Wisconsin Freemasonry has both a proud tradition and a bright future. As we move into a new year we look back with pride, and look forward with great confidence.
We look back with pride, knowing that Freemasonry has been a defining presence in our Wisconsin communities for nearly two centuries; even before Wisconsin officially became a state. This year will mark the 174th anniversary of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Wisconsin, and as we celebrate our past, we look to the present, and define our future, recognizing that the principles of Freemasonry are just as relevant today as they ever were.
This year, our lodges will continue to partner with the Wisconsin Masonic Foundation to make a significant charitable impact in local communities using the Wisconsin Masonic Foundations Random Acts of Kindness matching funds grants. Introduced last June at our Annual Communication, our Foundations Random Acts of Kindness program is rapidly gaining momentum. In the past few months 21 lodges partnered with the Wisconsin Masonic Foundation to dispense approximately $40,000 to local charities such as; food shelves, veteran and youth programs, AED’s, community First Responders, and other charitable endeavors. Charity is an essential part of Freemasonry and by working in partnership with our Wisconsin Masonic Foundation; we make a far bigger impact to the lives of those in need.
Over the past 174 years, society has changed dramatically, but the virtues and core values of our fraternity remain constant and unwavering. If we look back just a few years to 2015, we will note that we made 186 new Master Masons that year. This past year we started a Freemasonry renaissance in Wisconsin and welcomed 332 new Master Masons into our fraternity. Now more than ever, our world needs more Freemasons and Wisconsin is delivering!
In the year 2018, we will continue a membership focus, reaching out to even more good men to introduce them to Freemasonry. Our lodges will continue to perform degrees in house but at the same time, we will offer a viable alternative for candidates with a busy life style. We recognize that over half of the new Masons raised in 2017 were raised at Masonic Day of Light events, and by all accounts, the Masonic Day of Light events were a great success. This spring, we will once again offer additional Masonic Day of Light events and fill the buildings in Green Bay, Madison, and Eau Claire to capacity with candidates and mentors. As we step into another year, we open a new book on membership, now the pages of the book are blank, we will fill in the words ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is Now. Help author our book by reaching out to good men and introducing them to our fraternity.
I look forward with confidence and anticipation to the day when our “children’s children transmit the genuine tenets of our time-honored institution through our lodges, pure and unimpaired, from generation to generation.”
Wisconsin Freemasonry has both a proud tradition and a bright future. Have a blessed New Year full of peace, laughter, prosperity and health.
L Arby Humphrey