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Take it to the limit
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Take it to the limit
Grand Master’s Installation Address:-
June 18, 2016

[Ian J. Bowman]
MW Bro. Ian J. Bowman,
Grand Master 2016-2017

IT IS INDEED A great honour, and a great privilege to stand before you today as your Grand Master; to stand where so many notable men have stood before, as leaders of our fraternity.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank those Past Grand Masters that are here today who have offered me their support and encouragement from the day I entered this Grand Line and to the Grand Line officers who have listened to me rant and rave this past three years on the future of Freemasonry. Thank you all for your openness and support.
I am also privileged to have a great line of Grand Lodge officers who have pledged their time this year to support Grand Lodge. I look forward to working closely with each and every one of you over this next year.
I also owe a big thanks to you, brethren, for the support and encouragement extended to me along the way. You have listened and given me the time to express my thoughts, while also feeling comfortable in expressing your own.
I would be amiss if I didn't mention all of the assistance given to me by the Grand Secretary and his office staff leading up to this weekend — thank you.
The Constitution clearly states the purpose of Grand Lodge; and that is to establish perfect fraternal harmony, and to promote the lasting welfare of the masonic fraternity
And the primary purpose of the Grand Master is to lead the lodges and Freemasons, provide vision and strategic direction, to understand the needs of the brethren and to enhance and support the purpose of Grand Lodge.
And that, brethren, is what I intend to do.
Like all leaders, whether political, religious, business or otherwise, there are times when the tough decisions have to be made and we cannot expect this to be any different in Freemasonry.
I can tell you, that while I will not back away from the tough decisions, I will always make them after careful consultation with the principal officers and with your interests in mind, focused on this Grand Lodge of Craft Freemasons above all else within the requirements of our Constitution.
But keep in mind brethren, the Constitution did not create Freemasonry, Freemasonry created the Constitution and it is yours to change when you see fit at future communications.
I know, as much as we try, this year will not be all plain sailing. Our membership numbers are still declining and they will decline even further until we reach that point of equilibrium when consolidation and amalgamation will come in line with regional demographics; when lodges will once again, though fewer in number, be more evenly populated based on quality and a newly inspired renaissance of pride, interest and compassion. This will though, come at a cost. This will require us to look at our "brand". In the words of Robert Burns, "to see ourselves as others see us." To see ourselves as the public sees us — not only as individuals, but our buildings and our appearance in public in the twenty-first century. There is much to be done here, and you will be hearing more from me on this throughout this year.
This will not happen on its own, and it will not happen by chance. It will happen through a consolidated effort to raise the bar of acceptance from mediocre to a much higher level, by taking everything we do to the limit of our capabilities.
This brings me to my theme for the year. I've had a poster designed to promote this theme. At first glance you might think your Grand Master is off on a nostalgic, Don Henley trip with the Eagles. And in part there is some truth to that, and we will have fun along the way.
"While some may soar to reach the summit, others will have to climb.
It matters not, for once there; the view is just the same."
The meaning being, not all of us have the talent to be great ritualists, or leaders, and may have to take a longer path to get there. When you step up on the podium to receive your diploma, it does not matter if you studied for six straight months to get there, or just read through the journals! Both diplomas carry the same weight and credibility. It is the effort and end result that matters.
You will also notice that our emblems in the foreground of the poster are missing something: the letter G. It is on the pinnacle of the mountain where it belongs, where Freemasonry belongs, where it once was, and should be again.
Unfortunately, brethren, I cannot lift these emblems to the summit on my own, I need your help. It will take all of us to climb and reach that goal together, but once there... not only the view, but our future, will be spectacular.
It is do-able, brethren. Remember, a bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you fail to make the turn. Let's not fail to make that turn if it is in the best interest of your lodge. I look forward to us all achieving that goal together, by taking everything we do "to the limit."
I look forward to the privilege of serving you and all Craft lodges in this jurisdiction as your Grand Master to the best of my ability and to have fun doing so along the way. Thank You.


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