GRAND MASTER

DISCOURSE

Volume 3, Issue 8   December 12, 2012

 

"Fail to plan, plan to fail"

Dear Brothers:

In a few days most of the elections would be over and everyone should be filled with excitement and anticipation of what is to come, no doubt a special time for everyone involved. However the newness will soon wear off and everyone will be looking at you for leadership are you ready, I mean are you really ready, have you done your homework, do you have a plan, do you know what is ahead, are you ready to lead or are you going to play it by ear, the seat of your pants or are you waiting for divine knowledge to hit you each and every night you have a meeting.

Well for those of you that started to plan back in October, Congratulations! I hope you have looked at your Lodge closely and have determined the Lodge needs and that you have enlisted the help of the Lodge Officers and Brothers in order to be successful, the plan will not mean anything if the Brothers don't buy into it. I wish you a great Installation and exciting first meeting where you lay out your year to all of your Brothers in order to get them behind you in a successful implementation of your plans.

To those that will start planning after the elections you are behind the eight ball and need to get up to speed in the next two weeks to a month depending on your installation day. By now I hope you have read the Masonic Leadership Training Manual, have taken some of the Lodge Officers Courses online, and have a Master Handbook to help you start planning your year. Also don't forget that old trusty and faithful Digest of the Masonic Law of Florida. Just to mention a few of the materials you will need in order to prepare for your year and refer to all your responsibilities and that of the Lodge Officers as you will now assume the role of Chief executive Officer and are responsible for all that goes on in the Lodge, Like M W Harry Truman use to say the "Buck stops here" and that means with you.

For those of you, that have not planned anything nor are willing to put the time into it to make a good faith effort, shame on you for accepting the position, for you are on your way not only to disappoint yourself but many of your Brothers that have placed their trust in you.

By your actions you continue to prove that social promotions for title seekers continues to plague our Fraternity, perpetuate the fallacy of electing Brothers that have simply been in the line without really performing their duties and responsibilities and just filling in 'til we get to the top, only to prove they have no leadership position and will let everyone down.

So after you have completely taken the luster and prestige that the title of Worshipful Master deserves, you have lowered the standards to another low and handed Freemasonry another blow, by dishonoring its hallowed halls. Remember that you may have the title, however your peers have your reputation in their hands when they share with your Brethren the fact that you didn't earned it. But worst the fact that you squandered yet another opportunity they so gracefully placed in your hands.

Up to now we have been discussing the three different types of Worshipful Masters that will be installed soon after December 27, 2012. Now we need to point out the Worshipful Master every Lodge needs. All of our Lodges need to have and should have the very best Worshipful Masters that can possibly be made with dedicated Brothers. The Brothers of the Lodge need to remember their responsibilities in electing not a buddy, but a Brother truly qualified to meet the challenge of the Lodge and propel Freemasonry to greater heights. This should be every ones thought when going to Lodge on election night.

The Worshipful Master that we need in every Lodge is one that is amiable, intelligent, with a good business sense, a planner, a communicator, someone that can inspire men and most importantly someone that will leave a legacy of leadership by inspiring and teaching his Brothers how to lead in his absence, a true mark of leadership.

We also need to discuss the type of Brothers that should make up a good Lodge. This Brother in my estimation needs to be pretty much like the Worshipful Master. He needs to be friendly, bright, understand how important he is to the success of the Lodge and be an active participant in his Lodge. These are the type of Masons we need if we are to move our Fraternity forward.

These brothers need to be familiar with our Laws, Rules and Regulations so they will know when the Lodge is being governed in a proper or arbitrary manner. They need to know if the Mandatory Committees are being appointed and more importantly if they are fulfilling their responsibilities. All too often these committees fail to do their job and no one is the wiser for it or at least do not bring it to the attention of the Worshipful Master or the Lodge.

After looking at the many reports from the DDGM's I can tell you that many of the committees appointed at the Lodge level are not functioning properly, or do not have a proper understanding of their responsibilities as described in the Uniform Code of By-laws. More especially the Finance, Petitions, Investigation, Masonic Education, and Vigilance Committees, and we are in desperate need of Brothers that serve on these committees to know their responsibilities because many times over the Officers including the Master does not have a good understanding of their duties and responsibilities; to the extent that some of them do not even name the Investigations Committee, which they wrongfully allow other Officers or side liners to appoint. Another failure can be found in the way the Finance Committee functions and their lack of performance in the Lodge which can lead the members to have a false sense of the Lodge Finances for their lack of reporting or understanding their duties and responsibilities.

My Brothers all of us can make a difference by electing those Brothers that have Masonry's best interest at heart, NO SOCIAL PROMOTIONS, no buddy promotion, only qualified Brothers need apply so to speak. Get involved in your Lodge business after all you have something at stake, it is your Lodge. "Be a Leader Make a Difference." your personal involvement will bring you two fold in satisfaction and fulfillment for helping your Brother and your Lodge.

Respectfully and Fraternally Submitted, I remain your most humble servant

 

Jorge L. Aladro
Grand Master

 

 

 

  If you would like to receive, these newsletters make request at email below if you would like to forward to your list of friends you have my permission and thank you in advance.

"My Brothers, the newsletters are intended to be thought provoking, to get you to think creatively, to get you thinking what if?, to dare you to improve yourself and your Lodge."

Comments can be send to jlageorge@bellsouth.net

 


 

GRAND MASTER

DISCOURSE

Volume 3, Issue 12   February 13, 2013

 

Understanding Our By-Laws

Dear Brothers:

As far as I know all Lodges have a set of By-Laws which spell out certain requirements set by their Grand Lodges and their membership for their government, and as such the Brethren composing that Lodge must govern themselves by such rules in order to maintain order.

Our Constitution covers the principles of our Institution while the By-Laws dictate specific procedures for operating our Lodges. The By-Laws describe the operating procedures for the governing of our Lodges in an orderly manner.

Our Uniform Code of Bylaws is the same for all the Lodges except for the places where individual Lodges have added amendments to such By-Laws as long as they do not contradict the provisions in our Constitution.

The Lodge can add to the By-Laws as long it does not contradict the Constitution and Uniform Code of By-Laws and subject to the approval of the Grand Master, of course the By-Laws also contain how to amend them which is much easier than amending the Constitution. The Uniform Code of By-Laws language in itself cannot be amended without submitting Legislation and final approval by the delegates at the Annual Communication.

Our By-Laws are so important to the governing of our Lodges and consequently our institution that we ask all Candidates to examine our By-Laws before entering our Lodges. This demonstrates the high degree of importance placed on understanding our By-Laws for the government of our Lodges.

There are many important rules in the Uniform Code of By-Laws of great importance one of them is the Standing Committees required to operate a Lodge which encompass the following aspects of the Lodge; Finances, Vigilance, Petitions, Masonic Education, Board of Relief, Charity, Lodge Property and Investigation as needed.

These committees are important in order to understand the financial status of the Lodge, maintain order, interview potential members, educate the current and new members, help, aid and assist our Brothers, maintain and improve our Lodge buildings and cause an investigation into the character of every petitioner.

It would be impossible to operate a Lodge properly without the benefit of these committees and yet many of the Lodges ignore them, don't appoint, and in many cases don't even know they are required or exist. In the course of the last seven months and reviewing the reports from all of the Lodges we have seen the lack of knowledge from the Masters and when closely inspected we can see the devastating effects when these committees have not been appointed or the members have not performed their duties.

I have found that many Lodges do not understand or have not read the duties of the Finance Committee and its important function when it comes to safeguarding the finances of the Lodge; this is assured by conducting an audit each year of the previous year's financial transactions of the Lodge. The fact the Treasurer is our Brother is not a reason not to perform the audit, in fact since he is our Brother he will welcome the audit in order that the Lodge may have a better understanding of their finances, and assure themselves of the transparency of which their finances are being handled thereby giving everyone piece of mind.

This is followed by the lack of knowledge in understanding of the function of the Vigilance Committee, which when charged with the performance of their duties should understand that their protection of our laws and making sure that justice prevails is paramount to the relationship they may have with a Brother. Ignorance of the law on their part will tend to discourage the Brethren from the moral precepts this Institution enjoins.

Many of the Lodges have no understanding between the Petitions Committee and the Investigations Committee and this causes that first and initial contact with the candidate not to be made and misses the opportunity of the Brothers of this committee to converse with the candidate about Masonry, himself, and what he is about to join. The reasons why he wants to join, does he have the essential moral characteristics mandated by the Craft, this committee is charged to see that the supplemental sheet is filled out by the petitioner and to make sure that the signers are contacted These inquiries need to be completed before the Petition is received by the Lodge. This can eliminate any potential candidates not worthy of this Institution, and provide additional information to the Investigation Committee.

Masonic Education is required to be conducted every month and it's seldom carried out or recorded in the minutes of the Lodge as mandated by the regulations. Mentoring is part of this Committee for obvious reasons to educate our new Masons, this mentoring is also required to be recorded in the Lodge minutes and almost never done. Failing our Brothers in their quest for further enlightment, it just doesn't seem right but our failure to properly carry out requirements of this committee is evident by the lack of knowledge of the Brethren that compose our Lodges.

The Board of Relief is often not understood nor its important duties fulfilled nor do the Lodges have the necessary funds to assist the Brethren because of their lack of foresight to prepare for this unfortunate circumstance. All too often I see the makeup of this committee not according to the By-Laws and just as often its purpose misunderstood. This committee's sole purpose is to help, aid, and assist our very own Brothers.

Our By-Laws requires the Charity Committee under the direction of the Worshipful Master to set aside a portion of every meeting for a lecture, talk, or discussion of Masonic or Community Charity or charitable endeavor and the members of the Lodge urged to contribute to such charities, announce them in their trestle board if Lodge has one. Allow charitable groups or organizations to use our facilities at cost or below cost and encourage the Lodge and Brothers to contribute to one or more community charities or charitable endeavors on an ongoing basis and last but not least to advise the Board of Relief in regard to fraternal need and assistance of any Brother.

Next to last of the Standing Committees is the Committee on Lodge Property, this committee will be responsible for setting the rules for the use of the building, arrange schedules with other groups if any to avoid conflicts, make recommendations for Lodge improvements and maintenance of the building and grounds, under the direction of the Worshipful Master and Lodge. Negotiate agreements with other organizations using the Lodge property and see that the rules of the Lodge and Grand Lodge Rules and Regulations are enforce.

And last but not least the so ever important Investigation Committee which will look into the character and standing of any petitioner for the Degrees, affiliation, reinstatement, dual or plural membership. The members of this committee shall investigate independently and submit a written report to the Lodge. Once the report is accepted by the Master and Lodge the Committee is automatically discharge.

As you can see our By-Laws and the requirements of these Standing Committees are there so that we can better operate the different facets of the Particular Lodge. it is incumbent that our Brothers know and understand the requirements of the Particular Lodge By-Laws in order that they conduct themselves accordingly and when called upon they can perform their duties as proficient as possible for the benefit of the Lodge and the Brethren they serve.

We must remember that our Brothers have placed a certain amount of trust and confidence on the Brothers charged with the duties of serving on these committees and any other position in the Lodge and failure to perform to the best of our ability in any of the capacities we may have been selected or elected to serve will tend to discourage the Brethren and the Lodge weakened or destroyed.

My Brother, I cannot emphasize enough the importance the By-Laws of the Lodge have in the governing of it and the importance of you as a member understanding them in order to perform your duties. If you do not have a set of your Lodge By-Laws request one of the Secretary or you can look at the Digest of the Masonic Law of Florida to look at the generic version which cannot be changed. However your Lodge may have added optional rules to the By-Laws in which case you may need a copy of any additional material.

As a member of the Craft I encourage you to acquire a Digest of Masonic Law and become familiar with our Rules and Regulations that you may not want for proper instruction and can fulfill any obligations and commitments enjoin on you by your Brethren and/or Master.

Respectfully and Fraternally Submitted, I remain your most humble servant

 

Jorge L. Aladro
Grand Master

 

 

 

  If you would like to receive, these newsletters make request at email below if you would like to forward to your list of friends you have my permission and thank you in advance.

"My Brothers, the newsletters are intended to be thought provoking, to get you to think creatively, to get you thinking what if?, to dare you to improve yourself and your Lodge."

Comments can be send to jlageorge@bellsouth.net

 


 

GRAND MASTER

DISCOURSE

Volume 3, Issue 13   February 27, 2013

 

Understanding Our By-Laws

Dear Brothers:

In the last few issues I brought you what we should be looking at in order to be a leader in our Lodges, to encourage you to do something with your talent, to plan well, to realize that you are it, to recognize the importance of knowledge, to remember our charge’s, and to understand our By-Laws.

Masonry being the premier self-improvement society for men we should strive to do all of the above and more. However we should be in constant competition with ourselves, because it is us that we are charged to improve, it is that which we can improve in ourselves that will benefit us and those around us that we lead by example and encouraging words.

When traveling around the state I often come across many Brothers that have failed to improve themselves in many ways and the first is in their personal appearance. Sit back and look at the Brothers that attend the meetings and think how much longer or how much harder it would have been to dress as a gentleman or more importantly as a Masonic Gentleman.

Is the way we dress, manners and conduct in public as well in the sanctuary of our Lodges important? You bet they are! They serve as examples to our newly raised Brothers, to our Brothers that have forgotten its importance, and they serve to set us aside from the rest of society as an elite group of men worthy of recognition. Yet we are not nor have ever considered ourselves to be superior to our fellowman.

It is so sad to go to a meeting, gathering, or diner and find Brothers that are dressed in attire not proper to the occasion or so un-kept that it makes you wonder if this Brother ever learned the lessons of self-improvement or has he even bothered to look at himself in the mirror, remember you are someone’s opinion of what a Mason is. In a recent meeting there were several Brothers that were dressed relatively well, the suit was nice and appropriate for the occasion, however when you looked at their shoes it left a lot to be desired not because they were in appropriate but because they had the appearance of not having been cleaned since they were taken out of the box. On others their ties, well let’s say showed signs of having much more than what the tie came with. In some cases they tied the tie but left their collars open and tie not placed in the proper place. Your attire speaks volumes about your habits, your ability to prioritize, and the importance you give to the organization you are participating with regardless of who they are. It says that details matter not to you and most importantly it says many things about yourself that you would let yourself go to the point where it does not matter how bad you may look.

Your attire gives everyone their first hand impression of who you are and what you represent and your future dealings with those individuals may very well rest in the impression you set in that first meeting. In some cases it may take years to get over the perception you set in that first meeting. Why not make the best one possible each and every time you make contact with people. Be the very best you can be each and every time, after all you are competing with yourself, to be a little bit better in everything than you were yesterday, knowing that tomorrow we start all over again and the cycles repeats each and every day ‘till we are called home.

In a world that seems to be not caring, this may sound to you like an enormous task but in reality it really is not. It is as simple as taking a little pride in oneself and making it a part of your daily habits.

We are Masons, and as such we need to be the beacon in our communities, we need to be the light that illuminates the path that makes good men better and this we can accomplish by becoming that which we preach. Are you ready to fulfill your promise, will you be the mentor they need, will you be the model men wish to emulate.

We often confuse the part which says “it is the interior and not the exterior qualifications of a man that we are interested in,” to mean that our outward appearance is of no consequence or interest when in reality this could not be further from the truth. This is not referring to our appearance, but saying that worldly goods have no intrinsic value among us, that the character of the man, what he represents, how he carries himself, how he handles his business and his conduct in public and among the Brethren is what matters to us, and most importantly his commitment to make himself better in every facet of life. That he may transform from the rough ashlar to that perfect ashlar, ready to be set on that northeast corner of our life edifice, so that it will meet with the approbation of our Lord and Creator.

In closing, be all you can be as a man and as a Mason, remember that greatest form of flattery is being emulated by your fellow Masons and those that would consider joining the Fraternity because you are an exemplary example of what a gentleman should be.

Respectfully and Fraternally Submitted, I remain your most humble servant

 

Jorge L. Aladro
Grand Master

 

 

 

  If you would like to receive, these newsletters make request at email below if you would like to forward to your list of friends you have my permission and thank you in advance.

"My Brothers, the newsletters are intended to be thought provoking, to get you to think creatively, to get you thinking what if?, to dare you to improve yourself and your Lodge."

Comments can be send to jlageorge@bellsouth.net