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From the AGLs

October 2016 AGL Article for The Word

Greetings Brethren,

Lodge activities are in full swing with Official visits and Degree work though out the District.

Official visits at Hamilton Lodge on the 10th and Marathon Lodge on the 17th are on the agenda for the month of October. Please try to visit other Lodges when they are having their Official visits to observe their work.  It’s a chance to watch someone who holds the same office as you do and possibly pickup some new ideas by observing their work.

If you are practicing for a Degree or would like help before an Official visit, please call RW Charles Dellow or myself. We would love to work with you.

See you around the District.

Clinton S. Brooks

September 2016 AGL Article for The Word

Greetings Brethren,

I hope everyone enjoyed the great summer weather we had this year!

District Deputy Grand Master Scott A. Cary will make four Official Visits in the month of September.  TriValley Lodge on the 1st, Otselic  Valley Lodge on the 7th, Cortlandville Lodge on the 20th and Homer Lodge on the 26th. RW Charles Dellow and I  will be at every Lodge before their Official Visit to review proper protocol.

The Fellowcraft Club will meet on September 27th at Cortlandville Lodge at 7 p.m. The program for the evening will be “Is the Brother proficient in his work to take the next Degree?”

Refreshments will be served at 8:00 p.m.

If any Lodge needs help with the Ritual, please call  RW Charles Dellow at 607-423-0642 or myself at 607-597-9309 and we would be happy to assist you.

See you in Lodge,

R.W. Clinton S. Brooks

2016 Cortland-Madison District Apron Presentation

The Cortland-Madison District Apron Presentation will be held on Saturday, July 23, 2016 at Cazenovia Lodge.  Aprons will be presented to the R∴W∴ Clinton S. Brooks and the R∴W∴ Charles A. Dellow, Assistant Grand Lecturers, the R∴W∴ Bart C. Chapin, Grand Sword Bearer, and the R∴W∴ Scott A. Cary, District Deputy Grand Master.

Masons and their ladies are invited to join us for a social hour beginning at 5 PM and a prime rib dinner to be served at 6 PM.  The District Officers will receive their aprons immediately following dinner.  Cost of the dinner is $12 per person.  Due to space limitations, reservations are absolutely required and may be made by contacting R∴W∴ James Wightman by email at swightman [at] frontiernet [dot] net or by telephone at (315) 662-3316 no later than Saturday, July 16.

The address of the Lodge and a map may be found on the following page:

http://cazenovia.cortland-madison-masons.org/lodge-information/

Please join us for a wonderful evening as we wish our District Officers all the best for the coming year!

 

Family Night at the Fellowcraft Club

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Thank you to all who joined us for the final meeting of the Fellowcraft Club for this season, especially those who presented their work.  It was great to see so many family members take advantage of the opportunity to participate in Masonry and experience selected portions of our Ritual!

Fellowcraft Club Reservations

Brethren,

Anyone planning to attend the Fellowcraft Club meeting in DeRuyter next Tuesday at 7 PM is kindly requested to contact Bart Chapin at (315) 750-0535 prior to Saturday at noon.  We need an accurate head count of all those planning to attend, so that we may order food (pizza, wings etc.) accordingly.

Remember that this is an open meeting and family members are encouraged to attend so that they may experience some of our Ritual.  Dress is casual, but tasteful/respectful.

Hope to see you there!

April 2016 AGL Article for The Word

I recently had the pleasure to watch as one of our Lodges initiated three new Brothers. During this Degree, I was struck by the fact that these three new Brothers, who all appeared to be Millennials, were being assisted in their first Masonic steps by other Millennials – most of whom were performing their parts for the first time.

Was the Ritual letter-perfect? Nope. As an AGL who was there to observe and evaluate the Degree, did it bother me that they didn’t achieve “perfection”? Not one bit, and here’s why:

Our Ritual, dear as it may be to us, consists of nothing more than words on a page. It is only when we infuse it with a bit of ourselves that it comes alive and delivers the teachings that have been passed from mouth to ear for centuries. It is for precisely this reason that large portions of our Ritual are written in cipher – to ensure that the lessons of old are imparted personally and in the proper atmosphere and context.

Each time one of our Brothers takes it upon himself to learn a new piece of Ritual, he deepens his knowledge of, and strengthens his ties to, our gentle Craft.   As he delivers the Ritual during a Degree, the student becomes the teacher and the candidate become the next generation of student. Philosophers from every great age have recognized the bond between student and teacher and it was a treat to watch this bond develop during and after this particular evening’s work.

I believe that the bond between the Brothers conferring and those receiving the Degree on that night was further strengthened by their proximity in age. We must all value the wisdom, experience, and mentoring of those Brothers who have more time in the Craft than we have spent on the planet. Just as importantly, however, we must recognize the value of being taken by the hand by one who is in every way a peer and who says, “Come, let me show you what I have discovered!” This is the stuff that lifelong friendships and true Brotherhood are made of.

I would also like to take this opportunity to ask the leaders in our Lodges (both those with and those without titles and/or offices) to avoid taking the easy way out. Make an investment in our future. Don’t hand out that petition at the first spark of interest. Instead, take the time to get to know the candidate and to make sure that he and his family are aware of what will be expected of him. Don’t schedule the 25-year Past Master for that Degree part. Get him to mentor the newly-raised Master Mason so that he is able to do the work instead.   Don’t accept being able to read the book as proficiency. Work with your candidate until he is able to stand in Lodge and prove himself proficient. Don’t give him a fish. Teach him how to fish!

In a misguided attempt to bolster our dwindling numbers, we have slowly whittled away at the quality of Freemasonry. We tried to trade quality for quantity. It didn’t work and we lost ground in both areas. The men now knocking on our doors are seeking that quality. They don’t want it easy – they recognize that anything worth doing isn’t going to be easy.  Give them the quality they came for, and the quantity will take care of itself.

March 2016 AGL Article for The Word

BROTHERS,

I WILL KEEP THIS SHORT.  MARCH 22ND AT 7PM WILL BE OUR LAST FELLOWCRAFT CLUB IN THE CORTLAND-MADISON DISTRICT FOR THIS YEAR.  WE WILL MEET AT DERUYTER LODGE NO. 692.  THIS MEETING WILL BE OPEN TO ALL BROTHERS, THEIR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS.  OPEN RITUAL WORK WILL BE PRESENTED-INCLUDING CHARGES FROM THE THREE DEGREES, ALONG WITH AN APRON PRESENTATION.

OUR FAMILY MEMBERS SEE US LEAVE FOR LODGE SEVERAL TIMES A MONTH.  THEY WATCH US GO OUT THE HOUSE DOOR AND ARE CURIOUS AS TO WHAT WE DO.  THEY KNOW OUR LODGE WORK IS IMPORTANT TO US AND OUR LODGE BROTHERS ARE CONSIDERED FAMILY, BUT THEY RARELY HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO OBSERVE THE RITUAL WORK OR TO APPRECIATE THE DEEP SPIRITUAL MEANING AND MORAL CONTENT.

UNLESS YOU HAVE MEMORIZED OR OBSERVED OUR WORK IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE TO UNDERSTAND THE DEDICATION AND COMMITMENT OF THE INDIVIDUAL BROTHER.  THE CHARGES TO THE CANDIDATES OUTLINE WHAT IS EXPECTED OF US AS MEN AND MASONS -A SIMPLE AND INSTANT EXPLANATION TO THE UNINITIATED.  THE APRON PRESENTATION  IS BEAUTIFUL AND INTIMATE.

IF ANYONE WOULD LIKE TO PARTICIPATE OR ATTEND- GIVE ME A CALL @ 315-662-7747.   WE WILL HAVE REFRESHMENTS AND HOPEFULLY SOME FUN.  IF ANYONE NEEDS HELP WITH DEGREES ETC.  GIVE SCOTT OR I A CALL.

TAKE CARE,

BART

Interested in being an Assistant Grand Lecturer?

The Cortland-Madison District is looking for Brothers who are interested in assuming the duties of Assistant Grand Lecturer for the 2016-2018 term. For the first time in some years, our AGLs will not be “staggered”. We will be selecting two Brothers who will each serve an entire term with the District team. This is your opportunity to serve YOUR District in what is truly one of the best jobs in Masonry. If you would like more information or are interested in applying, please contact the V∴W∴ Scott A. Cary, or the R∴W∴ Brian E. Ziegler, at agls [at] cortland-madison-masons [dot] org and ddgm [at] cortland-madison-masons [dot] org  respectively.  Completed applications must be received by the District Deputy Grand Master no later than February 10, 2016 in order to be considered.  Brothers selected for appointment will be notified prior to the end of February.

February 2016 AGL article for The Word

Brethren,

The Cortland-Madison District is looking for Brothers who are interested in assuming the duties of Assistant Grand Lecturer for the 2016-2018 term. For the first time in some years, our AGLs will not be “staggered”. We will be selecting two Brothers who will each serve an entire term with the District team. This is your opportunity to serve YOUR District in what is truly one of the best jobs in Masonry. If you would like more information or are interested in applying, please contact myself, or the R∴W∴ Brian E. Ziegler, at agls [at] cortland-madison-masons [dot] org and ddgm [at] cortland-madison-masons [dot] org , respectively. Selections will be made before the end of February, so if you are interested please contact us as early as possible.

Our last two meetings of the Fellowcraft Club will be on January 26 and March 22 at Hamilton and DeRuyter, respectively. All Fellowcraft Club meetings begin at 7PM and last for one hour. Please join us, as this year’s sessions have already produced a number of excellent discussions.

As always, Bart and I welcome requests to assist with Degree work (especially practices!).

We’ll see you in the quarries!

Scott

January 2016 AGL article for The Word

The last two Degrees conferred by my Lodge were both First Degrees. One was amongst the poorest Degrees I have ever had the misfortune to observe, the other was fantastic and left the newly initiated Entered Apprentices awestruck and craving more. How could two vastly different results come from the same Brothers, in the same Lodge, only a few weeks apart?

The answer is simple: planning, preparation, and practice. All aspects of a Degree need to be planned well in advance. The morning of the Degree is not the time to realize that you don’t have someone to do a lecture, or that you have no aprons or Bibles. A well-planned Degree allows those participating in it the time to prepare their work. Even if a Brother has been doing a piece of work for many years, he will benefit from the time to review the Ritual and to polish his performance. Lastly, I cannot overstate the importance of practice sessions or rehearsals, particularly if a Brother or Brothers will be performing a new part. Reciting a portion of the Ritual to your reflection in the mirror is an altogether different thing than looking someone else in the eyes and delivering a lecture with feeling and meaning. Additionally, many portions of our Degree Ritual require interaction between Brothers. Live practice sessions help these interactions to flow naturally without awkward pauses and without one Brother “throwing off” the other one’s timing, etc.

Each of the three Degrees is important and is deserving of our full attention to detail. It has often been said, however, that the first Degree is most important, as it is our newly made Brother’s first introduction to Freemasonry.  Some might be quick to dismiss this as a trite platitude, but consider the following: at the last meeting of the Fellowcraft Club, I asked each Brother in attendance to give the name of the Master for his First Degree. Every single man there was able to do so without hesitation, up to half a century later! Clearly, that first impression is a lasting one. We owe it to each of our candidates, and to the Craft as a whole, to do everything in our power to ensure that the impression we leave is the one that we intended.

Before I close, I’d like to leave you with a couple of reminders. First, the next meeting of the Fellowcraft Club will be on January 26 at 7PM in Hamilton. Also, there are still Lodges in the District that have yet to comply with the annual requirement to have a Degree conferral or exemplification observed by one of the AGLs. Please make arrangements with either Bart or myself to do so as soon as possible.

Bart and I wish each of you a safe and joyous Holiday Season and all of the best for the coming New Year!

Scott A. Cary

MORI
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