Following very successful Strategic Planning sessions in Morland and the Leadership Academy in Topeka last fall, Wyandotte Lodge No. 3 hosted a Strategic Planning session on Saturday, January 21, 2012.
Rick Reichert, Grand Senior Warden, led the session and started the day with a smooth flowing presentation on the importance of every lodge having their own individualized Strategic Plan to help assure future successes and growth. He outlined the components of making a successful Plan, based on proven business models, and how every lodge should address their specific needs in small steps. He emphazied that every Strategic Plan is uniquely different in respect to each lodge and, that the Grand Lodge of Kansas has absolutely no involvement in making a lodge’s individual Plan other than providing requested resources (such as these sessions).
With Reichert’s assistance, over 50 masons from 18 lodges openly brainstormed with each other, sharing thoughts, ideas, and strengths/weaknesses of their lodges. Many participants were able to flesh out major parts of a Strategic Plan, and all participants left with new ideas and a potential game plan for starting a Strategic Plan in their respective lodges.
The brethren and ladies of Wyandotte Lodge No. 3 were gracious hosts and allowed access to all parts of their spacious new building. Coffee and pastries were available all morning and a free hot lunch was served at the end of the session.
More Strategic Planning sessions are being planned and can accomodate any number of participants. If your lodge would like to host a session, a lodge representative needs to contact your Area or District Deputy Grand Master or Grand Lodge for scheduling with R:.W:. Rick.
Arizona Deputy Grand Master Michael Meier has been removed from office by the Grand Master of Arizona, D. Brook Cunningham, on December 26.
According to a January 2 letter sent by the Grand Master to all Arizona lodges, Meier was removed following a “pattern of disrespect and intentional disregard for the Grand Master’s directives.”
Unsubstantiated accounts of other high level Grand Lodge officer resignations have also appeared online . Masonic blogger Chris Hodapp has stated that the “Senior Grand Warden and the only other elected officer besides the Grand Master himself have recently resigned, as well,” although no details have been made public.
The Grand Lodge of Arizona website offered no information on any of the recent events and as of this writing, Michael Meier was still listed as the Deputy Grand Master. There is no word on Meier’s replacement.
This year, like so many other years, Lodges across the state will celebrate their 100, 125 or 150 Year Anniversaries. As the trend seems to follow, only about half of these lodges will actually conduct any kind of an event that recognizes their milestone. Many wonder why more lodges don’t. Is it the amount of work involved in putting on a ceremony? Or is it simply apathy?
The significance of your Lodges milestone is enormous when looked at from the right perspective. Over the past 100-150 years, so much has changed in our world. So much so that our brethren from the era when our Grand Lodge began would not recognize the world as it is now, but they would Masonry. What seems to stand out is that no matter what problems have risen in the world the Tenants of our Order, Friendship, Morality and Brotherly Love,as well as a strict adherence to our traditions and ritual still apply. Depending on how old your lodge is, it has survived the recovery from the Civil War and the settlement of Kansas, World War 1, the Great Depression and Dust Bowl days, World War 2, the Korean War, the Great Civil Rights Movement , the Vietnam War, the Economic Crisis of the late 70’s and early 80’s and so much more. Even local controversies and changes to our communities have not seen the failure of our sacred tenants.
Short research also shows that 125 years ago Kansas Masons shared the same vision we have today. At the Annual Communication in 1887 the Grand Master, Silas Sheldon, addressed the craft sharing his vision for Kansas Masonry to be as strong as it could be and to be the premier Fraternal Organization in Kansas. This is essentially the same Vision we have today as shown in Vision 2020. The difference is that during that time, our infancy, their concern was that they would grow so fast that our sacred ritual would become skewed, altered or changed all together. This fear was so great that most lodges who applied for their charter were denied because their work was not yet proficient. In his address Sheldon states “The unprecedented growth of the western portion of this State has created a corresponding demand for new lodges” and further on “……they make application for a dispensation to organize a Masonic Lodge, with fifteen or twenty master masons from as many different lodges and perhaps as many different States, each with his own peculiar notion and idea of the work and government of a lodge.”Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Kanas 1886-1887
Our shared Vision faces different challenges today. Instead of rapid growth we face the danger of a rapid collapse both in terms of lodges closing and apathy about our ritual and the order as a whole. Taking the time to remember where we came from and how we got here should impress on each and every Brother Mason the magnitude of the impact their lodge has had on so many Brothers and on their own town. Each and every lodge has its own footprint on their community both now and in the past. Those footprints across the state are what make the Grand Lodge of Kansas what it is. There isn’t a better way to publicly say to your community “We are here, we have been here and we will be here for generations to come making good men better.”
Re-Dedications are not difficult to conduct when coordinated in advance and as a lodge you are not left hanging out in the wind when trying to conduct such an event. Within a week after the Grand Lodge Annual Communication, the District and Area Deputies will have been trained and armed with the proper tools to perform their duties. Part of their duty is to support lodges celebrating an anniversary and assist them in the planning preparation and execution of that event. Reach out to your Deputies and put them to work. Grand Lodge Leadership also stands ready to help with anything that you need to get an event done. Rededication Ceremonies and Anniversary Celebrations are an outstanding way to celebrate who we are, where we have been and more importantly, where we are going.
By Tracy L. Bloom, Grand Master, Salina Lodge No. 60
With Christmas right around the corner you still have time to visit our online web store and pick out something for a Christmas gift. Our staff at your Grand Lodge office will do our best to make sure it arrives in time to slip under the ole’ Christmas tree. We have many great books on sale including The Better Angels Of Our Nature: Freemasonry in the American Civil War, written by your Grand Junior Warden, Michael A. Halleran, and I’m sure that he would love to personalize the book for you the next time you see him. As you know, Bro. Halleran is an accomplished Masonic writer with many stories published in the Scottish Rite Journal. His Bro. Brother articles were great reads and always a favorite of mine even before I met him.
If you took the opportunity to attend the Leadership Academy at the State Capitol building in October, you had the pleasure of listening to several great Masonic speakers, among them Bro. Cliff Porter from Colorado who gave a fantastic presentation. Bro. Cliff’s presentation was based on his book The Secret Psychology Of Freemasonry which is a featured item in our web store. While negotiating the best deal possible, Brother Cliff offered to personally sign each copy we purchased, so you can expect a signed copy when it arrives.
All other books and items are listed in the new and improved web store, which is much easier to navigate. For ease of purchase you can now pay online with PayPal payment service, you don’t need a PayPal account to make a purchase, either. You can pay with your credit card and we usually get the order out the same day the transaction hits our desktops. So remember, if you’re looking for gifts for the Mason who has everything – be sure to stop by the Grand Lodge store.
By Rick Reichert, Grand Senior Warden
Hancock Lodge No. 311
Previous winners of the Relighting the Torch awards are finding themselves struggling to accumulate acceptable hours. Grand Lodge is rigidly enforcing the rule change enacted at the 2009 Annual Communication. Has the rule change snuffed out the flame on the torch?
According to Don Newman, Deputy Grand Master, “I’m seriously considering doing away with the program altogether. It doesn’t seem right to reward lodges for doing what they should be doing anyway.” However, there is still time to turn the rule-change hurdle into a significant win, especially for lodges that have not been competitive for this award in the past. There are fifteen $1,000 awards for which few lodges has yet qualified for the 2011-2012 year.
Complete details are posted at KansasMason.org but here is the essence: Do something charitable as a lodge-led endeavor with enough hours to qualify for the award. To level the playing field, smaller lodges are required to perform less hours than larger ones. The reward, however, is the same regardless of lodge size. This can be a significant boon to the smaller lodges and they, likely being in less populated areas, are most likely to succeed.
The rule change is that the hours accumulated must be a lodge-led effort. Individual charitable volunteer hours and supporting another charitable organization, although encouraged and the right thing to do, are not counted for this award. The spirit of this award, and the reason for the rule change, is to build the image of your lodge and the fraternity as a whole.
Internally, we know we have been Herculean with our quiet philanthropy. Our religious teachings tell us that any boasting of our giving is its own reward and cannot serve as treasure in heaven. Promoting good works done by a group of men who display brotherly love, relief and truth is not boasting. By not making ourselves known by the good works we do deprives the community the knowledge of how to seek that charitable support when needed and most importantly, it denies potential brothers the knowledge of how to seek out like minded men and join them. Hiding our light under a bushel basket is helping drive our fraternity into obscurity.
The rule change was made to align our good works with the Image goal of Vision 2020, our strategic plan. Making our good works visible, accessible, and significant are required to meet our strategic goals and ensure the solid future of our Craft.
The litmus test for lodge-led is simple. If the lodge did not participate in the charitable effort, would it continue anyway? If the answer is yes, it is not lodge led. So what can a lodge do? First, look at your own membership. Whoever said charity begins at home was right. In any group of men, there must be some cause near to the heart of at least one of them. Once the need is identified, attaining the requisite hours is the next step.
The 300 member lodge must have 300 hours. That’s one hour per member or 10 hours for 30 members. Whether you do the effort all at once, like a toy-building workshop for the underprivileged children in your community at Christmas, or spread out by providing a pool of free on-call handyman for services made available to seniors that can’t otherwise afford to winterize their homes, meeting the time requirement is certainly achievable.
The response to a lodge-led effort like these would put your lodge in the forefront of your community’s mind when they are in need of a charitable service you perform. You’ll be building up the image of your lodge, bring unity to your charitable efforts, and put your lodge on the map for men who are looking for a way to give back. The community response will be, “That’s what the lodge guys do in our town – and it is great thing!”
Hook onto something like that and making the hours will be but a mere side benefit to the many other rewards your lodge will reap. Your torch flame will burn most brightly.
9:27 a.m. The Leadership Academy has kicked off on-time with a huge crowd of 160 registered guests (and as yet uncounted unregistered Masons and their wives) in the very impressive House Chamber of the Kansas Statehouse.
9:35 a.m. W:. Cliff Porter, Master of Enlightenment Lodge No. 198 in Colorado and author of The Secret Psychology of Freemasonry begins the opening address.
“If Masonry can improve members of a lodge – can’t Masonry also improve upon Masonry?”
“In communications theory we most revere the senses of hearing, seeing and feeling,” which is very similar to Masonic thinking.
“In my work, I am an old crusty guy five years from retirement, but in Masonry, I am a punk.”
“I’ll trade a hundred guys with great ideas for one guy with a broom.”
“The idea that Masonry doesn’t grow, progress or change is radically, radically, false.”
“When you look at old grand lodge photos from the 1920s – the men we in their twenties.” The best thing we can do in Masonry, Porter stressed was to prepare the way for our successors.
Following Porter’s address, the attendees attended various breakout sessions. Here in the House Chamber, R:.W:. Cole Presley, DDGM #35 addressed the responsibilities of Wardens in Kansas Masonry.