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.