Introduction in Blue & Purple
Well, that didn’t take long.
In Connecticut, we are split up into districts – 9 of them at the moment – and we have occasional district-wide meetings to pass along news, and keep the others informed of the goings on. Generally, this is also the time for the District Deputies (Connecticut drops the GM designation) and other Grand Lodge officers to speak on whatever might be coming up. We meet during the 5th week of those months that have them. That’s because most lodges meet on the first and third or second and fourth weeks; not all months will have a fifth week depending upon the year.
So, three days after my investiture with the jewel and apron of my new office I show up at the 5th District Blue Lodge Council meeting, held in one of the lodges. The President – a Past DD – takes the traditional moment to introduce and recognize the DDs and Past DDs.
Then he recognizes the Associate Grand Marshals, and the Past AGMs.
Then he recognizes the WMs and the PMs.
Then he starts getting into the meeting.
RW Gary – the new Grand Junior Deacon – glances over at me with a twinkle in his eye; we both knew that this was going to happen; he stood up to remind the President that we had a new District Grand Lecturer, and after a few moments of confusion, the President realized that he’d skipped over me. Well, not so much skipped, as completely forgotten.
I stood up and remarked that I could see that the DGL was at the bottom of the food chain. I thanked everyone, asked for their support, and resumed my seat.
And just like that, my fifteen minutes of fame was over.
Actually, I really did expect this. The DGL position is only four years old in Connecticut, and we are all still working out the details of what the officers are supposed to be doing. Ostensibly created to maintain and/or improve the quality of ritual in the lodges, the DGLs have only one specific duty at this time – to make sure that the Wardens can open and close a lodge. Back in 2005, Connecticut began handing out certificates in proficiency, which a Warden needs to be installed as Master of a lodge.
Sadly, some Wardens had a very difficult time with this, and that included some who were Past Masters going around in the chairs again. But one might look at this as being a “chicken or egg?” dilemma; with no Grand Lodge authority to be accountable for this proficiency in the first place, it is certainly possible that the quality of ritual quietly ebbed, and nobody really noticed. For the last few months I have had innumerable conversations with my brothers about this, and nobody has any good answers.
But now it’s time to stop thinking about how it happened, and to start looking at how things can be improved. To that end, I’m looking at taking the DGL position from that of a theater critic (so to speak) to that of a drama coach. I have no desire to sit in a lodge with a pen and a checklist (“Okay, he did this, he forgot that, they messed up this part, but that part was better than last time…”), and I’m willing to bet that nobody else wants that, either. Rather, I am planning to visit each lodge and to ask them what they would like to do. I think that perhaps some coaching during degree rehearsals would be a great way to approach this, and I can think of a few brothers in the district who would be willing to help out with that.
Naturally, I’m always open to ideas. If any readers have suggestions for me, or if you would care to let me know what goes on in your jurisdiction, please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.