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GRAND SECRETARY’s OFFICE
GRAND MASTERS' ADDRESSES
Masonic actions speak louder than words
Grand Master’s Installation Address:-
June 21, 2002

[William Ord Walls]
MW Bro. William Ord Walls,
Grand Master 2002-2003

Thank you for your support over the past several years and for the tremendous confidence that you have now reposed in me. The work of the esteemed brethren, who participated in the installation ceremony, is much appreciated. This is a humbling experience for each of the principal officers and represents quite a transition from being referred to as "pigs in a poke!" Having reminded you of this, I advise you that I do not regard my duty as your Grand Master as an honorary or figurehead position. I view this as one of the most challenging jobs I have ever undertaken and one which brings with it onerous responsibility.
It is heart warming to have so many brethren stay behind to witness me take the obligation to uphold the Constitutions of this Grand Lodge. It will be interesting, over the next twelve months, to see how many brethren go out of their way to have me change the Constitutions.
There are certain objectives, items and intentions that must be stated at this time. In order to keep this as short as possible, I offer you these guidelines under the following theme:
Masonic actions speak louder than words
  • Do not lower the cross-bar. Maintain or raise our standard of acceptance.
  • Stop insulting and demeaning the traditions of the Craft by reading the memory work. The simple act of providing a traditional degree in a traditional manner, is what makes us different from any other fraternal organization.
  • The Address to the Brethren, given at the conclusion of the lodge Installation, may be given in public. Public presentation will require the advance approval of the Grand Secretary’s office. In this respect I am complying with a convention adopted by a number of my predecessors. Having said this, there will be no other authorized public presentation of our work. I respectfully caution you in advance, do not come for forgiveness for there will be none — come for permission.
  • Stop the practice of bringing candidates to light in empty rooms. Get together with other lodges, within and outside of your district, in order to try to ensure a healthy representation in the lodge room. Make the conferral of a degree a social highlight, not simply another monthly meeting. Make the Candidate aware that he is entering the masonic world and is about to embark on a great journey. Do not let him feel that he has bought his ticket on the Titanic!
  • Examine and develop a general awareness of the long-term aspirations of the members of your lodge.
    Prior to December 31, 2002, and at least once in every masonic year thereafter, set aside a business meeting at which your lodge will evaluate the attendance at your lodge meetings. Determine if the active membership is less in numbers than would be required to obtain a new charter or warrant. If so, determine and plan what your members intend to do about it. This may involve fewer meetings, more dinner meetings, consolidation with other lodges — but address the problem positively. I exhort you, do not ignore the attendance problem. There are too many lodges that are hanging on by the skin of their teeth and these lodges do not present Freemasonry in a positive light.
    Be aware that failing attendance and membership must be our primary concern. Having solicited input from a variety of masonic sources, I assure you that, by far, the primary problem identified is our inactive and diminishing membership. With this in mind, I suggest to you that individually we each have a sphere of influence beyond the masonic order. That sphere of influence may involve our church, business, golf club, other fraternities, family etc. I challenge each of you to examine that sphere of influence and find one or two good men for whom, and with whom, Freemasonry would be a mutually rewarding experience. Courteously approach these individuals once, and if successful, take the necessary steps to petition for membership. Make this a high priority, first step, in our masonic recovery.
  • Initiate or extend the use of 'buddy-nights' and 'guest nights' in order to familiarize a potential candidate with the social aspects of the Lodge.
  • In tandem with these actions, upgrade the quality of your Lodge Investigation Committee. To this end, I direct the lodge to acquaint itself with the parameters of investigation as they are well defined by RW Bro., Brian Hemmingway. The Grand Secretary’s office will be pleased to help obtain copies of these documents for you.
  • Stop the practice of concentrating and focusing on the small, incidental problems which we seem to look for in our lodges. Look more towards the outsider’s perception of what we are. There is a whole world of Freemasonry outside of your lodge room. With this in mind I have requested the editor of our Masonic Bulletin to bring the masonic world closer to home. I have directed more attention be given to the masonic family and to the activities of other jurisdictions.
Over the past two years, we have spent considerable time and effort in generating and developing a purported understanding of the wishes and desires of the general membership of Grand Lodge. I have decided that it is now time for the members to formally review these findings and, should they consider action appropriate, to instigate any action which would be required to initiate constitutional reforms or amendment. To this end I charge each lodge in this jurisdiction to review the findings of the Masonic Commission and the Committee for Review of the Board of General Purposes. This review should take place in sufficient time for resolutions or amendments to be submitted within the parameters established within our Constitutions and Regulations. The work of these committees has been extremely well done and, on behalf of the members of Grand Lodge, I extend congratulations and appreciation to the members of the committees. It is now time for the next step in the process and it is my considered opinion that this next step is the responsibility of the members of Grand Lodge, not any committee.
In conclusion: it is tempting to try to be all things to all people. If I were to do this, I would fail miserably. Shakespeare once wrote, "to thine own self be true." I am, quite simply put, "a wee boy from the streets of Glasgow." I have no illusions of greatness and I am acutely aware that the wisdom doesn't come with the apron.
I trust that you will concur with my findings and assist me in taking some first steps towards some long-term solutions.

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