Regional Deputy Conference Call - April 26, 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 April 26, 2021, a conference call was held with the Regional Deputies. A summary of the call is below.

Africa

  • Health
    • Government has all meetings closed down at this point.
  • Grand Sessions
    • Setup in June or July for Sessions if Government opens up.
    • RDGGM will advise when any sessions are planned.
  • Gabon - No recent communications, awaiting annual report for 2020
    • Pandemic is not allowing meetings or consistent communication.
  • Togo
    • Same as Gabon - using WhatsApp where possible.
    • Internet is not good for communication by Zoom.
  • Madagascar
    • Have not been able to be in touch.
    • The representative does not want to be the rep anymore - 
    • RDGGM is currently looking for a representative in the Grand Lodge
  • RDGGM - Please invite GG Officers to the WhatsApp Groups

Asia Pacific

  • GGM - will reach out to RDGGM.

Brazil

  • Health - Pandemic spiked and is getting better, but anticipate more cases of COVID due to both the government reopening and mutations of virus.
    • Communications from the Grand Lodges are every 15 days.
    • Likely within 2-3 months things are planned to open up.
  • Meetings are not being held right now in Masonry.
  • Grand Council - Government analyzing the documents for establishment of the new Grand Council.
    • Christian Padilla - Slotted for Deputy, rushed to ICU with COVID.
    • Working to organize the Grand Council
      • Leadership
      • Finance

Latin America

  • Mexico
    • The government is closed by area (local government). 
    • Sometimes opening too much too soon.
    • Most are meeting virtually, some in person.
    • York Rite is more limited than Blue Lodge.
    • Lots of Subordinate activity
  • Central America
    • COVID still has everything virtual - no physical contact.
    • Don’t see York Rite opening until at least September.
  • Panama
    • Active vaccination movement by the Government.
    • Working in person and virtually, no one really trusts the vaccine.
    • Quarantine and curfew have brought down the infection and mortality rate.
    • Meetings in person are limited to 25 Brethren, usually used for Degrees, most meetings online. (Prohibited 3rd Degree work).
    • Keeping strict regulations with social distancing and restrictions.
  • Columbia
    • Much the same as Panama.
  • Ecuador 
    • A resurgence of COVID.
    • Looking to form second Chapter and Council 
    • Guayaquil no longer in amity with Quito. Political situation.
    • GG Chapter is putting together a response to Grand Lodge communication.
  • Peru
    • A resurgence of COVID,
  • Paraguay
    • Better situation - landlocked and closures have contributed.
    • Starting to work in the near future.
  • In General - 
    • Working with the Grand Lodges to coordinate degree work and ensure a healthy path forward.
    • Foresee growth this year when each of the Jurisdictions allow more.

East Central

  •  No report

Europe

  • Slowly working toward opening up - but a resurgence is also happening.
  • Travel restrictions have not been lifted in most countries.
  • Virtual meetings
  • Greece held its Grand Assembly last Saturday.
  • Italy is having regular Zoom meetings with education and fellowship.
  • Portugal is looking at opening possibilities.
  • Croatia - issues with Grand Lodge and communication is down.
  • France - Paris is in another lockdown.
  • Austria - Increase in cases - no communications.
  • Germany - no meetings (not even virtually).
  • SW Asia - Follow up by DGGM
  • Romania - George Villciano - released from the hospital.

North Central

  • Iowa - 
    • Opening up - Councils are meeting in person; some are meeting virtually.
    • Council Festivals have been happening.
    • Grand Session (Convocation and Assembly
      • Scottish Rite in Des Moines, IA
      • August 6-7, 2021
  • Minnesota
    • The lodge is serving dinner - things are going back to normal
      • Masks required.
      • Social Distancing
    • A few Councils meeting
      • Most virtual
      • Some in person.
    • Festival +++SEM
      • February 26, 2022
    • Grand Council - Virtual Council
      • Education
      • Grand Master Hiram Council
      • Last weekend 4th successful weekend.
    • Sessions
      • June 24-26, 2021
      • Alexandria, MN Holiday Inn
      • Banquet Friday
  • Nebraska
    • Just held Grand Sessions April 15-17, 2021
    • Holiday Inn in Carney, NE
    • 2hr. Sessions +Installation
    • Hosted degree work - new Companions.
  • North Dakota
    • Grand sessions July 8-10, 2021
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin
    • Meeting Virtually. Some are meeting in person
    • Planning Degree work
    • Grand Session - May 1, 2021, Virtually
      • All of the GGC Line will attend virtually
  • North Central Conference
    • October 22-23, 2021
    • In-Person
    • Sioux Falls, SD - Ramkota

Northeast

  • Northeast (North) Regional Info Updates
  • Connecticut:
    • Ambassador: Peter Smyth
    • We are reopening Masonic activities rapidly. Last Saturday a new Grand Master was installed and all previous edicts were expunged. The new Most Worshipful has a simple new Covid edict that all bodies can meet within the rules of the State government and it is up to each individual WM to decide how to hold their meetings and if they would continue with hybrid, video only, or in-person only. This applies to all appendant bodies.
    • The CT Grand Commandery meets today and will install a new Grand Commander. We will know the disposition of our state then. Currently, we can meet, but cannot perform the Order of the Temple.
    • Chapters and Councils are starting to meet as well but more common is the Zoom-only option still. Some Councils have decided not to meet in person until later. Also, some hybrid models taking place.
    • Everyone trying to take care of candidate backlogs.
    • The York Rite College will start meeting in person in May. Other bodies are a mixed bag.
    • Overall the news is that we are making strides towards opening but it is depending on the EC, HP, and TIM of each body to decide in consultation with their members. Our YR bodies plan on beginning our degree cycle in September. Currently, we are not allowed to perform the Royal Arch.
    • We have had greater attendance at our zoom calls than in person. This is not universal as many York rite bodies are struggling in the state. The challenge of Covid will be hanging over us for years I fear. We are planning on using the video format during the education portion of our meetings moving forward. We hope to continue to engage our far-away companions as long as we can.
  • Massachusetts:
    • Ambassador: Steve Rubenstein
    • Couple of “red spots” but generally doing ok.
    • April 19, State opens up vaccines for 16 and older.
    • Tri-State festival on October 9 – probably add the Silver Trowel.
    • Semi-annual YR meeting on April 17.
    • Still no YR degrees, but Blue Lodges are doing them. Zoom meetings as usual and lots of education.
    • New Grand Recorder for Council, Jacob Yanovich: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
  • Maine:
    • Ambassador: Ken Caldwell
    • Governor – 75% capacity
    • GL Annual in Bangor on May 4 – in-person with attendance set at 1 member/Lodge.
    • Chapters & Councils still mostly virtual meetings but some in-person; Full-form openings okayed.
    • Grand Royal Arch annual business meeting planned for before the actual annual (below).
    • Annual Grand Session still planned for April 23rd: Friday-Council (7 pm), Saturday (9 am)-Chapter, Saturday (1 pm)-Commandery.
    • Post-meeting update – new MIGM: Brian Messing
  • New Hampshire:
    • Ambassador: Paul Smith
    • Tom Tsirimokos was elected MIGM (and MEGHP) for the upcoming year.
    • Chapter & Council still suspended, but expecting to commence work once Tom is installed; there are a number of candidates in the pipeline.
    • The annual meeting still planned for 2nd Sat in May (8th) with only NH members in attendance.
    • Tom Taylor is planning to attend the Annual in-person (post note; this will no longer be the case due to other scheduling issues.)
    • CMMRF donations are up.
  • New York:
    • Ambassador: Dick Fowler
    • GL – limited collations/no buffets, still following basic guidelines.
    • The 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
    • Can do catered events at 75% up to 100 indoors/500 outdoors.
    • GL – Lodges now open; meetings, officer installations & degree work following usual protocols.
    • Chapters & Councils meeting by both Zoom and in-person.
    • Degree festival sometime in June or July.
  • Vermont:
    • Ambassador: Kirk White
    • State – travel restrictions are being relaxed.
    • GL – slowly opening up.
    • Zoom meetings still taking place, but planning for the opening of Chapter work followed by Council degrees; many candidates in the pipeline.
    • Annual Grand York Rite meeting pushed to June 12 in Barre, in hybrid mode.
  • Northeast
    • Northeast Conference
    • September 10-11, 2021
    • Albany, NY - The Desmond.

Mid Atlantic

  • Conference
    • TBA
  • Meetings are ongoing - 
    • Some virtually
    • Some in-person
  • Delaware
    • Meetings
  • Maryland
    • Grand Sessions
      • Planned in person
    • Just had Order of the Silver Trowel
  • New Jersey
    • Meeting in person
  • Pennsylvania
    • No report
  • Virginia
    • Grand Sessions (Chapter and Commandery) October in Williamsburg, VA

Northwest

  •  No report

South Central

  • MIC Rodney Middleton Passed on April 22, 2021, Past Ambassador
  • Arkansas
    • No report
  • Kansas
    • July 17, 2021
    • Iola, KS
    • Services for MIC Rodney Middleton on April 27, 2021
  • Missouri
    • June 12, 2021
    • Jefferson City, MO - Crowne Plaza
    • Awards Banquet after the Session.
  • Oklahoma
    • Grand Sessions this past weekend.
    • Good Session - Condensed to 1.5 hours per body.
    • Clyde Schoolfield, GGL - MIGM
    • Robert Davis, MWGM, GGO - GPCW
    • Getting vaccinated  - in person
    • 5 OSVs presented
    • Conferring Royal and Select Master - May 21, 2021
    • MWGM Edict - Open for business.
  • South Central Conference
    • September 17-18, 2021
    • Overland Park.KS - Holiday Inn (Fly into Kansas City)

Southeast

  •  No report

Southwest

  • Arizona
  • Hawaii
    • Sessions in February
    • Still locked down.
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
    • Sessions earlier this month
    • Zoom meetings
    • Still locked down.
  • California
    • Virtual Session May 8, 2021
  • Utah
    • Virtual Session May 8, 2021
    • Back to work on May 9, 2021

CMMRF

  • Some really exciting things going on
    • We had a goal of 50K for 1st quarter. We exceeded that goal - 75K
    • Dr Murphy spoke about an Encapsulator
    • We are doing Leaps and Bounds around the Medical Community
    • Matching funds Project for a Cytometer - 
      • Cost is 1.2M- Our goal is 600K
    • You do not have to wear a Purple Coat to donate
    • Tool Kits are being made for discussions/presentations

General Grand Council

  • We are revamping Marketplace 
  • We are creating an Internal site generalgrandcouncil.org 
    • We are working on forms
  • Youth Advocate Award
  • New Ambassador Jewel
  • Business cards and Name Tags are in the process
  • August 13, 2021
    •  Training sessions
      • Recorders/Treasurers
      • CMMRF
      • Corey Curtiss will be doing Leadership training (tentative)
      • Aloha Dinner
  • August 14, 2021
    • 1st Session
  • Ties are available (Regular, Long, Pre-tied Bow, Bow ties)
    • $25 + shipping
    • Pocket Squares available for $5 + Shipping