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May 18, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

We’ve done a very poor job in retaining brothers from new initiates to MMs. There are all the same reasons that have been discussed and I am as guilty as any Master that has come before me. From failing to have a pre-arranged mentor to inconsistent education. I will say that in my “do over year”, our education has gotten better and more consistent.

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A suggestion if I might. This isn't my idea, but I've adopted it as it is a good one.

Each Lodge should appoint a 'Head Coach' each year. When you get a good one, keep him forever like we do with Lodge Secretaries.

Head Coach, make it a position of honor, and give some recognition for it as it would be a fair amount of work, and not everyone is suited to it.

That Head Coach is then in charge of mentoring and coaching all the candidates. He would likely appoint others to help with each specific candidate, but he would be in charge. This would prevent us from forgetting to appoint someone in advance. It would also ensure that someone was responsible for making sure that the mentoring was actually getting done.

I think that doing this would prove to be very helpful to Lodges.

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We've discussed it before, but I hate introductions. HUGE waste of time. Outside of the GM, or the DDGM during his OV, or first time visitors, skip them. There is a tyler's register for a reason, if you're worried about getting it into the minutes. Everyone knows everyone, the only reasons I can think of why lodges still do it is vanity, and "that's how we've always done it". And especially getting introduced more than once. How silly. And I really don't need to be paraded around the lodge. If you have to introduce people, just have them stand up, say their name, chair (if any) and lodge. Clap clap clap, and be done with it. It also destroys that whole "on the level" thing we harp on. If we truly believe we're all brothers, titles and position should be meaningless, so why make a fuss over it?

Personally, I think because a lot of the membership are/were military veterans (especially after WW2), titles and position started to mean more as that military mentality of rank and position crept into the lodges. I think that the less that is made over such things, the better.

Says the guy with an over the top PM apron which I proudly and hypocritically wear.

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May 18, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

I hear what you’re saying on the introduction thing – I remember in the late 1990’s when I was the Warder (The Eastern Star equivalent of the Junior Deacon) for a since-merged OES Chapter in Tumwater. From the first rap of the gavel to the beginning of Chapter business took, more often than not, roughly 40 minutes. About 15 for opening, the rest for introductions. Some were just fine with being introduced in place, but they were usually overridden with those who insisted in getting their Grand Honors. After 2001, I created another commitment and told the Sisters I wouldn’t be available for 2002. It would be 11 years before I returned to the OES.

That being said, I’d like to play devil’s advocate. “It also destroys that whole "on the level" thing we harp on. If we truly believe we're all brothers, titles and position should be meaningless, so why make a fuss over it?” I don’t think we believe that titles and position are meaningless. There’s a section in the installation of the Senior Warden: “...and, although distinctions among men are necessary to preserve subordination, yet no imminence of station should make us forget that we are brethren...” Also in the Charge to the Lodge: “...such is the nature of our constitutions, that as some must, of necessity, teach and rule, so others must, of course, learn and obey. Humility in both is an essential duty.” So we do, and should, recognize those who have been appointed to important positions, but at the same time, those who have accepted those positions have responsibilities to the Brethren. As you and I wear Past Master’s Aprons in Lodge and are addressed as Worshipful Brother, so we also have that responsibility to maintain our involvement, teach and mentor those who are new members. As a Grand Lodge officer, I have even more responsibilities, in this case to the entire Jurisdiction, in addition to my responsibilities as a Past Master of two Lodges. So when I put on the Grand Officer Jewel, to me, that means I must be prepared to fulfill the duties that position entails.

But as you say, we’re also all on the level. It was only a few years ago that Cameron and I were on the roof of one of my work sheds, laying down new roofing. At the time, Cameron was a Worshipful Master and I was a Grand Lodge committeeman, but in the end, we are Brothers. Two guys working together on a project.

Bottom line: Cameron’s right, it’s silly to get marched up there and get introduced in your own Lodge every meeting as a Grand Lodge officer, but at the same time, if you have a Grand Lodge officer in your meeting, whether he’s a member of your Lodge or not, you have an educational resource in your meeting, and it behooves the Worshipful Master to take advantage of that.

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>>"...if you have a Grand Lodge officer in your meeting, whether he’s a member of your >>Lodge or not, you have an educational resource in your meeting, and it behooves the >>Worshipful Master to take advantage of that."

This is absolutely correct. Thank you for pointing it out. When Grand Lodge Officers are traveling and visiting, it is quite likely that they have something of value that they could offer the Lodge, if asked. I'd certainly encourage Lodges to ask.

For example, I have asked all of the upcoming Grand Lodge Officers, from Marshall to Tyler, to have some small tidbit about their position, and how it is best performed prepared and ready to present to a Lodge. Tonight I was in a meeting with the upcoming Grand Chaplain and Grand Sword Bearer, they are both prepared to talk about those roles in an interesting, and educational way. The Grand Chaplain gave me a preview of the talk he has prepared, it is going to be great!

So yes, Lodges should take advantage of these visits when they come.

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Agreed 100%.

Worshipful Masters will do what they want to do when it comes to introductions, but I have talked with the entire Grand Lodge Team about this. I've directed that if I am elected GM, my Officers and other team members not view being introduced as an entitlement, and to absolutely not stand to be introduced more than a single time at any meeting.

Wherever these odd introduction habits came from, they need to be stamped out. Most especially the view of some men that they are entitled or should be introduced more than once in a single meeting.

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May 18, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

During my term I requested the Brothers to pick up a small stuffed animal or popular toy (they have to be new or else the department cannot give them away) and after we collected them I contacted the local fire department and invited them to dinner on our stated meeting. After we return to lodge I am going to recommend we do it again. We have changed from Bikes to Books to kindles.

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This is a fantastic idea. Thank you for sharing it! It is an easy thing for a Lodge to do, and in some circumstances, could really help a child.

I know that our police departments sometimes give out stuffed animals to children as well, so perhaps a Lodge could look in that direction too if desired.

Certainly in a lot of cases police and fire encounter children on what could well be the worst days of their lives. Having a little something that they can give to a child to brighten their day is superb.

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May 18, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

I agree with Glenn Geiss concerning introductions. As a District Deputy, I did my best to make every meeting in my district. (How else could I report to the Grand Master the state of Lodges in the district?) After the first round of introductions, it should have been obvious who I was and why I was there. Yet, every single meeting, I was "collected by the Senior Warden, paraded to the East, and introduced with Public Grand Honors. Over the two-year period of my tenure, I was introduced nearly 100 times! I would easily have settled for once at each Lodge, if even *that* was necessary.

My second big "do-away-with" is all the minutiae of business in the Lodge. The ever-lasting, ever-so-boring fine details of who paid their dues, what income from other sources, and which fund-raiser produced the most income. <SHEESH!>> Simply says how much income, and how much spent. Yes, business needs to be documented, but not necessarily read to the Lodge in microscopic detail.

//END RANT//

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I agree. There is nothing worse than sitting there listening to a Secretary read minutes, correspondence, bills...

Sometimes it just goes on and on and on. Bailey starts to look around for a rope to hang himself with.

None of that stuff ever needs to be read. It can all be emailed out before hand, and posted on a bulletin board in the Tyler's room for anyone who wants to read it before or after the meeting. Reading that stuff drives more men out of Masonry than anything else Lodges do.

It drove me to be an inactive OES member. (If you think Lodges spend a lot of time listening to the Secretary read stuff, you oughta try suffering through the OES version of it.) It drove my wife into being an inactive OES member, and it drove two of my daughters into being inactive OES members.

Lodges need to put a stop to it.

I imagine that the thought that all of this had to be read is a result of our very long history. Freemasonry is so old that certainly there was a time when most of our members could not read, or could not read well. Under those circumstances it would have made sense to have the Secretary read everything out. The world has changed since 1650. It's probably time for that old habit to change too.

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My plug for Grandview......always had a dislike for reading the last months minutes in Lodge. Now available in Grandview for everyone's viewing pleasure. Paper copy kept at the Tyler's desk for those without computers.

Agree with other comments here, we need to keep our new members coming back and see what can bring the older members back.

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Reading the old minutes that had already been approved is the one single item that always confused me the most. Why on earth was there ever any reason to read minutes that had already been approved? I never understood how that habit could have developed.

But yes indeed, technology can take care of that for us!

Grandview is superb. Now, I must make my own shameless plug. If you are married, put your wife's information in there. There is a spot for it. It will help your Lodge find your wife in the sad event that she ever becomes a widow.

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May 19, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

On a similar note to what WB Glenn and VWB Tig mentioned concerning introductions, there is also the reading of the correspondence towards the beginning of the meeting. I know that anything official from the Grand Master must be read in open Lodge, but as for many of the other items, they can be posted on a board or shared in the E-mail reminder sent out a few days before the meeting. I remember sitting in a …I’ll be nice and not say whether it was an OES Chapter meeting or a Lodge meeting… and the secretary read all the correspondence word for word. And I mean, literally. Including the letterhead, address AND zip code of the Lodge/Chapter who sent the correspondence! Like a brat, I tried to get other Lodge Brothers (and we have Lodge Brothers in Chapter meetings, too!) to make side bets on how many zip codes the Secretary would recite in the Correspondence. The change in Secretary was the only thing that brought that 30-minute section of the meeting down to a couple of minutes at the most. Fortunately, that’s now a story of the past, but we can’t allow that to creep back into our meetings. Like WB Mike mentioned about the previous meetings’ minutes, these can be posted, and if a Brother wishes to bring one of the pieces up for conversation, that would be fine, particularly if one of those pieces of correspondence is a Youth Group fundraiser that the Lodge might contribute to. Or a holiday letter from a Brother who lives in another part of the country or world.

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Agreed. The correspondence has to go. Handle it electronically.

As for those Grand Master things 'You Must Read This Missive That Is Almost As Important As The Tablets Moses Brought Down The Mount Twice In Lodge On Two Consecutive Meetings' type things, I've never understood that as anything much more than an ego trip.

That's how it seems to me, and I know that if it seems like that to me, it seems like that to a heck of a lot of other Brothers as well.

Something would have to be damned important for me to think that it was so important that it had some note like 'It Must Be Read Twice In Open Lodge Or The World Will End' attached to it.

I have a hunch that in the upcoming term we won't see too much of that type of thing. Unless the world really is coming to an end or something. All else can be handled quite well in a more, how do I say, 21st Century way of communicating.

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Or reading of the GL resolutions in open Lodge. Found out too late this year that it's not a requirement. I could see this 50 years ago, maybe even 20, but not in the electronic era. I'd be willing to bet that some skipped that Lodge meeting with regularity.

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May 19, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

WB Mike, the only place I can find the WMC regarding a Lodge reading resolutions is the following:

“New proposals and those held over from the previous Annual Communication shall be distributed in full by the Grand Secretary to the Constituent Lodges for reading and discussion in open Lodge at least sixty days in advance of the next Annual Communication.”

That’s in Sec. 5.01 Const. D of the WMC. However, I still find that if the Lodge sends them out ahead of time, and the WM brings up the subject in business at one of the Stated Communications, I consider that to be a reading and discussion. This would work even better if the Worshipful Master invited Brethren to read them at their own leisure and if they wish to comment on some of them, to prepare a short statement on their thoughts on that resolution for the next Stated Communication. Use a 2-3 minute timer with a little bell if you have to. Otherwise you’ll have a quagmire of arguments that will drive members away.

I’d never recommend a Lodge ignore the resolutions altogether. The Worshipful Master should bring them to his Lodge’s attention and give them a chance to see what’s going on and comment on them in a meeting. But that doesn’t mean the Lodge Secretary is required to read every darn one of them word-for-word in their entirety in a Lodge meeting. As you can see, the Code does not state that as a requirement.

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I agree. Send them out to the membership so that they can read them, (or better yet, just let the membership know where to find them online) then at some meeting ask if anyone has a compelling need to discuss a particular resolution.

That satisfies the requirement in the code in my view.

But I also think that this points to a larger problem. Our Code is too long, too complex, and too limiting of the freedom of our Lodges.

We have got to stop adding things to our Code, and start removing things from it instead. Freemasonry does not need complex written law.

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Yep! That's another thing that makes me start looking around for some kind of excuse to exit. If Lodges continue to do it, I may have to start practicing the fake heart attack!

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You have all taken care of my personal pet peeves quite well, but I'm going to hit you with one more.

Inaccessible Grand Lodge Officers.

I don't think that we have any of these in Washington now, and I don't think that we have had any in quite awhile. But we used to, and we don't want to have them again.

There's an old 'rule' in Masonry, that a regular Mason can't contact the Grand Master. If 'Sideliner Jim' wants to get in touch with the Grand Master, he needs to contact his Worshipful Master or Secretary, and they will contact the GM on his behalf if they deem his request valid.

To my mind, that used to make a lot of sense. It made a lot of sense, a lot of decades ago, when Freemasonry was huge. Without this gatekeeping function a GM or the GS would have been absolutely overwhelmed.

Well, we aren't huge anymore. Not in the United States anyway. A few Grand Lodges are still massive in this country, but a very few. For those of us that are not huge, the old rule no longer makes any sense.

If we are going to direct Freemasonry into a bright future, we are going to have to all work together on that goal. We are going to have to collaborate, and learn from each other. We are going to have to help each other.

Grand Lodge Officers that are too aloof, inaccessible to the membership as a whole, are just not going to be able to get the support or do the work needed to keep Freemasonry moving forward.

We must all be in the quarry together. From the GM to the newest EA.

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