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R∴ W∴ Steven S. A. Pence

 

A Message from the Deputy Grand Master,

Next month, June 29th specifically, will find many of us in Alexandria for our 208th Annual Grand Communication. There are so many puzzle pieces that come together for this event. Our ladies in the Grand Lodge make this appear effortless, to the untrained eye. They work tirelessly planning, executing and cajoling to have the session seamlessly come together. Thank you, Mary, Michelle, Kim, and Dianne. Oh, and also thanks to M∴ W∴ Brother Woody Bilyeu, our Grand Secretary, who has a major role!

The Deputy Grand Master has to provide a great deal of information to the Grand Lodge and prepare for the next term. There are appointments, programs, agendas and schedules, reservations and travel, packets for the incoming officers, and website articles that all have to be furnished to the Grand Lodge office throughout the year. This does not take into account the planning and preparation that has already begun for the 209th Grand Lodge session to be held on April 25-26, 2020.

I mention planning for a purpose. With the Grand Session being held in April 2020, many of the reports and documents will have to be submitted to the Grand Lodge at the close of 2019 or no later than January 15, 2020. Annual Committee reports, District Deputy Grand Master recommendations, payment of the Lodge’s annual returns, reporting new Lodge officers, Grand Lodge registration, and numerous other matters needing to be addressed will catch the Lodge Secretaries, District Lodge Secretaries, Committee Chairmen, and other responsible members by surprise if they haven’t planned.

The Elected Line is copied on much of the email correspondence from Mary Farmer, Kim Bordelon, Michelle Dempsey, and M: W: Brother Woody Bilyeu requesting reports and documents for the Directory, Advanced Proceedings, newly installed Lodge officers and the Proceedings themselves. As I am writing this, there are thirty (30) lodges that haven’t paid their Grand Lodge per-capita. There is still one Lodge that hasn’t reported officers for 2019! With the 2020 Grand Lodge session being scheduled at the beginning of the 2nd quarter of the year, we will not have the luxury of a full calendar year to compensate for delays in receiving the required information.

The District Deputy Grand Masters and District Grand Lecturers will only have ten (10) months to complete their visits and conduct their workshops. In some districts, this shortened tenure will make it difficult to accomplish everything they are expected to perform. Please, plan now.

Many of our Districts follow a quarterly schedule for their meetings, i.e. January, April, July, and October. Other Districts meet during the months having a fifth Sunday or Saturday. There are still other Districts that meet on varying schedules. For Districts with a quarterly schedule, the October 2019 meeting would be the preferred date to include recommendations. The January 2020 meetings will be last month for their District Deputy Grand Master recommendations. For Districts following a 5th Sunday or Saturday schedule, the District Secretaries need to look at their meeting schedule and chose the appropriate one that coincides nearest the cut-off or due by date for their recommendations. For all other Districts, the due date will be January 15, 2020. Please, plan now.

This year, the Committee Chairmen were requested to have their annual reports submitted by April 1st, so that the Advanced Proceedings could be formatted, forwarded to the printer and have the copies back in the Grand Lodge by the end of May. The next annual report will have a cutoff in January 2020 or nine months from now. Please, plan now.
Article V, Section 9 of the General Regulations (Handbook of Masonic Law, pg. 26) states that the Lodges shall pay all dues (per-capita and assessments) to the Grand Lodge on or before the 15th of January. This year, the tallying of the final returns was delayed, due to Lodge mergers and software issues related to those mergers. The Grand Master and Grand Secretary moved the due date to March 15th, to allow the Lodge Secretaries time to review the annual returns and submit them to their respective Lodges for payment. Barring any future compilation issues surrounding the annual returns, the per-capita amounts must be received at the Grand Lodge on or before the 15th of January 2020. Please, plan now.
Article V, Section 1 of the General Regulations (HOML pg. 25) states Lodge officers will be elected in either the months of November or December and must be installed on or before St. John the Evangelist Day, or December 27th. It has, since time immemorial or at least when M: W: Brother T. J. Pittman was Grand Secretary, been strongly requested that Lodge Secretaries not wait for the installation to report the list of new officers to the Grand Lodge. The list of Lodge Officers is critical to not only the Grand Lodge, but also District Lodge Secretaries, Lodge Secretaries in the respective districts, and in many instances the members themselves. The Masonic Directory lists the Worshipful Master and Secretary for every constituent Lodge, along with their contact information. Pre-registration for the Grand Lodge session is based upon the most current Lodge officer information. The same information for District Lodge officers is equally critical for the directory and maintaining the Grand Lodge Membership Database (Grandview). With the Grand Lodge 2020 Session scheduled for April, the Lodge and District Lodge Secretaries must provide the Grand Lodge with their new officers’ list as soon as elections have been completed. A Lodge, not having 2020 officers in the database by January 15th, may have difficulty pre-registering their delegates for the upcoming session. Pre-registration has streamlined the check-in process at registration and is greatly appreciated by the delegates, the Credentials Committee, and our Grand Lodge staff. Please, plan now.

Last month, our Grand Master mentioned, “Time flies when you are having fun” and remarked how quickly his year has passed. Not to contradict the Grand Master, but time flies regardless of circumstances. The second quarter of the year ends at the close of the 208th Annual Communication. There will only be three (3) full quarters until our next Grand Lodge Session. The Grand Secretary and his staff are already preparing for a ten (10) month reporting cycle, even in the midst of preparing for the session next month. Please plan, now.

Fraternally and Respectfully,

R∴ W∴ Steven S. A. Pence

Deputy Grand Master