Ambassador: Steve Rubenstein
    • * GL – some degrees with special protocols: 50% of listed occupancy; 10/1000 ft^2
    • * York Rite – some meetings but mostly virtual.
  • Maine:
    • * Ambassador: Ken Caldwell
    • * Governor has not changed much on COVID roles as yet.
    • * Rough occupancy timeline May 50%, June 75%.
    • * Now allowing inter-District travel.
    • * Have been allowing EA and FC degrees; MM degrees with special restrictions.
    • * Chapters & Councils mostly virtual meetings but some in-person.
    • * Working through a two-year school of instruction for all three bodies; follows a program from CT. 18 participants in-person; so far, very well received.
    • * Annual Grand Session still planned for April 23rd: Friday-Council, Saturday (9 am)-Chapter, Saturday (1 pm)-Commandery.
  • New Hampshire:
    • * Ambassador: Paul Smith
    • * Governor extended state of emergency into April.
    • * Chapter & Council suspended; business meetings but no degrees.
    • * Annual meeting still planned for 2nd Sat in May (8th) with at only NH members in attendance.
    • * Corresponding Grand Banquet may be postponed until July 31st.
    • * Possible Super Excellent Master degree plan – date pending.
  • New York:
    • * Ambassador: Dick Fowler
    • * Chapter held their Convocation (March 6); 25 in-person + virtual.
    • * GL – opened up Lodges following guidelines. Curfew - hard stop at 9:30 pm; some degree work. Attendance generally based on 50 max, depending on room code allowances.
    • * Annual meeting still planned for August 21st in Albany at the Desmond.
    • * Tri-State Council festival – October 9th in Saugerties.
  • Rhode Island:
    • * Ambassador: Mark Thompson
    • * Annual meeting scheduled for March 27th; in-person + virtual; location at Scottish Rite Cathedral in Cranston.
    • * GL – allowing Lodges to open; meetings, officer installations & degree work with modifications.
    • * Chapters & Councils: limited in-person meetings.
    • * One-day classes planned for the spring/summer.
  • Vermont:
    • * Ambassador: Kirk White
    • * GL – shut down; no degree work, but dispensations for elections and installations.
    • * Various Zoom meetings are taking place in all bodies.
    • * Annual Grand York Rite meeting pushed to June 12 – still needs confirmation. Would be in-person for officers and virtual for all others.
    • An edict from Grand Master - Allowing Lodges to open - based upon social clubs.
      • Restrictions - social distancing and masks, 50% of fire code.
      • York Rite is opening/but there is a rise in COVID.
  • General comments and feedback:
    • * Really like the fireside chats!
    • * NE Conference (Sept. 10-11) initial ideas: less formal setting; Q&A roundtable sessions and less presentation; like the idea of sitting down with the leaders (Monty, etc.) to discuss things – more personal; like the CMMRF presentation by the doctor – brings passion; hint for RARA! Engaging in educational topics always a plus.

Northwest

  • Alaska
    • Starting up with meetings - Anchorage is active.
    • Restrictions from Governor and the Local
  • Colorado
    • No news.
  • Idaho
    • Lewiston April 15-17, 2021
  • Oregon
    • Shut Down
  • Washington
    • May 14, 2021 - Zoom -
  • Wyoming
    • Opening up quite a bit
    • Festival - new members for Council last weekend.
    • Restrictions were in place.
  • Regional Meeting
    • Boise, ID
    • In Person - TBD
    • October 15-16, 2021

South Central

  • Limited Activities
    • Virtual meetings
      • Louisiana Grand Sessions
      • Arkansas Grand Sessions
    • In Person
  • Louisiana
  • Oklahoma
    • April 24, 2021
    • Stephen Balke Representing
  • Missouri
    • TBD In person
  • Kansas
    • One Day - July 17, 2021
    • Viola, KS
    • Council Only
  • South Central
    • September 17-18, 2021
    • Finalizing contracts now.

Southeast

  • Southeast Conference
    • Mobile, AL
    • June 11-12, 2021

Southwest

  • Hawaii
    • February
    • Locked down - 10 or less
  • New Mexico
    • April 17, 2021
    • Virtual Sessions, virtual meetings.
  • California
    • May 8, 2021
    • Virtual meetings only.
  • Utah
    • May 8, 2021
    • Virtual
    • Mask mandate - lifting April.
    • Festival
      • September 17-29, 2021
    • Education Series
      • April
      • April 26, 2021
  • Arizona
    • August 19-21, 2021
    • Opening up - resuming
    • Festivals
      • May 1 Council
      • June KT
  • Nevada
    • August 22-24, 2021
    • Opening up by a population of local
    • Festivals
      • CRFF October 17-19, 2021
  • Southwest Regional
    • Testing Hotels, Golden Nugget?
    • October 30-31, 2021

CMMRF

  • Very close to the $50,000.00 matching donation.
  • Working hard this year to hit the $500,000.00 goal for 2021
  • Preparing and working on getting together information for State Chairmen.
    • Working with the Regionals with communication and distribution.
  • Sandy Karstens - Thank you, PowerPoint presentation for CMMRF.
  • Jay B Walsh -
    • From 0 to $5K - Washington D.C.
    • Delaware - Exceeded past accomplishments.
  • Decryption Article Thursday
    • Reprinted with permission - Dr. Michael Murphy IU article.

General Grand Council

  • Aloha Shirts
  • Ties
  • OSVs
    • General Grand Honors - Ensure goes through General Grand Electives.
  • Fireside Chats
    • March cancelled due to Holy Week.
    • April will be on - April 25, 2021 - 5:00 PM EDT
    • Invite EVERY COMPANION! (Maybe even Master Masons)
  • Triennial Session 1
    • If a member cannot attend (or are planning on attending) - please let us know IN ADVANCE any changes that are desired to the legislation.