Provincial Grand Lodge of Valencia

Masonic meetings may now take place subject to approval by the PGM and the ProvGSec.

Lodges should submit a Safety Plan, including the name(s) of their designated Safety Officer(s).

A Message from R.W. Bro M.A. Shilan

Provincial Grand Master of Valencia

STATE OF ALARM

Brethren,

On Tuesday 5th May the Provincial Executive Committee met, by video conferencing to discuss what form of guidance could be given to Lodges as the current State of Emergency Lock-down restrictions start to ease.  Uppermost in our thoughts was the need to safeguard the health of our Brethren whilst also bearing in mind the requirement not to create any greater risk for their partners or their families.

We have a requirement to comply with Government regulations and Grand Lodge instructions.  The committee acknowledged that Government guidance is changing but central to all requirements is social distancing and this makes the carrying out of our ceremonies very difficult.  The restrictions placed on the number of people who could meet in a group greatly hinders our larger Provincial events.

IMPORTANT DATES IN THE CALENDAR

The Provincial Executive Committee, therefore, decided at this early stage, to cancel the Provincial Golf Tournament and the Provincial Ladies Night planned for 2 July and 17 October respectively. Both events would expect to have a considerable number of people attending thus adding to health and safety problems and possible confliction with Government regulations.

Making these decisions now will reduce any concern about risk to our members and their partners. Unnecessary work and planning for the events will be avoided should circumstances not allow our events to proceed due to Government restrictions.  At this moment in time there are limits on how many can play golf at any one time and hotels are not yet open thus adding to our concerns about both of these events.

A decision will be taken later with regard to the holding of the Provincial Lodge of Instruction scheduled for 21st November 2020.

LODGE MEETINGS

We are currently restricted by Grand Lodge in holding any Lodge Meetings until the end of May. The Provincial Executive Committee strongly recommend to all Lodges that they hold no regular Lodge meetings during June, July and August which would require members to convene in a building.

As the majority of Lodges do not hold meetings during the months of June, July and August the curtailment of meetings should have minimal impact.

LODGE OF INSTRUCTION MEETINGS

The same Government restrictions and the safety of our members, that was uppermost in our decision to recommend no regular Lodge meetings in June, July and August, applies to Lodges of Instruction.  However, in this instance, Lodges may choose to be creative about how they continue to ensure the enthusiasm of our members by developing their knowledge by holding Zoom Lodge of Instructions.  Some are already doing this; however, they should not be used for practicing ritual and parts of ceremonies.

ZOOM MEETINGS

There is little doubt that our members have risen to the challenge of Lock down and many have been introduced to many methods of social media and, in particular, the ability to hold video conferences.  There is a great advantage in holding video conferences in that they keep us all closer and we can see that all are well.  Please don’t forget absent brethren – they may be absent because they are not well and need help.

We have skilled brethren who can help to organise Zoom meetings so if you need help just ask the Provincial Secretary.

At some time in the future we may create a calendar on the website to register dates and times for important Lodge Zoom meetings.  Any organiser should ensure that all entrants to the group are personally known.  It is safest to issue invites and issue a meeting number and password.

At the start of each video conference meeting Lodge Secretaries should be given the authority to record the meeting for assistance in producing minutes but no other recordings should be allowed and the secretary should destroy the recording after the minutes have been circulated and agreed.  No part of any recording should ever be sent to a third party.

SAFETY OF OUR CENTRES

Discussions will take place with the Management Committees of both of our major masonic centres in Quesada and Costa Nova to ensure that before any meetings are held that we are all satisfied with the health and safety standards.

Where Lodges meet in venues other than Quesada and Costa Nova the Lodge will be required to ensure that the health and safety standards are being complied with.

INSTALLATION MEETINGS

A small number of Lodges have already had to cancel their Installation Meetings. Once the Masonic Season gets underway these can be held. The majority of Installation Meetings start from September. Hopefully by then we will be in a less dangerous environment.

The current masonic year has been drastically foreshortened and some current WM’s may be unhappy that they will not be able to preside over the usual number of Lodge meetings and events. Lodges will have to consider whether to extend the period of the current Master by delaying the Installation meeting or allowing the current Master to rule for another year after his current part year or indeed do nothing.  These are just some options, but it is for individual Lodges, through their GP committees, to decide how they are going to resolve this problem.  However, remember that the current Master cannot serve more than two year’s consecutively.

If the Lodge’s decision requires a change to the Installation date, then this must be approved by a Dispensation from the Provincial Grand Master.  No charge will be made for any Dispensation related to the current crisis.

The usual procedure for the election of the M.E., Treasurer, Tyler, Auditors (and Orador) at a meeting prior to the Installation meeting may not be possible now.  There is no objection on this occasion for Lodges to have such elections at the Installation meeting as one of the first items on the Order of the Day provided that the Lodge Summons clearly states this will be happening. The Summons must be sent to the Provincial Secretary as normal.

Some Lodges use a ballot system to elect their Master Elect and some declare him if there is only one candidate.  Any Ballots and Elections must be carried out at the Lodge meeting and not by Video Conference voting.  Any changes in elections procedures which do not conform to the Bye Laws of the Lodge should request a Dispensation from the P.G.M. Again, this will be granted without charge on this occasion.

EXTENDED WORKINGS for the INSTALLATION CEREMONIES

The Grand Master has removed the Dispensation for English Speaking Lodges not to use Extended Workings for the Installation Ceremonies.  This change was due to be implemented from September of this year.  Due to the lack of opportunity to practise the longer ceremony, Lodges who find it difficult to comply with the change may invite another Master to do the Installation or choose to continue with the shorter version for this year.

Sincerely and fraternally

Michael Shilan

Local Freemasons help Raquel Payá school

Raquel Payá Corona crisis averted by local Masons.

WM R.W Bro Danny Coburn.

RWBro Danny Coburn
R.W Bro Danny Coburn.

The Freemasons of local Lodge, Arenal Deportiva, have made a donation of two thousand euros to the Raquel Payá special needs school. This is one of the charities selected for support by the Worshipful Master of the Lodge, Right Worshipful Brother Danny Coburn during his now extended year in Office.

Due to the requirements of the school in normal times and in particular at present, and particularly to the many hardships and problems caused by the current coronavirus pandemic, there are many more calls on the school’s very limited funds than would be expected.  In particular there is a greater demand than usual for staff uniforms which, as you can imagine, are very heavily used and need washing twice per day.  This means that each of the one hundred staff, need two uniforms, a total of four thousand.  These cost forty euros each! So, it is no small undertaking to constantly supply new, clean uniforms.

When the Masons of the Lodge heard of this, they felt they should offer immediate help.  A special vote was held between all members, as there would not be possible to attend a Lodge meeting due to the ongoing lock-down.  The Masons all voted in favour of making this immediate donation to help the school.  In addition to a generous donation of two thousand euros from the Masonic Homes of Valencia organisation, the Lodge agreed to donate a further donation of two thousand euros to permit the purchase of the full four thousand uniforms required.  These will be given in the immediate future.

Sadly no new photos can be provided at present due to the lock-down and social distancing.

 

Local Freemasons Lodge holds its annual Ladies Night.

106 year old joins the festivities.

On 15th February, local Freemasons from Javea 40 Lodge held their annual Ladies Night at Salones Carrasco in Javea.

W. Bro. Nigel Parker, and his wife Mrs Susanne Parker, invited sixty-four Lodge members and their invited guests to join them for an excellent meal, followed by enthusiastic dancing to the sounds of local husband and wife duo, Double Impact, featuring the ever popular Ian and Gill Henry.
The substantial proceeds, of six hundred euros, from the evening are to be donated to the Javea charity Todos Juntos Javea to address the needs of local children suffering from autism.

Among the many guests attending was the still, remarkably sprightly, one hundred and six-years old Rosa Schaller, grandmother of Javea 40’s previous  Worshipful Master, W. Bro Jens Gerl.  Rosa still enjoys her wine, cava and the odd glass of whiskey and, quite honestly, never changes from one year to the next. A great testimony to the medicinal benefits of wine and above all a happy life.

 

Freemasons of Las Salinas raise four hundred euros for charity.

Charity money raised by Las Salinas Masons

On 17 January 2020, Las Salinas Lodge No.79 held an early Burns Night Supper to celebrate the birthday of the well known Scottish poet, Rabbie Burns’ who was born on 25 January 1759.

The evening was very well organised by W Bro. Clifford Gingell. The celebration was held at the Quesada Bowls Club and more than eighty Masons, their lassies and invited friends of the Lodge attended.

 

The night started with the traditional Selkirk Grace given by the Master of the Lodge, W Bro Keith Carter. The haggis was then piped in and the address to the haggis was given by W Bro. Clifford Gingell.  The feast continued with a tot of whisky followed by the traditional haggis and neeps, then followed by steak pie and dessert.

The Immortal Memory was presented by W Bro. Frank Wallace.
The address to the Lassies was given by W Bro John Chandler and a reply was given by the wife of Brother Frank, Mrs. Maggie Wallace.

 

A charity raffle was held which raised just over four hundred euros which will be donated to a Masonic charity at a later date.

Music and dancing then continued until well after midnight.midnight. The night was enjoyed by everyone.

Freemasons spread happiness at Per Ells day care centre in Turis.

Freemasons distribute presents at Per Ells day care centre

Local Freemasons Lodge, White River No 153, recently attended the Per Ells school for Children with special needs in Turis,* to celebrate the Tres Reyes Festival, deliver gifts and hopefully spread a little joy to the school children, and the young at heart who attend the centre. As many will know, this celebration to commemorate the arrival of the three wise men is more important to Spanish children as this is when most receive presents.

All were gathered at the centre entrance, eager to get a glimpse of the three Kings, as they arrived particularly as they were delivering sweets. This is a tradition that has been celebrated in Spain for many centuries, and also in most Spanish speaking countries in the West. The three kings were actually Freemasons dressed for the part and joined by one member of staff.

This Lodge has been coordinating this activity for the last six years and in, addition to presenting gifts to the children, the Lodge supports the school financially, with several large donations over the past six years for building improvements, maintenance, etc.

The Freemasons dressed as the Kings were WBro Keith Alcock and New Mason Bob Harris. The third King was played by a member of staff at the centre.

Together with most of their ladies, the group included W Bro’s Ian Skipper, Adrian Brooks, Keith Alcock, Frank Wallace, David Watts, Sergio Svalina and our new Initiates Bro’s Andres Massa and Bob Harris.

Each of the children and youngsters received a present or two and enjoyed the celebrations as do all Spanish children at this time of the year.

*(Per Ells – Amics del discapacitat de Turis – check www.perells.com)

Local Freemasons visit the San Jose Obrero Orphanage in Orihuela.

Surprise one thousand euro gift for the San Jose Obrero Orphanage.

Recently Freemasons of Caledonia Lodge visited the San Jose Obrero Orphanage, in Orihuela, to present them with a surprise Christmas gift of one thousand euros for the benefit of the children.

W Bro Ian Bullock had the pleasure of sitting down with the Director of the orphanage Sr. Vicente Martínez Agulló, who informed him of the history and many achievements of the San Jose Obrero Foundation over recent years.

They now care for and house eighty orphans, of all nationalities, and there is also a day centre with twenty-four places available for children who have  very few other resources. Most of these children arrive at five in the afternoon, do their homework, shower and have dinner before going back to sleep in their own homes.  They also provide sheltered accommodation for young people, helping them to make the transition from orphanage life to becoming self-sufficient in the outside world a little easier.  A very important function as the transition is never easy.

The San Jose Obrero Orphanage is also responsible for the running of the local school, which four hundred children from the Orihuela district attend. In addition, they operate skills workshops in carpentry, hairdressing and car mechanics, which offer a full four years of very useful training with fully qualified staff. After these four years they are able to obtain a Certificate of Competence before leaving the home and hopefully finding gainful employment within local industry.

The motto of the organisation is “No One Grows up Alone”.

Local Freemasons, W.Bro Ian Bullock, the Immediate Past Master of Caledonia Lodge, and W.Bro David James, the Lodge Charity Steward, are seen in the photograph presenting  the Director, Sr. Vicente Martínez Agulló with the gift of one thousand euros, in the form of Primark vouchers, for the benefit of the children of San Jose Obrero Orphanage in Orihuela, on the 23 December 2019.

Freemasons sing for charity

Arenal Deportiva raise €460 for Raquel Paya school.

Recently, local Freemasons Lodge, Arenal Deportiva, held their annual Christmas carol concert. This was held in the popular local Chinese restaurant, Casa Lili which is situated between Teulada and Moraira where more than eighty Masons, wives and their invited guests were warmly welcomed by the lovely Lili for a what turned out to be a great evening of good food, good wine, great entertainment and great camaraderie.

The evening began at seven o’clock with a full house of Masons and guests when the Charity Steward of Arenal Lodge, W Bro Glyn Walters welcomed everyone and soon had us singing the first of many carols. These were to continue throughout the night as Bro Glyn, assisted by the Lodge Almoner, W Bro Ray Guise-Smith tried hard to be heard above the noise and chatter as they led the packed audience through each carol. I am sure there will be at least a couple of sore throats being nursed after this event.

Dinner began around eight o’clock as the first of the four delicious courses on offer were wheeled out by the hard-working staff. These consisted of Chinese delicacies, such as hot and sour soup (which was delicious) Chinese spare ribs, chicken with cashew nuts, meat skewers, spring rolls and several other choices. More carols were sung between each course and the singing progressively became louder.
At nine o’clock a toast was given to ‘Absent brethren’ who, for one reason

or another were unable to be present. This was given by RW Bro Danny Coburn, the current worshipful Master of Arenal Deportiva Lodge in a simple but moving manner.

A charity raffle was held, with a collection of excellent prizes, which raised the excellent sum of four hundred and sixty euros. This will be donated to one of the WM’s chosen charities of the year at a later date. The charity chosen for this event is the Raquel Paya school for disabled children in Denia. This donation will be given in the form of much needed equipment.

Local Freemasons collect for children’s charity.

Freemasons donate 170 Christmas boxes to underprivileged children,

Recently local Freemason, Freddie Samrai, and his wife Carol, organized a “CHRISTMAS SHOE BOX DRIVE” for the underprivileged children of Torrevieja.

With much support from other Lodges, over one hundred and seventy boxes have now been donated.  A private donation of a children´s car seat, booster seats, push chairs and various other children’s items was also made.  Hopefully, every child will now have a gift to open on Christmas morning.  All of the other Lodges, already support many other charitable causes but, have found it in their hearts to dig just a little deeper to help these children. The whole experience has left many of them very emotional with the over whelming generosity of so, so many kind people.  THANK YOU all very much on behalf of the children of Torrevieja.

The money from the Lodges was raised by holding raffles, theme events, BBQ’s and many other individual private events. They were kind enough to donate some of these monies to the “CHRISTMAS SHOE BOX DRIVE.”

At this point everything went into over-drive and many people started to donate independently.  All of these boxes were given to Alimentos Solodarios de Torrevieja who will give these out to the children on Christmas Day.

Many thanks must be offered to the following Lodges who donated; including  White River Lodge, Dama de Elche Lodge, Old Tower Lodge, the Installed Masters Lodge, Torrevieja Chapter and Caledonia Lodge. Donations were also received from Salvador Artesano, Torrevieja Christmas Shop San Luis, and many other anonymous donors.

Local Freemasons present cheque to San Jose Obrero Orphanage.

Las Salinas Freemasons present San Jose Obrero Orphanage with 1250€ clothing vouchers.

The Immediate Past Master of Las Salinas Lodge, Eric Raddings, seen in the photograph presenting the vouchers to Director of the Orphanage Vincente said, “The San Jose Obrero Orphanage in Orihuela was one of the charities I nominated last year as Master of Las Salinas Lodge, and I had the pleasure of going to visit Vicente and his team at work in October.

Vicente and his team directly care for and house eighty orphans of all nationalities from all over the Alicante region, on behalf of the Valencian government. They also provide and maintain four apartments, three in Orihuela the other in Alicante, each housing four young people making the transition from orphanage life to becoming self sufficient in the outside world a little easier.

On site they also run the local school for four hundred children from the Orihuela district, and in addition, operate a carpenter’s shop and auto workshop offering four years of training with qualified staff so the youngsters have a Certificate of Competence before, hopefully, finding employment in local industry. The orphanage employs psychologists to assist the teachers, and specialist tutors also work there with special needs pupils.

(Picture L to R – Eric Raddings, Director Vincente, Keith Carter and Psychologist Valle.)

Local Freemasons act as Father Christmas.

Huge collection of food and clothing for Gandia Refuge

Freemasons from the local Lodge, Oliva La Safor, recently held a collection for much needed necessities for the Men’s Refuge in Gandia. The Refuge currently houses more than fifty homeless men, most of whom are suffering from mental illnesses and other afflictions and many of whom are dying. In what is becoming an annual exercise, the Masons asked members for their contributions in an attempt to make Christmas just a little better for the residents of the Refuge.

The Masons responded magnificently and arrived bearing a huge amount of donated necessities, appropriately, considering the huge amount brought, mainly in sacks. This consisted of several pairs of new, and unworn, shoes and clothes including shirts, jumpers and trousers. There were also much needed articles of hygiene and personal toiletries though the bulk of the collection was food of various kinds.

The food was almost entirely long-life articles including dried, boxed and tinned food so that it may be eked out over a long a period as possible. Therefore rice, salt, sugar, oil, flour, pasta and tinned fruit and vegetables was the order of the day. This will all be donated to the Refuge in the next few days. Hopefully, it will add a little cheer to the residents.

If you are able to offer anything to the Refuge it would be greatly appreciated. The Refuge is run entirely by volunteers and can continue only due to the charity shown by others. They are always in need of many articles which many people no longer need such as bedding, towels, cutlery, crockery and all the other items listed above. If you have anything which you no longer need but which is still usable please consider donating it rather than throwing it away. You can make a difference. Donations can be given at any time during the day (though preferably not during lunchtime). You will receive a very warm welcome.