Honor the Past, Serve the Present, and Build the Future
The pride and relevance of who we are as Freemasons is not relegated to the past; it defines our present and our future.
Our present and our future are part of the enduring legacy of the men who created the Grand Lodge of Missouri, who then went on to create the State of Missouri. Men such as Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, Hamilton Gamble, Thomas Riddick, Edward Bates, Thomas Hart Benton, and Alexander McNair.
These men represent the thousands of Freemasons who toiled to build the framework that is in place for us today. They unfailingly gave of themselves to benefit the Brethren of the future that they would never know.
We now stand at the brow of a hill that overlooks two-hundred years of Missouri history. It is our time to give of ourselves to benefit the Brethren of the future that we will never know.
As a Fraternity, we have oft heard the excuse that people in modern times are distracted from joining our lodges or returning to our lodges.
The Brethren of yesterday worked to establish our Fraternity at a time of unreliable transportation, poor roads that could at best be called trails, dangerous social and economic conditions, and scant medical facilities. They raised their own food, built their own homes, and created most of the necessities in their lives.
If distractions are the cause of our present condition of membership participation and retention, then we should never have been created in the past.
Relevance is the key to bringing our Brethren back to our lodges, and relevance is the key to our future.
This Masonic year is designed to bring relevance back to the membership of the lodges and challenge the membership to reflect the Masonic Light they received through our Ritual. It is the Ritual that has made Freemasonry relevant through all the ages of man.
Never before has the public been as keenly aware of the history and relevance of Freemasonry as in these current times. Look, then, at the membership that were suspended for non-payment of dues to see that the problem of relevance is within our own ranks.
Our focus on relevance addresses three key issues found throughout the last two hundred years of subordinate lodge minutes and Grand Lodge proceedings:
1) We do not have enough money.
2) Not enough people attend the meetings.
3) No one knows the Ritual. (In 1868, St. Francois Lodge generated a tough response from the Grand Lecturer over the deplorable state of the Ritual throughout our jurisdiction.)
Focus on Relevance – Honor the Past, Serve the Present, and Build the Future.
We are going to have four to six area meetings, but those meetings will depend on our ability to coordinate with appendant bodies or lodge activities, such as Bicentennial events. Let me repeat something in that last sentence, it is our desire to coordinate the activities of the Grand Lodge with appendant bodies and local lodge activities.
Our first Area Meeting is scheduled for November 13th at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in Kansas City.
The Area Meetings will include:
1) Current Topics and Q&A with the Grand Master – access to the Grand Master in group settings and private meetings.
2) Masonic Home Presentations – why donations are more critical than ever in supporting the Masonic Home of Missouri; the very institution that allows us to fulfill our obligations as Freemasons in assisting worthy Brethren, their widows, and orphans.
3) Grand Secretary Meetings – to provide up-to-date information about our website and portal.
4) Wardens and Masters Training – a decades-long project coming to fruition to train our future leaders.
5) Mentorship – what it means to be a mentor, why it failed in the past, why it is failing now, and how we can make it work in the future.
6) Exemplification of the Ritual – a topic that deserves a section for itself.
Ritual and Exemplification
It is our Ritual that connects the past, the present, and the future. It connects us in words, deeds, and thoughts. However, it only connects us if we invest the same time and skill we use to learn and perform the Ritual to actually understanding and being changed by the ritual.
Masons acting as Masons could be the simplest way to state the concept of understanding and being changed by the ritual. Masons learning and understanding the Closing Charge might be the best path to understanding and being changed by the ritual.
Exemplification of Ritual will occur at the area meetings with discussion of the how and why of what we are doing. At the end of the 2022 Masonic Year, during the next Annual Communication, we will bring Exemplification back to the floor of the Grand Lodge of Missouri for the first time since 1949.
A Revision of the Ceremonies Book as a Bicentennial Edition is due out on April 21, 2022. This will include a Charter Retirement ceremony, so our lodges can make the decision to consolidate and proudly move to their new home.
The Past Grand Masters are an incredible source of knowledge and counsel. They are being asked, to whatever level they may wish to participate, to assist with ceremonies and other special events, in addition to bringing to the table years of valuable experience.
Grand Master in Residence
I will be in residence in during stated hours in Columbia and in many locations when I travel. This means that any Freemason may stop by and have direct access to the Grand Master for whatever is on his mind: my only requirement – if you are bringing a problem, then also bring a solution.
I cannot promise immediate resolution, but I can assure that you will be heard and maybe we can begin to move toward a solution.
Bicentennial Events The Bicentennial Year spans two Masonic Years, and will conclude during the 2022 Annual Communication. During the 2021-2022 Masonic Year, we will be driving forward to support the next 100 years.
If you think that working to make decisions and driving forward to the next 100 years is hypothetical, let me assure you that there is an unprecedented reality to our thoughts and deeds of today.
It is possible, though not necessarily probable, that a young man who becomes a Freemason during this Bicentennial year might be awarded a one-hundred-year pin during our Tricentennial year in 2121-2122. Therefore, the decisions that we make for the future might impact those among us today.
Your Grand Line Officers have been working on these and other projects since October of 2020, when MWB Barry V. Cundiff gave permission to put 2021-2022 plans in motion. (I thank MWB Cundiff for allowing this to happen.)
The Grand Line was empowered to present names to me for consideration for all offices, but the Grand Line made it clear that I had the ultimate say and responsibility. (I thank each of the Grand Line Officer for their efforts.)
Officers were chosen based on leadership experience within their Blue Lodges, appendant bodies, and professions, as well as any military experience. None were chosen because of a title or an affiliation.
The Grand Line and the one-year appointments completed a training program to overcome eighteen months of COVID restrictions and other issues that hindered normal operations and diminished our culture of etiquette and protocol. The training was designed to give greater value to the Brethren we serve and is based upon:
1) Unconditional Trust
2) Assuming good intent
3) Listening to our Brethren
In summary, the understanding through the Ritual, of who we are as Freemasons, will drive this year.
It is my fervent hope that we are able to show that memories are something to cherish, and not a place to live, as we honor the past, serve the present, and build the future.
Dr. Ty G. Treutelaar, Grand Master
Grand Lodge of A.F. & A.M. of the State of Missouri