From the Deputy …
As I sit here at my desk this afternoon preparing for another virtual Masonic meeting – tonight with the Grand Lodge Committee Chairmen – and considering the latest Grand Lodge communication regarding our COVID-19 protocol which you will have heard by now, I get anxious and excited about what lays ahead for us when we do open our Lodge doors. I am excited that we appear to be getting closer to getting back to our Masonry which we love so much and with eighteen months of anticipation built up behind us, it will be exciting to get back to work!
One of the changes that our Lodges will see at that time will be all the work that R.W. Bro. David Armstrong and his team have been doing with the Cornerstone Program. This program has evolved into a District-administered program through the Grand Lodge Website by the Lodges in all our Districts. The facilitator of the program going forward will be R.W. Bro. Mark Kapitan who has a wealth of experience with the program working as a member of the Membership Pillar.
The Cornerstone Program was developed to assist Lodges with their many challenges. As with any Lodge program, it works well if all members are prepared to support and promote the program as a team. The Cornerstone Program is not a standalone initiative, but rather a program that should be used in conjunction with other membership programs from Grand Lodge as each program is designed to build upon one another to achieve the overall success and a sustainable future for our Lodges and ultimately Freemasonry.
Lodges that become involved will commit to a two year period – it is not a one-time event. Cornerstone designation is an award that is valid for two years and is presented on a biennial basis. A Lodge wishing to participate will need to decide what time frame they will be participating. They need to print the Cornerstone Standards Report Card required for sign-off by the District Deputy Grand Master or the District Cornerstone Chairman as tasks are completed. As is often the case, the Lodge program may be spread out over two years involving two District Deputy Grand Masters, so it is suggested that the District Cornerstone Chairman be willing to serve more than one year for program consistency in each District.
Cornerstone Designation Requirements:
Complete: 1 of 4 Mandatory standards
Complete: 5 of 12 Major standards
Complete: 6 of 13 Basic standards
All to be completed in a two-year timeline.
The Cornerstone program is basically a District program with the District Deputy Grand Master or the District Chairman, now responsible for reviewing the Lodges collected material for the various standards and signing off on their “Report Cards”. They are the best person to understand fully how the Lodges in your District are working and using the Grand Lodge systems. The Lodges will be eager to show their success and possibly compete amongst themselves. Each District will grow on their own, share ideas and ultimately interest in the Lodge membership will flourish. The District Deputy Grand Master will complete a Cornerstone Program recognition certificate from the Grand Lodge website upon completion of the program and set a date for a formal presentation. Many lodges start their next two-year program right away so that they can continually be a “Cornerstone Lodge”. When a District makes the decision to participate in this program, they acknowledge their desire to increase the value of the experience to their members.
Bro. Kapitan is more than willing to assist any District or Lodge with the program requirements. To this end, they have developed a Power Point Presentation on the program that can be presented virtually as well in anticipation of our return to the quarry.
If your Lodge was involved in the program prior to the pandemic but did not complete all of the required standards to earn the Cornerstone designation in the two-year qualifying period, not to worry about all of the previous work that has been completed – just print a new Report Card from the Grand Lodge web site, have the District Deputy Grand Master sign off on those standards completed the year prior to the pandemic and see if your Lodges can obtain the balance needed in the year once we get back to work.
For Lodges and Districts that have questions or require further clarification on any aspect of the new Cornerstone Program, a Cornerstone Advisory component of the Membership Pillar of Grand Lodge is available by contacting Bro. Kapitan.
All you have to do is ask and we will help you be a success!
Thomas W. Hogeboom
Deputy Grand Master