Regional Deputy Conference Call - May 24, 2021
Submitted by Stephen Balke, General Grand Recorder, Cryptic Masons International

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Photo Credit; MIC John Bridegroom
 

On May 24, 2021, a conference call was held with the Regional Deputies. A summary of the call is below.

Africa

  • Togo
    • Meetings are becoming more flexible
    • Grand Assembly - TBA - July
  • Gabon
    • Grand Assembly - TBA - Planning
    • Visas for travel - also looking to find out any further travel restrictions.
  • Madagascar
    • Still no real communication - trying to get ahold of the Grand Master and Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge.

Asia/Pacific

  • Philippines
    • Covid is not really improving - behind on vaccinations.
    • Waiting to see how the situation improves.
    • Still under lockdown.
    • No meetings - hoping for a virtual Grand Assembly in October (in person if possible)
    • Travel is restricted.
  • Taiwan
    • Paul Kao - Ambassador
    • Slowly seeing closing - cases increasing.
    • Vaccine distribution is haphazard.
  • Japan
    • Same as Taiwan.

Brazil

  • Christian is out of the hospital - home and convalescing.
  • Starting to open a little - social distancing is not being practiced. 
    • Covid is still going - 3rd wave starting.
    • Numbers are rising.
    • Vaccines are being distributed - do not help with the many variants
  • Meetings
    • Grand Lodge has authorized restricted meetings
    • Councils meeting only on Zoom
  • Festivals - Not doing festivals
  • Grand Council
    • Approved by the Government
    • Working toward Constituting as soon as time is available.

Canada

  •  No report

East Central

  • No report

Europe

  • General
    • Vaccinations are going well.
    • Travel is discouraged.
    • Restrictions are country based - variants are making decisions.
  • UK 
    • Traffic light system - Green/Yellow/Red
      • Green
        • Testing before and after each leg of the trip.
        • 10 day isolation period.
      • Amber - 
        • Green +
        • Lose Travel insurance
      • Red
        • No Travel.
  • Romania
    • June 18, 2021 - 19:00 
    • Virtual - Zoom
  • Germany, France, Croatia, 
    • Lockdown
  • Portugal - opening up
  • Italy - 
    • Opening up.
    • Grand Assembly on September 11-12 - In person planned - TBA
  • Greece - Opening up.

Latin America

  • Central America
    • Costa Rica - 
      • Travel and gathering restricted
      • Meetings still virtual
  • Columbia
    • Remains closed - surge in cases.
  • Mexico
    • Government
      • Covid is still an issue - especially in densely populated areas.
      • Restrictions are by state.
      • Vaccinations are an issue - not as available as needed.
    • Meetings - largely virtual
    • Restricted travel.
  • Panama
    • Doing well for a while - but increases happening on bordering provinces.
    • Curfews in affected areas are in force.
    • Vaccines coming in regularly - getting into the younger population.
    • Meetings both in person and virtual
      • Administrative meetings are all virtual.
    • Degree work is being done with restrictions and limitations on attendance.
  • Paraguay
    • Remains closed - surge in cases.
    • Covid situation is worse.
  • Peru
    • Remains closed - surge in cases.
    • CMI meeting was a virtual - successful meeting. 
  • Venezuela
    • Remains closed - surge in cases.
    • Using Russian and Chinese vaccines
    • Only virtual meetings.

Mid-Atlantic

  • Maryland Ambassador VPC Robert Lumbert (proposed)
  • Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference
    • Planning meeting TBD.

North Central

  • General
    • No restrictions to lockdown.
  • Iowa
    • Grand Assembly - 
      • August 6-7, 2021 - Registrations tba
      • Scottish Rite - Des Moines, IA
  • Minnesota
    • Opening up except in Minneapolis/St. Paul.
    • Meeting restrictions greatly relaxed/if not vaccinated recommended to wear masks.
    • Maintaining social distancing.
    • Grand Session
      • June
      • Minneapolis
  • Nebraska
    • Successful Grand Sessions - in person. DGGM in attendance.
  • North Dakota
    • Grand Assembly
      • Bismarck - Ramada Inn.
      • July 8-10
      • Registration on website
    • No restrictions
  • South Dakota
    • Grand Session
      • Mitchell SD, Ramada Inn
      • September 16-18, 2021
  • Wisconsin
    • Grand Sessions - Virtual - GGEOs in Attendance.
  • North Central Conference
    • October 22-23, 2021
    • Sioux Falls, SD - Ramkota

Northeast

  • Connecticut:
    • Ambassador: Peter Smyth
    • No news this month.
    • Annual Session - 
      • June 5, 2021 - 
      • 8:30 AM Council first, Chapter After.
  • Massachusetts:
    • Ambassador: Steve Rubenstein
    • More in-person opening up.
    • Governor is slowly loosening things up.
    • Blue Lodges doing degrees with COVID guidelines.
    • Tri-State Council festival in Saugerties on October 9 still in place.
    • Grand York Rite Annual planned for October 22-23; location TBD.
    • May begin some one-day York Rite classes.
    • 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
    • 75% capacity; still statewide mask mandate
    • GL Annual in Bangor took place on May 4 – one-day in-person.
    • More activity in Blue Lodges; all 3 degrees
    • Chapters & Councils in-person meetings starting up.
    • Grand York Rite Annual session took place virtually on April 23rd and 24th; Brian Messing new MIGM.
    • Heads of Body reception on June 5th.
  • New Hampshire:
    • Ambassador: Paul Smith
    • Annual sessions are completed – Tom Tsirimokos was elected MIGM (and MEGHP) for upcoming year.
    • Chapter & Council should begin to open up with in-person meetings underway.
    • Grand Lodge – Master Mason degrees allowed.
    • York Rite Banquet planned for July 31 at the Concord Holiday Inn RDGGM in Attendance
    • Statewide mask mandate has been lifted.
  • New York:
    • Ambassador: Dick Fowler
    • Now at 50% immunized.
    • GL – can do business & Lodge elections.
    • Degrees still using COVID protocols.
    • York Rite all starting up for meetings with usual guidelines.
    • Annual Grand Council meeting still planned for August 21st in Albany at the Desmond; capacity presently at 100.
    • Tri-State Council festival – October 9th in Saugerties.
  • Rhode Island:
    • Ambassador: Mark Thompson
    • Now at 3ft versus 6ft distancing.
    • About 55% vaccinated/1-shot
    • Mask mandate indoors; moving from 80% to 100% or max of 500.
    • GL – Lodges open; meetings, officer installations & degree work still following usual protocols.
    • Chapters & Councils starting degrees.
    • June 5th Grand Chapter degree festival in Cranston.
  • Vermont:
    • Ambassador: Kirk White
    • State – further loosening of restrictions.
    • About 70% vaccinated/1-shot
    • GL – 50% capacity.
    • York Rite degrees being planned but still some hesitation.
    • Grand York Rite still on for June 12 in Barre, in hybrid mode.
  • NE Conference:
    • September 10-11 at Desmond in Albany.
    • Meeting planned in the next week with Regional Deputies for General Grand Chapter and Council and Department Commander (to-be) to discuss agenda and details for the conference. Should have some details from this to report at the June meeting.
    • REDC John Barnes

Northwest

  • Alaska
    • Opening up and allowing in person gathering
    • Meetings are starting up.
  • Colorado
    • Really opening up
    • June 19-20 - Grand Pathways Rendezvous
      • Royal, Select, SEM
      • Grand Junction, CO
    • Grand Sessions
      • September 9-11, 2021
      • Planned Virtual/Hybrid for officers 
      • Confirming with Side-Bodies
      • Limited Banquet - in person.
  • Idaho
    • Opening up
    • Grand Sessions were successful
    • Tri-Valley College - Boise - Silver Trowel.
  • Montana
    • Virtual Session
    • June 5, 2021 5:00 PM MDT
    • Registration: 
  • Oregon
    • Still Closed.
  • Washington
    • Successful Virtual Session.
    • Rabi Pipher - Great session. Richard Kovak 
  • Wyoming
    • Opened up.
    • Vaccinations are almost complete.
    • Grand Session
      • September 16-19, 2021
      • Cheyenne, WY
      • Registration available on the website.
  • Northwest Conference
    • October 15-16
    • Council - 15th Afternoon.
    • Boise, ID - Red Lion Downtown.

South Central

  • General
    • Open and doing business.
  • Arkansas
    • July 31, 2021 - Honoring dinner for MEGGHP Steven Tiner
      • Little Rock AR
      • $50 (Donation to RARA for revenues in excess of expenses)
  • Kansas
    • Grand Session
      • July 17, 2021
  • Louisiana
  • Missouri
    • Grand Assembly
      • June 10-12, 2021
      • Saturday - Council
  • Oklahoma
    • Festival Saturday - 15 new Companions
  • South Central Conference
    • 2021
      • September 17-18, 2021
      • Holiday Inn, Overland Park, KS
      • Speakers in the Morning - Good content education/etc.
      • General Grands in the Afternoon
      • Allan Jackson, KS Grand Recorder handling registrations.
    • 2022
      • Samstown in Shreveport, LA

Southeast

  • Southeast Region is generally open. 
    • Our State Grand Conclaves have been a mixture of In-Person and Virtual. 
    • The Southeast Conference is only 2 weeks away, 11-12 June. 
      • We expect a successful conference. 
  • AL had a statewide Festival in Birmingham and initiated 55 new Companions and Sir Knights.
  • Florida
    • Successful Grand Assembly - GGM in attendance.
  • Georgia
    • Successful Grand Assembly and Installation/Banquet. - GGM in attendance.
    • Hosted the first OSV Virtual Investiture and the General Grand Officers
  • Mississippi
    • Successful Grand Assembly/Sessions
    • Virtual Session
  • South Carolina
    • Sessions on June 26, 2021

Southwest

  • Arizona
    • Sessions August 18-21, 2021
    • Council 19th
    • Doubletree Mesa, AZ
  • Hawaii
    • Fairly restricted, social distancing.
    • Meetings are allowed in person.
  • California
    • Grand Assembly on May 8, 2021
    • Illustrious Grand Master - Peter Champion
    • August 22, 2021
      • Open for in person meetings.
  • New Mexico
    • Just opened up.
  • Nevada
    • Sessions 
      • August 22-24, 2021
      • Monday 23rd Morning - Council.
      • Santa Fe Casino, Las Vegas, NV
  • Utah
    • Grand Sessions successful
    • Jeffrey E. Hamilton, Most Illustrious Grand Master
    • Completely open - each Temple has set their own restrictions.
  • Southwest Conference
    • October 29-30, 2021
    • Council - Afternoon on 29th
    • Golden Nugget Hotel, Fremont Street, Las Vegas, NV.
    • Registration forthcoming.
  • CRFF
    • Still tentatively planned, no definitive decisions.

General Grand Council

  • Reviewing the Ritual
    • Including Super Excellent Master and a “small cast” version.
  • Community Outreach (for the Masonic Family)
    • First Responder Recognition
    • NEW!!! - Youth Advocate Award
    • Self Funded opportunities to work through all Masonic organizations.
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