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May 2017 DDGM Article for The Word

My Brothers,

As I sat, waiting for my latest missive to flow from my fingertips into the keyboard, I realized that it wasn’t the time for another essay or treatise. Rather, a simple thank you was in order:

Thank you to the new Brothers, and future Brothers, who have petitioned our Lodges in increasing numbers this year. I am happy that you have decided to join this great and honorable Fraternity and would encourage you not only to learn all that you can, but also to get as involved as your schedule will allow. You will make lifelong friendships locally, across the state, and maybe even throughout the world. Please don’t feel that you have nothing to offer because you’ve only been here a short time – if you had nothing to offer, you wouldn’t have been elected to take the Degrees! Don’t allow yourself to be pushed aside or discounted by more experienced Brothers. This is every bit as much your Fraternity as it is theirs and, frankly, you are its future.

Thank you to all of the Brothers who have worked so hard to learn and improve their Ritual work. Openings and closings are running smoothly and it has been very encouraging to see the level of involvement with Degree work throughout the District this year, particularly by “first-timers”. As we strive to attain our goal of every Lodge being able to perform every part (including the lectures) of every Degree with only its own members, we will need to continue to build up our bench full of qualified Ritualists. This can only be done as we have been doing it, by learning new parts. Remember that some of the longer pieces, even the obligations, can be broken up and delivered as a team with great effect.

Thank you to the Lodge Officers who have worked so hard this year to ensure that their Lodges are in compliance with both our civil law and our Masonic law. These offices are not merely ceremonial posts – they involve real work that must be done in order to ensure the stability of the Lodge. While we give our Officers great power and responsibility, we must always remember that the ultimate power and responsibility rests with the membership of the Lodge. If things aren’t going well and your Officers aren’t doing their jobs, then it becomes the responsibility and duty of the membership to vote accordingly. No one ascends to office by right and no one should expect to remain in office except by demonstrating a willingness and ability to perform the key functions of that office. With that said, if you aren’t getting good Lodge Officers, then you may need to make some. There are plenty of educational resources available and I would encourage all who aspire to be Lodge Officers one day to take the MDC, RTTE, and Master’s Chair classes as soon as possible.

Finally, I’d like to thank our Grand Sword Bearer, the R∴ W∴ Bart C. Chapin, and our AGLs, the R∴ W∴ Charles A. Dellow and the R∴ W∴ Clinton S. Brooks, for their continued dedication to the Craft and for the many hours that they’ve invested in the future of Masonry within the Cortland-Madison District.

My Brothers, as we move into the new Masonic year, I look forward to building on the successes of this year. A year from now, when my successor is about to take office, I hope that I will be able to pass to his care a District full of vibrant Lodges, active in their respective communities, and fully engaged in the work of making good men better.


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The Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library of the Grand Lodge of F. & A. M. of the State of New York