M⸫W⸫ Steve C. Martin, Grand Master
Grand Master’s Message
I want to start by thanking each and every one of you for making the time to be here tonight for this installation of officers of the Grand Lodge, Free & Accepted Mason, of Washington. To my wife Robin, you are my rock, you are my strength, you are my reason why I do everything I do. You are the reason I look forward to each day and the reason I feel content each time I go to sleep. I love you. I want to thank my mom, and all of my family that traveled all the way here from several different states. To my sisters Teresa and Shelley, my dad, my mother-in-Law, and father-in-law, I know you are all looking down on me and I know you are enjoying this as much as the rest of us. To Sam & Vickie Roberts, thank you for always being there for Robin and me. Sam, thank you for seeing in me, that which I could not see. You took a green Mason and convinced him he was good enough; he could make a difference; he has what it takes. To the Powell Family, thank you for accepting my family and welcoming us as if we were part of your family. To all of my Rainbow, Eastern Star, and other Masonic Family, simply this, Thank you.
Could I have Rick McGann and Matt Atkins please stand. I wanted to give a special thank you to the two of you, and the committees you support. Because of the nature of your committees, you travel more than any other. For this reason, I wanted to recognize you both as well as all the members of the Photography and Medical teams. We are working on some things to help support you in the future.
For the next year I plan on continuing the focus that those before me have started. During MWB Cameron’s year as Grand Master, we started talking about expectations and the fact that we really didn’t have any expectations in writing of what was expected for the various grand lodge officers, deputies of the Grand Master and committees. There is a small blurb in the Washington Masonic Code, but very little. MWB Ed began the process of laying out expectations and I have expanded on that. My hope is that we have living documents for each committee, appointed officer and Deputy of the Grand Master that can be modified by the new Grand Master, but a starting point and not something that has to be reinvented every year.
In 2017 the Long-Range Planning Tiger team made up of about 40 Masons from around the State worked to develop the “Six Supports of the Long-Range Plan”. This program was brought to the 2017 Annual Communication and adopted by the Brethren on the floor as the Long-Range Plan for the Grand Lodge of Washington. It was then never really talked about again. MWB Cameron got the ball rolling again, and MWB Ed continued the momentum and I plan on keeping that ball rolling. All of the expectations I have tied into the Six Supports of the Long-Range Plan. Each district meeting for the coming year, I will expect a report from the Deputy and the Worshipful Masters on what they are doing as it relates to the Six Supports of the Long-Range Plan. This does not mean we have to hear about everything you are doing with each support, but rather focus on one or two and let us know what you are doing.
Another focus of mine will be Ritual. In order to become a lodge under dispensation, and then ultimately a new lodge, according to section 16 of the Washington Masonic Code, they must have 15 members and those members must be able to prove that they can confer all three degrees. Shouldn’t we strive to be able to do that with lodges that have been in existence for 100 years? We currently have the Proficiency in Lodge Management part B, where a brother must be able to open and close on all three degrees as the Master of the Lodge. We have Certificate of Proficiency in section 6 of the WMC that allows a brother to be deemed proficient for one, two, or all three degrees if they can commit to memory the entire standard work for the degree. I will be implementing a new Excellence in Ritual program to help bridge the gap, encourage learning the degrees, and track the proficiency of our brethren so that we can look for help when needed. With the help of my Grand Lecturer, Franklin Donahoe, we will implement the Excellence in Ritual Awards as follows.
- Proficiency in Lodge Management will stay as is.
- Warden’s Certificate – Open and Close on all three degrees from every station in the lodge.
- Master’s Certificate – Learn at least one of the degree lectures (master’s Lecture for the EA, Middle Chamber Lecture for the FC, or the Historical Lecture for the MM). Earn 700 points for the various sections of the degrees (point list attached).
- Excellence in Ritual Award – Earn 1000 points in the degree work.
These awards are good for three years and must be renewed. If a brother reaches the Excellence in Ritual Award for three consecutive three year cycles, they will earn the Lifetime Excellence in Ritual Award. On that note, MWB Jim Mendoza, will you please come to the East. There may be others who have done this, but I know that you have, and it would be my honor and privilege to award you with the first Lifetime Excellence in Ritual Award. It is my hope that in the years to come, we can make these certificates requirements to hold future offices. We are not there yet, but we can get there. If you want to be master of your lodge in 2030, maybe you have to have the Warden’s Certificate. If you want to be a Grand Officer in 2035, maybe you will be required to have a Master’s Certificate. Again, I know we are not there now, but there is no reason we can’t get there. There is no real incentive to learn the ritual work, so there doesn’t seem to be many willing to take the time to do it. Together, let’s change that.
We have many fun events coming up this year that I look forward to participating in. You can go to the Grand Lodge Website at freemason-wa.org and view my calendar. We have some cornerstone ceremonies, rededications, installations, and many of the usual Grand Lodge events. Two things in particular that I want to talk about are my fundraising dinner and trip to Scotland. On September 30, 2023, I will be having a “Suited up for Charity” dinner and auction. We will have a fabulous steak dinner, silent auction, live auction, wine pull, dessert dash, 50/50 raffle, heads or tails, and many other fun things. This will be my biggest fundraiser of the year and I hope to see you there. If you have any items you would like to donate for auction like timeshares, air miles, hand crafted items, etc. please let me know. On April 19, 2024, we will be flying to Edinburgh Scotland and will spend a week there. We will do an Outlander tour, visit the Edinburgh castle, walk the Royal Mile, Whisky tasting, Roslyn Chapel, Golf at St. Andrews, Afternoon Tea, and the highlight for me will be a visit to Lodge Kilwinning or Lodge 0 (also referred to as Lodge nothing). This Lodge has been in existence longer than any known Masonic Lodge in the world. It is my understanding that they have minute books that date back to 1642, and earlier ones were destroyed in fire or smuggled to France during the reformation. Flyers will be available with more information on the trip and the dinner.
One of the fundamental rights we have as Masons is to travel. Some of the best opportunities we have to connect with other Masons is when we visit lodges that we are not members of, when we attend events like the lodge leadership retreat, and annual communications. I have a traveling gavel this year to promote travel throughout the Jurisdiction. There is a Facebook page that I ask you to update when the gavel comes to your lodge, so I know where it is, and so that others do too. Is the Worshipful Master, or a representative of King Solomon Lodge here? Since I will be going to King Solomon Lodge in Auburn on Monday, that is where it will start. You can either take three lodge members and the gavel to a new lodge, or you can bring three lodge members to the lodge and take the gavel home. I will also have a Samsung SmartTag attached to the box to try and keep tabs on it, who knows, if I see where the gavel is on the Facebook page, or the Samsung app, I might just show up at your lodge.
For years I have heard “someone needs to learn this lecture,” “someone needs to take charge of this event,” “someone needs to [fill in the blank]”. You know what, they are right, someone needs to do that, and that someone is you. Grand Lodge does not make Masons, Grand Lodge does not improve the Masonic experience in a lodge, Grand Lodge does not make you a better mason, only you can do these things. It is time for us to take action and stop relying on someone else to do it. You will see that my symbol is Pocket Aces, this is because pocket aces are the strongest hand you can be dealt in Texas Hold’em. Brothers, right here, right now I am dealing you your pocket aces, are you going to be all in?