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The journey from the Rough Ashlar to the Perfect Ashlar
Grand Master’s Annual Address:-
June 24, 2005

[Bill Unrau]
MW Bro. William Unrau
Grand Master 2004-2005

LAST year I stood before you and asked that you accompany me on a journey from the Rough to the Perfect Ashlar; by making ourselves and our communities better places, both for your lodges in general and for individual brethren in particular. I said that the journey would be one of change; not something for us to fear or resist, but to embrace; to grow, and to adapt. And I said that, by embracing and promoting positive change, we could learn more about who we are, and what we can accomplish.
The journey, from the Rough to the Perfect Ashlar, is a journey where we can make a difference, by improving ourselves and by enriching our community, and I asked you to join me in that journey.
I observed that we have allowed ourselves to become too complacent, and I have asked all brethren to re-dedicate themselves, because the world around us is changing at an accelerating pace. Our choice is simple: adapt and thrive, or fall behind. We continue to face serious challenges, and we must face them squarely, with proper long-term planning and a determination to succeed.
You will recall I suggested a five-part strategy. Firstly, to begin an aggressive campaign to promote the good works of Freemasonry throughout the Grand Jurisdiction. Secondly, to take steps to examine and reduce Grand Lodge expenditures to reduce the per capita. Thirdly, to increase our fund raising in order to grow the financial capabilities of Grand Lodge. Fourthly, to promote greater public contribution to our capital funds, enabling our masonic charities to better assist our communities. Fifthly, to encourage freemasons to become involved in volunteering with youth activities throughout this jurisdiction.
What progress have we made? During the travels throughout the Grand Jurisdiction I have been continually impressed by the work done by freemasons to promote Freemasonry in British Columbia and Yukon. For example, just this past week, in Nanaimo, brethren from all over Vancouver Island took part in the walk for cancer. In Sooke, I saw the lodge had taken and adopted the 'Highway Project'. In Barkerville, at Cariboo Lodge, we laid the Corner Plaques on the Anglican Church to commemorate the contributions of the masonic brethren in the building of this church over one hundred years ago. Langley Lodge celebrated twenty-five years, and Prince Charles Lodge in Kelowna celebrated fifty years, as did Kalamalka Lodge in Vernon, and Mount Shepherd in Sooke; whilst Mount Zion Lodge in Chilliwack celebrated seventy-five years. Ancient Light Lodge in Ladner celebrated eighty-five years, and St. Georges Lodge in Kelowna celebrated one hundred years of masonic leadership in their community. All of these celebrations were noted and applauded by the citizens of their communities, and we also applaud, in particular, the history of masonic leadership and contribution.
On your behalf I was proud to make the following donations of benevolence: $2,500 to the children's charity 'Variety'; $2,500 to British Columbia Guide Dog Services; $10,000 to Vancouver General Hospital Neurology Program; $10,000 to BCIT in the Aeronautics Institute; $10,000 to BCIT Heavy Equipment Program; and $10,000 to Delta General Hospital Expansion Program. Manoah Lodge asked me to present $5,000 to Ucluelet Fire Department for a defibrillator, also $5,000 to the Tofino General Hospital for a palliative care pump, and $4,000 for scholarships to students in Ucluelet and Tofino. These are but some of the examples of freemasons at work in our Grand Jurisdiction.
We have, this past year, diligently examined all aspects of Grand Lodge expenditures, with a view to reducing the per capita. Let me assure you that this has not been an exercise in futility. All of your Grand Lodge Officers have earnestly contributed their time and skills to rationalize the costs of Grand Lodge, today and for what those costs may be for the future, and I thank them for it. You will hear from the Grand Treasurer, Grand Secretary and Chairman of the Finance Committee as to ways and means to allow us to both continue the growth of Grand Lodge but to do so more cost efficiently.
There is much more work to be done in this area, but be assured that Grand Lodge is not ignoring your concerns to become a more cost-effective organization. We need more efficient and effective business planning to ensure this organization continues on a sound financial footing. We have just begun to develop programmes which will increase the fund raising capabilities of Grand Lodge, and it is essential for our future that we do so. This year the Board of General Purposes, with the expanded membership instituted by MW Bro. Bill Ferguson, convened a retreat for the members to consider long term planning for Grand Lodge, and I thank each and every one of the members of the Board of General Purposes who participated at that very progressive two-day event.
I am also very proud of our masonic charities, namely the Board of Benevolence, the Bursary Fund, the Cancer Car Project, the "We Can Help" programme; I am equally proud of all of the individual contributions so many of you and your families have made to aiding and assisting the less fortunate in our society. Thank you, all. It is, by your individual and collective charity, that Freemasonry is so well respected in this Grand Jurisdiction.
I am pleased to report that we have established a Youth Committee to support Job's Daughters, DeMolay, or any recognized youth group, as these young people are our future. I was proud that Grand Lodge was represented at the Grand Sessions of Job's Daughters, and of DeMolay, and I congratulate the volunteers who have dedicated much time and effort to ensure the continuance of these very worthy youth organizations; and I congratulate the members of DeMolay and Job's Daughters for their contributions to our Masonic family. These young people are our future; we must continue to support them.
This year many, near and dear to us, have passed to the Grand Lodge Above, and we extend to their spouses and families our profound condolences. Freemasonry is steeped in the traditions and contributions of our members; we honour their memories today, and hope that we can all live up to their expectations of us.
I am pleased to announce that we have estalished a website for all concordant bodies which will allow us to better plan our events, without conflicting with each other and so that we may better communicate events of importance throughout the masonic family. I believe that this simple step will have far reaching and positive consequences for all Freemasonry, and I thank those who helped design this website.
Thanks go to many brethren in many directions. First, I would like to thank RW Bro. Robert Doige for accepting the position of Interim Grand Secretary on very short notice, and to perfection. Others on top of the list must be every Grand Master's first and second officers, in the names of the Grand Director of Ceremonies, RW Bro. John Ruschke, and for his total support and unerring dedication of my one hundred and thirty plus official meetings; also the Grand Marshal, VW Bro. John Shandalla, who made all travel arrangements as well as information source for all functions the Grand Master would attend. Special thanks to all the districts, for their warm and welcome greetings, especially the ladies' programmes, which was a highlight for my wife, Beverly. Thanks also go out to all my appointed officers; you have served this jurisdiction well. Thanks to the Senior Grand Warden, and the Junior Grand Warden, for accepting and representing me on very short notice when I had other previous commitments. The support of a few Past Grand Masters afforded me the strength to make this a very successful masonic term. The unending support of my four daughters and their families, and the devotion of Beverly, my wife of more than fifty-two years, cannot be measured by any other way than by being true love. God bless, and may Freemasonry live for ever.
Thank you, brethren.

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