Not just Grand Lodge – a Great Grand Lodge.
I just got a notice from the Grand Lodge office this weekend, reminding me that our Grand Lodge Annual Communication is only a month away, and outlining some of the issues that we will be discussing and on which we’ll need to vote. As usual, most of them are clarifications and procedural items.This is the dull part about Freemasonry; we sometimes forget that we have an organization, and with an organization comes — eventually — the organizing. You know what I mean: the bills, expenses, regulations, planning, and other issues that need to be taken care of before we can get to the fun parts.
Connecticut meets twice a year — not a hardship in a small state like ours — and it often amazes me that in one sessions we will quickly throw together a regulation, then vote on and pass it, only to modify it at a subsequent session when we realize it wasn’t written up as tightly as it could have been. However, I guess that the alternative is to mull it over for six months, send out proposals to the members, then collect various ideas and alternate proposals, and then re-vote on them. And believe me, you need to get this done before lunch, or else there will be a lot of complaining.
That said, this should be a great Grand Lodge. Since our state long ago squandered its money on some kind of hospital or something, instead of on a fancy Grand Lodge building, we hold our Annual Communications at area hotels. After about 10 or so years in Farmington, last year we moved our Grand Lodge to Cromwell, where the hotel management seemed a little more accommodating to our needs. Those “needs” were mainly things such as to have a number of small meeting rooms available, to have a large convention room that would be private, and to be able to accommodate a large number of people just meandering around the floors, talking and socializing until the wee hours.
Friendship Lodge is booking a few rooms, and we’re in the mood to throw a party. A nice party. One that will probably last for a few days. Not that we need an excuse, but we have an especially good reason for doing so this year: One of our own is going to be installed at Grand Master.
R.W., Gary Arseneau (he’s the older guy with a beard in this picture) was elected back in October. The Grand Line in Connecticut is a little different from that in other states. We have 9 Masonic districts. The outgoing Grand Master will pick a potential successor from the district from which he came, which means that every year there is a Grand Line officer from a different district. While only the top three Grand Officers are voted on each year, the end result is that we have a progressive line from Junior Steward, right up to the GM. Once in a while somebody will propose changing this, but nobody seems to come up with a better idea, so we stick with it.
Fortunately for us, RW Gary is one of the younger, more progressive minded Grand Officers, and he has spent a good part of his Masonic career on the challenging committees, like Legal Matters and Welfare of Lodges. A bright, easy-going brother, he often fills in as Secretary at Friendship, and he has a wealth of knowledge that he never hoards, but happily spreads around to the lodges inside (and out) of his district. Gary, an engineer in real life, rigged up a series of thumb switches and a light box, and when coupled with a large supply of Masonic trivia index cards, has a traveling “Masonic Jeopardy” show.
Sure, he has his quirks, but we at Friendship are nothing if not tolerant of the quirks of our members. We’re counting down the weeks — no, days, now, since Grand Lodge is literally only a month away. Here’s hoping for a smooth transition, and a successful installation for him.