Since UGLE closed down masonic meetings until the lockdown is over and the nasty virus of Covid-19 is under some level of control. How does the fraternity of Freemasonry continue? Zoom meetings are becoming the way forward and Masonic brethren that usually tour Lodges and Chapters giving lectures now offering webinars to keep the Masonic spirit alive amongst the Brethern and Companions.
My lodge has had Zoom meetings replacing our normal Lodge nights in April and May, we have also had 2 lectures in the form of Podcasts from renowned Masonic author Dr Robert Lomas.
Dr Robert Lomas has over the last few months put together a repository of Masonic lectures in a podcast format. Which can be played on all Music Applications a Smartphone or PCs can run as they are available in the standard mp3 format.
He believes that although the Lodges and Chapters cannot be together they can still advance their masonic knowledge and understanding. There are many ways that these podcasts can be listened too, the podcast to supply Masonic podcasts to Masters and Secretaries to give them a steady source of material to engage with their members once a month, on the normal day of their regular meetings. There are other Lewis Masonic authors, Bros Dr David Harrison and Graham Chisnell who have supplied podcasts to this initiative.
The offer of the podcasts is based on that this material is private to the subscribing lodge members. As these podcasts would normally be delivered within a tyled lodge as a lecture from a visiting guest, and therefore the copyright for the work remains with the podcast originator, who is identified in the title of the podcast. All podcast contributors, who retain full copyright for their work, have generously allowed it to be distributed by trusted lodges to its subscribing members for private enjoyment. It is not to be shared, passed on, or distributed to anyone other than the recipient who receives it from the Lodge Secretary or Chapter Scribe.
As Dr Lomas says in his guidance for Podcast Facilitators:
There are three grand reasons for accepting this restriction.
- By restricting its use to subscribing members of a lodge it supports the WM/Sec in offering a benefit for lodge membership which is not otherwise available. It is a small replacement for the right to attend meetings but is something tangible. If the material could simply be googled and downloaded from public sites there is no incentive to remain a subscribing member of a lodge to receive it.
- The podcast writers, all well-known authors for Lewis Masonic, are trusting the brethren of the lodge, on their Masonic honour, to respect their copyright which is being freely offered to support subscribing members of the lodge in a difficult time. To distribute it without permission is both un-Masonic and unworthy of a Free and Accepted Mason.
- The podcasts are digitally watermarked and can be traced. Copyright infringement is theft. Should any podcasts appear in “the wild” they can, and will, be traced back to the lodge concerned and that lodge will receive no more podcasts as it will have demonstrated that among its members there is at least one “wilfully perjured individual, void of all moral worth, and totally unfit to be received into this Initiative or any worshipful lodge, or society of men/women/people who prize honour and virtue above all external advantages of rank and fortune.”
The Provincial Grand Mentor of the Province of East Lancashire is backing this Initiative for helping Masons work together with a meet via Zoom and a common lecture.
For those of you who are interested in these Podcasts and would like to know, then I would suggest you (as the Scribe or Secretary) or the Scribe/Secretary of your Lodge/Chapter contacts myself and I will put you or them in touch with their nearest Facilitator who will be able to share more information on the subject and if your Lodge is happy to apply with the conditions then you can begin to receive the Podcasts.