Lodge Masters and Secretaries
Please forward or share the Messenger with your members. They might want to know what is going on. Don’t let your dues statement be the only time the Brethren hear from the Lodge.
Things are progressing nicely. This should be the last Month for Cardio rehab. So, we’re focusing on Grand Lodge business.
I get several calls a week asking about VWB Clint Brown running as a candidate for Grand Secretary. Let’s get this on the table and out of the way. VWB Clint and I had a very open and honest discussion before my surgery about what would happen if I woke up dead, incapacitated or worse. Should that happen, the Washington Masonic Code clearly states that the Assistant Grand Secretary will assume the office. But then the question about the election at the Annual Communication in June with no declared candidate remained open. VWB Clint and I decided that he would submit his Letter of Availability to resolve that issue and be the best thing for the Fraternity in my “absence”.
The next conversation after getting back to work, we also agreed that the Brethren should ALWAYS have a choice. So, VWB Clint’s name will remain as candidate for Grand Secretary. There is no animosity, no ill feelings or anything of the sort. Together we continue to travel throughout the Jurisdiction to assist the Lodges and the Brethren.
We sponsored an Open House at the Masonic Retirement Center last weekend hosted by the City of Des Moines and representatives of the buyer. The purpose of the open house was to inform the neighbors and community of the current status and plans for the site.
Only the Lobby, Library, Banquet Hall, Auditorium and Lounge were available to the public. Refreshments were served by the city and buyer while we provided chaperon services (Thanks to those Brethren that volunteered!). From all appearances, the city and the buyer are closely working together to get the re-zoning and planning finalized and approved (hence the community open house!) In short, the sale seems solid and moving toward a close later in the year.
If anyone can share with me when there has been a time when a civil society has been more needed, I’d like to know. The basic components of civility are generally forgotten by the public and sometimes ignored in our Lodges. We, as Masons should be ever watchful to make sure that we are civil to each other, and by shining example, to all around us. This is particularly true when around our youth. They do not need anymore BAD examples. I especially call upon all adult youth leaders and Lodge Officers to demonstrate restraint in dealing with issues, making sure that you select an appropriate time and place for working together for the benefit of the organization.
We must encourage our youth to actively adopt the high standards morals and ethics that we profess to live by. Attend and support our youth groups. Prove to society that Masons are men of character. Live your obligations.
“Whether in business or in life, you can be civil and get ahead. Whatever your age or circumstance, you can master civility. So what are you doing today to connect with others? What kind of legacy are you leaving? Are you lifting people up or holding them down?
In each moment we get to choose who we want to be.
By this time, I hope that every member has taken the opportunity to sign in to Grand View and review/update their own personal information. Along with your ‘preferences’ where you set how you want the Lodge to communicate with you, you can enter and update your address, email and other contact information. Some Lodges have already begun to use the system to send out meeting minutes, notices of events, meeting reminders and more. Don’t complain that you never hear from your Lodge if you don’t let the Lodge know where and how you want that communication.
We are currently working through several issues, also known as growing pains of a new system. We are learning that the Jurisdiction of Washington does not always do things the same way as the other Jurisdictions. We are learning the importance of complete and accurate information. Before turning on some of the additional capabilities of Grand View, please make sure that your information is correct.
Many Lodges have already experienced new petitions as a result of the 30-second radio and TV spots that our Public Relations Committee produced and distributed to broadcasters around the state. Those that prepared to receive these men into their Lodges with willing and knowledgeable Brethren and the Six Step Program are reaping the rewards of new members.
While attending the North American Conference of Grand Secretaries, I learned of a study conducted by the Scottish Rite (NMJ) that most men strive to be honest, patient, tolerant and civil. However, many are surprised by the fact that these are the very same traits that define who Masons are and what they stand for. When asked if they would want to associate with people that share the same values the answer as a resounding ‘yes’. According to the study, that opens the door for fifty-three million (53,000,000) eligible men for the benefits and fraternalism of Masonry. I have a copy of the one minute video that they presented and have shared a copy with our PR Committee. It completely dovetails with our message of Masonry in this Jurisdiction. The Scottish Rite also shared material that can (and should) be used in our Lodges, by our Brothers to reclaim the face of Masonry.
Ever dreamed about living on an Island and living the quiet life? Your Grand Lodge can help. Located on Anderson Island in Puget Sound off the coast of Steilacoom this secluded wooded lot would make a great weekend getaway. This lot will be sold this year to the best offer. Call Clint in the Grand Lodge Office for the details.
A Hot Topic
Free WEB Page provided by the Grand Lodge Public Relations Committee. Lodges that have no web presence and are complaining about ‘no one knows we’re here’ is surpassed only by those Lodges that have not updated their web page in years. What impression is left by seeing a list of the 2010 officers? In some cases, the page is out of date because the webmaster left, or the access password is lost. In some cases, the Lodge can’t afford a web host. If you are in any of these circumstances, or if you have no website, contact the Public Relations Committee for help. It is a fact that most younger men get their information electronically. Make sure that it is your information and it’s correct.
Another jewel from the Conference is what the Grand Lodge of Michigan calls a cornerstone of Masonry. The Masonic Family has committed to a unified front of Masonry for the whole Jurisdiction. No more working independently or in some cases in opposition of each other. Even calendars are coordinated. Fundraisers and special events are shared to the benefit of all. Announcements and notices are timed and targeted for the maximum benefit of the Masonic FAMILY. The Presenter gave examples of conflicting installations between the Lodge and the Masonic groups they supported; splitting the attendance, the fellowship and the support for either organization. An even more bad example of two foundations holding major fundraisers very close together, where the donations for one of the foundations dropped more than $30K to the detriment of both.
From the desk of the Assistant Grand Secretary VW Clint Brown, Assistant Grand Secretary
Guarding the Gates
The most important obligation we have as Masons is to preserve unsullied the reputation of the Fraternity. Unfortunately, not everyone we have invited into our ranks has met this obligation. As men, none of us are perfect. But as Masons, we always strive to reach that lofty goal; to be a Perfect Ashler.
Unfortunately, perhaps in a rush to bring members into the Fraternity, we have not always guarded our gates. We have let men into our gentle Craft who, through their words or actions, have not lived up to their obligations to themselves or to our Fraternity.
When you first submitted your petition to become a Mason, you had to ask three Brothers to sign your Petition. By signing your petition, the Brothers were certifying to the Lodge that they knew you, that you were a good man and that you would make a good Mason. The Master then had your petition read in Lodge and assigned a committee to investigate your character. The accuracy of their report and the fidelity with which the Brethren discharged this duty determined whether you were worthy to become a Freemason.
When you sign a Brothers petition, what do you really know about him? Have you taken the time to get to know him, to know his history, his background, his family? Is this someone you would be comfortable inviting to your home, socializing with your family, trust with your worldly possessions? If you cannot honestly answer these questions in the affirmative, then perhaps you should take more time before you agree to sign his petition.
If you have been assigned to conduct an investigation on a candidate, what have you done to ensure that the information he has given is truthful? Thanks to the internet, it is easier than ever to check for truthfulness. Was he really a deacon in his church or did he spend most of his time in the local bar? Is he truly a man of character or did he steal candy from the baby on the street corner? What are his reasons for wanting to become a Mason? Does he want to improve himself or community or is he simply looking for a venue to improve his business or to satisfy his idle curiosity? Simply going to his house and asking the same questions that we have always asked is not a recipe for success. The Grand Lodge Six-Step Program is designed to help Lodges in this process. If you have questions or would like more information about the Six-Step program, contact the Grand Lodge office and we can assist you.
Early last fall I circled the month of March on my calendar. Not because of St. Patrick’s Day (although I did meet my wife at a St. Patrick’s Day party), but because I knew that it was going to be the start of several busy months. We will hit the trail starting March 1st and won’t stop until after Grand Lodge. We have scheduled Secretary, Treasurer and Temple Board Governance training in Spokane at Audubon Park Lodge on March 11th, in Tukwila at Delta White Center Lodge on April 8th, and in Tri-cities at Kennewick Lodge on April 28th. You can register for the training on the Grand Lodge website and it’s FREE. We will have a light lunch available for a small donation. I will also be attending as many District meetings over the next months as my schedule will allow. I hope to see you all before Grand Lodge in June.
Many of you have asked about me submitting my Statement of Availability for Grand Secretary. First, I did not plan to do so this year. But when I went into Sam’s office on a Friday morning in August and he was on the floor having a heart attack, plans changed for both of us. Being somewhat familiar with the Washington Masonic Code, I knew that while Sam was out of the office, I was to fill in for him. But we both asked what would happen if he was not able to return? Because of the looming deadlines set by the Washington Masonic Code, we decided that I should immediately submit my Statement of Availability.
When Sam came back, we sat down over a few glasses of “water” and discussed whether I should withdraw my Statement of Availability. After our third or fourth glass, we both agreed that the Brothers of this Grand Jurisdiction should always have a choice. So together, we agreed that we would give the Brothers that choice and that I would not withdraw my Statement of Availability.
Now to answer those burning questions many of you have: 1) we hardly ever fight (and always make up); 2) he has never left me at a District Meeting (yet); and 3) the business of the Grand Lodge of Washington will continue to be our top priority. No matter what happens in June, MWB Sam and I will continue to be friends and will continue to work for the success of the greatest Fraternal organization on Earth and the Brethren of this Jurisdiction. I stand ready to serve this Grand Jurisdiction in any capacity that the Brethren ask me to serve.
Are there Grand Lodge guidelines for Social Media?
- Needs guidance
Yes, there are definite Masonic guides for social media. Any time that you use words, pictures, jesters to communicate you should use your obligations and charges as your guiding principles. As Masons, we hold to higher standards in all things and this especially includes our communication. It also includes your personal conduct and behavior, your email, vmail, usps mail, tweets, posts and all other public communications.
Social media is in the spotlight because people feel free to say anything to anyone about anything. It does not seem to matter if statements have any basis in fact. It seems that it gives people license to attack without consequence or rebuttal. It seems to allow people to express their personal opinions as the only opinions that matter. It seems to remove any inhibitions, responsibility or accountability in the use of vulgar, profane or obscene visuals, thoughts or words.
Masons are not ordinary people or, at least shouldn’t be. If we are identified or known as a Mason, we should NEVER use profane language. A Masons’ opinions should be tempered with logic, restraint and respect. A Masons’ comments and statements should NEVER become a personal attack or be argumentative. A Mason that disagrees either provides definite positive proof or chooses to take the higher stance and not be dragged down into a dispute.
It is my understanding that, at this time, Grand Lodge has elected NOT to mandate specific rules or suggest code Resolution. It should be up to EVERY MASON to regulate his own passions and conduct. For those that can’t or won’t…. perhaps good counsel whispered in the ear of the erring Brother is warranted. For those that can’t or won’t take heed of good counsel, perhaps a reminder that not being civil, tolerant, respectful, patient and restrained in our communications is contrary to our obligation, our values and our closing charge.