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Be a Builder
Grand Master’s Annual Address:-
June 22, 2012

[William R. Cave]
MW Bro. William R. Cave,
Grand Master 2011-2012

First, I must express thanks to my wife and constant travelling companion, Jan, for her unflagging support over these past four years for without it this journey would not have been possible or, so enjoyable. I also wish to note particular thanks to our Grand Secretary, RW Bro. George Moore for all the assistance and friendship he has afforded me; it sheds a different light on the question, “In all times of difficulty and danger, in whom do you place your trust?“ — for Masonic business it is this Grand Secretary whose efforts on behalf of the Craft are truly monumental!
To the rest of the Principal Officers, those who preceded me (now Past Grand Masters) under whose willing tutelage I “apprenticed“ and to those with whom I enjoyed serving this year, I offer a great measure of thanks and remark to the Brethren that this Craft is in good hands for the years to come. We have worked well together, enjoyed many good times and ensured that there is a cohesive long range vision and plan, continuity and harmony in the superintendence of your Grand Lodge.
I was also honoured to enjoy good counsel and well founded advice from many of our Past Grand Masters, whom I believe should be considered as worthy and knowledgeable “senators,“ whenever I asked (and sometimes when I didn't — but there was respect, thoughtfulness and caring for the Craft in every conversation); I thank you for your guidance and support.
Travels and Visits
This year's travels encompassed over 55,631 kilometres, 13 airplane flights and 22 ferry trips, much of it through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world — that of British Columbia and Yukon.
Beginning our year of Official Visits with a memorable journey to Manoah Lodge in Tofino we continued our travels to visit with the brethren of every district in the jurisdiction and both Lodges of Education and Research. A special trip for us was our “Gold Rush Tour“ which commenced with the annual weekend in Barkerville at Cariboo No. 4. We then travelled with a congenial caravan of Freemasons and their Ladies to Chetwynd, Fort Nelson, Whitehorse, Dawson City (for the Official Visit to District No. 11) and finally, Skagway, Alaska where we were greeted by MW Bro. Ron Ackerman, Grand Master of Alaska, at his Mother Lodge, White Pass No. 1. The hospitality extended to us on every stop was heart warming.
We also enjoyed many special events including Outdoor Degrees, barbeques and picnics, Long Service Award Presentations, Installations and numerous theme meetings — Blighty, Burns, Railway, Empire, Mine Whistle and Crab to name a few, along with a number of International and Hands Across the Border events. In addition we attended events at the invitation of the Gizeh Shrine, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Royal Arch, Order of the Eastern Star, Daughters of the Nile, Order of the Amaranth and Jobs Daughters.
There were a number of notable lodge anniversaries in which we participated: 50th Anniversaries at Aviation and Westminster Lodges, Union Solomon's 150th, and 125 year celebrations and cornerstone rededications at Kamloops Lodge No. 10 and then Mountain Lodge No. 11 in Golden.
Five Pillar Plan
Strategic Management — I must note that one of the significant advantages we possess with respect to long range planning for the future of our Craft and the business of Grand Lodge, is the united vision shared and administered by the Principal Officers who are collectively committed to the strategic direction defined and endorsed by the Brethren of this jurisdiction. This harmonious and consensus-driven team is well positioned to provide stable and continuous direction for the Craft. Your Principal Officers, District Deputies, Regional Representatives and the various committees of Grand Lodge advanced their initiatives as defined by our Five Pillar Plan. Of specific note, the ad hoc Committee on Organizational Analysis completed another round of meetings with the brethren, this year focused on administrative concerns particularly related to the size and number of districts and compilation of a database of best practices for lodges. The ad hoc Committee on Constitutional Review continued their efforts to review the Constitutions, Regulations, Rulings and Edicts for the purpose of making them more easily readable, understood and accessible; noting errors or omissions; and identifying sections for condensation or reallocation to other Grand Lodge documents.
The Grand Secretary, RW Bro. George Moore, has been working with the other Principal Officers to expand the contents of the Reference Guide to frequently asked questions. This document has been developed in an effort to provide easy access for the lodge officers and brethren to answers regarding various matters of procedure and protocol of a masonic nature; documenting the responses to queries which are often made of the Grand Lodge office and officers. It is available on the Member Resources page of the Grand Lodge website.
Leadership — In April we held the second “Masonic Leadership and Ladies' Conference in Penticton.“ Presented to a capacity audience of Brethren and their Ladies and headlined by a thought provoking keynote address from RW Bro. Thomas Jackson, the weekend was an unqualified success.
The Grand Master-elect, RW Bro. G. Murray Webster, also held his annual workshop for the incoming District Deputy Grand Masters in Abbotsford, continuing our efforts to provide necessary support and instill continuity with respect to the rôles and responsibilities of these key members of our Craft.
Education — Beginning with District Education Officer training prior to Grand Lodge in June 2011 we have continued to place emphasis on the need to provide quality masonic education in lodges. In May we held a workshop involving members of the Grand Lodge Committees on Education, Leadership and Research, Ashlar College, plus District and Lodge Education Officers and other Brethren with an interest in the future of Masonic Education and Leadership Development in the jurisdiction. Present and past practices and resources were reviewed and correlated with identified current and future needs. This enabled definition of strengths and weaknesses and development of a clear plan to provide for the needs of our brethren and lodges in the future.
As this initiative was prompted by issues and concerns arising from the original Master Mason's Survey the original chairman of the committee responsible for that survey, our current Deputy Grand Master-elect, RW Bro. Donald E. Stutt, will continue to move these plans forward. To ensure continuity and completion, the Five Pillar Plan will be revised to incorporate and entrench the necessary initiatives defined by the participants in this workshop.
Communication — RW Bro. Aidan C. Gordon developed a new Google Calendar for our jurisdiction which will enable lodges, districts and concordant bodies to contribute to a joint calendar. Hopefully this will assist the masonic family as a whole in avoiding unnecessary conflicts when scheduling events.
Membership — The Lodge Excellence and Awards Program (L*E*A*P) was upgraded and redesigned to conform to the elements of the Five Pillar Plan. This document can be used either for determining a lodge's status relative to the awards program or as a planning tool. Given that the L*E*A*P checklist is a compilation of “best practices“ undertaken by successful lodges, it can be used by lodges to identify their strengths and weaknesses and then consider elements which they might wish to adopt or adapt within their own Lodge to pursue ongoing improvement.
Community — Development work was continued by the DVD Committee within the Grand Lodge Committee on Community Relations to refine the original DVD materials and produce some additional short informational videos more conducive to publication as YouTube-style videos on the Grand Lodge website. The committee also worked with the Grand Master-elect to produce a video to assist in training the incoming DDGMs in matters of protocol related to official visits.
While attending the All Canada Conference of Canadian Grand Jurisdictions in Winnipeg this April I was proud to present a cheque in the amount of $4,657 on behalf of the brethren of our jurisdiction to the Canadian Museum of Human Rights (CMHR) “Just a Buck“ Program. Additional donations continue to come in to our Grand Lodge office (ultimately totalling over $5,500) and will be forwarded to the CMHR at the end of this Masonic year.
I was also pleased to match, with some of the Grand Lodge funds allocated to the Grand Master to distribute, $5,600.00 in local donations to registered charities made by Districts to worthy initiatives within their own communities. All other “unspecified“ funds given to me during my visits have been divided between the Masonic Bursary Fund and the Scottish Rite Learning Centre in Vancouver.
Good of the Craft
This year our theme was to “Be a Builder — of Self, Lodge and Community.“ I have continued to emphasise the importance of “imitating the example of that celebrated artist,“ Hiram Abiff, by increasing involvement in our communities, continuing to build strong Lodges and, above and beyond all else, applying the working tools to develop ourselves in the model of the perfect ashlar.
In the words of VW Bro. Alden Sarmiento, Grand Lecturer of the Grand Lodge of Washington, we need to strive to be, “an organization that members want, not an organization that wants members.“ To accomplish this objective we must continue to stress quality in everything we do: the process of guarding the West Gate by diligent orientation and investigation of potential applicants to our lodges utilizing systematic approaches such as the Six-Step Program; the manner in which we conduct our meetings and confer degrees; and the ongoing coaching, mentorship and education we must provide for every Brother in the Lodge. Such quality is not achieved by accident but through conscientious planning by the Lodge Officers, not just for the Master's year but long range, for three to five years in advance.
There are too many situations in our jurisdiction where lodges are being hurt by conflict and controversy amongst some of the brethren. To maintain strength and unity within our lodges we must remember the principle of brotherly love and stress the importance of harmony in our Lodges. As remarked by the Senior Warden, “harmony being the strength and support of all well regulated institutions but more especially this of ours.“ I believe the principle of charity also applies in this context (not in a monetary sense but in thought, act and word) if we consider the “Five Points of Fellowship“ where we place a hand over our brother's back, commit to uphold his good name and whisper a gentle word in his ear.
We are privileged to belong to this unique and wonderful fraternal society and call ourselves Freemasons. I urge each of you to take full advantage of the opportunity which has been extended to you; the right you earned when you first knocked three times on the door of the preparation room and gained admission to your Lodge. Don't waste it; consider the lessons taught in the degrees conferred upon you, the significance of the ceremonies you have witnessed and the full meaning and application of every word. In this manner we can each, “Be a Builder“ and become the “better man“ we hope to be.
In Conclusion
In closing, Brethren, I must express my deep gratitude to you for the honour and trust you have seen fit to bestow upon me by providing me with the opportunity to serve you as your Grand Master this past year. Tomorrow I expect to be invested as a Past Grand Master (PGM) and will assume a new role and responsibilities. There are occasionally humorous remarks made about what “PGM“ really stands for and, in hearing these related on one occasion, MW Bro. Bo Cline, Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alaska, remarked that to him it means, “Precious Grand Memories.“ To my wife Jan and me this is truly what it stands for as we look back with joy upon our extensive travels, the happy times and wonderful experiences we've had and the many friendships we have made.
This year I have experienced the greatest pleasure in being your Grand Master and can truly say we have been able to, “unite in the grand design of being happy and communicating that happiness to others.“ Thank you, Brethren, for a year of “Precious Grand Memories!“

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