Thursday, July 9, 2020

UGLE announces CoVid degree conferral guidelines

Westminster, UK --Because of the inherent difficulties in conferring the craft degrees, the UGLE has issued guidelines to all lodges in order to comply with government regulations, and to ensure a safe experience for the candidate and the lodge officers and members.

Most of the guidelines are now quite commonplace in the general public: wearing of face masks, carrying small containers of hand sanitizer, avoiding touching of odd surfaces, keeping hands away from nose and eyes, etc. However, it is important to note the guidelines for the degree ceremonies in order to, as much as possible, prevent the contamination and spread of CoVid-19, or any similar infectious pathogens in the future.  Here, then, are some of the highlights.

Candidate Preparation

Initiation garb is no longer allowed. Candidates are to be fully clothed in their own regular clothing. Shoes will be worn on both feet, however, depending upon the degree conferred, in place of removing a shoe, several grains of uncooked rice or small pebbles will be placed in the appropriate shoe.

Hoodwinks, blindfolds, or head coverings will no longer be allowed. Candidates will be issued their own pair of Ray-Bans with the lenses blacked out.

Pants legs will no longer be rolled up; however, garters around the appropriate calf may act as a symbolic reminder.


No members should be present in the lodge room, except for the several officers needed to perform the ceremony itself. 

Candidates will no longer wear cable tows. Instead, they will be guided by buckled traces or collars with leashes (available at most pet supply or exotic adult shoppes). Stewards or deacons will remain at least one to two metres distance, and shall be careful to gently coax the candidate along by use of light tugging.

With the aid of the Stewards, the candidate will circumnavigate the space, ending on the north side of the room for instruction. Stewards will aid by using pushbrooms to place their feet in the proper position.

Guiding the candidate to the altar, the candidate will be restored to light, not by the JD being directed, but with some such formula as “Normally the JD would remove the hoodwink with which you would, up to this point in the ceremony, have been blindfolded. On this occasion, however, you will yourself remove the dark glasses you are wearing, on the count of three. [“One, two, three” to synchronise with movements of gavel.] You will place the glasses in the bag which is in front of you to your right.”

The candidate will be given the obligations, and upon removing his dark glasses, he should be presented with as large a video screen as can be accommodated, showing the WM who will safely be giving the lectures from a nearby room.

The WM will, via the video, give further instructions to the Candidate. Stewards and Deacons will alternately direct the Candidate's attention to the various working tools which have been set up in distant stations around the lodge.

At the end of the ceremonies, the Candidate will proceed to the main hall, where he and his new brethren can share tea and sandwiches from Sainsbury's,  Pret a Manger or some other local cafe.

Please keep in mind that these guidelines are for the safety of the candidate and officers, and that they should continue to be performed with the same dignity as previously. 




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