The following events have been canceled due to the current guidelines from the CDC about large gatherings:
- North Regional Meetings – March 28 in Huntsville & March 29 in Birmingham
- Fourth Degree Exemplification – April 4 in Huntsville
- State Convention – April 24-26 in Huntsville
- Biennial meeting of the Fourth Degree – April 26 in Huntsville
The State Deputy of the Alabama State Council sent the following out via email this morning:
The State Officers and I met via telecon last night to discuss the recent challenges that gripped our country and its affects on upcoming events. Many churches are closing except for Masses which severely limits our ability to meet for the scheduled North Regional Meetings. Even if they were open, the CDC has suggested that groups of more than 50 not gather for up to eight weeks. The health and safety of our Brother Knights should dictate our actions and, in that spirit, we decided to cancel the Regional Meetings. We are adjusting slides to account for North-specific data and when that is complete, we will email the slides out to District Deputies and Grand Knights in the specific areas. We will also schedule a ‘listening session’ on Saturday, March 28 so anyone in the State who wants to connect with the State Officers with questions or concerns can communicate with us. I do not promise that we will have all the answers, but we will do our level best to give you information as we know it and work to get you the answers you need. More details on that as it becomes available.
Our conversation then turned to the State Convention. Again using the CDC guidelines, we determined that, as the situation currently stands, it would be in the best interest of Brother Knights, their families and friends that we not meet in person at the end of April. I am officially canceling the 2020 Alabama State Convention.
The State Officers ask for your patience as we sort out the logistics of this decision. In the short term, if you have made room reservations, please contact the hotel as soon as you can to cancel them. We are working to determine the best method to refund money to advertisers and people who have already registered for the convention. That is our first order of business and we hope to have a plan in place by next week at the latest.
All that being said, the State Council still needs to meet to conduct the business of the State. Reports, elections of State Officers and delegates, and passing of resolutions must still occur. The State Officers will be working to develop a plan to ensure these things happen with the help of delegates. This will likely involve a teleconference and a method for delegates to vote online when needed. In order to ensure representation it is now VITALLY important that councils send the State Secretary their delegate information. With a physical State Convention, we had the luxury or being a little lax in this task, but now we cannot afford to. We need a quorum to conduct business and we need members to attend virtually in order to cast votes. To ensure delegates receive information in a timely manner, we need their names and email addresses. The State Secretary will be sending out a form to be filled out and returned so we know who your councils have elected as delegates and alternates. Please ensure your councils vote on delegates and alternates and get that information to our State Secretary as soon as possible.
Another consideration is awards. The current plan is to hand out awards at the Organizational Meeting in July. I am hopeful that by the time July comes around, our country will be recovering and everyone will be happy to have a chance to get out of the house for a day trip to spend time with Brother Knights.
Directors and Chairmen will be receiving instructions from the State Program Director as to filing of reports for the virtual meeting. Please pay attention and respond as quickly as possible.
I have tasked the State Officers to come up with a plan to conduct the business of the State Council virtually by the end of the month. We will be working hard to meet that date and when we do, we will share it with you.
I know some of you may have questions that I have not covered here. Please feel free to ask any of the State Officers and we will try and answer them. Again, we also ask for patience. This is an unprecedented situation and there is no play-book for it. Plans will take time to develop and implement.
This was a difficult decision for me personally, and I do not take it lightly. At the end of the day, though, I believe that it is the correct one for the health and safety of the Brother Knights and their families that I was elected to lead. You are all in my prayers in these trying times.
The Master of the District of Alabama also sent out an update via email this morning:
Most of you, if not all, probably just received an email message from our Worthy State Deputy cancelling the Alabama State Council Convention that was to be held on April 24 – 26, 2020 at the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center Marriott. With this development the biennial meeting of the Fourth Degree planned for Sunday, April 26, 2020, as with the State Convention, will be held using alternate means in order to conduct the Fourth Degree business of the District of Alabama. I am working with the State Officers and we hope to develop plans to hold our meetings using online meeting technology on the same day, most likely Saturday, April 25, 2020. As plans progress for the meetings we will keep you updated. I have to have the approval of our Vice Supreme Master and our Supreme Master in order to finalize these plans. When this is accomplished I will update everyone. Meanwhile, be working on your resolutions and thinking of those you want to nominate for the District Master of Alabama position. These will be items of business once the meeting is rescheduled. More on that to come.
Secondly, the Fourth Degree Exemplification set for April 4, 2020 at St. John the Baptist in Madison, Alabama is cancelled due to cancellation of all parish gatherings at St. John, with the exception of Mass, Stations of the Cross, and Confessions until further notice. It is my hope that we can reschedule this exemplification, with the necessary permissions, once we get far enough along with our current uncertain situations related to the pandemic that has effected people worldwide. We will keep that thought in mind going forward and reevaluate our situation a little further down the road.
I will keep you informed with updates as we go forward. If you have any suggestions on how to best conduct the meetings of the Fourth Degree District of Alabama and the Alabama State Council, please offer them up.