James Agar and Contact Tracing

A significant challenge, and extremely important task, during the current COVID-19 pandemic is ‘contact tracing’.  Knowing who has been in contact with an infected person is key to interrupting the spread of the virus.  Major tech companies are launching apps!  Some governments are monitoring movements of their citizens!

Masons have them beat.  And we’ve been doing so for over two centuries!

The normal thing for Masons to do when they attend their own Lodge, or visit another Lodge, is to sign the Tyler’s Register.  This is a record of who attended a meeting; and when the meeting was held.  This information is so valuable to a Lodge that old Registers are kept in a secure location.  The Tyler’s Register is considered (along with the minutes) of the vitality of a Lodge.

Indeed, concordant and attendant bodies do likewise.  Scottish Rite, Order of the Eastern Star, Royal Arch, Shrine, all have some formal means of tracking attendance.

Thus – every Masonic body can use their Tyler’s Register to inform members who attended a meeting that someone later became ill.

Why do we have this very useful tool?  It is because of the insight and authority of RW Bro. James Agar.  In 1803 he proposed that a register be used so that all who entered a Masonic meeting would sign, and be confirmed as qualified to enter the meeting.  Now, over 200 years later, we can continue this tradition and use the Tyler’s Register to trace all Masons who might have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus if a Brother becomes ill after a meeting.

Let the dictates of right reason lead us.  Stay home if we are sick.  Wash your hands frequently.  Don’t touch your face.  Stay physically distant; and wear a face mask when you can’t.  Demonstrate brotherly love.  Offer relief.  Seek truth.

Who was RW Bro. James Agar?  A biography is posted here:  http://www.mastersemblem.com/JamesAgar.html