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Lets get to work!|
Grand Masters Installation Address:-
June 21, 2003
What a challenge we have this year. We have so much to be grateful for.
To the brethren of Dawson Creek: the freemasons of British Columbia and Yukon thank you. You have given us an Annual Communication that will be long remembered.
To the brethren of this great jurisdiction of ours: you have come from far and wide to make this Grand Communication such a success. We thank you. Your presence and active participation is essential. Past Grand Masters, my thanks for your being here. Your presence and continuing interest in this great institution is a joy to all of us.
To the visitors: we hope that you have many pleasant memories to take home with you and are now planning to return to our next Annual Communication which will be held in Salmon Arm in 2004. We are so pleased that you have been here with us.
I look upon this coming year as one filled with great opportunities for our gentle Craft. Let us work together to realize these opportunities. Look about you. What do you see? You see keen brethren who are dedicated to this ancient and honorable institution. We have that great potential for leadership right here. In my travels around to the lodges in our jurisdiction, I have noticed the many young men joining us. Let us make sure that we have a twenty-first century organization to offer them the essential message of Freemasonry that is so dear to our hearts. Together we can do so much. Help me and let me help you. Things are changing out there. We have the potential for tremendous growth. Our opportunity is NOW.
To me, there are two rôles a Grand Master must fill. First, he is a conservator he protects the landmarks, the Constitution, the ritual, the rights and privileges of the brethren. Second, he is a facilitator he helps all to enjoy Freemasonry and aids those who would improve our Craft.
The last few years we have talked about improving; we have studied ways to improve; we have surveyed our brethren about what we want to see improved and we have identified many things we would like to see improved. It is now time to bring these improvements into effect.
The great historian and statesman, Thomas Babington MacAuley, at a time when governments in Europe were falling, warned the British government: "The great cause of revolutions is this, that while nations move onwards, constitutions stand still."
The same is true of us. We are controlled by our Book of Constitutions. Our Book of Constitutions must change to meet the spirit of our time. If not, we may not face revolution but slow decay into oblivion. Society has moved on. We need to meet the aspirations of young twenty-first century men. These men expect a more democratic system. They want an active part in decision making. Freemasonry around the world is changing. We cannot afford to float but must move onward and take the tide that leads on to fortune. And that tide will soon be ebbing fast. Let us get aboard before that happens.
We have two designs on our tracing board for this year. These two plans will give us the opportunity to improve:
PLAN 1: An active leadership rôle for the District Deputy Grand Masters that will strengthen the individual lodge and improve the use of resources in our Districts. It will give guidance and support to our constituent lodges without interfering with their autonomy. This is called the 7 Step Programme. Your District Deputy Grand Master will be developing this programme with you.
PLAN 2: An active, guided programme which will take the many ideas for improvement that have been advanced in the last few years and put them in a proper form so that they are brought before you at an Annual Communication so that you can decide whether we are for the idea or against it. You will finally have the choice. For you are indeed the rulers of the Craft. This is called the Initiatives Programme. It will be achieved by present Grand Lodge Committees and individual Masons throughout our jurisdiction coördinated by a facilitator.
Both these plans need your coöperation. The improvement of this great institution is up to you. Let us work together and give these plans an honest chance to succeed. If we do we will be the better for it.
The Seven Step Programme involves the following:
District Meetings to coordinate activities and resources.
Lodge Meetings to evaluate your lodge and plan for improvements
Leadership Training to assess your needs and call upon a Leadership Team to help train your Officers if needed.
Mentorship to educate your new members in Freemasonry and thereby retain their membership.
Social and Sports Events to promote friendship and fellowship.
Education to increase the understanding of our work, our ritual and the true meaning of Freemasonry.
The Masonic Family to have a positive and respectful view of all of our concordant bodies. We can no longer remain an isolated group within the great family of Freemasonry.
What is the Initiatives Programme? Briefly it involves:
Initiative 1. to establish 9 regions, hold elections and define the rôle of representatives to the Board of General Purposes.
Initiative 2. to examine and suggest guidelines concerning the appointment and rôle of DDGMs. Four Pilot programmes will also be established.
Initiative 3. to study and develop guidelines for fund raising by Grand Lodge and Constituent Lodges.
Initiative 4. to proceed with the recommendations made in the 2001 Masonic Survey and the Masonic Commission of 2000-01. This does not mean the Masonic Commission will be revived but that their recommendations which achieved wide support from the membership will be brought forward to next years Grand Communication for your decision. You will have the final say. And this decision will not be made for you by default.
Initiative 5. to overhaul our system of Grand Lodge Representatives to other jurisdictions. This is already well underway.
Initiative 6. to strengthen our Leadership seminars. We already have two teams one in Victoria and one in the Okanagan. I intend to see that we have one in the Lower Mainland and another in Cariboo North and that they are active.
Initiative 7. to establish long term goals for Grand Lodge. We need to work towards certain aims and objectives and stop waffling back and forth.
Initiative 8. to study the desirability of changing the terms for the election of the principal officers of Grand Lodge. Should the Grand Master serve two years? Should the Junior and Senior Grand Wardens be appointed with the elected Deputy Grand Officer serving only one year? Or what other arrangement?
Initiative 9. to strengthen the leadership of the Cancer Car Project and the We Can Help Program. We have been very fortunate in the leadership of these programmes. We hope to continue these great activities with increasing harmony.
Initiative 10. to publish a user-friendly and grammatically correct Books of Constitutions and Regulations. This is well underway but further improvements are still needed.
Initiative 11. to study the penalties in our Degrees so that they reflect the truth of Freemasonry.
Initiative 12. to permit by a Constitutional amendment, Past Grand Masters to wear dress regalia when visiting other Grand Lodge jurisdictions at no cost to Grand Lodge.
Initiative 13. to improve the process and establish guidelines for the election of the Junior Grand Warden.
Initiative 14. to extend voting privileges at Grand Lodge Communications to Master Masons.
Initiative 15. to produce a manual for guidance to Grand Lodge and local community Committees for conducting Grand Lodge Communications. This is also well underway.
Brethren, you will be given the choice. Some of these I am for some against, but my opinion is not important. You will have the say about what will be done. Help me to give you that opportunity. I'm open to other initiatives or suggestions. Your help will be solicited to work on these initiatives.
One of these initiatives I should bring to your attention now. It means a considerable change. In 2002, at the Grand Lodge Communication held in Victoria, you passed a resolution to have elected representatives from nine regions serve on the Board of General Purposes of Grand Lodge. They would replace the four appointed area representatives. The details were left up to the Grand Master. This requires a definition of the regions, election procedure, term of office and rôle for these elected members. I hope to bring this about before the end of 2003.
Finally, to the brethren who have taken on the rôle of officers of Grand Lodge for 2003-04. My thanks and, I am sure, the thanks of every freemason in this jurisdiction. Just looking at you, inspires me. Brethren, its what we do that makes us strong. Your rôle this year is crucial. Gain the support of the brethren in your District. Make them aware of the improvements we hope to make. Get them to think positively about our great Craft. Get them to speak and act positively in improving our Craft.
Brethren all, lets get to work.
MW Bro. C. William Ferguson, |
Grand Master 2003-2004