Grand Masters Message September 2018

As you read this message, summer is unfortunately in our rear-view mirror and we are looking forward to our Masonic labors. Since our Grand Lodge Annual Communication in May I have tried to keep myself busy. Here are just a few events I attended over the summer and would like to mention. 

In May, I traveled to the Grand Lodge of Quebec to be present at the installation of their Grand Master, Most Worshipful Andre Boivin and his officers. I made my first "Surprise Visit" to Jenks Lodge No. 24. It was more of a surprise to Right Worshipful Scott and me due to the doors of the lodge room being locked. I like that the brothers of Jenks Lodge are being vigilant and keeping their brothers safe from possible intruders to their lodge, but they ruined my entrance!

In June, Scott and I enjoyed a great night of fellowship with the brothers of Mount Moriah Lodge at their Robert Burns Table Lodge, along with the brothers of the Kilwinning Club of Boston.  We traveled with Jenks Lodge to hold a Special Communication at Bright View Assisted Living Center in Wakefield, RI.  This meeting was brought to the home of Brother William Henry Lester, Jr., the oldest member of Jenks Lodge.  He was so happy that the brothers cared so much for one of their members that they brought the meeting to him. Seeing the amount of joy on Brother Lester's face, and being part of this meeting made everyone there so glad they made this special trip. I was also in attendance at the 168th Annual Communication of the RI Grand Lodge of Prince Hall Masons to see the installation of Most Worshipful Prince Reid. Scott and I had our first official visitation to Hope Lodge No. 25, and a day I will never forget. We had so many brothers in our Grand Lodge suite that most of us were standing outside in the front of the building to be welcomed by their Past Masters.  I hope all our visitations are so well attended.  My Grand Master's Church Service was well attended, but I had hoped to see more brothers with us.  I plan on having another Grand Master's Church Service on May 5, 2019, so save the date.

In July, lady Dawn and I had the pleasure of joining the Nobles of the Rhode Island Shrine celebrate the Fourth of July by riding in the Bristol Parade. This was my first time at the parade and my first time in the parade, what a great day, my face hurt from smiling so much.  I look forward too many more gatherings with my Nobles.  Many Grand Lodge officers joined me at the RI Grand Assembly International Order of Rainbow Girls. Congratulations to Grand Worthy Advisor Andrea Barragan-Tovar for a very successful year and to this year's newly installed Grand Worthy Advisor, Hannah Lawson and her grand officers, I wish nothing but the best for your ensuing year. If you need anything don't hesitate to contact me or the Grand Secretary. Finally, at the end of July we welcomed the Northeast Conference of Grand Masters and Grand Secretaries. The Grand Lodge of Rhode Island was the host this year at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick.

The Northeast Conference of Grand Masters and Grand Secretaries was well attended and enjoyed by all. We had 16 Grand Jurisdictions in attendance and heard many compliments on the programs that were presented. I would like to thank the committee that put this conference together, without them it would not have been the success that it was. The committee members were: R∴W∴Robert Ellston; M∴W∴Stephen T. Maguire, PGM, and R∴W∴Carl B. Willi Grand Secretary, PGM.  I also thank the ladies of the Grand Lodge Office; Maria, Diane and Marcy, for all the office work that needed to be done to pull such an event together.  Thanks to our hospitality staff R∴W∴Scott Alger; brothers Albert Capobianco, Jr., John B. Paliotta, and Lou Tager for keeping all our guests in good spirits. A well-deserved thank you to the speakers at the conference, without you there wouldn't be a conference, W∴James Desmarais - Lodge Security, Brother Shawn Eyer, M∴W∴Claire Tusch - George Washington Masonic National Memorial; M∴W∴Gail N. Kemp - The Path Forward; M∴W∴Chip Stamm - Child Identification; M∴W∴ Stewart Aronson - Masonic Service Association, and R∴W∴Jack Anderson and R∴W∴Mike Southern - Electronic Media and Public Relations in Masonry. The Saturday morning ladies tour to Blithewold Mansion in Bristol would not have been as enjoyable without the help of our ladies: Colleen Poyton, Dereth Ellston, Christine Willi, Maureen Maguire and Dawn Carlson.  On Friday evening our after-dinner programs were provided by both of our state youth groups. The DeMolay boys presented the 'Ceremony of Lights' and Armando Barragan-Tover performed the 'Flower Talk'. Eryka Daniels, Grand Hope for the International Order of Rainbow for Girls, performed the 'Ceremony of Color'.  What a joy it was to see such great ritual performed by these two groups. Thank you Deborah Sneath a member of the Grand Executive Committee, Advisor to Eryka Daniels, Grand Hope, and the DeMolay Dad Advisors: R∴W∴James Ogilvie Deputy Executive Officer, W∴Mick Torgan, W∴Al Anton, W∴Robert Kempf, brothers Jeremy Newton and Jan Zukowski, Mom Advisors - Kim Harrison, Veronica Tovar-Barragan. DeMolay members: Armando Barragan-Tovar, Gabriel Gonzalez,  James Horton,  Robert Newton,  Dan Harrison, Wyatt Kempf, Jack Zukowski, Jared Kempf and Blake Lamoureux for taking the time out of your busy schedules to show us the pride and hard work that you have put in your ritual.  I was so proud of you when many came up to me after and said what a great job you all did.

A quick update on a few projects that I mentioned in my last message. The Robert J. Allen Masonic Medical Distribution Center is now open on Wednesday evenings 6:00 to 9:00 PM and is proving to be a success.  It has taken a lot of stress off the Friday morning work group, giving the brothers a chance to play catch-up. More plans are in the works at the Center. I thank Brother George Donahue for taking the reins on this endeavor. 

The new Master Mason 'Welcome Packet' which includes various Masonic educational materials is just about complete and I am looking forward to sending them out in the very near future. This packet will hopefully give our newly raised Masons the answers and the confidence to talk about Freemasonry with friends and family. The Masonic License Plate bill proposed by Brother Robert Phillips passed in the House but died in the Senate. We were looking to bring down the required amount of plates from 900 to 500.  I think if we push for 600 next year we may have a chance.  Hopefully, we won't have to wait too long before we are showing off our Masonic Pride and driving around with the Square and Compasses on our license plates!

For a look ahead, we will have a Masonic Open House at the Grand Lodge on October 20. This same event last year was a great success. Information was shared and increased awareness to the public. We expect to have each of the districts and their lodges well represented. This is a time to show the public what Freemasonry is all about and what we offer the individual and potential member of the Craft. This event will take commitment from all of us, so help us get the word out. The evening prior, October 19 we will host another Masonic Festive Board, so please be on the lookout for emails and communications from your lodge secretaries as details for this event become available.

The Grand Lodge Semi-Annual Communication is November 17 and the Fall Festival will take place that evening at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Please read the 'Call' in this communication and remember to get your Fall Festival tickets early because you don't want to miss this great night of fellowship.

I would be remiss if I did not mention and congratulate Rhode Island DeMolay for receiving the Frank S. Land Membership Growth Award and the Gorman A. McBride Membership Award at the 2018 DeMolay International Sessions in Alexandria, VA. These awards were for achieving positive-growth and initiating more members than they had in the previous year!  There are not many jurisdictions that can claim that they have taken both awards. Well-deserved!  

Always remember the strength of our Craft lies squarely on its membership. As brothers we need to stay focused and have pride in ourselves as well as in our lodges.  Be responsible and take ownership of your lodge, take pride in it and it will become a shining star in your community.  

Scott and I look forward to seeing you in our travels.

Sincerely and Fraternally,

M∴W∴Glenn S. Carlson Grand Master