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Unity within diversity
Grand Master’s Annual Address:-
June 19, 2010

[Stephen Godfrey]
MW Bro. Brian Tuckey,
Grand Master 2009-2010

To Members of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of British Columbia and Yukon.
Welcome to the 139th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon and to the City of Kamloops, Canada's Tournament Capital. I welcome our many visitors and our brethren, some of whom have traveled many kilometres—or miles—to be with us today.
This past year has been most rewarding and fulfilling, a year that I shall never forget. It has been a year of celebration, challenge, change, discovery and opportunity. At the start of the year, I promised you that I would serve you to the very best of my ability. I sincerely hope that I have achieved that promise.
We have had many celebrations in our jurisdiction this year:
Centenaries for Orion Lodge No. 51, Salmon Arm Lodge No. 52, Nicola Lodge No. 53 and Selkirk Lodge No. 55
We celebrated many brothers' fifty-years or longer membership in the Craft. One brother was presented with his eighty-year certificate, jewel and pin.
We mourned the passing of far too many brothers, however we celebrated their lives. Perhaps we should learn more about a brother in lodge rather then leave it to his passing.
There have been some challenges this year, especially for individual brethren. The newly installed Senior Grand Deacon advised me shortly after Grand Lodge that he had a serious health issue. I am sad to report he Passed to the Grand Lodge above a little later. More recently, our Junior Grand Deacon had a medical emergency and continues to receive medical attention. Many of our brethren face health challenges and I ask each of you to make a call, send a card, or visit whenever possible. It means so much and the reward is a smile, a word or perhaps a firm grip. Perhaps it is merely a squeeze of the hand.
A year of change
We continue to have challenges regarding the acceptance of the Regional Representatives as members of the Board of General Purposes. These nine regional representatives are in place as per Section 68 in the Book of Constitutions. They are there to represent you, the brethren, with whatever you have as a concern or an issue. These concerns and or issues must be brought forward to the board on your behalf for discussion which could result in changes to our Craft. We have nine regions and their Regional Representatives are busy. However, some regions have little or no participation. I urge you to become involved.
We have had some disharmony and unrest with some brethren. I believe, as men, but as freemasons in particular, we can agree to disagree without it being adversarial. Peace and harmony is paramount in Freemasonry and should you not be able to do so, then perhaps you should rethink your obligations and reflect on the ancient usages and established customs of the Craft.
It has been a year of change, as it is every year. This year again saw the installation of new Grand Lodge officers, including a new Grand Secretary. RW Bro. George Moore is operating the Grand Lodge office following a business model. Some changes have been readily accepted while others are questioned. Such are the result of change however I have every confidence in the Grand Secretary and his staff. They are to be commended for the work they do on our behalf and I thank them for their commitment and dedication in assisting us and our lodges.
Challenge and change have also been brought about as a result of the five ad hoc committees I struck last June:
Electronic Communication: this committee was unable to review our communications practices due to the health of the chairman, however the Grand Secretary instituted some new electronic procedures including an electronic filing system.
Insurance: It was reviewed and the coverage adjusted to meet our current needs.
Masonic Survey for Master Masons: we heard from many of you and this will be reported to you by this committee later in the proceedings.
Membership: this committee, originally started by the IPGM, now includes all the masonic family and continues to focus on the 3 Rs: recruitment, retention and restoration. They will make a report later at this communication.
Organizational Analysis: review how we are now and how we may look in the future. Review other jurisdictions and ascertain what works well and not so well. A presentation will also be made later in the proceedings.
Our Grand Lodge annual communication changes venue almost every year and with that brings challenges and changes. Perhaps we should consider a few selected venues and rotate the annual communication through a number of selected sites. I would like to thank the Kamloops 2010 Committee for their time and effort in holding this communication at Thompson Rivers University.
Our Five Pillar Plan continues under the leadership of the Senior Grand Warden.
I believe planning leads to success but you must work at it in order to be successful. Planning is not an easy process and I thank those that took responsibility for meeting or attempting to meet their objectives and goals.
I did not reach one goal that was set for me. We had planned to hold a Lodge Officers and Ladies Conference in Parksville this spring but there were insufficient registrants to make it successful. The concept of holding this type of conference every two years was put in place in 2008. The Leadership Committee is open to suggestions, therefore do not just criticize but make a suggestion.
I would like to thank the appointed and elected Grand Lodge officers and our various committees for their commitment, dedication and loyalty. They too now realize how quickly one year can pass. We must remember we all possess different skills. Our knowledge, skills and abilities are not necessarily the same but I expect everyone to do his very best in serving our fraternity. Whether you are the lodge's Junior Steward or the Grand Master, we are here to serve.
I have discovered that freemasons in our jurisdiction as well as those I have had the opportunity to visit are indeed similar. We have the same issues, the same concerns, the same opportunities and we have the same belief in our three principles of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. We are like-minded men who love Freemasonry and I have learned that fellowship is the very essence of our Craft. I have also discovered that many of us would not be in Freemasonry or where we are in the Craft today without the love, support and understanding of our wives and families. I have discovered that my wife, Wendy and I have grown over this past year and it has given us an appreciation of Freemasonry and an appreciation of our ladies who support us.
I would like to thank my wife in particular, for her love, support and understanding. She has traveled with me to all my official district visits and my travels to various lodges in our jurisdiction. I thank her for being by my side.
Unity within diversity
We have an opportunity for Freemasonry to prosper. I speak to the four generations we have in the Craft today; the Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X and the New Millennials. Each generation has different wants and needs. It is that very diversity that brings us strength. Each generation enjoys our four works, whether it is Ancient, Canadian, Emulation or Australian; we enjoy our work, our forms and ceremonies and yes, our memory work. We are cognizant of and enjoy our ancient usages and established customs. Where we seem to differ is how we provide a brother with "value for his time". Many brethren will not return to lodge if they are not fulfilled. To quote a younger Master Mason from his presentation at Grand Masonic Day this year: "our meetings should be filled with education and debate, and offer an intellectually stimulating experience." I believe we can fulfill that need. Many of our lodges are experiencing growth. Their ritual work is excellent and on the square, they have interesting and lively discussions and their festive boards are engaging. The value of our ritual is in the nature of its presentation.
My theme this year was Unity Within Diversity. I am proud to be a freemason in British Columbia and Yukon because of what I see as unity within diversity. In our jurisdiction, we practice four rituals, we have 149 lodges in 27 districts, we are urban, suburban and rural. Our membership is made up of four generations. We come from different backgrounds: ethnicity, colour, education, vocations and religions. Our communities and the regions within our jurisdiction are as diversified as us. From our southern border with Washington, Idaho and Montana to the Arctic tundra; from the Rocky Mountains, Alberta and the Northwest Territories to the east and Alaska and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Lakes and fertile valleys, forests, parks and desert-like conditions. Yes indeed, we are geographically diversified as well. We are united as freemasons and I would be remiss if I did not draw your attention to the Volume of the Sacred Law—or in many of our lodges, the Volumes of the Sacred Law. This truly reflects the strength of Freemasonry; brothers of different faiths, sitting side by side, each respecting the other and enjoying true fellowship.
I am very optimistic about our future. We must continue to be happy and communicate happiness. We have the opportunity to be better and to fulfill the needs of our membership. We are indeed in an exciting time and all it takes is commitment, dedication and loyalty. Remember to have fun, enjoy our fellowship and take pleasure in serving others.
I would like to thank you for your warm and generous hospitality. I have enjoyed meeting and speaking with you on the level. I have been received in the best traditions of our Craft: with a firm grip, a warm smile and words of encouragement. I wish you well in your journey in our gentle and noble Craft and I thank you for allowing me to serve.


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