It is my great privilege and honor to be elected to serve as the 156th Grand Master of Masons in Washington in this 160th year of our Grand Lodge. I am truly humbled by everything that has happened to me in Masonry. To so many I owe so much for their friendship and support during this incredible journey.
On June 24, 2017, we will have reached a milestone in history. Freemasonry will be celebrating its 300th year in its organized speculative form. Ours is an organization which embraces high ideals and principals, seeking great men and seeking to make men great. Because some of society lowers its standards does not mean we must do the same to attract new members. We cannot hope to grow or even remain the same by lowering our standards, we must place emphasis on the quality of our membership. We must be careful in the admission of candidates and improve the procedure of admission. Our Six Step Program addresses this concern and provides detailed information that should be considered before the petition is presented to the potential candidate. We need to take the time to get to know this individual and he has had the time to get to know us, who we are, what we represent and what we will expect of him. Our expectation should be that we have accepted this person as a friend before we have invited and welcomed him to become a Brother.
I have chosen as the theme for my year “Communicate To Educate”. Technology has changed all our lives in the way we are able to communicate with one another. Through communication we become educated, that is how it all began in our Craft with “Mouth To Ear”. By communicating with one another we are able to recognize strengths, weaknesses, and needs which will enable each of us to assist in the management and growth of Our Lodges, Our Grand Lodge, Our Craft and ourselves. The knowledge gained through communication must be shared to be of any value. The communication process only becomes successful when all parties become engaged. With the frequent changes in Technology, comes the rapid changes by which we communicate. It will be necessary to maintain existing communications to meet all our current member’s needs while remembering that CHANGES will be necessary for the newer members coming in, and for attracting the next generation to our Craft.
By the necessary changes through Communication and Education, we will strive to make Masonry relevant for each generation in preparation for tomorrow. Your Grand Lodge has encouraged participation in the Proficiency in Lodge Management Program. I personally believe this is a valuable program. Through this program our Brethren have received educational instruction on the methods by which our Grand Lodge and Lodges operate and the obligations that we as Masons have sworn to uphold. This program assists us in promoting Skilled Lodges, Lodges that provide quality Floor and Ritual Work, promote good business ethics within our Lodges and our officers and to provide our members with the education and Further Light in Masonry, that so many Brethren are seeking. I firmly believe in order for our Craft to take good men and make them better, we need to supply all our Brothers with the tools and knowledge needed to succeed as skilled, passionate and proud Masons.
My vision is to find a way to better communicate, assist, and educate one another within our Fraternity. To communicate openly with each other. Assist our Brothers and their families in need and to educate the Craft through better communication, with the purpose of uniting our Great Jurisdiction, shall be our goal!
I joined Freemasonry to become a better person, to provide help to those in need, to be involved and assist in my community and to be a part of a Fraternity that was so rooted in its Landmarks, Traditions and Customs. A Craft that has stood fast and projected positive images to the world for hundreds of years, through its teachings and principals that remain constant and vital to men’s lives today. An image that was projected to the world in which good men wanted to be a part of. I am a Traditionalist, but I also have an open mind for Change. Our path is based upon the suggestions of the Craft and we each have an obligation to be certain that any change we make will be of benefit to the Craft or more importantly at least not a detriment.
As our long-standing Rituals and Traditions affirms; “To contribute to the relief of distressed worthy Master Masons, their widows, and orphans”. The fundraisers for my year will be to support our elderly Masons and our Widows, who need assistance and to support our Youth Groups. This coming year with your help, that of our Grand Lodge Committees and the assistance of our Washington Masonic Charities, we will once again be reaching out to communicate and support our Youth Groups, elderly Masons, and Widows. I feel that our Fraternity has reached its’ 300th Anniversary and been recognized for their Traditions and Customs because they have remained steadfast in its principles and values that we need to live by and preserve. We owe our Senior Members and Widows so much for what we have been provided today due to their dedication and sacrifices. We must let each of them know that they have not been forgotten and that they are important to our future. We need to glean all that they are able to share with us about our past and looking ahead to our future. A close Brother shared with me before his passing, “with the passing of each Brother another library closes”.
Brothers, we need to remember the values and ways of yesteryear. Back when a man’s word was his bond and a deal could be settled with a handshake. Taking care of our Brothers and their families. For those, Lodges that do have outreach programs for their members in need, I sincerely applaud you. We need to reach out to our Brothers, who are now homebound, in assisted living or just need a ride to Lodge. It is essential that we stay in touch and encourage them, letting them and their families know they have not been forgotten. Do we care for our Brothers welfare as well as our own? Have we heard and do we remember the words, “I am my Brother’s keeper, and we will take care of our own”? Brothers, as we advance this Fraternity of Free Masons, passed down to us from antiquity, we need to preserve the best of our past to promote a bright and glorious future. If we continue to change from what it was which made us great we reduce the chance to retain that greatness.
Freemasons have always been supporters of the youth, recognizing the rare and precious opportunity given to responsible adults to attempt to lead, guide and mentor them in paths of good citizenship. Through our Masonic Lodges within our Grand Jurisdiction and our Washington Masonic Charities Program, we give vast numbers of scholarships to deserving students. We have heard many times before that the Youth are our future, although I believe that we are the future of our Youth. Each of us must become mentors and teach the lessons of this great Fraternity to those already within the walls of our Lodges and to those yet to come. We hope to assist and support these young people in ways that will benefit everyone’s future.
As Grand Master, there will be decisions made that may be controversial but I must assure each of you that I will do what I feel is necessary for the betterment of the Craft. As members of your Lodge, you are asked to do the same. Through Communication we must get to know our Brothers, their strengths, their weaknesses and their goals. It will be necessary at times for each of us to step out of our comfort zone and identify issues we have simply lived with instead of addressing them. The management and growth of our Lodges and the future of our Craft should be our main focus and responsibility.
As we enter this new Masonic Year, may each of us deepen our sense of caring for each other so that we may truly become Freemasons united together under Ritual ethics. We pride ourselves on doing what is right, treating others as we ourselves would like to be treated, and striving for excellence in all we say and do. Bring the values of Masonry into our everyday life, while becoming students of the Code! The prestige of Freemasonry lies squarely on the shoulders of each of us.
The world needs what Free Masonry has to offer today more than ever before.
I would like to offer my sincerest appreciation and deepest thanks to each of you for what you are going to do this year in support of moving this Grand Lodge forward. I must ask you to remember, it is you who are Grand Lodge and your Grand Master and other Grand Lodge Officers are here primarily to support you and assist you. As I stated; after being elected as Junior Grand Warden, I am truly Honored by the trust you have bestowed upon me and will do my best to exceed your expectations. Thank you Brethren for providing me the opportunity to serve you!