GREETINGS TO ONE AND ALL,
I hope this issue of our Rite News finds everyone well and reflecting on memories made this past summer. It is hard to believe that the holidays are just a few weeks away. Our Lodge and Valley meetings are well un derway and Reunions just ahead.
I still believe, that for such a long time, we have tried so hard to get men into Masonry, that we forgot to put Masonry into men. We began by making it easier to join, lowering the standards of ritual and degree work, and overlooked the “art of memory.” We relaxed our standards of dress, as well as neglecting the teaching of the veiled meanings of our rituals, obligations, and customs. These solutions cheapen the institution and greatly reduce its value.
I heard these very words spoken at the 2022 North East Conference of Grand Masters, hosted by the Grand Lodge of Maryland. Bro. Luis J. Gonzalez, Jr., 32°, a Past Master of Odenton Lodge 209, was asked to speak on the “survival of the craft” from a younger generation’s point of view. He went on to say that people will only join and stay involved in an organization in relation to its perceived value and the value provided. Therefore, we must provide value (both SR and Masonry in general). We have to be an organization worthy of one’s investment of time, energy, and money; and it must be worth preserving.
I think we are turning things around in Maryland. I now see our Lodges and Degree Masters taking more pride in their ritual work and having much better rehearsals, as well improving how we conduct our business. Although we sadly had several great men pass to the Celestial Lodge, this year has been very good for the Scottish Rite. Our Spring Reunions added over 100 new Scottish Rite Masons in Maryland. I believe that Masonry, in general, is picking up all across Maryland. I firmly believe that it is you, the membership, that are making the difference. I also trust that with your continued efforts we will hold ourselves to the highest standards in our ritual, degrees, and in our conduct with each other. We will then live up to the standards and expectations of the men who are drawn to our gentle fraternity.
In closing, I would like to again thank Past Master Gonzalez for the excellent presentation he made to the visiting Brethren. He truly made Maryland shine. Remember – together we can achieve anything, and anything worth doing is worth doing Rite.
Sincerely and Fraternally,