GLNY-Seal-transparent-240 Grand Lodge of the State of New York
Masonic Care Community
Masonic Medical Research Laboratory
Camp-Turk_120Camp Turk

From the DDGM

The NorthStar Project is coming to the Cortland-Madison District!

Please click on the graphic below to view the full-sized flyer:

Click to email W∴ James Boss, Jr. for reservations.

Click to email R∴ W∴ Scott A. Cary with questions.

November 2017 DDGM Article for The Word

My Brothers,

Official Visits for this term are winding down. We still have much work to do around the District and in our Lodges. To that end, we are in the planning stages for a number of training classes.

As R∴ W∴ Brooks mentioned, there will be a Masonic Development Class in Cortlandville beginning in November. Please contact him to register, or for more details.

The NorthStar Program is coming to Hamilton Lodge! R∴ W∴ Joseph Passaretti, II, Chairman of the Membership Development Committee, will be presenting the NorthStar Program at Hamilton Lodge, No. 120 on Saturday, November 18, 2017. Lunch will be served at noon and the training will follow immediately afterward. This important training demonstrates how we can not only attract better candidates to the Fraternity, but also retain them as lifelong members. Every Lodge should have at least one certified Success coach, as we have repeatedly seen that Lodges who utilize elements of the Program have much better rates of retention. The training is open to Master Masons from the Cortland-Madison and neighboring Districts who are interested in becoming certified as Success Coaches. All those interested in attending are asked to please make reservations with the Master of Hamilton Lodge, W∴ Jim Boss, by email (jboss8564 [at] gmail [dot] com) no later than November 12.

We are also planning to offer a Road to the East class in the near future. Unfortunately, last year’s offering had to be cancelled and we would like to hold one before next year’s officers are elected (or appointed) and installed. This class is not just for Wardens who plan to become Master. Any Brother who is planning to move into or advance in the chairs should seriously consider taking this class. If you are interested, please email me as above and I will make sure that you get the class information once the planning is finalized.

Masonic education is more important than ever. Historically, however, attendance rates have been low. Our next generation of leaders is joining the Craft now and we must make every effort to ensure that they are well educated and well trained.

Scott

2017-2018 Cortland-Madison District Trestleboard

Click the graphic below to download an updated copy of the District Trestleboard for this year:

 

October 2017 DDGM Article for The Word

My Brothers,

Fall is here and the various animals are busily preparing for winter. As Masons, this should also be a season of preparation for us. Before we know it, the next Grand Lodge session will be upon us and now is the time to prepare.

During the past year, I have heard many voices express dissatisfaction with the direction our Fraternity is heading. I’ve heard talk of dimits and I’ve heard some say that they’re ready to simply walk away and wait for the NPD to happen. My Brothers if you fall into one of these groups, then I urge you to reconsider.   Meaningful and lasting change is almost never effected from outside of an organization. In other words, if it’s going to be changed, it’s going to be changed from within.

Grand Lodge is your Grand Lodge. Now is the time to educate yourselves on the issues facing the Fraternity. Now is the time to tell the Master how the Brothers of his Lodge want him to vote. If your Master won’t be attending, then now is the time to select who from your Lodge will be.

Last year, a scant 3 of our 8 Lodges were represented in Grand Lodge. That’s ok, right? After all, it was an “off year”, right? Wrong. Last year showed us, perhaps better than any other year in recent memory, that every year counts. Last year, quite literally, the entire direction of the Fraternity was changed. Most of our Lodges weren’t even there to cast a vote. If we can’t be bothered to participate in determining our own future, then we shouldn’t be surprised when things don’t go the way we want them to.

Scott

September 2017 DDGM Article for The Word

My Brothers,

As we did not receive a sufficient number of applications to fill our District Officers for the 2018-2020 term, we have reopened the application period. The new deadline is September 30, which is as late as we are able to make it and still be guaranteed enough time to complete the remainder of the selection process prior to the deadline for submission of names to Grand Lodge.

Past Masters, including Right Worshipful Brothers, who are interested in serving as a DDGM, Staff Officer, or AGL are encouraged complete the application materials (available from either myself or your Lodge Secretary) and contact me as soon as possible to discuss their future plans. I have recently been informed that any position for which we do not have a completed application, from a qualified candidate, will not be filled, thus leaving the District short-handed for the next two years.

I hope that you and your families enjoy the remaining days of summer and Bart and I look forward to seeing you back in Lodge soon.

Scott

Applications Are Now Being Accepted!

If you are a Master or Past Master and are interested in serving the Cortland-Madison District as an Assistant Grand Lecturer, Grand Lodge Staff Officer, or District Deputy Grand Master for the 2018-2020 term, please contact me by email here to request more information or an application packet.

All application materials for all of the above offices must be received by me (not just postmarked) no later than August 4, 2017.  No incomplete applications and no late applications will be considered, so please submit your materials early.

The Selection Committee will be interviewing candidates in late summer or early fall and the final nominees will be selected by late October.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions and thank you for your interest in serving our District!

Scott

 

June 2017 DDGM Article for The Word

My Brothers,

The 236th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York has closed and, with it, we begin a new Masonic Year. This year has special significance for me, as it marks the 150th anniversary of Cazenovia Lodge, No. 616.

Serving as District Deputy Grand Master during the sesquicentennial celebration of my mother Lodge is rarer than a once-in-a-lifetime event and I am truly honored to have the opportunity to do so. My first official act after returning from Manhattan was to install the newly elected and appointed Officers of the Lodge. As I performed the Ritual of Installation, the rarity and enormity of the evening settled in and I began to think about the words being said and the following occurred to me:

Throughout my term, thus far, I’ve had the opportunity to discuss with many of my colleagues the difficulties that they have encountered within their Districts and throughout the State. Although the details of the various incidents and problems are rarely the same, one theme seems to underlie many of them – unmasonic conduct. Most of these incidents never rise to the level of Masonic charges or disciplinary action, but it is clear that many of our Brothers either never heard, never understood, or, perhaps more troublingly, have chosen to disregard the lessons of our Ritual and the bindings of our various Obligations.

My Brothers, we simply cannot claim that our Ritual is what makes us special when we all too often disregard the important lessons contained therein. To do so, is the very definition of hypocrisy! It is not good enough to talk the talk; we must walk the walk.

I could list trite expression after trite expression, but what it all boils down to is this: do the right thing, treat people the right way, and forgive those who fail to meet the standard of perfection (which includes every one of us). If we do this in our Lodges, our Fraternity will prosper and grow. If we do this in the larger world, all of humanity can benefit. We can make a difference, one incident and one person at a time, but only if we make the conscious choice to do so – let each of us choose to make this our resolution for this new Masonic year.

Scott

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.

Scott

Deputy Grand Master’s Town Hall Meeting

Brethren,

Please click on the graphic (below) for more information regarding the Deputy Grand Master’s Town Hall Meeting for the Cortland-Madison District.  It will be held on April 8 at 1 PM at the Liverpool Masonic Temple.  We will be joining our Brothers from both the Onondaga and Cayuga-Tompkins Districts.

There will also be a DGM’s Town Hall Meeting in Johnson City (Broome-Chenango) at 9 AM on the same date.  I would strongly encourage you to attend whichever meeting is more convenient for you and take the opportunity to meet with our Deputy Grand Master.

Scott

April 2017 DDGM Article for The Word

The functional unit of Freemasonry in this jurisdiction is the Lodge, each of which exists because of the Charter granted to it by Grand Lodge. The Grand Lodge exists, in large part, because each of its constituent Lodges sends (or ought to send) a representative to participate in the body of Grand Lodge. Stated another way, Grand Lodge allows each Lodge to exist and to perform the work of Freemasonry in exchange for its participation in Grand Lodge and its adherence to the Constitutions, Edicts, rules, and regulations of Grand Lodge. Each Lodge is semi-autonomous, free to do as it chooses, within the guidelines and restrictions established by Grand Lodge and agreed to as a condition of the issuance of its Charter.

Over the past few months, I’ve heard a lot of griping about the “new” changes being implemented by Grand Lodge. If we take a step back, however, we’re likely to find that these changes aren’t all that new. Take, for instance, background checks. We’ve never had to do those before, right? Wrong, it was and still is called the “Investigating Committee”. Unfortunately, we’ve often glossed over the vitally important work done by this committee and, as a result, numerous felons and predators of every nature have been admitted to our ranks. Grand Lodge is simply reiterating something that we’ve always been required to do and, in so doing, is also giving us a powerful new tool to help the Investigating Committee with its work.

How about the 990s? Surely this is new, right? Nope. We’ve always been required to obey the law and filing your taxes is the law. Don’t believe me? Ask Al Capone. Audits? Well, here is the first glimmer of newness, but given the number of felons we’ve admitted (see above), this is a common sense measure designed to protect ourselves and to ensure the financial viability of our Lodges. Before you object and claim that none of our Brothers would steal from us, let me assure you that there are a number of criminal and Masonic trials currently underway for just that. I’m a Cold War kid: trust, but verify!

Certifying our Work? Again, there’s nothing new here. Each Lodge applying for a Charter must have its skill and proficiency certified prior to the granting of a Charter. It follows, then, that each existing Lodge must also be proficient in order to meet with the terms of its Charter and of the Constitutions. We can just pick and choose which parts of the Ritual we like or which are convenient for us to confer, right? And, again, the answer is “No.” I’ve been asked numerous times when this changed. My answer has often been, “About 1781.” A complaint that “We’ve never done it this way…” is akin to telling the Trooper who pulled you over for going 65mph in a 55mph zone that he shouldn’t give you a ticket because you drive the same stretch of road nearly every day at 75!  Grand Lodge simply wants the Lodges to hold up their end of the bargain, and the bargain isn’t a new one. Our Brothers from generations past conferred all parts of each of the Degrees from memory. Further, they learned it without the aid of Ritual books. In fact, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania just published its first-ever Ritual book about 6 or 7 years ago! I’m not aware of many Lodges who would be able to meet such a standard today. That doesn’t mean that they won’t (or shouldn’t) be able to do so tomorrow, however.

At the beginning of this article, I mentioned that the functional unit of Masonry is the Lodge. It isn’t the District, nor is it Grand Lodge. Neither the District, nor Grand Lodge, is a member of your community. Neither knows what your community needs, nor how best to serve it. Neither knows of the family down the street with bare cupboards during a holiday season and neither is in a position to help them. Neither the District, nor the Grand Lodge, has the personal friendships and connections that a thriving Lodge can transform into the bonds of Brotherhood.

Grand Lodge recognizes this, my Brothers, and this is precisely why it is taking so many steps to ensure that each of our Lodges is in the best possible shape for the future. Grand Lodge recognizes that, when you are producing a masterpiece, good enough simply isn’t good enough. Grand Lodge recognizes, and needs each of us to recognize, that the problems facing our Fraternity aren’t likely to be solved at the Grand Lodge level. If they are going to be solved, it will be at the local or Lodge level. Grand Lodge is doing all it can to give you, the Craftsmen, the necessary tools. It always has been, however, and always will be, up to you and your Lodges to pick up the tools and do the work. The work of Masonry is not merely symbolic (as any Lodge Secretary can attest). So, the next time we look at our little corner of Masonry, or perhaps even at Grand Lodge itself, and aren’t happy with what we see, rather than asking, “What has Grand Lodge done to fix this?” each of us should be asking, “What has MY Lodge done to fix this?”

As we approach the beginning of a new Masonic year, I look forward to working with our Lodges to ensure that each has a solid foundation for generations to come. While I can’t do the work for you, I’m happy to tie on an apron and help out.

Scott

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