You are Worshipful Master of your Lodge. The mail arrives. You open an innocent looking envelope to discover an ordinance from your PGM informing you that your Lodge has been suspended, is forbidden to meet and demanding you return your Warrant.
What do you do ? There is no hard and fast rule but the following lines should give you some indications. I’ve consulted no authority, I’m just putting on paper what I’ve done since my Lodge was suspended earlier this week.
Don’t panic. No-one has died. There are far more serious things in life.
The first and most important thing to do is retrieve your Lodge’s Warrant. Remove it from your Lodge cupboard, and make a copy and put that in its place. The PGM who has suspended you will pretend that the Warrant is the property of the GLNF. Your Lodge paid for the it when the Lodge was consecrated and I’d like to see the PGM try to convince a court that your Lodge isn’t the owner of something it can prove it paid for.
Immediately contact your Council of Elders (if your Lodge has one) or your predecessor. Make sure they receive a copy of the ordinance immediately. Ask for their advice and listen to it.
Contact the moderator of your Province’s Myosotis. That will ensure a maximum of publicity right throughout the GLNF and even further afield. There is a “contact” box on the home page of each Myosotis blog.
If you know a fairly senior GLNF Officer (a PGM who has been “resigned” by Stifani, for example), seek out his advice.
Once you have taken the previous steps contact ALL the members of your Lodge, preferably with a copy of the ordinance accompanying the e-mail. Make sure you inform them that you are available to discuss the situation with each and every one of them, either individually or collectively.
Inform the Brethren that you have every intention of continuing to labour and to meet, that you have absolutely no intention of bowing down before this ordinance.
Inform the WMs of any Lodges with whom you enjoy good relations. Do the same with any Brethren you know well. Their support will be comforting, because I won’t hide it from you, it is a worrying moment.
Inform the FMR lawyers of the suspension. There is a specific form to be completed on their blog. link
Prepare a reply to the ordinance and send it by registered mail to the PGM. It could be a good idea that the preparation of this letter be a collective effort, a couple of past WMs and / or the longest serving Mason of your Lodge, for example. State clearly that you contest the suspension, that you will continue to meet and that you will not return the Warrant.
Read the Myosotis blogs daily. They are a wealth of information and reading that others are in the same boat as you will lift your morale. You can subscribe to these blogs. That way you are automatically informed of the publication of any new article. The subscription “box” is on the home page of each blog.
Above all, keep the Brethren of your Lodge informed on a regular basis. You will have a number who are concerned, who will think that the Lodge has done the wrong thing, that you have made a mistake in defying the suspension. Keeping them informed, sending them copies of support e-mails you receive will reassure them. Communication is ultra-important.
If your Lodge meets in a GLNF owned locale, this is going to be your greatest problem. But it is by no means insurmountable. If you are in a reasonable sized town there is every chance that the GO or the GLF has a Temple that you can rent. In smaller towns it is not too difficult to find a small hall available to rent. And you can labour with a minimum of material. A sun and a moon drawn on a sheet of paper can suffice. The 3 columns can be made cheaply with PVC piping, etc.
And learn a bit of Latin :
“Nil Illegitimus Carborundum” – Don’t let the bastard grind you down !!!