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From the DDGM

Fellowcraft Club Meeting on March 28

The next meeting of the Fellowcraft Club will be on March 28th at 7:30 PM at Cortlandville Lodge, No. 470 (1883 State Route 13 Cortlandville, NY 13045).  As was previously publicized, R∴ W∴ David Walter, Camp Turk Committee Member, will be providing a 20-30 minute presentation on Camp Turk.

Following the presentation on Camp Turk, the R∴ W∴ Richard S. Morley, Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York, and the R∴ W∴ Nicholas J. Paolicelli, Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York, will be on hand to moderate a discussion on the redistricting process currently underway within our Grand Jurisdiction.  Specifically, the discussion will center around the variety of rumors and misconceptions being circulated about the process and how that process will affect those Lodges currently assigned to the Cortland-Madison and Cayuga-Thompkins Districts.

This discussion is open to all Masons in the Cortland-Madison and surrounding Districts, but the R∴ W∴ Michael A. Miller, District Deputy Grand Master of the Cayuga-Thompkins District, and I would particularly like to see current and future Lodge leaders from within our two Districts in attendance. Lodge leaders, in particular, are invited to bring (and be prepared to discuss) their concerns and any plans for the future of their Lodges (or groups of Lodges).

All Brothers are reminded that, while redistricting is a Grand Lodge initiative, the planning and work of redistricting is done at the local, District level.  To state it a different way: you know what works for you.  This meeting is an opportunity to let Grand Lodge know what works for you and, further, how we can help you to get there.

I look forward to seeing you there!


January 2017 DDGM Article for The Word

My Brothers,

I must apologize, as I neglected to submit this article to The Word in time for publication.  With the Holidays upon us, it is often easy to become overwhelmed with shopping, parties, dinners, and other special events associated with the Season.  I fell victim to this and dropped the proverbial ball.

With all that happens this time of year, it can be easy to forget that the Holiday Season is about giving.  I’m not talking about Hatchimals or whatever the latest craze is;  I’m talking about gifts that are far more significant. One of the most precious gifts that we may give this season is the gift of time.  The time we spend with family and friends can be the root of lifelong memories and traditions.  In twenty years, our children or grand children will not likely remember what gift was under the tree, but they will remember the time spent with the entire family huddled around the fireplace as “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas” is read aloud.

We often “splurge” this time of year and spend more than we should on gifts and other excesses, but we should always remember that there are those in our communities who do not have even enough for the bare necessities of a simple dinner, much less a holiday feast.  As we move into the New Year, it is important for us to remember that this need does not go away when we pack up our Christmas decorations and put the lights away.  Charity being one of the hallmarks of our Fraternity, I, for one, am making a New Year’s resolution to do a little more to help those less fortunate throughout the year.

I wish you and your family all the best for the New Year, may it be filled with joy, prosperity, and good health!


Fellowcraft Club – Canceled

My Brothers,

After speaking with our AGLs, the decision has been made to cancel this evening’s scheduled meeting of the Fellowcraft Club due to the inclement weather and potentially hazardous road conditions.

Jamie & I, Bart & Patti, Clint & Brenda, and Charlie & Gloria join in wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!


December 2016 DDGM Article for The Word

This election cycle, if nothing else, reminds us why we are forbidden from discussing the broad categories of politics and religion in our Lodge rooms. Even as we put the election behind us, we are provided with daily reminders of how we, as a people, have been divided. Those who serve to divide us constantly seek to remind us of our differences.

As Freemasons, however, we strive to remind ourselves of our similarities while celebrating the enrichment provided by our diversity. We call each other by the title “Brother” because we recognize that we are equals under the fatherhood of God. We understand that, although we may be on opposite sides of the political aisle, we are all still in the same house, under the same roof, and under the same flag.

As Freemasons, we know that disagreement is the path to new ideas and new knowledge. Many in our society attempt to label, vilify, and denigrate those with whom they disagree. We understand that ignorance and arrogance are the precursors to anger, fear, and hatred. Instead, we seek to understand the viewpoints of others and, perhaps more importantly, the path that brought them to that view.

As Freemasons, we have always been builders – builders of men, builders of families, builders of communities, and, yes, sometimes even builders of nations. As we move through this holiday season and into the New Year, let us remember that our duty to ourselves comes in a distant third behind our duty to God and our duty to our neighbor.

My Brothers, I wish you a holiday season filled with the warmth of family and good friends, followed by a healthy and prosperous New Year!

November 2016 DDGM Article for The Word

Greetings, my Brothers,

The fall season is upon us, our Lodges have returned to their labors, and our Official Visits are in full swing.   As Bart, Clint, Charlie and I have begun the process of visiting our Lodges, perhaps no question has raised as much consternation as Question #58: “Is this Lodge a candidate for merger?”

The answer to this question is, or ought to be, “Yes”! Even the so-called “strong” Lodges need to see themselves as candidates for merger due to this simple, if inconvenient, truth: we don’t have enough active members in the District to fully support our eight Lodges. A number of Lodges struggle to open on a regular basis because they don’t have enough qualified Officers to fill the chairs (despite some plural members holding offices in multiple Lodges).

Facing the option of merger, some of our Lodges have had limited success in repopulating the chairs with Past Masters and other Brothers who have drifted away from the Lodge for whatever reason. This can be, at best, a temporary solution. In the absence of a comprehensive plan to both recruit new and retain existing members, this stop-gap measure will serve only to postpone the inevitable.

Some Lodges are actively considering merger with one or more other Lodges. While Grand Lodge is working to make this process easier for the Lodges, it is not without its potential pitfalls. The biggest of these is that a Lodge merger is not guaranteed to succeed.

It has been my observation that Lodge mergers fail for one of two basic reasons. The first of these is that no one brings anything to the table. If you merge two Lodges that each have no active members, no qualified and willing Officers, no candidates in the pipeline, no community connection, no Masonic education, and no activities, then the resultant Lodge is also likely to have no active members, no qualified and willing Officers, no candidates in the pipeline, no community connection, no Masonic education, and no activities. Worse yet, you are likely to see participation drop even further, as many of the remaining members will not see any benefit from their investment of additional time and fuel traveling to their new Lodge building. In short, if you merge two dying Lodges and don’t make significant changes, you’re going to eventually end up with a single dying Lodge.

The other basic reason why Lodge mergers fail is that the participating Lodges aren’t willing to put everything on the table.   In order for the consolidation process to be successful, its participants must see it for what it is – two groups of Brothers working together to form a NEW Lodge. If the new Lodge is to be successful, the groups involved must consider what will work best for the Lodge that they are creating, and not the ones they are currently in.

The probability of long-term success diminishes significantly with the addition of each item that is not up for discussion. . It doesn’t matter if you are the “stronger” or the “weaker” of the two Lodges, if you aren’t willing to change your Lodge name and number, your meeting night, where you meet, who your Officers will be, your By-Laws, and how you run the Lodge, then you aren’t ready for a merger.   Some members of the so-called “stronger” Lodges may think that they have nothing to gain by working toward consolidation with one or more of the “weaker” Lodges. I have heard comments made along the lines of, “Why should I give up anything? They came to us, right?”

If this is truly how you feel, then I would suggest you re-read your various obligations and lectures, with particular attention being paid to those portions concerning the good of the Fraternity and rendering aid to your Brothers.   Additionally, I would suggest that the so-called “weaker” Lodges, even if they seemingly have nothing else to offer, bring to the table increased fellowship, manpower, and significant Masonic knowledge and experience. These benefits to the resultant Lodge will only be realized, however, if the Brothers who bring them are made to feel that their new Lodge is truly their Lodge.   If they feel as though they are second-class citizens within the Lodge, then they won’t continue to participate, they will drift away, the merger will be a failure, and the entire Fraternity will suffer.

No one likes to consider that his Lodge may be in trouble. No one likes change, especially when it appears that it may affect (or even close) the Lodge that he has spent years building. As the leaves fall from the trees this autumn, they return precious building blocks to the soil. In the coming spring, many things will use those building blocks to grow bigger and stronger. So it is with our Lodges, and our Fraternity.

My Brothers, our Ritual teaches us that every Mason is a Builder. If we are to strengthen our Lodges and our Fraternity, we will need every skilled craftsman to put aside his own personal desires and to work toward that singular goal. I speak for all of our District Officers when I say that if we can help in any way, please do not hesitate to ask.


2016 Grand Lecturer’s Convention


Our Grand Lecturer’s Convention for 2016 will be a joint effort between the Cortland-Madison District and the Cayuga-Tompkins District.  The Convention will be hosted by Homer Lodge, No. 352 and will convene at 7:30PM on October 19, 2016.

A dinner will be served at 6:30PM.  Cost, menu, and reservation information will be forthcoming as soon as it is available.

Brothers from both Districts are encouraged to attend and participate in this rare opportunity!

2016-2017 Cortland-Madison District Trestleboard

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




October 2016 DDGM Article for The Word

A number of us from the Cortland-Madison District recently had the opportunity to travel to Delhi, NY for the apron presentation of the R∴ W∴ Richard S. Morley, Senior Grand Warden, and the R ∴ W∴ Nicholas J. Paolicelli, Junior Grand Warden.   Nearly two hundred Brothers, friends, and family members traveled from across the state and country to celebrate the accomplishments of our Grand Wardens.

From the start, it was abundantly clear that perhaps the most significant of their individual accomplishments has been their respective families. They are the patriarchs of truly Masonic families who, along with their ladies Nancy and Pam, embody the Grand Master’s motto: “A Way of Life”.

I have had the pleasure, over the past couple of years, to get to know our Grand Wardens. From my experience, they are each warm, caring men who will go to any length to help a Brother, whether they have known them for a lifetime or a dinnertime. Rich and Nick are shining examples of what is great about our Fraternity. In short, they are the real deal.

It is no secret that we are undertaking a period of what will likely be great change within our Craft. Change, unfortunately, can be uncomfortable and this especially true when we are changing something, such as Masonry, which has played such a significant role in all of our lives. We are fortunate, however, to have men such as our Grand Wardens and others in our Grand Line to help guide our Fraternity through these changes. While we may not always understand the reasons for some of these changes and we might not even agree with some of them, we can be assured that they are being made with the best interests of our Fraternity, our whole Fraternity, in mind.

As Bart and I continue our visits to our Lodges in the coming weeks, we will bring you the most up to date information available. Together with Clint and Charlie, we are always just a phone call or an email away. Please do not hesitate to contact us if your Lodge needs help. Please note, also, that the Official Visit for Tri-Valley Lodge, No. 148 has been rescheduled for the evening of Thursday, November 3. We look forward to seeing you soon, as we all return to the quarries.


Official Visit to Tri-Valley Lodge, No. 148 – Rescheduled


The Official Visit to Tri-Valley Lodge, No. 148 has been rescheduled for Thursday, November, 3 at 7:30 PM.  Dinner will be served at 6:30.

Menu and reservation information will be forthcoming, as the date approaches.

Sincerely & Fraternally,

Scott A. Cary, DDGM

Official Visit to Tri-Valley Lodge, No. 148 – Postponed


I apologize for the short notice, however, due to an unfortunate and sudden illness, it will be necessary to reschedule the Official Visit to Tri-Valley Lodge, No. 148 that had been planned for tomorrow evening (Thursday, September 1, 2016).  A new date will be selected after more is known about our Brother’s condition and I have had a chance to confer with the Officers of Tri-Valley Lodge.

Please keep our stricken Brother in your thoughts and prayers.

Sincerely & Fraternally,

Scott A. Cary, DDGM

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