A Message from the Grand Master,
Thank you for the wonderful honor you have bestowed on me by electing me to the high office of Grand Master. As I take the reigns of our Grand Lodge and its highest office, I am humbled by the confidence you have invested in me and I am awed by the sense of responsibility I now feel to each and every one of you, my Louisiana brothers.
I would be remiss if I did not thank a few people. First, thanks to my wife Clare who has stood by me on this journey through the Grand Lodge line. You may have my time over the next few months while I’m Grand Master, but Clare has my heart.
Also, a huge thank you to Most Worshipful Bro. Steve Storm Alan Pence, newly minted Past Grand Master. M∴ W∴ Bro. Pence has shown great wisdom and leadership during these trying and troubling times, and he deserves the thanks of the entire Grand Lodge of Louisiana. Throughout his time as Grand Master, M∴ W∴ Bro. Pence has made peace and harmony, not just a catchy phrase, but a reality in our lodges. In addition, he has become a good friend and confidant, and he has my deepest personal thanks.
I also wish to thank the Grand Lodge officers who have agreed to serve with me this year. Your hard work and loyalty are appreciated and I know that together we will accomplish great things for our Grand Lodge.
There are too many others to list and I would surely forget someone if I attempted to list all the people who deserve my thanks. Rest assured that each of you, in some way, has helped me become the Grand Master I am today, and I deeply appreciate you.
Our Grand Lodge labors in uncertain times. COVID-19 still poses a threat to our membership and brings an uncertain future. We do not know when things will return to “normal” and our Lodges will reopen at full capacity with no restrictions. This severely limits our ability to plan for the upcoming year. While I look forward to seeing many of you in your lodges, we must ensure that larger gatherings are safe before planning. The health and safety of our brethren are of utmost importance to me and will be at the forefront of my decisions going forward.
Yet, despite the pandemic, Masonry still marches toward the light. As a friend likes to say, the doors to the Lodge Hall may be closed, but Masonry is open for business. We still have opportunities to spread light to our communities, peace, and harmony within our lodges, and charity to those less fortunate than us. In short, we still can be Masons. The world today does not need new fancy programs or phrases. It needs Masons living by the teachings of Masonry.
I truly hope the peace and harmony that have pervaded this last year will continue. Masonry simply works better when we are of one accord. Let us not return to those days when the Grand Lodge was plagued by disunity and confrontation. Instead, let us continue the path of peace and harmony.
Finally, my brethren, as lofty as the office of Grand Master may be, it is not the highest honor I have ever received in Masonry. That honor goes to that white lambskin apron, plain and unadorned, which I received the night I was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason. I have been entrusted with the rule and government of this Grand Lodge for a short time. However, that white apron teaches me, and you, that we are all Masons, equal, and on the level. While I have dreams for our Grand Lodge that I hope to enact this year, my most cherished dream is that we will treat each other the way we were taught the night we first put on that white apron, with brotherly love.
Thank you and God bless you.
M∴ W∴ James E. Steen