Each state around the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction is grappling with the impact of the Coronavirus. Many of us are disappointed to cancel spring reunions and are feeling the strain of not being able to meet with Brothers in person. Still, Valleys are coming together to check on brethren remotely and leveraging technology to keep members informed during this difficult time.

For Brother Jack Farkas, 33°, MSA, Secretary for the Valley of Bridgeport, that means sending out emails and picking up the phone. The Valley has started calling members, with elderly members receiving precedence, to check-in and assess their needs, he said.

“We also have a bunch of Brother Scottish Rite members doing grocery runs and house calls with deliveries for those Brothers in need, while taking all safety precautions outlined by our government officials and health officials,” Brother Farkas, 33°, added.

Scottish Rite, NMJ, has compiled 10 ideas for connecting with your Brothers remotely. We hope they enable you to continue to enjoy one another’s company from a safe distance.

  1. Start a virtual book club. There are a variety of free video conferencing tools to help your Brothers discuss the book of the month “face to face”. Consider Skype, Zoom, or Facetime (for iPhone users.)

  2. Have some members who love to grill? Gather your Brothers’ favorite barbecue and potluck recipes for a special cookbook. This summer (assuming we get an all-clear by then!), hold a “grill masters” event and sell the cookbooks as a fundraiser for your local Almoner’s fund.

  3. Schedule a movie night: Netflix is now offering watch party capabilities, which enables group chat for your favorite Netflix movies and shows. Visit Netflixparty.comto learn more.

  4. Create a coffee connection via Skype or FaceTime with one of your Brothers.

  5. Visit our National Parks, from Acadia to Zion National Park, from the comfort of your home. Share with your Brothers on social media which place you’re most excited to visit in person once things are back to normal.

  6. Enjoy a night at the museum. More than 2500 museums and galleries are offering virtual tours. While our Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library is currently closed due to COVID19 restrictions, you can still access our online exhibitions here.

  7. Like gardening? Get out in the dirt! Have some spring flowers that are already in bloom? Snap a photo and share on social to break up news feeds with some cheerful images.

  8. Continue to stay active. Go outside and get some fresh air or check out the wealth of free fitness apps available on your phone. YouTube also has no shortage of workout videos, from aerobics to yoga.

  9. Are you a musician, or do you know a Brother who is? Consider starting a Facebook Live jam session to keep spirits high.
    Man playing guitar

  10. Our Brother-to-Brother card program is still running, where you can request get-well cards, birthday cards, or a simple note to let a Brother know you’re thinking of him. Request a card for a Brother today (you will need to have their address on hand for us to send them a card on your behalf).

“Our members need to know we, as Scottish Rite Masons are there for them if needed,” Brother Farkas, 33°, MSA, said.

How is your Valley weathering through this unprecedented time? We’d love to hear more and feature you in an upcoming story or blog so that others may benefit from your creative ideas!

Send an email to Joann Williams-Hoxha at [email protected] and let us know how you’re staying connected.