A Message from the Grand Senior Warden,
Masonry runs deep in my family. My dad, Albert “Ugly” Steen, served as a Grand Lodge officer, Potentate of Habibi Shrine Temple, and was an active Mason throughout his lifetime. I remember as a kid admiring his dedication to both the ideal and the practice of masonry. To my dad, masonry was a prestigious organization and a way of life. Sometimes I think masonry has lost some of its prestige over the years. Let’s face it: men are not lining up to join like they were in generations past. Masons are not always revered and respected members of their community. We no longer count presidents and governors and leaders of society among our members.
We may never get Masonry back to “the way it was” and that’s okay. But I do think we should strive to again make Masonry the most prestigious fraternity in the world and I would offer these three tips on how to do so: First, we need to make Masonry fun. Some of the most fun times of my life have been with Masons. It’s fun to be with friends, eat and enjoy their company, travel, meet new people and learn new things. To be sure, there is a time to be serious. Our degree work is most beautiful and deserves the solemnity due it but our fraternity would be much better off if we could lighten up and have fun each time we’re together. Second, we must show ourselves as men of honesty and integrity. We’ve all been to Honesty and Integrity Awards nights where we preach the value of upright living to the juniors there assembled but do we practice what we preach? We need to remember that, to us, a handshake still means something and our word is still worth something. Even when it means hardship or that we will be uncomfortable, we must ALWAYS honor our promises. Finally, we should remember ALL of our obligations. Too often we want to pick and choose which obligations we follow and which ones we conveniently ignore. It’s like the son who asked his dad what it was like to be married. Dad responded to go away, and 10 minutes later wanted to know why the son was ignoring him. We cannot ignore any part of our obligations. As a new year approaches, Clare and I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Masonry is the greatest fraternity in the world. Together we can and will make it the most prestigious fraternity in the world once again.
R∴ W∴ James E. Steen
Grand Senior Warden