The Grand Master’s January Address to the Craft

Greeting Brothers,

     Installation season is always a favorite time of year for every Grand Master. All of the installations I’ve been involved with so far have been multiple lodge installations. Some with two lodges, one with three, one with five and believe it or not, one with seven lodges. I joked with the Brothers and guests that the District Deputy Grand Master was just trying to get all the work in the district done at once so he wouldn’t have to work so hard! What I didn’t know earlier, I saw in action later, and then understood his motives.  

    Like many, I thought combining lodge installations was something done for economy of scale, taking advantage of common planning and use of a single ceremony and set of installing officers. What I discovered, although the economy of scale is true, there is a much larger benefit and by-product of these multi-lodge installations. What I saw were Brothers socializing before and after the installations, getting to know each other better, finding out what they had in common, what was successful in another lodge, talking about collaborating on events, talking about pluraling into lodges. The true meaning of “fraternizing”!   

    I came away a true believer in installations involving multiple lodges. In fact, this could be a standard way of doing installations in the future, creating large social occasions out of these events, building a banquet around them, attracting more guests and family members than are currently seen today. I’m now thinking our DDGM was likely a visionary, but don’t tell him I said this, or he’ll get a big head over it!

    I had quite a treat while in Superior to conduct the installations of Superior and Acacia-Itasca lodges ––  an exemplification of an EA degree by Connaught Lodge of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. They had help from a couple of other Canadian lodges as well as some of their Grand Lodge officers. It is amazing to see how different degrees can look from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and we all get to the same places.

    Here’s this month’s thoughts along the theme of the Forget-me-not . . . involvement with the Masonic youth groups.  If you’ve never attended a Masonic youth group meeting or event, either DeMolay or Job’s Daughters, you’re missing an important item in your Masonic passport of experiences. It is your choice how involved you want to become, but seeing Masons show up at their meetings is a highpoint from their point of view. Watching these young people over a period of years is an amazing transformation, from shy to outgoing, from soft-spoken to using voices that project, from looking at the floor when you approach them to looking you in the eyes, these groups prepare these young women and men for a better and more successful life. Go visit them, make an official visitation as a lodge, or better yet, sponsor and help provide needed funds for their activities. I’m a firm believer in not only thinking of these Masonic youth groups as our future but also our present. They make us whole.

   I hope you had a great holiday, whichever ones you celebrate, whether Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and especially the new year spawning new hopes and wishes.  Hope to see you at one of my upcoming visits.  I’m proud to be a Freemason!  I hope you are too.  

Faithfully yours,

Bob Strader

Grand Master