Ruby Lodge No. 314 is now in possession of the State Gavel. They welcome any lodge to come and get it and keep it traveling. It was retrieved from Batesburg Leesville Lodge No. 138 on June the 12th.
2018 Masonic Year Trestle Board
Our 281st Annual Communication of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient Free Masons of South Carolina has come and is now in the rearview mirror. Brethren, we had a great session with positive reports, recognition and fellowship, most of all great fellowship! During the Grand Masters Address, I placed several initiatives on the trestle board for 2018 - 2019 year that I believe will continue to serve the craft and move our Lodge of the Future program forward. We will continue to focus on the primary initiatives
- Improved Ritual Work Quality – to increase new member engagement.
- Full Candidate Proficiency – to impress our lessons on new members.
- Improved Member Communication – Staying in touch with all members.
- Improved Masonic Education – Providing Quality Educational Programs.
- Improved Financial Management – Lodges taking ownership of Budgets
Brethren, those Lodges that are embracing these programs, through their hard work and effort, are seeing improved membership experience.
The new initiatives that your Grand Lodge officers are working to develop and introduce this year;
1. Address and formalize the onboarding process for new members to clearly define the requirements for membership in our Jurisdiction. This process is testing well with inquiries we get from our website. It will help our Lodges with retention and also with improved quality of applicants. It is designed to better prepare those new members coming into our fraternity with understanding of the process of membership.
2. Develop a District Realignment strategy. We currently have Districts with few as 5 Lodges and as many as 13 Lodges. We will structure so as to maintain 30 Districts but we will include Lodge input that is critical to this project.
3. Develop a Lodge of Excellence Recognition program to support our Lodges that are working to create the Lodge Membership Experience and move forward with the Lodge of the Future concepts. This recognition program will better define what successful Lodges are doing and sharing in the great results. More to follow in the coming weeks. 4. Develop and implement a Grand Masters Unity Project this year. This program is asking all Lodges and all appendant organizations of our fraternity to hold one fund raiser to support the Fraternity. Each group that participates will receive a share of the contributions to demonstrate the great impact of our fraternity. See the attached Lesson plan for details.
Gentlemen, we owe a great deal of thanks for the blessing we have in this Jurisdiction! It is by the hard work and teamwork of our members, that we see great success. We have many that worked so hard for our Grand Lodge and I want to publicly say thank you to the many on the Local Grand Lodge Committee and our Grand Lodge officers that worked on our Grand Lodge Session. Our local committee and their ladies did a wonderful job in making our members and guest feel so welcome.
Thank you to the local committee you make us so proud to be a South Carolina Freemason!
Michael D. Smith
GRAND MASTER’S ADDRESS
THE MASONIC LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE
“Grand Master, I am having problems in my Lodge, getting members to participate.” These words were shared with me on several occasions during the recent District Instructional Meetings, by Worshipful Masters concerned about the future of their Lodge. These words certainly signal great concern for a Lodge, especially when they rise to the level of a conversation with the Grand Master and I certainly take them seriously. More importantly, it signals that the Lodge needs to work to address the issue. Often, the Worshipful Master and Officers, find themselves dealing with issues that have not been addressed within their Lodge, but address the issues, they must!
Brethren, I have reminded all the Officers attending the District Instructional Meetings of the obligation they took as officers by reciting the obligation.
“I, Michael Duane Smith, do solemnly promise that I will serve this Lodge as _______, for the space of one year, from the festival of St. John the Evangelist to the one next ensuing and will perform all the duties appertaining to that one office to the best of my abilities, so help me God.” I follow up by asking them if they understood and took that obligation seriously, do they mean it, do they own it!
Officers are expected to know their role and to give their best effort in the work and support as a member of the leadership team. The emphasis points for this year are as follows based direct member feedback!
1. Candidate Proficiency – All candidates are expected to demonstrate full proficiency in all degrees. They will appreciate their accomplishment and will be better prepared to assist the Lodge with pride.
2. Quality of the Work – Focus on teaching the candidates with Ritual Excellence. Masters have been asked to lead more practice including teaching officers how to read the Ritual correctly.
3. Improve Member Communications – Using email, calls, letters & texts to keep your members informed of all Lodge Activity.
4. Improve Lodge Education - Masters have been asked to provide Masonic Education at all Regular Meetings. Focus on the Ahiman Rezon, Ritual and the Lodge of the Future Lesson Plans.
Let’s OWN IT, and work together in 2018 and begin to focus on those things which enable renewal, stability and success. What will it take to make that happen? Masonic Leadership with a focused, realistic approach specific for your Lodge this year. Please see the Grand Masters Lesson plan at www.scgrandlodgeafm.com and click on the resources tab to get Lesson Plan No. 4. Your actions now will impact your Lodge for many years to come. Consider these questions for your Lodge. Can a Lodge survive if the work cannot be properly exemplified? Can a Lodge survive if they do not stay in constant contact with their members, all of them? Can a Lodge survive if they do not understand where they are and can the Lodge meet the obligations to be a Lodge of Ancient Free Masons in SC. Brethren, it means something to be a Freemason in South Carolina.
Masonic Leadership is needed now in your Lodge! Lead the Craft by showing them that you care for them and the Lodge! Your Grand Lodge Officers are here to help you succeed.
Wardens are expected to attend the New Wardens Leadership Workshops either on March 3rd at the Greenville Scottish Rite Center or March 10th at the Charleston Scottish Rite Center.
Michael D. Smith, Sr.
Band of Brothers The officers of a Lodge have been elected or appointed to serve the Lodge because of their particular talents. Some are more gifted in certain areas than others, but all of them must possess one very important characteristic, that of DEVOTION TO DUTY. When our Brother accepts an office in our Lodge, he is affirming to the Brethren he has committed himself to Masonry and to the complete success in his office. Additionally, when a Brother joins our Lodge, it is a twofold commitment as he unites with his Band of Brothers. There is a great deal of planning, studying, and attending involved in each of these offices and each officer will need the support of everyone. When we are not prepared to make these sacrifices and prioritize, we are not being just to our Band of Brothers by accepting the office. If you do not have the support of your family and are willing to place GOD first, family second, your chosen vocation third and the Lodge fourth, then you should have never taken the responsibility of a Lodge Officer. Every officer must work with enthusiasm, not only at his own particular job in the Lodge, but he must assist each officer in the performance of their duties. In the performance of duty, the officer demonstrates a desire to ascend to the next office in line or to some other position of responsibility in the long line of service. A successful Lodge is united through a good educational program, good Lodge administration and management, a good mentoring program, a good community outreach program, and good Ritual. It is the responsibility of every officer to ensure your Lodge is a Band of Brothers. Decorum in our Lodge was established by our Founding Fathers. They wanted to institute a culture grounded in unity and decorum creating place for our families to gather and a quality experience for the aspirant. They were convinced of the need to be distinctive in terms of quality rather than opaque. As we think about the year 2018 with the challenges, hopes and dreams awaiting, we must not find ourselves looking back. We must remain united as a Band of Brothers who meet on the level. A portion of the charge we administer to each Senior Warden is very poignant-- “The LEVEL demonstrates that we are descended from the same stock, partake of the same nature, and share the same hope; and, though distinctions among men are necessary to preserve subordination, yet no eminence of station should make us forget that we are Brethren.” It is interesting how our mind recalls a song, poem or a particular place we identify with which corresponds to a time in our lives. Poetry was never one of my strong suits, however certain stanzas from a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson does permeate my thoughts as I reflect on our Band of Brothers.
Though much is taken, much abides; and though We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Word of the month: Decorum---etiquette, protocol, good form, custom, convention, formalities, niceties, Quote for the month & Thought for the month: “Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.”
Carpe Diem Together we can protect, preserve, serve, and grow
O.B. Smith, SGW Chairman, MEC
As I write this year end message, I am homeward bound from the Tercentenary Celebration of the United Grand Lodge of England. RW Walter C. “Cal” Disher II and I had the great honor to participate in this gathering Grand Officers and representing all the members of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient Free Masons of South Carolina.
Indeed, His Royal Highness, the Duke of Kent, Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England indicated this was the largest gathering of Grand Masters in History! 136 Grand Masters from all corners of the world gathered in London to celebrate 300 Years of Freemasonry as organized in the Premier Grand Lodge. Over 4000 attended the celebration on Tuesday, October 31st at Royal Albert Hall in London. Freemasonry was truly celebrated at this event.
The ceremony, showed a young member beginning his journey as most of us have, by seeking a better life and choosing to serve others. By seeking and finding Light! This portrayal had the young member being conducted by the Master Hiram stressing the moral lessons and those principle virtues so vital to a successful journey of a Freemason. Along the way the novice was excited to meet many of the greatest Freemasons from history that taught the great lessons and virtues, including Benjamin Franklin and George Washington!
The presentation shared that the United States was founded on the principles of Freemasonry of Freedom and Toleration! Brethren, we were proud of this portrayal. May Freedom continue to reign and toleration remain a proper goal for our fraternity!
Brethren, I am here to tell you that you should be so proud of our history and those great Masonic leaders in our glorious past. We were ordered at this session based upon our establishment of our Grand Lodge. Being the eighth in history afforded RW Bro Disher and me some unbelievable opportunities. I was seated with the highest officers of the Grand Lodge of England, Grand Masters of Ireland, Scotland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York and New Jersey and as such one of the first to meet the HRH the Grand Master of England, to get the prime seating for the celebration and seated at the head tables for the Grand Banquet. Brethren from other jurisdictions wanted to know how we got to be in the select group. I stated that is was due to those great Masonic Leaders of the past from South Carolina that afforded us this great opportunity.
Brethren, I also had the great privilege of attending the Grand Lodge of Scotland while in Edinburgh the week prior to returning to London and again South Carolina was recognized as one of the oldest Grand Lodges by the MW Grand Master Mason in their session.
Brethren, as I contemplated these wonderful events where Freemasons celebrated the tremendous history, influence and the difference made in the world, I was moved by what we have in South Carolina. We have a rich history of service to our members and the world. A teaching Grand Lodge that works and our charity is noted because of what we have been taught! Gentlemen, men need what we offer! We must offer our best for the future of the craft!
Gentlemen, I pose the questions again regarding the Lodge of the Future and our ability to continue such a great legacy for the coming generations. How will we carry out our great mission when some of our Lodges struggle to even stay open? Without a return to the pride in teaching the great lessons to our members, we cannot fulfill the very needs of our members to make a difference in their community. If your Lodge is not meeting the needs of your members, then you must get your “house in order” and then and only then can your Lodge be what it is meant to be. A true force in the lives of your members and your community!
Time to STAND TALL my brethren and to GO TO WORK to make 2018 the best.
We have great plans on the trestle board for all Lodge officers!
Attend your District instructional meeting for hands on training for your officers.
Worshipful Masters are expected to attend the New Worshipful Masters Leadership Workshop on January 27th in Columbia at the Scottish Rite.
Wardens are expected to attend the New Wardens Leadership Workshops either on March 3rd in Charleston or March 10th in Greenville at the Scottish Rite Centers.
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 Instructional Meetings.
Michael D. Smith
GRAND MASTER’S EDUCATION LESSON PLAN, NUMBER 3
PREPARING YOUR LODGE OF THE FUTURE
BACKGROUND: NEW OFFICER LEADERSHIP AND TRAINING PROGRAM
ISSUES: Delivering on our promise, Making A Difference to YOUR Members
NEEDS: Improve Officer Training
Raising the Bar on Quality Ritual and Operations
ACTIONS: Use the Grand Lodge Instructional Program to Improve Lodge Leadership.
Properly Elect and Install your 2018 Officers.
Engage your DDGM and Past Masters.
Open installations are a great way to involve the family!
Provide the proper tools to the new officers.
Officers get together and study, read the Ritual to make certain it is correct.
ALL OFFICERS Attend Your District Instructional Meeting Together!
WOR. MASTERS – Attend the NEW Leadership Workshop – 1.27 in Columbia.
WARDENS – Attend the NEW Leadership Workshop in Charleston or Greenville.
Plan to practice and practice to be better tomorrow. Make your Lodge the best it can be! The best at teaching your new members! Your Grand Lodge Officers are looking forward to seeing you at Instructional Meetings and your Workshops.
If you have any questions please contact your DDGM for details.
STAND TALL and LET’S GO TO WORK TOGETHER.
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
Most Worshipful Grand Master,
As we briefly discussed, I'd like to share a story about SC Masons being true SC Masons...
Every now an then its nice to get a few reminders of why we really love what we do.
I was first contacted July 7th by WB Brian S. Dixon, PM Stonewell Lodge No. 124. He informed me that he had come into possession of a couple of old Masonic Bibles, one of which had belonged to a Brother from District 25. This Bible's cover having in gold the Square & Compasses and the words; Mr. & Mrs. J. Ross Rushing, Chesterfield Lodge No. 220 A.F.M. WB Dixon was requesting my assistance in contacting the Lodge Officers to make arrangements to present it to them.
During our conversations and emails it was clear that he, as a Mason, had a strong belief that he needed to see the Bible home where it most belonged. He wanted to deliver it in person, not just pass it along. (I am not sure what happened with the other Bible.)
On Thursday August 10, 2017 he, and others from Stonewell Lodge, travelled from Troy, SC to present this gift to the Brothers of Chesterfield Lodge No. 220. (That's approx. a 6 hour round trip.) I know they must have been doubly pleased to learn that a family tie to the Rushings was found from Ruby Lodge No. 314, just a few miles down the road. This family tie, Williams' family, father Junior, son Terry and grandson Hunter were in attendance that evening. In the attached photos, Hunter, a newly raise Mason, was given the honor of being the recipient of the Bible. Hunter's father and grandfather have been frequent visitors to and supporters of Chesterfield Lodge No. 220 for many years, so I know the Chesterfield Brothers felt a true joy in helping to honor their family.
That evening WB Terry posted on Facebook (not in SCGrandLodgeAFM Official): Couldn't have asked for a better night me daddy and hunter received my great grandfathers Masonic bible that was found in a storage unit I want to thank the brothers that brought it to us.
Since WB Terry did not name names - I had added this comment: Thank you to Brother Brian S. Dixon PM Stonewall Lodge No.124 for his love and dedication to the Craft! Not only found the Bible, recognized it's value to others, made the effort to contact me to hook him up with these Brothers, then drove several hours to hand deliver it. A special fraternal friend indeed!