Thoughts on Membership and the Grand Lodge Annual Communication

Brethren,

Thank you for allowing me the privilege and opportunity to serve you as your Grand Master. Masonry is a universal society, where men from all walks of life, from different ethnicities, religions, social status, and origin of birth come together as a Brotherhood of men under the Fatherhood of God; to glorify the true and ever living God, “The Great Architect of the Universe” who we give praise for all our blessings.  My motto this year will be “Always Faithful”; the same as the Marine Corps – “Semper Fidelus”.

Nothing worth having is either free or without hard work and perseverance, our Fraternity is no different, your love of Fraternity is commensurate with the time and effort you are willing to dedicate to it. This Fraternity encourages us to drive ourselves harder, to work longer, and to give more time and wealth to make sure this Institution remains the Premier Fraternity in the World.

Our Country’s way of life, like our Fraternity, is always a generation away from extinction, it always has been dependent on those who are willing to sacrifice, to secure our principles and tenants for posterity. In other words, on our shoulders rests the future of our Fraternity and our country.  Today we have taken yet another obligation and swore to live up to them in front of family, friends, but most importantly in the presence of Almighty God; I pray he gives us the strength, wisdom, and perseverance to accomplish the tasks at hand.

We are Masons who have voluntarily accepted certain obligations, made commitments, and have recognized the responsibilities which come with our new roles as leaders of the Fraternity. We will prioritize, we will sacrifice, and we will make sure that our Grand Lodge needs are met.

As we consider working on increasing our membership, remember that in a society where two is always better than one; and where bigger is better than smaller; and where quantity is often confused with quality; we must have an attitude adjustment.

The following are suggestions as possible activities that could increase Lodge membership:

1. Allowing Lodges to support their own posterity within the Fraternity.
2. Contributions to the Grand Lodge Endowment Fund, so it eliminates per Capita Tax paid by Lodges.
3. That Lodges increase their fees for the Three Degrees.
4. That Lodges adjust their membership dues commensurate to their expenses and ability to pay.
5. That Lodges conduct fundraisers for charitable purposes not for their operational expenses.
 
Remember that it is easier to retain a member than it is to get a new one; take care of our older members – call them on a regular basis; begin a membership building effort demonstrating that we are a “Band of Brothers” concerned for the welfare and interests of the members.

Would anyone be interested in moving our Annual session to the middle of March in 2015?  The Hilton Hotel has informed us that a window is available for March 12-14, 2015.  Many have expressed good things about the facilities at the new location but desire some other month than June.  The move would require the Grand York Rite Bodies to change their annual meetings back to May; however, there is time to discuss and consider the options before the 2014 session.
Let’s talk it over and provide feedback regarding this option – it is your Grand Lodge.

In closing, be open minded, embrace change, it is the only thing that is constant in all our lives.  Always look for what is the best for the Fraternity and we, as a Grand Lodge, will be the better for it.  Let us walk side by side and together we can make it happen.  This “Band of Brothers” should always remember the motto of our country “In God we Trust”, let him who is all knowing, be our guide and inspiration.  Through him all things are possible.  “Be A Leader – Make It Happen – being Always Faithful to God, our Country and our Fallen & Wounded Heroes.”

I again thank you for all the support you have given to the Grand Lodge Officers.  May God Bless you, Freemasonry, our military personnel and my Marines – where so ever dispersed; and may God Bless the United States of America.

Fraternally,

Kenneth E. Dyer
Grand Master

 

Grand Master unveils new informational approach

In an effort to get more Mississippi Masons involved in the business of their Grand Lodge, the Grand Master of Masons in Mississippi, M.W. Bro. Kenneth E. Dyer has instituted an informational program through the Grand Lodge’s website where he posts regular messages to the Craft. More importantly, he has directed a survey system be implemented where Brethren can “vote” on certain topics of interest to the Jurisdiction. Although these “votes” are not binding in the traditional sense, it does provide a useful tool whereby elected Masonic leaders can gauge the opinions of the Brethren statewide.

To view the Grand Master messages, please visit the Grand Master Messages section or to participate in the surveys visit the Member Surveys Center.

Building Today and Tomorrow

Building – Today and Tomorrow – Where do we go from here?

I thank you for the honor bestowed upon me to serve this Grand Lodge as the Grand Master of Masons in Mississippi. Explore with me an idea that I have – “where do we go from here?” Past Grand Master of South Carolina, RW Brother Jay Pearson, compared a small change in the temperature of boiling water to urge Brethren to give one little extra effort to accomplish any goal.

Water at 212º F is hot; if you continue to add heat that water boils, still at 212º, and is transformed into steam, which can power machinery and move mountains. That extra heat energy can make a difference. Likewise can a little extra effort or more devotion to ‘fidelity’ on our part.

Most Worshipful Pearson asked all to consider how relationships within family, business and fraternity would be enriched if each were to commit ourselves to give one additional degree of effort in our fidelity with others. Fidelity is exemplified when we are trustworthy, dependable and committed. So, I ask, “Where do we go to from here?” Are we to be common laborers or builders?

As an Entered Apprentice we were placed in the north east corner and presented working tools to begin the moral and intellectual task of erecting a spiritual temple in our hearts. Fidelity is the chief building block of that foundation and the rule and guide of our conduct throughout our lives.

With the lack of fidelity between individuals, the entire social structure of the world would crumble and lead to utter chaos. Through fidelity we remain faithful to God, our family and in all our obligations to our country, the fraternity and to ourselves. Therefore, one additional degree of fidelity would become a testimonial of a better life – to be a “Builder” or just a common “Laborer.”

Now we have a target to set our sights on. Focusing our actions in everything we do. Having this simple, clearly defined goal can lift our spirits, capture the imagination, and inspire passion. We must, however, be able to modify our way of thinking, our methods and procedures: to improvise, adapt and overcome. We should realize that: “if we always do what we have always done – we are going to get what we have always got.”

Making a difference is the theme found in the following poem which I heard at a funeral service in one of our sister jurisdictions. It provides an end result that we should all strive for.

“The Builder”
I saw them tearing a building down
A team of men in my hometown.
With a heave and a ho and a yes yes yell,
They swung a beam and a sidewall fell.

And I said to the foreman, “Are these men skilled?”
“Like the ones you’d use if you had to build?”
And he laughed and said, “Oh no, indeed…
the most common labor is all I need…
for I can destroy in a day or two
what takes a builder ten years to do.”

So I thought to myself as I went on my way…
which one of these roles am I willing to play?
Am I one who is tearing down as I carelessly make my way around?
Or am I one who builds with care, in order to make the world a
better place…. because I was there?

Tomorrow holds some unknown outcomes but we should be ready to meet them head on. All I know is what I have been trained to do – keep pressing forward, do not retreat and never surrender – failure is not an option – and nothing is impossible with the Lord.

A leader should do so from the front. It is easy for a commander to order troops into battle from a safe position – far back in the rear; however, it takes a true leader to say ‘follow me’ into any conflict. That is what I ask of you. Follow me – Improvise, adapt and overcome. Individually, we cannot but together, all things are possible through “Him” who strengthens us.

The following are thoughts regarding the “Paradox of Leadership”:

  • People are sometimes illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
  • If you do good, people might accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
  • If you are successful, you can win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
  • The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
  • Honesty and frankness can make you vulnerable. Be honest anyway.
  • People favor underdogs but follow top dogs. Fight for the underdogs anyway.
  • What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
  • People who need help may attack you if you help them. Help them anyway.
  • Give the world the best you have and you may get kicked in the teeth. Give your best anyway.

Doing the right thing won’t always win you a prize – life is full of compromises and even disappointments. True leaders know that the right thing is reward in itself, and eventually other rewards and recognition will follow.

Where do we go from here? I will not send you; but I will ask you to ‘follow me.’ Let us go over the wall, into the teeth of the conflict – building a more effective fraternity, improving ourselves and never forgetting that as masons we are builders.

Together, we can make Mississippi masonry a progressive Fraternity spreading the cement of brotherly love and affection, uniting us into a brotherhood that will never be broken – no matter what obstacles may arise in our pathway and maybe, we will be leaving this a better place because we were here.

Thank you once again for the honor to serve; however, do not stand still or mark time; make a difference – improvise, adapt and overcome – failure is not an option.

Be “Always Faithful” – be a Builder.

Fraternally,

Kenneth Dyer
Grand Master