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From the AGLs

February 2016 AGL article for The Word


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 and , 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!


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

Memorizing Ritual

At our last meeting of the Fellowcraft Club, we had an excellent discussion on various techniques for memorizing ritual.  This pamphlet was distributed at that meeting and I have had a number of requests for additional copies.  To download a copy, please click on the graphic below.  Also, please note that the file is designed to be printed on both sides of a sheet of paper and then folded into a pamphlet.  As a result, one page will appear inverted when viewed on a computer.


Memorizing Ritual

NorthStar Project – Registration is now open!



The NorthStar Project is a State-wide initiative designed to improve the way we bring new Brothers into the Craft, mentor them through the Degree process and beyond, and to increase both the participation and retention of our membership.  This is a “train-the trainer” style program and each Lodge should designate at least one Brother to attend and then bring the program back to others within the Lodge.  Pre-registration is required with Bro. Jorge Romeau by email at or by telephone at (315) 476-8994.  More information can be found on the flyer below:



2015 Grand Lecturer’s Convention

The R∴W∴ Richard J. Kessler, Grand Lecturer of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York, presented an excellent program on the First Degree during the Cortland-Madison District Grand Lecturer’s Convention last evening.

CM GLC 2015

2015 Cortland-Madison District Grand Lecturer’s Convention hosted by Cortlandville Lodge, No. 470


Congratulations to both Homer Lodge, No. 352 and Cortlandville Lodge, No. 470 for earning the prestigious Potts Award!


Homer 352 Potts 2015

Homer Lodge, No. 352 – 2015 Potts Award Recipient

Cortlandville 470 Potts 2015

Cortlandville Lodge, No. 470 – 2015 Potts Award Recipient


2015 Grand Lecturer’s Convention – Reminder


The 2015 Grand Lecturer’s Convention for the Cortland-Madison District will be hosted by Cortlandvile Lodge on Thursday, October 15, 2015 at 7:30 PM.  A dinner of either goulash or soup & sandwiches is planned for 6:30 PM.  Cost will be approx. $5 and reservations (to R∴W∴ Kim Dellow by telephone or by email at are requested to be made no later than October 11 – the deadline for reservations is fast approaching!

The agenda for the Grand Lecturer’s Convention can be found here:

Grand Lecturer Convention 2015-2016

Much of the work of the evening will be centered on the First Degree and all necessary Ritual parts have been filled.

Thanks to everyone who has volunteered to take a chair!


Fellowcraft Club Ritual Competition!

The V∴W∴ Bart C. Chapin announced at last evening’s Fellowcraft club that our next meeting (7 PM on November 24 at Otselic Valley) will be a little different…we’re having a Ritual Competition!

The work of the evening will be the First Degree Apron Presentation.  Although this work is assigned to the office of Master in the Degree, you need not be a Master or Past Master to participate in the competition.  It is open to any Brother in the District who wishes to learn the work and present it before a panel of judges (consisting of the DDGM, the GLSO, the two AGLs, and our very own Custodian of the Work Emeritus, R∴W∴ Fred M.S. Downs).  Although contestants will be judged on both accuracy and the overall presentation of their Ritual, the aim of this competition is to have fun, to learn a beautiful piece of Ritual, and to allow some of our ritualists, particularly those who are newly-made Masons, to show off their skills without the fear of having to do so in front of a candidate or an entire Lodge.

All Brothers from the District who wish to participate must pre-register prior to November 1st by sending an email to or by calling Bart at (315) 750-0535.  Any Entered Apprentice or Fellowcraft who wishes to participate, but does not yet have a copy of the complete Standard Work & Lectures, is encouraged to contact either Bart or myself ASAP.  We will make arrangements to get you a copy of the apron presentation for you to study.

What is a Lodge Ritual Director?

Does your Lodge have a Ritual Director?

What is a Lodge Ritual Director


For more information, see any of the District Officers.

Labor Day Message from the District Officers

Labor Day marks the beginning of the season where many of our Lodges resume their Masonic labors.  As we return to the quarries in the coming weeks, the officers serving the Cortland-Madison District would like you to consider the following:


GW Masonic Minutes


At first glance, this may seem to be nothing more than a quick, humorous jab at ourselves, but, as with so much in the Masonic world, there is a deeper meaning:

Masons are builders, not of buildings or other structures, but of men, communities, societies, and nations.  We do this by constantly striving to improve both ourselves and the world around us by utilizing a mixture of introspection, education, and enlightenment as well as principles such as honor, justice, purity, knowledge, and truth.  It is this labor that led George Washington, a Mason for nearly 40 years before becoming our nation’s first President, to state, “So far as I am acquainted with the principles of Free Masonry, I conceive it to be founded in benevolence and to be exercised only for the good of mankind.”  As we return to our labors this season, we all should strive to apply these principles, both in life and in Lodge.


September 2015 AGL article for The Word

Greetings, Brethren! Many of our Lodges typically go dark during the summer season, but to look around the Cortland-Madison District, one wouldn’t know it. It is encouraging to see Lodges engaged in Degree work throughout the summer months and I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome our newly made Masons into the Fraternity. We look forward to your continued progress and encourage you to participate in the many events that are open to you.

Just as our children will soon be returning to school, so will we. The Fellowcraft Club will be having its first meeting of the season at 7PM on Tuesday, September 22 in Cazenovia. Although the opening of the new building has been delayed, the Brothers of Cazenovia Lodge hope to be up and running in time for this meeting. Should the location need to change, ample notice will be provided both on The Grapevine and on the District web site ( The dates and locations for the remaining Fellowcraft Club meetings can also be found on the calendar located on the site.

Our Grand Lecturer’s Convention is scheduled for Thursday, October 15, in Cortlandville. Dinner is scheduled for 6:30 PM, with the program to follow at 7:30. Information on menu, cost, and reservations will be forthcoming. The bulk of the work of the evening will be centered on the First Degree, but there are a few other topics to be discussed, including the newly released Closing Charge. Bart and I would especially like to encourage our newer Masons to attend. Any Brother who wishes to participate in the exemplification of the various parts of the First Degree should send an email to as soon as possible to reserve your spot. This is a great way to put the finishing touches on that new portion of Ritual you’ve been learning!

Bart and I both hope that you enjoy the remainder of your summer and we look forward to seeing you throughout the busy months ahead.