Grand Master’s Address – June Quarterly
Good afternoon brethren! It has been a very busy (and wet) Spring for us all. Now Summer is upon us. We can kick back – a little bit – and enjoy the payback of our efforts and perhaps even a cruise to sunny Bermuda (you have made your reservation for the Grand Master’s Cruise haven’t you?). But, for now, let’s review what we’ve done up this Spring and how that impacts our plans for the fall.
- Masters Path sessions were held complete with secretary/treasurer breakouts and – a new initiative this year – auditor training. By all reports each met their goal of increasing our Masonic knowledge.
- In March, I traveled to three Florida cities to enjoy happy reunions with our “Snowbirds” and update them on our activities “up north”.
- Grand Lodge pillar officers now rotate attendance at the Board of Governors of the Shrine Hospital for Children – meetings that always leave us with an appreciation of the miraculous skills brought to bear on children from all over the Americas.
- Finally, on a much happier note, we participated in a “ribbon cutting” for an adult day care center at our Masonic Health System in Charlton – yet more proof that this extensive facility has regained its status as one of the state’s premier health care systems!
To turn our attention to the activities of our lodges, I’m sure that most of you know how difficult it is to earn the Grand Master’s Award – in most cases, planning for it begins before the Master is even installed. The lodge will spend almost the entire Masonic year satisfying its requirements – and not every lodge who tries will succeed. Those that do now have proof their lodges benefitted from their efforts.
For Lodges that pursued the award but fell short, I hope you agree that it provides a good template program for any lodge to follow. I hope to see an even bigger pool of recipients next year! Junior and Senior Wardens out there – please consider having your lodge strive for this award during your year in the East. At a minimum, it will help you organize your programs and guide you on your way.
A Renewed Effort
The Masonic CHIP program continues to be recognized as the most comprehensive child identification program combining video, finger printing, tooth printing and DNA sampling. I am very pleased to announce that last week the CHIP developers – Wor. Patrick Delval (who was just recognized for his efforts) and the chair of our Service Committee, our Junior Grand Warden R.W. Tim McGavin – fielded a brand new CHIP system built around a network of four truly mini computers. The system is faster, easier to use, and much more reliable than the decades-old system it replaces. Try it! You’ll like it! Attending and helping with a CHIP program can help your lodges gain members.
2019 will be remembered as the year that saw the launch of the Golden Gavel Awards and the conduct of a most successful One Day Class. We can all be proud of these initiatives that had a marked effect on our membership efforts but true success can come only with the work of individual lodge membership committees. As of last month, almost fifty (that’s five zero) lodges did not raise a candidate this year. That’s an improvement over last year’s sad performance but still nothing to be proud of… I’m sure there are a few extenuating circumstances that explain some of these but as I’ve emphasized several times in the past, the fact remains that only “boots on the ground” are going to invite interested candidates to dinner, contact every brother at least once per year , publish articles in local media and in many other ways make the public aware of what we have to offer. It is our duty as Masonic lodges to investigate, elect, and raise Master Masons. It should be our goal to see 100% of our Lodges do this in the near future.
Why are we so concerned with membership? Because it makes possible the outstanding charitable activities that Masons do. We are the fraternal organization that supports the Masonic Home in Charlton, sponsors the Masonic Child Identification Program and provides scholarships for children and grandchildren of Masons. Our members are Scottish Rite and York Rite Masons who support the 32° Scottish Rite Children’s Dyslexia Centers, the Knight Templar Eye Foundation and many more charitable endeavors. We are the Shrine Masons that support our Orthopedic and Burn Hospitals. These are just a few of the many community projects supported by Masons. Many individual lodges and Masons provide other services to the community through programs such as the Masonic Angel Fund, hospital equipment loan program and assisting in the Red Cross Blood program.
What do Masons do? We help the community through good works practicing the Masonic principles of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.
Would all Past Masters please stand; all presiding Worshipful Masters, please stand; all officers in line in our lodges, please stand; and anyone who has ever worn an apron in service to the Craft; please stand.
There you have it Brethren, this is Masonry! Thank you all – for all you do for our Craft!
I wish all of you a great summer and I look forward to meeting and working with you again in September.