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Vol. 9 - March 14th, 2017
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Greetings from the Grand Secretary

Sam Roberts, Grand Secretary, Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of F&A Masons of Washington

I, for one, am ready for light. Yes, Masonic light as well, but a bit more daylight would be particularly welcome. I’m hopeful as I see buds and green tips on some of the foliage, but right this minute I also see snow coming down in snowball size clumps. Now, I am sure that some of you are looking for another chance to make another downhill on your snowboard, but a fire, a hot drink and a blankee are more suited at my age.
 
Where’s Sam?
In one regard, I am between places more than I was earlier in the Masonic Year.  This weekend Vickie and I made the Constitution of Cobalt Lodge, No. 24 in Yakima, traveled to Okanagan for a meeting for District No. 22 and then to Wenatchee for District No. 21.  We always enjoy the time spent listening and sharing with the Brothers and the Ladies of this Grand Jurisdiction.  As a bonus, Vickie and I got to spend 667 miles together, which we took advantage of by talking about how Grand Lodge might put to good use some of the suggestions and comments that were offered by those present.
 
New for LSI
The LSI (Lodge Secretary Interface) is just the face or front end of the Grand Lodge Membership Management System, or GLMMS, that actually runs on an Access database. The particular version of Windows Access is 2003.  This becomes notable for several reasons.  First, this is 2017 making the database 14 years and numerable versions, revisions, upgrades and patches old.  Second, GLMMS was generically tailored for Grand Lodges in general. Next, many changes have been made specifically for the Grand Lodge of Washington, not all of which have been finished. And then, GLMMS will not run on the newer computer systems in the Grand Lodge Office, for which we have had to down grade our Microsoft Office Suite. So, when GLMMS informed us that the upgrade plan to Microsoft Office 360 2016 was scheduled…. for 2018 and that there was a merger planned with the MORI company, which would change the way Lodges and Grand Lodge would have to access and review our data, we became concerned.
 
So, there are three things that you should know right away.  First, we can’t stay where we are; next, the Grand Lodge Staff is actively looking into replacement databases, both off the shelf software or proprietary software developed by other Masonic Grand Lodges; and lastly, we all can expect to pay more.  Stay tuned.
 
You, Your Lodge and the State House
Get ready to do more than complain about our State Legislators. On March 20th we, the Masons of Washington, will have the opportunity to meet with and talk to our representatives. Please make a concerted effort to meet with the rest of us to remind Olympia that we, the Freemasons, are still here. If you are unsure who your reps are, go to http://app.leg.wa.gov/districtfinder.  At noon, meet on the first floor of the Legislative Building in room LEG123. Be prepared to spend no more than three to five minutes to talk about (1) our good work through the Washington Masonic Charities, (2) the Legislative Page Scholarship project being sponsored (in part) by the Freemasons or (3) how Freemasons know the benefits of actively practicing civility and how we would hope that our representative would like to distinguish themselves by standing with the Freemasons in restoring civility in our society.
 
You should send your rep an email stating that, as part of Freemason’s Day on the Hill, you expect to be in the area and ask if you might stop in for a BRIEF visit.
 
Dues Card Update
We will be returning to the plastic dues cards for 2018. The background designs are complete and the placement of the data is being tested. The QR code verification is working NOW and the phone call verification only lacks a human voice.  Up to eight Lodges can be listed, with the designation of Life Member and/or Past Master for each one being listed (as Life, PM).  The card stock is a bit thinner and more flexible, but just as tough.
 
Civility – A Masonic Characteristic
The National Civility Center ( www.civilitycenter.org)  has designated March as Civility in the Community Month.  A number of polls are now showing that the majority of people agree that society is uncivil and becoming more so every day. Where the questions lie are in what the cause is and what to do about it. We don’t need a study to know that the cause(s) of uncivil behavior are too numerous to list and is epidemic in proportions. Raising public awareness of what traits are considered to be classed as uncivil and a Masonic demonstration of how civility operates in our Lodges, our homes can be the first step in the restoration of a civil society. What if every Lodge included (as Masonic Education, in their Trestle boards or as a discussion topic) the topic of the Month that can be found on the Civility Center’s website calendar. What if we (the Lodges) opened our doors for public forums in our community and moderated and demonstrated how being civil to each other can allow a respectful difference in opinion.  How a civil dialogue of facts can result in open mindedness and sometime unify disparaged ideas.
 
Take a moment to see the other good Civility resources for the Lodge at http://www.civilitycalendar.com/Products.html  and at http://www.masoniccivility.org/lodge-document-resources.html.
 
Civility Quote
“Aspire to decency. Practice civility toward one another. Admire and emulate ethical behavior wherever you find it. Apply a rigid standard of morality to your lives; and if, periodically, you fail ­ as you surely will ­ adjust your lives, not the standards.” 

- Ted Kpoppel

A Brother recently approached me and (in the most tender manner) said that the problem that most Lodges have with the Grand Lodge is that we are always stating the obvious, but fail in providing a practical solution for the same problem. His example was that Grand Lodge is always saying that the Lodges have a membership or what problem, but that it ends there.
 
While I can agree… sort of, I have to point out that Grand Lodge has made available any number of programs and suggestions to practically every issue presented. It’s that ‘lead a horse to water…’ thing. We know that having interesting and entertaining programs at your meetings will increase attendance… but who is responsible to bring that program to your next meeting. We see Lodges that are actually growing and feel that if other Lodges were to follow that same ‘magic’ formula, they, too, would grow.  I suspect that if we were to put a pretty wrapper on it and put it on the Grand Lodge web site…. It would get as much use as the other ‘programs’ we already have there.  Who has suggestions on how to effectively spread the magic?
Quote(s) of the Month

If your Lodge is experiencing a Membership Problem, it might be because the Lodge has forgotten the Membership Promise.

- Brother Adoniram

Grand Lodge Updates and Training Opportunities 

Secretary, Treasurer, and Temple Board Governance Training 

We have been conducting Secretary, Treasurer and Temple Board training throughout the Jurisdiction.  This has been highly successful.  However, we are going to have to reschedule the training scheduled for Pasco on March 19, 2017.  We will let you know when it will be rescheduled.

Form Updates

We continue to work on fillable PDF forms for many of the forms used by Lodges.  We will let you know when they are available online.    


Fraternally,
VWB Clint Brown
Assistant to the Grand Secretary
clint@freemason-wa.org

990 vs. 990-N

Some more 990 trivia and hopefully assistance as to when to file a 990-N.

The 2016 instructions for form 990 list how to determine whether an organization’s gross receipts are normally $50,000 or less. (Appendix B, page 75.  Instructions can be found at https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i990.pdf)

Step one is to total the amounts received from all sources during the annual tax year. Do not subtract any costs or expenses.

An organization's gross receipts are considered normally to be $50,000 or less if the organization is:  
  • An organization up to one year old may have receipts up to $75,000.
  • An organization between one and three years old which averaged $60,000 or less in gross receipts during each of its first two tax years.
  • An organization three years old or more and averaged $50,000 or less in gross receipts for the immediate preceding three tax years.
There have been other questions asked about whether there are other restrictions or requirements. There may be a requirement to file either a 990-EZ or 990 long forms based on total assets.  If you are unsure, it might be best to contact the IRS or a CPA or tax attorney of your choice.

So now you know when $50,000 can equal $75,000 or $60,000.


RW Don Campbell
Assistant Grand Secretary
Ask Adoniram
Dear Brother Adoniram,
I have plans to travel to other states over the summer.  What do I need if I want to visit Lodges while I am on vacation?
On the road again
 
Dear Mile by Mile,
At a minimum, you will need a toothbrush, clean undies and a Letter of Introduction from the Grand Secretary.

PS: It wouldn’t hurt to know the Test Oath, found on page 1-4 of the Standard Work Freemason's Guide.
Dear Brother Adoniram,
I need a snappy retort for when someone asks me about Masonry.  Got one?
Need Something Snappy
 
Dear Brother Snappy,
Without the personal commitment behind the words, most one liners fall short. However, the Grand Master from Hawaii, MWB Andrew Geiser, shared an opening that resonated with me, “Freemasonry is the most relevant and powerful institution in the world, for a society in need.” I then follow with a brief statement of what Freemasonry means to me personally.  “I became a Freemason because I found that Freemasons are generally men of good character, men that are respected for their commitment to the moral statutes and obligations to civil behavior that mark the truly great and happy man.”
Brethren that have signed the Grand Tyler’s Register at the Celestial Grand Lodge

It becomes my sad duty to inform you of the ascension to the Grand Lodge Above of the following:

WB Willard Allen ‘Al’ Smith                                                 
WM Eureka Lodge, No. 20, 1974; 62 Year Member
Initiated: 11/16/54; Passing: 1/18/55; Raising: 3/1/55; Ascension: 1/17
 
VWB David Stanley Comrie                                     
WM Hermanos del Arte Lodge,  No. 314, 2012; WM Grand Coulee Dam No. 120, 2003 & 2006; DDGM 2004; Senior Grand Steward 2006; Grand Musician 2008
Initiated: 9/19/79; Passing: 11/7/79; Raising: 12/15/79  ; Ascension: 2/2/17  
 
WB Craig Steven Anderson                                                         
WM Trivium Lodge, No. 22   2005 &2012
Initiated: 5/1/03; Passing: 8/23/03; Raising: 10/11/03; Ascension: 2/17 
 
WB Richard 'Ole' Carlson                                                                                                  
WM Sultan-Monroe Lodge, No. 160  2004,  current JW, GMA 2002
Initiated: 6/6/1977; Passing: 10/11/1977; Raising: 4/11/1978; Ascension: 2/17/17
 
WB Patrick Churchill                                                                        
WM Damascus Lodge, No. 199  2012
Initiated: 9/19/1990; Passing: 2/11/2009; Raising: 4/30/2009; Ascension: 2/17/17
Lodge Secretary's Corner
End of Year Reports - Just a reminder that the End of Year Reports, Form 7, Lodge 990 and Temple Board 990 were due on the 1st of February (Per WMC Sec. 14.11 B.L)
 
Grand Lodge Fees - I am currently working on the Grand Lodge Fees for all Lodges.  Please watch your mail in the next few weeks for your Lodge invoice. Per Sec 14.11 B.L. A. of the Washington Masonic Code, all Grand Lodge Fees shall be transmitted to the Grand Secretary on or before April 15th (postmark date is accepted).
 
After the Grand Lodge Fees are billed, all activity on the LSI will be reviewed and accepted or denied. 

Thank you for your patience during this time of year.
 
March Grand Lodge Events
Lodge Leadership Retreat
Friday, March 17 - Sunday, March 19
Pasco Red Lion Hotel, 2525 N 20th Ave, Pasco 
Registration for this event is now closed. 

Freemason's Day on the Hill
Monday, March 20th @ 12:00 PM
State Capitol Building (Legislative Building), 416 Sid Sydney Ave SW, Olympia
1st floor, Room LEG123

District No. 3
Friday, March 31 @ 6:30 PM
Mt Moriah Lodge 19331 N. US Highway 101, Shelton
Gumbo dinner by donation 
Please RSVP to VWB Samuel Ali, Grand Marshal, @ waglmarshal@gmail.com

Click on the underlined event heading for additional information 
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