|Volume LVII||January 2010||Number 1|
Renaissance as to Grand Lodge
PRINTING OF THE RITUAL
Now, for the first time, there is an absolute printed version of our ritual of the three degrees, so that never again will there be any question among our brethren as to the official authorized work. The ritual manuals will provide more brethren the opportunity to learn about and memorize our beautiful Pennsylvania Masonic ritual. A brother now may, in his spare time, work on the memorization of the ritual without having to make an appointment with another brother.
"I believe that this convenient tool for brethren wishing to learn the ritual will dramatically enhance the way we perform our degree work," Grand Master Sturgeon said. He places serious emphasis on maintaining the integrity of the ritual, however: "Use this manual to your benefit, respect the confidentiality of it, but most important of all, observe the restrictions placed upon its use."
Restrictions are as follows:
• This manual may not be used in an open meeting of the lodge.
• This manual may not be used for prompting during a degree.
• This manual may not be used to read from during any degree.
• The material in this manual may not be copied or photocopied in any way.
• No brother shall knowingly permit a non-Mason to look through this manual.
• The D.D.G.M. will audit the rituals during his official visitation to assure they are properly cared for.
Penalties are as follows:
• Any lodge that is found to be in violation of any of the above restrictions will have its Warrant of Constitution forfeited to the Grand Lodge.
• Any brother found to be in violation of any of the above restrictions will be subject to Masonic discipline.
"I recognize, full well, the impact of this decision and the controversy that will result," Grand Master Sturgeon said. "My rationale is this: if we truly believe in our professed Masonic values of loving our wives, our children, our family, our community, our country, and also keeping a good occupational work ethic, then we need to make it more convenient for a brother to learn our ritual without neglecting the aforementioned entities. Let us require less time away from families by allowing our brethren to learn our beautiful ritual during their own precious free time instead of insisting that it be memorized by word of mouth.
"Just how secret is our ritual anyhow? If anyone were to Google 'Masonic Ritual,' he will find most of what we consider sacred right there on the Internet. Not word for word, as we know it, or completely accurate - but very close to the approved work. If you do some research you will realize that we have no secrets.
"We will not be publishing the ritual in a book to be sold online or at a local bookstore. The ritual manual will be controlled by the Worshipful Master of the lodge, and he will be responsible for signing in and signing out the manuals to ensure an absolute audit of each manual. When signing out a manual, a brother will sign an agreement, on his Masonic word, that he will not permit photocopying or otherwise writing or printing of the ritual."
PROFICIENCY AWARD PIN
A Proficiency Award Pin has been created to be awarded to and worn by any brother who has been certified by the Schools of Instruction as having become proficient in all three symbolic degrees.
TERMS OF DISTRICT DEPUTY GRAND MASTERS
District Deputy Grand Masters are now permitted to serve 10 years by mutual agreement of the Grand Master and the District Deputy. Five years' service is still required for the designation of Past District Deputy Grand Master.
On Feb. 26-27, 2010, Grand Master Sturgeon will hold a Masonic Congress at the Masonic Conference Center-Patton Campus in Elizabethtown for all Masonic entities. The purpose will be to find ways to work together in a unity of purpose for the betterment of our beloved Craft.
"THE PENNSYLVANIA FREEMASON" MAGAZINE
"The Pennsylvania Freemason" magazine will have less of the Grand Master and more of the fraternity across this wonderful state. It will include interesting articles about various geographical regions of the state and will feature the small towns and cities and their history and Masonic significance.
The Grand Lodge assessment will be raised by $.50, with all of the proceeds going to the youth group initiatives. Monitored by the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation, these monies will go directly to the various youth organizations as incentive grants for the completion of worthy projects.
DRESS CODE FOR LODGE MEETINGS
The dress code for lodge meetings is hereby relaxed to a more contemporary style whereby a necktie is not required. Any lesser dress code requirements will be established by the appropriate D.D.G.M.
The open installation of all symbolic lodge officers, including the Worshipful Master, is strongly encouraged. In every instance, whether it be an open or closed installation, no brother will be asked to leave the meeting. The Schools of Instruction will provide the necessary vehicle to assume more openness in the installation process.
OPENING & CLOSING OF MEETINGS
Grand Master Sturgeon has authorized the lodges to open and close all of their meetings in a shortened manner prescribed by the Schools of Instruction. "Our meetings must be more interesting, less monotonous and take less time, thereby allowing more time for fellowship," he said.
MASONIC DISTRICT REALIGNMENT
Eight Masonic Districts will be eliminated and others realigned to make our operation more efficient financially and fraternally.
Grand Master Sturgeon will enact a new Due Process procedure which will limit the authority of the Grand Master in suspensions and expulsions. The lodges will be encouraged to act on these issues, but if a situation requires action by the Grand Lodge, that action will take place following a meeting of the Committee on Landmarks and the brother in question having a fair hearing with his appropriate due process protected.
LEGAL STRUCTURE OF THE GRAND LODGE
The legal structure of the Grand Lodge will be reviewed, and if it is necessary, changes will be made that ensure the limited liability of the Grand Lodge officers.
COMMITTEE ON MASONIC HOMES
The Committee on Masonic Homes will meet four times per year instead of six, and Grand Master Sturgeon will not chair that committee. "The function of this committee is too important, and it is imperative that it function as an independent committee without the influence of the Grand Master," Grand Master Sturgeon said in explaining his decision.
Through an exciting technologically-advanced initiative program, an electronic guide system is being created by the Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania for tours of the Masonic Temple. This professionally-created CD will be played for all visitors to this ancient but glorious facility, describing the room or area they are in. New DVD players and speakers will be installed in every room to ensure high quality sound throughout the building. Modernizing the tour experience will ensure that all visitors receive the same tour information.
The Grand Lodge is working on the development of the necessary software to make the lodge audit process easier and simpler for all concerned.
GRAND LODGE COMMITTEES
Grand Master Sturgeon has eliminated several of the traditional Grand Lodge committees, merged the responsibilities of other committees and totally revamped the committee structure to make the Grand Lodge more efficient and to save money.
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