In-Person meetings are BACK!

From The Deputy ... Sept 2019

My Brethren:

It is with the greatest of pleasure and pride that I greet you for the first time as Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons in the Province of Ontario! My sincere thanks to each one of you who attended our last Annual Communication to confirm this election. It is a great responsibility that I humbly accept and, with your continued support and encouragement, feel confident that we can continue to make Freemasonry the greatest experience that men can share. I want to thank every Brother who has mentored me over the last thirty-nine plus years of my Masonic career and especially those who were there for Cheryl and me over the last year.

As President of the Board of General Purposes and with the support of our Grand Master, the first task we have as a Management Team and, in cooperation with the Management Committee of your Board General Purposes, is to put a Committee structure in place to deliver the programs of our Grand Lodge with the proper manning as needed.

For the coming year, all Committees have been grouped under the five pillars of our Strategic Plan, each headed by a member of the Management Committee: Craft Stewardship and Masonic Education by R.W. Bro. Jamie Ireland; Membership by R.W. Bro. John Hay; Communication by R.W. Bro. Tom Siemiernik; Operations by R.W. Bro. Richard Kaufman and Community Outreach by R.W. Bro. Art Di Cecco. It is an excellent collection of very dedicated Masons and a good mix of veterans plus the latter two new Management Committee members. The Strategic Plan is on the Grand Lodge web site and I would highly recommend it for your review.

The Grand Lodge Committees are divided into two groups – the Standing Committees are the nine which are detailed in the Constitution under Section 135 and their powers and duties under Section 136. The second is the Special Committees that have been created over time to facilitate special programs for the support of Masonry in Ontario. This number has mushroomed over the years to the extent that at one Board meeting we heard thirty-eight different reports from a dedicated line-up of Chairman and Team Leaders.

This year will continue the recent trend in downsizing with the Grand Lodge Committees too. We have asked the Pillar Chairman to review all of the Grand Lodge programs with the exception of the Standing Committees listed in the Constitution and decide if they should continue as is, be revised or dropped if their time has passed and to continue them would not assist us in achieving our strategic goals and objectives.

The renewal process started at our first short Board meeting on Wednesday night after the Grand Master’s Banquet at the last Annual Communication when the Board of General Purposes was asked to look at the ‘big picture’ of Grand Lodge Committee structure with a direction to think about downsizing. A week later, the Management Committee received Pillar responsibilities for program execution and reporting. At the same time, they were told which other members of the Board would be on their Committees to assist with the brainstorming and then delivery of the same. Shortly after, all of the Board members were informed as to which Pillar they would be serving under this year, including the Chairmen of the Standing Committees.

Then the Committees all met with the same renewal objective to make a case for each of the Committees staying as such or shutting them down as unnecessary to meet our strategic goals and objectives at this time. Just because we have run a program for years, does not necessarily mean we should continue. If it has not been productive, perhaps it should be stopped. And we are sure there are some new ideas we should try. Each pillar has been charged with working out a plan and a budget to complete that plan of which the Management Committee will be meeting to decide how to move forward.

We are planning on fewer Committees than in years past but exactly how it will look will be determined after the Pillar Chairman has met with their respective teams and the Management Committee meets in mid-August. Now I know you will want to tune in next month to follow the renewal of your Committee of General Purposes and the Grand Lodge programs so be sure to look for the next edition!

- Thomas W. Hogeboom,

  Deputy Grand Master

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