COVID 19 Support
Brethren and Companions Subscription Support Funds
The COVID-19 crisis is undoubtedly a world changing event, affecting vast numbers of people. Their families, finances and very activities will change, whatever the eventual outcome. When normality returns many things may be different, and many will have to make changes.
Integrity, Respect and Charity are at the heart of Freemasonry, and those principals, we hope, make us valuable to the world, and true to ourselves. Family and work should always come ahead of our Freemasonry. For many Brethren and Companions, it is likely that the balance between those three will be affected in the aftermath of this crisis.
The purpose of these funds is to help make possible continued involvement in Freemasonry for those Brethren and Companions disadvantaged by this crisis. The funds will make grants to Lodges and Chapters to top up their subscription income. This will help both members and the wider world as our masonic principles are applied.
Practically it is not possible or desirable to forecast all the circumstances which may give rise to a need. What is already evident is that many of our members will suffer substantial and possibly catastrophic declines in income, job losses, the destruction of value in their businesses and changes in family circumstances.
It is also possible that the members most affected may be those of a working age who may be regarded as the future of our Order.
In the light of all these facts, the Craft and Royal Arch Provinces propose to make available up to £15,000 for Lodges and £7,500 for Chapters to claim upon to support any shortfall in their subscription income as a result of the change of circumstances of any of their members that could be attributable to the COVID-19 crisis.
The practical operation of these funds will need to be flexible, responsive and sensitive. Often, senior members of the Lodge or Chapter will be aware where there are difficulties. In others, it may not become apparent until a member says he intends to resign, or when a subscription invoice remains unpaid. Hopefully the former will generally be the case.
The Master or MEZ, Secretary or Scribe E and Almoner of each Lodge or Chapter will, after enquiry, and from their knowledge, determine those members for whom serious hardship has arisen, and whose future membership may, as a result, be in doubt. The Lodge or Chapter Almoner will tell the Provincial Almoner how many members this applies to. He should retain a list of the members concerned for one year. This should be done when subscriptions are due, and then as circumstances change. No further formalities will be required, and Lodges and Chapters will be assumed to have acted in accordance with masonic principles.
The Province will confirm acceptance of the claim, after which the Lodge or Chapter should inform the member concerned that his subscription has been paid. The Province will pay the amount of the subscriptions lost. The funds will pay only one subscription per member in each order, usually the mother or “primary” Lodge or Chapter.
It is intended that these funds operate primarily through the Lodges and Chapters. However, any individual member who would prefer, for whatever reason, to speak with his Provincial Almoner, is invited to do so.
If the funds are oversubscribed the Provinces may either top it up or pay a proportion of the subscriptions claimed. In the latter case it is hoped that the Lodge or Chapter would make up the shortfall.
In the Lodge or Chapter accounts, the amount received is to be treated as the subscription for the nominated members and those subscriptions shown as paid.
The fund will operate for one year from the ending of the suspension and resumption of masonic activity. At the Fund launch, all Lodges and Chapters will be asked for a rough estimate of numbers to assist planning.
These funds are created in addition to the Warwickshire Subscription Fund and The R M London Fund, whose details can be found on Page 119 of the 2019/20 Warwickshire Yearbook.
The Provincial Almoners of the Craft and Royal Arch Provinces will be the primary contacts for the operation of the funds. Their contact details are shown below.