Saturday, February 18, 2012

Managing the Trestleboard: Work Is Worship

On February 16th, I made my Official Visit to Forbes Trail Lodge No. 783.  We had about seventy Members brave the chilling rain to be part of an evening of fellowship.  The Worshipful Master was unable to be there.  Consequently, the junior Officers had to advance Stations and perform a little harder.  I was proud of them all for doing so well under the stresses of an Official Visit.  
My remarks for the evening follow.

Managing the Trestleboard: Work Is Worship

Nothing will work unless you do.
~Maya Angelou

Every two years, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania installs a new Grand Master who brings to the Craft his vision of how we should best direct our labors that our Fraternity may both shore up its foundation as well as beautify and grow its edifice. All too often, we concentrate on one or the other of those things, but an impressive structure cannot stand without a strong foundation. And, let’s face it, a foundation alone is nothing to look at.

When standing in a metropolitan city, one often forgets, as he gazes upward at the marvelous skyscrapers, that underneath of those skyscrapers is a support structure that is buried deep in the earth to support them. No matter how grand the plan, if it is not built on a secure foundation – one anchored deep into the bedrock – it will not stand the test of time.

This year, Grand Master Jay W. Smith has put plans upon our Trestleboard that, if properly carried out, will both strengthen the foundation of our Fraternity as well as add to the grand edifice that Freemasonry rightly is to the world.

To strengthen our structure at the Lodge level, he has continued the Grand Master’s Award for the Lodges. Points are awarded to Lodges for increase in membership, increase in meeting attendance, use of the Call to the Craft and Mentor programs, attendance at other Lodges, charitable giving, Officer participation in the Warden and Secretary Seminars and a variety of other criteria. What does each of these have in common? They seek to make each Lodge stronger by fostering fellowship, communication and work among the Brethren. Will it be easy to receive the award? No. But what kind of award would it be if it was given out cheaply and not purchased with a little hard work?

I will be meeting with the Worshipful Masters this weekend and detailing the program. I expect each Lodge to either achieve the award, or fail while striving valiantly. There is no shame in not receiving the award. There is, however, shame in not even trying.

This year, each Lodge will be required to hold an open house. It may be held alone or in conjunction with other Lodges in the District. I will be asking the Worshipful Masters to provide the dates to me and we will coordinate a print ad for the District to publicize the event. This is an excellent opportunity to show the outside world what Freemasonry is about. We have so much to offer to men, both young and old, who are yearning to be part of something greater than themselves. We need to open our doors and show them the good works we do for the community as well as what we can teach them about being their best selves.

We will again be holding a One Day Class. This year it will be on September 29, 2012 at the Greater Pittsburgh Masonic Center. The format will be the same as in the previous years. Those men that come to the open houses can either join in the traditional way or through the One Day Class as their schedules and consciences dictate.

To help metaphorically ornament the edifice of Freemasonry, the Grand Master has begun a Masonic Online Education Program. Courses are currently offered on Masonic History, Masonic Law and the Mentor Program with many more to be made available shortly. These classes are user-friendly and are designed to educate Masons – both new and old – on the workings and history of the Craft.

For men joining now, there is a Master Builder’s award. New Masons must fulfill a series of required tasks including attending a Stated and Extra meeting of their Lodge as well as a youth event and an Official Visit, serving as a greeter, assisting in fundraising and completion of the Mentor program. It is critical then, that the Mentor Program be used within the Lodge. If a Lodge does not participate, you will deprive the new Masons of the opportunity of receiving the award.

There is a full Trestleboard before you Brethren. The Grand Master has traced the plans he believes will help us build for the future.

Be ever mindful that the largest skyscrapers need enormous foundations to soar to their impressive heights. Do not forget that what you see rising above you is anchored by solid concrete hundreds of feet deep. Both are necessary, both are important, and each of you is part of the magnificent structure we call Freemasonry.

It is said that all work is worship. Whether you find your labor in the brute work of digging and strengthening the foundation or in the fine and meticulous detail work of the great façade, know that it is vital to the overall success of our endeavor and do it well. Offer your best, and encourage your Brethren to do the same. Help us build for the future of Freemasonry.


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