Worshipful Master's Message
March 18th 2020
What a difference a few days have made. By now everyone is aware of the situation with COVID-19 and I wanted to take a moment to share a message of hope and encouragement. The potential disruptions to our own lives and routines will likely be significant for the foreseeable future, and like most of you, my own understanding of COVID-19 is at the mercy of epidemiologists and infectious disease experts inside and outside of the government. My understanding of the efficacy of the government’s response is guided by my own common sense, along with what I hear politicians and policy experts saying openly. Our state and local officials seem to be taking the threat seriously and we have left nothing to chance in our own lodge to ensure keeping everyone as safe as possible given the circumstances.
What has struck me in the past week is that one’s degree of worry and alarm is very much affected not necessarily by medical pronouncements, but by proximity to the outbreak, by personal disruptions, and by jarring changes to regular life. Many of you may recognize the feeling of being jolted (and/or growing isolation) in your own home, again and again.
To that end, we are taking steps to ensure that the necessary physical distancing does not socially isolate anyone in our lodge or our fraternity. Please take note that we have a new and operational landline (410) 571-5182. Also, through the tireless efforts of Brother Tom Jones and Brother Andy Martinez, we have a transcription capability enabled on the voicemail so that any message is immediately transcribed and forwarded to our Secretary, Brother Steve Hoffman.
Accordingly, if you find yourself in a state of need, I invite you to call and leave a message and we will do what we can (within the limits of public safety) to aid and assist when it is in our power to do so. Likewise, because the situation can be socially isolating, I also invite you to call and leave a message if you could use a return call from someone familiar for a moment to talk or to share your thoughts. Lastly, because we are living in a historic time, if you have something uplifting or noteworthy to share, the voicemail will create a transcription that will be preserved and may be of comfort to someone else when we look back on the record.
In any event, I hope everyone stays safe during this difficult period and that the danger abates as soon as possible. Please do pass along this message and the new phone number to those who are not online or not on email so that they have the benefit of this information as well. We are setting up a roster of volunteers to stop by the lodge to gather incoming mail and to ward off vandalism and we will continue actively to monitor the situation.
In closing, while this is not the type of year I would have chosen for any brother to preside as Worshipful Master, I am committed to maintaining the trust, faith, and confidence you have reposed in me and I assure you we will emerge from the coming days stronger and more resilient as a fraternity.
Sincerely and fraternally,
Paul C. Balassa
Annapolis Lodge No. 89 A. F. & A. M.