MWB Michael D. Smith Sr. with the delegation from Paraguay. Paraguay received Offcial recognition from the Grand Lodge of Kentucky today. Paraguay had previously received recognition from South Carolina.
The fall of the year is perhaps my favorite time of the year, as the temperature begins to moderate, nature paints a beautiful and vibrant picture with the changing hues of the leaves, the bountiful harvest and offers the anticipation of peace and plenty. With the approach of fall, we all can take great interest in the beauty and majesty all around us. Color abounds and is a key part of all things fall. Being from the south, it is also a great time of hope for the success of your favorite college football team too!
The fall of the year is also a time to come together as Freemasons in our Grand Jurisdiction to celebrate a successful year, come back to labor and prepare for the year end. For many of us, this is a welcomed tradition in South Carolina, to see old friends, make new friends, and spend time together, as the family of Freemasons. I hope you make plans to attend your District meeting and to gather some new insight regarding our fraternity. It is a time to celebrate our success and recommit to our plans for the future. It is time to prepare for the approaching new year!
Inspirational meetings come in all formats from the new family picnic format with picnic foods, fun and games for the children and great fellowship, to the traditional banquet with a great meal, fellowship and educational presentations, hopefully, not too long and not boring!
Regardless of how we celebrate, the goal is to inspire Freemasons to engage and contribute their talent, skill and capacity for our craft and to expound our great teachings! We hope to increase fellowship and fraternity, create interest with our new members, and engage our family members. Regardless of what format is selected, the real objective, in my mind, is how are we creating a positive and meaningful experience for our members.
At a recent event in Washington DC, I had the honor and privilege to attend the conference, as Master of Ceremonies of several event in part of my obligation, as Sovereign Grand Inspector General for the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite at the biennial session. At the Gala Banquet, I had the privilege of presenting one or our George Washington Portraits to the Supreme Council in front of approximately 1200 people from all over the World. We shared the successful program and how we have made a difference in the schools in South Carolina and also contributed to the Juvenile Diabetes Research program. The inspirational part to me was what the audience did at the close of the ceremony, they came on stage and had pictures made with the George Washington portrait and asked about the program. Again, Freemasonry Inspires! It inspires us to think of what we might do to assist others. It inspires Action, focused action to make a difference. Gentlemen, as I frequently say, we make a difference every day! Keep up the good work. Be the Freemason that works for others, lives worthily and supports your brethren.
While in Washington, I also saw a young lady born with a rare genetic disorder, Osteogenesis Imperfecta. She was born with 50 broken bones and thus created issues with her development. She learned to play the violin, not by the traditional method but as a miniature base or cello. Her method of play created a beautiful harmony as if multiple violins were playing in perfect harmony. When she was asked about being an inspiration, her answer was even more inspiring. Don’t think I am inspiring because of my circumstance, it is who I am, it is part of what God made of me. It is more important that we work and develop our talent to share with others. Freemasonry, when in action, does this too!
May God grant each of us the recognition of our talent and dedication to develop our talent and skill to the benefit of others.
Our Grand Lodge officers look forward to seeing you at our Inspirationals.
GRAND MASTER’S EDUCATION LESSON PLAN, NUMBER 2
YOUR LODGE OF THE FUTURE
BACKGROUND: INSPIRING MEMBER ENGAGEMENT
ISSUES: Delivering on our promise, Making A Difference to All Members
NEEDS: Improve membership support and engagement
Discuss how to needs to be done to improve communication with your members.
ACTIONS: Use the Grand Lodge Membership System to update your membership roster
Ascertain how many of your members are not attending and reach out to them
Divide the membership list among your Officers and Active Members and call them to check on them and get email address if they have it. Welcome them to come back, share upcoming events and regular meetings.
Call or email your members on their birthday
Use the Grand Lodge – Grandview System to send your members information.
Hold a Family Breakfast and invite your Lodge members and families to visit.
Plan a special educational program and invite all your members.
Visit other Lodges and build the fellowship
Have a Lodge Project for 2017 to unite the members in a project for the community or the Lodge.
- Disaster Relief Project
- Veterans Homes and Nursing Home Project
- Call your members to check on them.
- Determine if your Lodges needs to Change your Meeting time to better serve members. Day Light Lodge for older members or a Saturday Morning Lodge.
Out of the Darkness
From the dawn of humanity, mankind has asked a variety of
questions, who am I, where did I come from, is there a GOD, and how do I communicate with Him? Consider how when we were born into this world, the doctor slapped us on our butt and the shock caused us to breathe and life began. From that instant, our sole existence depended on family members and caretakers to feed us, clothe us, and to protect us from all harm developing our “spiritual being” to learn who God is and His demands for His children. From the instant we opened our eyes, we sought to leave the darkness and advance towards the light. Through support,
we began to develop. We were taught to crawl, communicate, to speak, to think on our own, to reason things out and walk out of the darkness. This gift of God to man endowed us with the knowledge of right from wrong, calling mankind out of the darkness to eternal life.
We learn things from our family members, friends, acquaintances, and GOD’s great light, how to survive and to develop our spiritual being (soul). Conversely, when we entered Masonry, we needed the same care and teachings to survive. We used our skill and reasoning to come out of the darkness when we asked a Brother how to be a Mason? This desire came only after we observed Masons in our communities, workplaces, churches, synagogues, and houses of worship, demonstrating their dedication to God, Family, Community and the desire to serve mankind in any way they could.
Our first entrance into the Lodge was a shock as we came out of the darkness into “new birth.” This was followed immediately by Brethren teaching us the allegorical and archetypal meaning of Masonry. The Lodge prayed an earnest plea to God to ensure us with competency of His divine wisdom so we may understand His
Consequently, it is the duty of all Masons to teach, model, instruct and insure each new Entered Apprentice is given all the tools ensuring he can and will build the house of the eternal spirit. We are often reminded of the necessity to continually and carefully study the Great Light of Masonry, the Holy Bible that rules and governs our everyday life and our interaction with all mankind. By being encouraged to continue our study of the Great Light, we come out of the darkness to build our spiritual house, not made with hands.
Consider the color of the lambskin apron and how the color is to remind us of purity of life, which is one of the characteristics of a Mason. RW Brother Cal, our DGM, has reminded the Craft, an aspirant joins Freemasonry, we do not join him. He is in the dark, he may have no knowledge of the Great Light nor God’s plan for each of us. The aspirant should align with our tenants; however, he must be mentored. Those of us who were blessed by our parents who loved and raised us to be men of faith, men that care for the human race, men that love and obey the Great Architect of the Universe, owe it to be faithful and do the same to those in our circle of acquaintance. As Masons, we should study the Great Light of Masonry, to renew our minds so we can know the will of GOD. Establishing GOD’s word as the authority for our life, is vital for defending against the spiritual attacks seeking to distract, deceive, and waylay our Father’s greatest creation...man. Never forget that without guidance and the proper instruction, we will lose each Entered Apprentice, exiling them to the world of darkness.
Quote of the Month: “Individual commitment to a group effort, which is what makes a team work, a company work, a society to work, a civilization to work.” Vince Lombardi
Thought of the Month: Commit yourself to change the world in small ways by investing yourself into others one life at a time.
Word for the Month: Knowledge Facts, information and skills acquired by a person through experience or education, theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.
O.B. Smith, Senior Grand Warden
Chairman, Masonic Education Committee