Grand Master’s December Address
It has been a busy start to the Masonic year for your Grand Master. My officers and I have had the pleasure of attending several Lodge installations, anniversary celebrations, and of visiting many jurisdictions. It would be impossible to mention all of the warm and welcoming receptions I have experienced since we were last together, so I’ll focus on the highlights.
Before getting into my travels, I just want to commend all of the candidates who stood for Junior and Senior Grand Warden. All four of you represented Freemasonry well in your travels these last three months, and I think our Lodges are all better from having enjoyed your company. The votes are in, but I hope regardless of the outcome, you each continue to spread your enthusiasm for Freemasonry as widely as men will welcome it.
The first trip that comes to mind for me was a most enjoyable trip in October to join with our English Brethren in the 300th Anniversary of the Grand Lodge of England. It was a distinct privilege to represent our Grand Lodge in this unique event; being one of 138 Grand Masters sitting with over 4000 Masons in London’s Royal Albert Hall instilled a real sense of pride in being part of 300 years of Freemasonry.
Before that, I had the opportunity to meet the Master Mason Rookie and Master Builder Award recipients at a dinner in September in their honor. It was energizing to be able to meet with some of the most enthusiastic, bright-eyed, and talented new Master Masons in each of your Lodges. I encourage you all to continue to push your new candidates to pursue the Rookie Award as a way to get to know brethren around the jurisdiction.
At the beginning of this month, I was honored by DeMolay International by being invested with the honorary Legion of Honor. DeMolay plays an important role in the lives of the young men who pass through its doors; it has been an integral part of the lives of many Master Masons, and continues to have the support of this Grand Lodge. I want to thank R.W. Bro. Drouin, the Executive Officer, and through him all of the adults who work with DeMolay to continue to help it grow and prosper.
As I pointed out in the Fall 2017 Trowel editorial, our staff and our Membership Committee are working on a number of new initiatives. We are well into the production of a video that supports the retention of the members that we already have, and our Brethren in the York Rite Commandery have offered their resources to any Blue Lodge looking for an “added attraction” such as color guards and parades. We are also looking at ways to utilize the new material the Scottish Rite has developed to complement our own public messaging we have invested in. Finally, initial planning has begun for a One Day Class to be held in several venues in early 2019. Remember Brethren, membership still takes place at the level of individual members. Replace (or if you prefer, duplicate) yourself!
Lastly, I want to make sure that you all know about an extraordinary display of brotherly love and relief our districts have wrought since the onslaught of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Supplementing the generous financial assistance we have all contributed through the Masonic Service Association, the concept was initially conceived by Rt. Wor. Peter Culbertson and immediately adopted and expanded by many of our districts. It was deemed “Brother to Brother”, assigning brethren in areas affected by the hurricanes to Massachusetts brethren who would call and establish personal contact – the thought being that knowing “a bunch of Yankee Masons” knew and cared about their plight would convey some sense of relief to the distressed brethren. It has worked on many fronts! Not surprisingly, the concept expanded to donations of gift cards and, in some cases, cash, to Masonic victims. I also must mention the Masonic spirit of a brother with connections to Marathon Lodge #323 in Florida who drove there with a trailer load of needed supplies. While helping to rebuild Marathon Lodge, he opened his Florida home to the families of three brethren made homeless by the hurricane!
I commend all of the participating districts as well as all of the Brethren who have joined in this charitable endeavor. What better exemplifies Brotherly Love and Relief than these efforts to reach out to our distressed brethren?
As I urge you all to share the happiness and reward of Masonic membership with a friend or relative, I especially wish you all good health, happiness and the joy of the holiday season.