From the Deputy … November 2018
Brethren, Our Strategic Plan holds a vision of where we want to go and a solid plan of how to get there – for both Grand Lodge and individual Lodges! This year we have aligned the Committees of the Board of General Purposes with the pillars of the Strategic Plan. Your Board Members have outlined how they will work toward these goals.
The Community Outreach Committee is headed up by R.W. Bro. Jamie Ireland. Under his purview are three Committees: Youth Initiatives, Brock University Partnership and Public Awareness. The Strategic Initiative which all these Committees strive for is to create opportunities to demonstrate Masonic values within our communities and convey a positive and accurate perception of Freemasonry.
The Youth Initiatives Committee liaises with the three Masonic youth organizations: DeMolay, Rainbow for Girls and Job’s Daughters. Sadly, the last operating Job’s Daughters’ Bethel in Guelph has closed due to lack of youth members, and lack of adult supervisors. The youth need the support of adults from the Eastern Star and the Masons in order to function. And remember, the youth organizations are not training grounds for Freemasonry but rather training grounds for life.
As not all communities have these youth groups the Committee also supports other organizations that help to build the moral and social skills of young people: Scouts Canada, Girl Guides and 4-H in particular. Take a moment to consider what your Lodge can do to support the youth of your community.
The Brock University Partnership is a unique endeavour for which our Grand Lodge is becoming known around the world. The academic world has a window on what we really do, and contacts to verify that, and we benefit from the professional research on our institution. Last month we heard an excellent presentation by Dr. William Moore of Boston University. The next Sankey lecture is scheduled for Sunday March 24th, 2019. The Speaker will be Professor Chernoh Sesay Jr., an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at DePaul University, speaking on Prince Hall Freemasonry. Of course, we are inviting our Prince Hall brethren to attend.
The Partnership, however, has engendered more than just lectures. Brock has started an undergraduate course of Freemasonry and fraternalism. And we were pleased to announce the creation of an endowed scholarship, enabled by funds raised by M.W. Bro. Raymond S. J. Daniels. The scholarship will be made to an entering graduate student at Brock University who demonstrates academic excellence and who is earning a Masters of Arts in History. Preference will be given to a student studying Freemasonry/ fraternalism. The first scholarship will be presented sometime in 2019.
In previous years the Blood Donor Committee fell under this pillar. As highlighted, in last April’s Communique, we feel that this Committee has served its purpose and no longer is really needed. Masons are involved with charitable work in their community, through their faith communities, United Appeal etc. without Grand Lodge doing anything to “organize” such activity. All we were doing as a Grand Lodge Committee was collecting statistics - statistics that we knew were incomplete and meaningless, and so we disbanded this Committee.
Donating blood saves lives but collecting statistics does not. I hope you and your Lodge continue to donate blood, plasma and organs, and continue to help the Canadian Blood Services by sponsoring and/or working at clinics.
The Public Awareness Committee has been tasked with taking a fresh look at our relationship with the world. They have just started their task but they have already come up with some pertinent themes: We must take back control of our message and not leave it to the Internet. We should all develop and rehearse an “elevator speech” so when asked what we do as Masons, we can immediately give a good answer. To prepare, you may ask yourself: “Who are we?” “Why am I a Mason?” “How does Freemasonry benefit society as a whole?” Watch this Committee for more good ideas as they progress this year.
That is the Community Outreach Pillar, working hard on their present focus of engaging our communities and future focus of managing our image in our community.
- David J. Cameron
Deputy Grand Master