I write this article with a sense of real optimism. PGM Jack Allord has an article in this issue speaking to the fact that there are different leadership styles. Some are effective, some are efficient, and most work if applied consistently. The one exception is the leader who attempts to micro-manage a large organization. Fortunately, I do not see any of those in our upcoming leadership. So I am optimistic about the future course of our wonderful brotherhood.
I am also encouraged because I have seen the process of strategic planning grow, mature, and take on a life of its own. Today, until something works its way into that plan, it does not get resourced. That is more significant than you may realize. It keeps us from becoming an organization that reacts and allows us to be proactive. This way the one-and-done programs that have plagued us in the past are just that, in the past.
Another significant factor is the way your Grand Lodge Officers have been willing to stand up and take ownership of important activities and be responsible for their development. Last year we recognized that our accountability for spending had insufficient controls. We came to you planning for a reduced budget and spending cuts. You elected Brothers Jeff Bryden as Grand Treasurer and Mike DeWolf as your Grand Secretary. Between these two dedicated Brothers and RW Bro. Don Hensiak heading up the Expenditures Committee we have now implemented the accounting system that was purchased by then Grand Master Dan Slavik.
We are moving away from spending our dead Brothers’ money with an eye to continuing our quest to start to operate as a self-sustaining fraternity. As we gain momentum in this area, our controls stretch into others. For instance, we have cut virtually all committee costs largely by leveraging technology and having numerous web-based meetings with no travel costs or time wasted. These all represent strong currents bringing us into today’s world.
My unbridled optimism for our gentle craft is, however, is also justified by the long awaited reemergence of a single Unified Masonic Family. I believe we finally have crossed the line, understanding that all Masonic bodies are first, part of Masonry. There is no place we can all go if we don’t fill our Blue Lodges back up. We all must find our roots and together support each other and move the needle. We are not in competition with each other. Our charities, projects, and initiatives all thrive where great Masonry is practiced.
I want to especially say thank you:
- To those Brothers and their families that have filled my head with new thoughts and considerations and my heart with your support and advice and my soul with your prayers, thank you.
- To the courageous young wife of a new Master Mason in Wisconsin Rapids that spoke up and reminded her husband that he shouldn’t be giving up important family time for every organization that wants his time. She took us all to school about how healthy Masonry requires balance in the total family life of every Mason. Thanks.
- To the warden of a Milwaukee Lodge that opened my eyes to the vital and little understood mission every big population Lodge must accomplish to build a feeling of community within the Lodge.
- Brother Bob Ott, who when I told him about Bob Pickett wanting to come back to the Craft, immediately jumped up and brought Bob to a Lodge Picnic. Bob is now in Reedsburg Lodge so are his 2 previously NPD Brothers. Bro. Pickett’s son is petitioning the lodge, and he is petitioning the Shrine.
- Br Rich Rygh and your WMJ Board who work tirelessly to help tell our stories.
- To all of the Brothers who took on additional responsibilities this year to serve your Grand Lodge.
- To the Brothers and families of the three Lodges where I am proud to hold perpetual memberships . . . Valley 60, Chetek 277, and Barnes 365.
- To my bride Wendy and my family who have enabled me to do this job.
- Finally, thank you . . . the eleven thousand or so Brothers who make up Wisconsin Masonry. Keep on keeping on! Help your widows and practice that Brotherhood that makes us strong.
It is no wonder that I am so optimistic about our future.