The first Installation meeting in Hertfordshire since the suspension of Freemasonry earlier in the year was held at Halsey Hall in Cheshunt on Tuesday, 25 August by Michael Batham Jones Lodge No 9675. The meeting was attended by Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Dick Knifton and Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Mark Purtow.
Because of the difficulties caused by the virus, the election meeting could not be held earlier in the year and, as a consequence, the Worshipful Master and his Officers agreed to continue in office for a further year.
Andrew Porter was proclaimed by the Lodge Director of Ceremonies, Alan Pilcher, and the business of the Lodge was expertly handled by the Secretary, Stephen Appelman. In addition to other matters he was able to announce a re-joining member and a Candidate for Initiation; although the Brethren in attendance expressed their unwillingness to carry out an Initiation ceremony under the current guidelines.
Halsey Hall was very well organised, with a system to record the names and contact numbers of attending Brethren as well the provision of plenty of hand gel. The wearing of face masks is mandatory whilst in the centre. There was evidence everywhere of active surface cleaning being continuously carried out and everything possible was being done to maintain a safe environment for all. The Lodge Room was clearly set out to maintain social distancing, and the meeting was successfully completed in less than 40 minutes.
There is no doubt that the current restrictions on the social aspects of Freemasonry, with bar and dining curtailed, indicate just how much things still have to change before ‘normality’ is achieved.