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Be inspired by the quality within|
Grand Masters Installation Address:-
June 21, 2014
Three years ago in Langley I was truly excited at the opportunity to serve as Junior Grand Warden. Over the intervening years that excitement has intensified and I now stand before you humbled at the trust you have reposed in me and ready to serve as your Grand Master.
I cannot help remembering the brethren who have mentored me in my masonic life too numerous to mention you all but I really wish RW Brothers Robert Gilley and Claude Brown of Maple Leaf Lodge were here today. I'm glad that my sponsor in Freemasonry, MW Bro. R. Glenn Allen, is here to represent them! Deep gratitude to my nominators RW Bro. Dan Mosher and VW Bro. Don Campbell for their advice and support.
Being Grand Master is a "one year stand" and our jurisdiction could not be where it is today without the coöperation of successive Past Grand Masters and Grand Line officers. Without a collective team we cannot move forward and any success that we enjoy this year is built on a strong foundation laid by each of you in your lodges, in Grand Lodge committees and at our Annual Communications. I'm personally indebted to all of you but perhaps mostly to MW Bro. Donald E. Stutt for sharing his experience as Grand Master and of course not forgetting the self-styled "Really Cool" Grand Secretary, RW Bro. George Moore. But above all I would not be here without the support and love of my wife Paulette Goddard.
Initiatives and Actions
The initiatives for the coming year are continuations or the execution of previously recommended actions from Grand Lodge committees.
New Member Pathway (ad hoc Committee)
This committee was formed by MW Bro. Stutt and will continue seeking your input on guidelines for lodges to mentor new members from first contact, through the Six Steps to Initiation programme, through the degrees and two or three years after being raised. The guidelines are intended to be customizable for the lodge and the individual new member at the lodge's discretion. Your continued input is greatly appreciated by the committee
Review of Governance and Board of General Purposes (ad hoc committee)
It is plain to the Principal Officers that the Regional Representative system is not working as intended despite the diligence of Regional Representatives. This has led to some deep thought on the functioning of the Board of General Purposes and accordingly this committee will have a wide scope to review our current system and recommend any necessary changes. The current ad hoc Committee on the Five Pillar Plan Audit will be integrated into this committee.
There are a number of struggling lodges in our jurisdiction by struggling we mean that if they were requesting to form a new lodge today they would fail the criteria laid out in our Constitution. I am asking the District Deputy Grand Masters to identify struggling lodges and to bring them to the notice of the Grand Secretary. Our Grand Lodge office and the Committee on Warranted Lodges and Lodges U.D. have expertise in this area and, brought in at an early stage, can greatly assist. Our first choice is for lodge revitalization other choices include consolidation, temporary voluntary suspension of a warrant and permanent surrender of a warrant. Whatever the course of action chosen, the lodge, with the DDGM's assistance if necessary, will be requested to submit a plan of action. The implementation of the plan will be monitored by the DDGM and the Warranted Lodges and Lodges U.D. committee.
Several Grand Masters have commented on the need for district consolidation and in the 2012 report to Grand Lodge the ad hoc Committee on Organizational Analysis recommended that several districts be consolidated. In a recent report to the Grand Lodge BoGP the Committee on Warranted Lodges and Lodges U.D. recommended the consolidation of the following districts
1 and 21 in Victoria
6 and 7 in Kootenay/Boundary
13 and 26 in Vancouver
14 and 16 in Vancouver
17 and 24 in North Vancouver/Sunshine Coast
This may result in as many as ten lodges in some districts but only for a limited number of years as moves are already afoot to consolidate lodges. The principal advantage of consolidation as opposed to realignment is that it maintains all existing relationships between brethren and lodges built up over many years plus it adds strength to the combined district. In cases where consolidation proves impractical realignment will be considered.
It is our intention to consolidate the above mentioned districts to take effect at the 2015 Grand Lodge. The Committee on Warranted Lodges and Lodges U.D. and the respective DDGM's will be charged with facilitating the consolidations.
2015-16 DDGM and Grand Lodge Officer Recommendations
For two years now we have had a few districts trialling the early appointment of the DDGM's successor. For last year five districts announced the 2014-15 DDGM-designate in October 2013. All reports from DDGMs and DDGM-designates in the trial have been positive. DDGM's appreciate the assistance of DDGM designates and the designates appreciate the earlier appointment as it allows them to adjust family, work and concordant body commitments, study and plan for their year and in some cases budget for the additional cost. For the Deputy Grand Master, earlier appointment smooths out the planning for the following year as Grand Master.
The Constitution requires that each DDGM submit three names for his successor to the Grand Secretary by 1 January for consideration of the DGM. He is also required to consult the Past DDGMs of his district. Names of worthy brethren for other Grand Lodge appointments are also submitted.
For a one year trial I am making a ruling for DDGMs to submit their recommendations to Grand Lodge by 15 September. The DDGM-designates will be announced in November and other Grand Lodge officers in January. At the Grand Lodge Annual Communication in 2015 any permanent change will be at the will of the brethren. By extending the trial to all districts the brethren will be voting after experiencing its effect. Districts scheduled for consolidation will be putting forward one name after consultation with the combined past DDGMs of both districts.
Consolidation of Grand Lodge Committees
As per our Constitution we will be combining Education and Leadership into a single committee under the chairmanship of RW Aidan C. Gordon. We wish to thank the VW Bros. David Butt and Ron Cawthra for their work as chairmen of their respective committees but believe the combination will better serve the Craft and avoid duplication.
We are also folding the Research Committee's work into the Community Relations Committee. For some years the Research Committee has focused on social media and electronic communications and we believe that is a better fit for Community Relations.
Lodge leadership training
The Education and Leadership Committee will be charged with producing handouts, presentations and facilitation materials on a variety of topics relevant to lodge leadership training. It is envisaged that the training materials will be designed in three-hour modules and be customizable for district seminars. The idea behind three-hour modules is that one module will fit an evening weekday, two modules a Saturday and so on. The committee will also be charged with identifying subject matter experts, presenters and facilitators to assist in the preparation and local delivery of modules. The Ashlar College will assist as appropriate.
2014-15 Grand Master's Charity
I have chosen Movember as our charity for 2014-15. Movember is famous for its supporters who grow moustaches in the month of M(N)ovember. Over 90% of funds raised go to the charity mostly to Prostate Cancer Canada but also promoting men's health awareness. All funds raised remain in Canada. I have challenged the DDGMs to ensure that their district has a team or can join an established team in the area. We will have a "Freemasons of BC & Yukon" network for the teams to join so that we can track our jurisdiction total. Any donations from districts at the GM's Official Visits will be attributed to their team. If you have no team it will still go to our Movember network. And brethren, for the sake of your families, please get a medical examination.
2015 Conference of Grand Masters of North America (CGMNA)
Our jurisdiction has the distinct honour of hosting this event from 14 to 18 February 2015 at the Hyatt Hotel in Vancouver. To put this in perspective, the CGMNA was founded in 1928 and this is only the second time that it has been held in Canada. In a local context, it is like Expo for Freemasonry. We expect roughly 80 Grand Masters and 550 brethren in attendance. We also expect to be hosting around 275 ladies
The event is self-funding from those registering and the CGMNA has its own registration and secretary. However, as hosts, we do require a significant number of volunteers (in the region of 70-100) to assist at the aeroport, in the hotel and on some tours. Our local committee under W Bro. Michael Landsfried will be requesting brethren to sign on as volunteers and your assistance will be much appreciated. If you have already signed up, thank-you.
The event is self-funding but to show off our jurisdiction to the best advantage we will be soliciting voluntary contributions from lodges for items such as identifying shirts for volunteers, welcome bags for registrants et cetera. We host a dinner on the Saturday night, St. Valentine's Day, so a rose for each lady wouldn't be out of order! Our brethren will be able to attend this dinner with their ladies and any Freemason is entitled to attend the conference and its breakout sessions.
Masonic Tour of Croatia
From 6 to 17 May 2015 we will tour Croatia during which time we have been invited to exemplify a degree in our ritual. The tour is well balanced between events with Croatian Freemasons and their ladies, and viewing this beautiful country. I encourage you and your lady to travel with us. Details are available from RW Bro. Dan Mosher, the Grand Representative for the Grand Lodge of Croatia.
Be Inspired by the Quality Within
Our theme was chosen because it contains three words from which can spring positive thought on Freemasonry and what we collectively can do to ensure a vibrant and relevant Craft.
Be Inspired inspired people take action and it is our duty to inspire to action. Inspiration leads to enthusiasm and that is positively contagious. Inspiration is a virtuous circle as by inspiring others you will reinforce your own inspiration. You do not have to be a Churchill-like orator to inspire as your actions, even small ones, can inspire.
Quality after 30 years of declining membership we have focused on quantity rather than quality of men entering the Craft. The more we focused on increasing membership the higher became the non-payment of dues, demits and perhaps even worse unfulfilled brethren paying their annual dues but never attending lodge. Quality of new candidates is more important than quantity and by focusing on quality, increasing membership will eventually result. We should focus on quality in everything we do as Freemasons within and outside the lodge. Particularly in the way we behave towards each other and the civility and respect we afford others even if we are in strong disagreement. We only have to exercise tolerance when we disagree with the words or actions of another. It takes a deal of effort to be tolerant but Freemasonry cannot thrive without peace and harmony. Quality does not mean expensive but it cannot be achieved by being cheap. Clean and well-kept lodge buildings, exemplary ritual and conduct in lodge, a varied lodge programme, thriving festive boards and good deeds in our communities are hallmarks of quality. If your lodge events and meetings attract visitors they will surely attract your own members.
Within we should look within for quality and inspiration because it is already there: within our ritual, within our lodges but more especially within our hearts the first place that we were made Freemasons. For years we have explained Freemasonry by what we do in the community and literally boasted about how many millions of dollars we give away each day in North America. Our charities are some of the best in the world but there are other great charities. Our fraternity is truly marvellous but there are other good fraternities. We are human-beings, not human-doings and it is who we are that matters more than what we do. What we do is a result of who we are. What makes us different and enduring are our core beliefs and values: toleration, trust, integrity, benevolence, et cetera, are central to improving ourselves and improving humanity. From this internal core springs our wonderful fraternity and all the good acts that we do.
The smooth ashlar embodies the pinnacle of quality but even the rough ashlar has latent quality within. We, our Lodges and our Craft are all somewhere on that line between the two ashlars - all I ask is that you inspire others to action to better themselves, their lodges and society - and that you be inspired by the quality within.
MW Bro. Philip Durell, |
Grand Master 2014-2015