Welcome to Arena 44. This edition comes at a time where we all have several new things to look forward to. Our NHS has forged a path forward through the virus with not only its care and support for the ill, but through the brilliance of our medical research, which has been undeniably world-leading. Brethren across London and throughout the UK have played their part whether as doctors, researchers, or volunteers in their communities. We should be proud of each of them for embodying our ideals. And you can read more about some of them in these pages.

At the time of writing, it seems likely that this will be the last online-only edition, and you will soon (hopefully) be reading a hard copy version of Arena 45. Our new Deputy Metropolitan Grand Masters and new Deputy Metropolitan Grand Superintendent are settling in (more from them in these pages). It will not be long until we will be preparing to meet again and maybe enjoying the unusual occurrence of a summer emergency meeting. A number of our venues for festive boards have balconies or other outdoor areas, where a glass of something cold after a meeting basking in the sunshine sounds decidedly enjoyable, especially after the challenges of the last year. You never know I might even buy some of you a drink!

In this edition, you will read about some of the new senior appointees; about Brethren and Companions who have volunteered to help in the battle with Coronavirus. Also, about our broader charitable work to help those struggling and, of course, our regular articles, including Men at the Top, Solomon, and news from our clubs.

This horrendous virus has been devasting for so many people, families, and the economy. But we seem, along with the weather, to be heading toward sunnier days. As we do so, I would like to ask you to remember that the London Freemasons’ Charity, the MCF and all the other charities we support have missed out hugely due to the lack of collections at meetings, festive boards and our other giving. Funds are needed more now than ever,and whatever we can do to give and raise funds for those less fortunate than themselves, we should. I am raising money by running a number of marathons and ultramarathons this summer. If you’d like to donate, you can do so through my page here

After five years at the helm, this is my last edition of Arena as editor. I have endeavoured to ensure the Craft in London is represented in these pages as the modern, diverse institution it is. I certainly remember the days before the new millennium when everything was hush-hush. With the leadership we have now, there is a far more fair and open approach, which I am sure will see us as far more accessible to Londoners and society at large. Bro Seb Giroux will be stepping up from the next edition as editor – and has already demonstrated he is most capable of doing so. I look forward to reading the magazine over the coming months and seeing the news of all the meetings and events that we are all so looking forward to.

Brethren, I sincerely hope you enjoy this edition of Arena. And I look forward to bumping into you either at Metropolitan meetings or at our Lodges and Chapters. Hopefully, this edition reminds you of our core aims of respect, friendship, integrity, and compassion and thus enables and enthuses you to work on strengthening our Lodges and Chapters, the Craft, and our broader society across London and beyond.
W Bro Rod Glyn-Thomas LGR
Editor, Arena
Email: arena@metgl.com