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This blogger has no title

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later.

I’ve spent two years as a District Grand Lecturer, traveling to the different lodges in my district, helping out whenever asked, tactfully making suggestions, always stepping in when a body was needed. Two years of certifying those who would sit in the East, often at only a few days notice. Two years of going to meetings, of discussing issues with Grand Lodge, of offering my helpful suggestions whenever asked.

At the Grand Lodge Annual Session, I was stripped of my title.

Did I have some controversial blog post? Have an argument with my Grand Lodge superiors? Shoot my mouth off after imbibing at a social function?

No.

.
.
.
.
.

Oh, I’m still the District Grand Lecturer, of course; it’s just that Connecticut is doing away with the honorific “Very Worshipful.”

I’m so not the drama, remember ?

Sheesh!

Anyway, it was great to go to the Grand Lodge session again. That is, it was great to go to the socials on the night beforehand. To me, this is the best part of Grand lodge; you get to see people from around the state that you rarely or never get to see otherwise. Even thought Connecticut is a small state, it still sometimes seems impossible for me to get to the odd corners of the state, especially when I spend so much time looking after the lodges in my district. But even if I did get out to the lodges in, say, our New York or Rhode Island districts, there’s still too much lodge business to be conducted to be able to spend any good length of time just talking, getting caught up, passing along gossip, fixing the problems of the fraternity, and admiring the new high tech toys that we love to show off.

I have to admit that I felt a little bit like a rock star for part of the evening, as several people introduced themselves to me and mentioned that they were readers of this blog, bringing my total of Connecticut readers up to, oh, 27 or 28, I think. I got the usual comments about how I look like my Simpsonized Blogger profile picture, some nice compliments on my writing for both this blog and our state publication, and even our new Grand Senior Steward admitted that perhaps I might have a few readers who were of the UGLE persuasion. Lofty praise, indeed!

Adding to the rock star aura was a Past Master from Universal Fraternity 149, who had been to Washington D.C. and met with one of the real rock stars of Masonry, Dr. S. Brent Morris, the noted Masonic scholar, and author of a Dummies book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Freemasonry (I’m told that he has written other things as well, but I can’t imagine they are as good). WB Daniel passed along a greeting to me from Bro. Morris, the honor of which was marred only slightly by my needing to explain to those around us who Bro. Morris is. Apparently the orange books aren’t quite as widely known as the yellow ones.

I especially appreciate Bro. Nick (raised less than two weeks previously) telling anybody that passed him on the way to the bar that The Tao of Masonry was one of the things that convinced him that he should join the fraternity. As the drinks were free, I have to suppose that he really meant it, too.

Speaking of free drinks, a lot of brothers were disappointed in the lack of lodge-sponsored “hospitality rooms” this year. As far as we’ve been able to determine, only Friendship 33 had an open room for the mingling of fellow travelers. There was the regular suite run by the Grotto, and some people crashed the Grand Lodge (quasi) private reception area, but the handful of lodges that typically sponsor such rooms were markedly absent.

I think that Friendship 33 deserves some kind of recognition, don’t you?

And speaking of recognition, I ran into a long-lost friend. Well, actually, he searched me out, and ran into some guys from the Fifth District who grudgingly admitted to knowing me. He found me having dinner in the hotel saloon, and the first thing he said was something to the effect of my hair not being as gray when he’d first met me.

The next day I made sure to scratch the side of his car with my walker.

I’d “met” brother Steve on a Masonic discussion board back in 2000 before I joined the fraternity. The board had a variety of Masons from jurisdictions all over the world, and he was they only one from Connecticut. He was a fairly new Masons himself back then, and it was good to read his perspectives on his own journeys. He wrote an amusing anecdote about his interview which prepared me for the one that I would undergo a year or so later.

One of the nicest things, though, was he came up to see my EA degree, a good hour’s drive (he’s from our New York district). I was a new guy at Friendship, and while I had met a few people, I had only really known one guy well, so Steve was the only other person at my degree with whom I was somewhat familiar. It made the experience a little more friendly for me. Thanks, bro! He had taken a few years off – a respite – and last year threw himself back into the labors. It was good to reconnect, and I’m planning a visit to his lodge next month.

Naturally a bunch of us spent some time fixing the fraternity – or at least, explaining how we would fix things, given the opportunity. It’s a lot like when people fix the government, but harder because Masonry is much more entrenched. While naturally such discussions are fueled in part by spirits, the great thing is that they, in turn, fuel the spirits of those who are committed to the improvement of the Craft. In other words, while some people see this as carping or complaining about the fraternity, I tend to see it as expressions of concern; those without a sincere desire for the welfare and growth of the organization do not bother to put much thought into either the kinds of things that they would like to see changed or improved, or the means to which those changes might happen.

Items on the repair list included more ritual seminars, more use of teh intertubez for communication and organizing, more time socializing, and less time reading the minutes. Of course, this sounded a lot like last year’s list, but little by little some things are improving. For example, in Connecticut, we’ve had about 400 new members join in the last year; 90 of them made contact directly through our web site. In other words, fully a quarter of the new members did not come in through friends or relatives. Would they have made any contact if our Grand Lodge site did not exist?

And speaking of new members, I was pleased to see a lot of new – as in, newly joined – Masons over the last couple of days, and I think that it’s a great thing for new members to get involved with the actually workings of the organization itself. I sincerely hope that they can keep up the energy and drive, and I hope to see them – and meet many new brothers – next year.

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